Achim Dietze


About Me



Recent Forum Posts

Why is Houdini constantly making decisions for me? Sept. 6, 2019, 10:32 a.m.

The only problem is some artists make too many assumptions about other artists. Which is really what the implied original point of my post in this thread was.
Does anyone have to be overly presumptuous to think that no one likes to press T (or E/R) twice in order for the tool to switch to the new selection? Do you personally like the results you get with the PolyBevel? I could go on with many others.

There are (basic) things in Houdini that are broken and have not been addressed, even after reporting them, which I think makes the preferences discussion kinda moot at this moment. That is, unless someone's prepared to state that they prefer things that are demonstrably broken.

I agree with you Pickled, does anyone enjoy the Curve SOP in Houdini? It's so hard to use compared to Cinema4D's Curve tool.

Houdini is the only software I know where you have to delete something to get a simple closed curve.

Why is Houdini constantly making decisions for me? Sept. 6, 2019, 10:30 a.m.

Here is another simple example.

When you are modelling something in smooth shading, like a car for example, where you really need to see if the surface is smooth and even and you go into any component selection mode, you don't see your components, like edges and faces. You have to actively turn the edge display on and off to evaluate your work. In literally every other DCC app that is sold for modelling you get the components displayed as soon as you go into any components selection mode.
This is symptomatic for Houdini. It is neglecting the amount of time the user spends dealing with avoidable UI interactions. Admittedly, it doesn't make much difference if you are doing a sim that takes hours anyway. But it does matter, and all those little things sum up believe me, if you have to do some modelling on a tight schedule. And most of all these things constantly interrupt your workflow and force you to think about things you shouldn't think about. A good UI/UX gets out of your way as much as possible.

I sent a video to SideFX reporting these issues and a related bug almost two years ago: []

the second image is showing the bug I reported. It is still there in the latest production build. When you go to point selection mode first in a selected object, points are not shown, no matter what shading mode you're in. You have to switch to edge or primitive and then back to show the points.

Why is Houdini constantly making decisions for me? Sept. 5, 2019, 10:58 a.m.

As it was mentioned somewhere, the majority of users concentrate on the nodes and networks, on pipeline tools, vex and al the other TD stuff. They often don't even see the problem.

It's not that the ‘problem’ is not seen; It's that there is no problem. It really depends on the person, not across the board for everyone.

And this is exactly not seeing the problem. Thanks for making my case.

It is a common response to posts like mine: “It's all subjective”.

No, it's not.

Using a feature or not is a subjective decision. Liking a feature or function or not is a subjective matter.

Not being able to use a very common function because it doesn't exist is an objective flaw.
Having to do three times as many actions for the same very common task to achieve the same result like in any other software with this function, is objectively slower and a drawback.

That is a problem. And the problem with Houdini is, that until recently, it was only used by a very small user base with a very narrow focus on some specific things where a lot of what is being complained about now, didn't matter. So for a long time many of the issues actually weren't a problem because no one really compared Houdini with other DCC apps. I have again to point to the view port normals. Houdini users were used to work with a geometry display that looked like some early 80's Gouraud realtime shading up to version 16 (?). No one cared about it. People even defended it when I came and pointed it out.

And since SideFX has been living and working with exactly those users for a long time, they failed to develop a sense for certain problems as well. This creates what you call an Echo chamber. Long time Houdini users often seem to be feeling that every complaint coming from new users with experience in other software is an attack on their very own work environment.

I am not saying this to offend anyone. I am saying this to analyze the source of the fact that Houdini is matter-of-factly and completely objectively far behind other software in terms of basic UX.
It has the most elaborated methods of working with a node tree but the most rudimentary means of organizing and managing hundreds of objects. It has sophisticated shelf tools that can set up a complex ocean sim for you in seconds, but if you want to simultaneously edit the geometry of two objects in two different hierarchies (possible even in blender now) your lost. It has a very clever UV unwrapping toolset, but if you want to see the UV screen and the Geo side by side you can not drag the viewport divider to make one or the other view smaller or larger. This is Lightwave 15 years ago.

There are objective short comings in Houdini that have nothing to do with personal preferences.
I have no issues of adapting to certain workflows that may be different to what I am used to. I haven't even changed the hotkeys for Translation/Scaling/Rotation, which are not industry standard in Houdini. But I refuse to use a 3Key combination for something a common and most frequently used as a viewport interaction because it objectively slows me down and interrupts my workflow - no matter how good I memorize them. I can not even change the key assignment because that extra redundant navigation mode seems to be hard coded and when I try to change it it breaks a lot of other things.

If you talk about subjective preferences then you have to talk about choice. I am complaining about the things where we don't have one.