Houdini 18 introduced Solaris to Houdini in support of lookdev, layout and lighting. The initial focus was on establishing the framework for USD-based pipelines. With Houdini 18.5, the focus has evolved to creating tools that establish an artist driven workflow.
SOLARIS | Layout
Setting up shots in Solaris is easier than ever with the ability to visualize and deploy Variants, an improved Edit tool that offers a spreadsheet interface for managing the assets being manipulated, and a dedicated tool for efficiently handling RBD simulations.
SOLARIS | Lighting Workflows
The new Light Mixer lets artists manipulate all aspects of their lights including the interactive handles. It is easier to add lights with this tool, making it a hub for lighting your shots. Multi-shot sequences are now easier to manage with Edit Context options and Insertion Points that help you determine if you want to add lights per shot or per sequence.
SOLARIS | SNAPSHOTS
The new Render Gallery lets artists take snapshots of their progress that can then be reviewed and compared. Each snapshot contains all the settings of that look and at any time the scene can be reverted to match the snapshot. Snapshots can then be labelled and filtered for easy access.
KARMA | in Houdini 18.5
Karma is still in beta with Houdini 18.5 while it continues to evolve with new features such as fur support, the physical lens shader and progressive rendering to Mplay. These are important steps as the renderer moves towards feature-parity with Mantra.
KARMA | Round Edges
The rounded edge shader lets you soften the edges of geometry at render time without bevelling the geometry. This is an example of a feature becoming available in Karma as more VEX functions, such as trace, are ported to the new renderer.
KARMA GPU+ | Future Tech
One of the goals for future releases of Houdini is Karma GPU+ which will bring much faster rendering to the Solaris workflow. This technology is still under development and is not available in Houdini 18.5 but we are happy to share a preview of how this technology is progressing.