This makes me wonder how many people here has actually built a full production rig and animated it in Houdini.
We do this almost on a daily basis, and we are extremely happy using Houdini for this. The incredible non destructive workflow is second to none. The flexibility of changes during the whole process is something Maya users can only dream of. Biharmonic capturing is a massive improvement and brings down weight painting allot. Adding secondary deformation
at any stage is amazing….without having to scrap skinning or rebuilding parts of the rig.
We have another division at Luma that uses Maya mainly, and they are currently going through the struggles of learning Houdini. I find this very enlightening, because it gives us fresh ideas/RFE's to submit. This will help SideFX improve Houdini.
Like all other software Houdini is not perfect, but over the last two versions, SideFX has really worked hard to improve this. Ask anyone in Luma Animation if they want to move a project over to Softimage/Maya or do it in Houdini, and you will be pleasantly surprised. This was not the case six months into learning Houdini, but took time…like all areas of Houdini. Yes, workflow can improve overall, and submitting RFE's is almost a weekly task for me.
Again, rigging is not perfect, but in my mind, it is no longer the problem area in Houdini.
Building HDA's for the rigs, is where the problem comes in.
It takes way too much time and effort to build the interface for animation.
On a tight deadline working on commercials, this is always the hassle.
Overlapping selection sets that is portable would be god sent to improve setting up HDA interfaces. This area can improve greatly…not just for rigging but HDA's in general. Remember how easy building and saving Softimage compounds was. This is not the case in Houdini.
Animation itself seems to be less of a problem as it is very similar to other applications now days. Again, not perfect, but so was Softimage/Maya.
My observance is that people who had no problem learning various applications during their career has less of a problem than young newcomers who studied Maya at collage. The find it hard to let go of the only workflow they are comfortable with. Positive attitude goes a long way.
Take time to learn the tools and then you will understand the immense power Houdini holds. After 16 years in the 3d industry, I am happy to go to work again.