In Houdini, networks of nodes can be easily wrapped up into Houdini Digital Assets then shared with other artists. With the Houdini Engine, these assets can be loaded into Autodesk Maya with procedural controls available to artists.
The results can then be further manipulated in Maya and can be rendered as part of a Maya scene. Anytime a parameter is changed on the asset, the Houdini Engine is called upon to "cook" the network of nodes and publish the results to Maya. This allows for deep integration of Houdini Digital Assets into a Maya pipeline.
To get started with Houdini Engine for Maya, follow the steps outlined below. Houdini, Houdini FX or Houdini Engine licenses can be used to load assets into Maya. If you don't have a license then a 30-day Trial is available.
1. Download the Houdini Engine
To access the Houdini Engine, download the Houdini installer which comes with the Maya plug-in. While the plug-in connects Maya to the Engine, Houdini is needed to cook the results under the surface. You can run the Engine using either a Houdini license or a Houdini Engine license. Houdini Engine for Maya works with Autodesk Maya 2012 and higher.
2. Install and Load the Plug-in
Once you have downloaded the installer, run it in your chosen operating system and be sure to check the Maya plug-in during installation. The next time you run Maya, select Window > Settings/Preferences/Plug-in Manager. In this window, you can set the plug-in to load. This will add a Houdini Engine menu to your main Maya menu.
3. Plugin Docs
To learn more about the Houdini Engine for Maya plugin, you can review the online documentation. This material covers many different aspects of the plug-in and how to set up assets in Houdini to work effectively in the Maya environment. Learn about setting up different inputs and outputs for the assets.
3. Load Asset into Maya
From the Houdini Engine menu, you can Load Assets, get assets from Orbolt, a 3D smart asset repository or sync and reload assets you are working with. Here is a tutorial showing how to load and work with the Volume asset inside Maya.
4. Create your own Asset
You can use Houdini Engine for Maya to work with existing assets or you can create your own. Below is a simple lesson outlining the steps needed to create your first digital asset.
5. Get More Assets
If you want to access a library of existing Digital Assets, then visit the Orbolt Smart 3D Asset store which has a growing library of free and for charge assets for using in Houdini Engine for Maya. You can also sign up as an asset author and sell your ideas to other artists.