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Hard Surface modeling test April 5, 2019, 10:29 a.m.

Just for info, Maya doesn't.

I dug up some info on this and apparently, there isn't something in the interface by default, but one can open the Tool Settings floating window and there you'll see the axis orientation displayed. And changing it is easily done with a ctrl+shift+RMB menu.

As we all know, Maya Tool Settings is one *huge* window, created to accommodate things like weight painter or such, and info about coordinate system is lost whenever any such tool is activated. ctrl+shift+RMB is at least weird, imho there should not be any combo with more than two keys, anywhere. It's so easy to forget these ‘easy’ things in Maya, after few days of using something ‘normal’ (normal = not influenced by Linux or TDs from big studios) like Blender, Max or Cinema. Long story short, info about cord system, or position of selected anything ( object, vertex ) should be accessible permanently.
Back to Houdini, I have to admit that in nodal part, networks and so on, hopefully they don't following the Maya path - but, when it comes to viewports and interaction, H seems to be a full of unpleasant similarities.

Hard Surface modeling test April 5, 2019, 4:49 a.m.

Not my intention to pull out the “others have it” argument, but they do have it (XSI, 3dsMax, I think Maya too).

Just for info, Maya doesn't. It also is not showing the selected vertex position. At least not in out-of-the-box version. ‘Combined’ move and tweak tool is Maya ‘specialty’ as well. So unfortunately, yeah it is a kind of negative, of “others have it”. It seems they choose the worst possible ergonomics as reference, that is, Maya one, or to say precisely, no reference. As far as I know, Maya developing ‘philosophy’ when it comes to modeling tools, it is to avoid any significant effort, any change in UI exactly for that purpose, and Houdini seems to admirably follow that style.

Would Houdini be overkill for me? (Static form creation) March 11, 2019, 7:31 p.m.

I am also considering Grasshopper within Rhino as an alternative to Houdini, although I am not very experienced with Rhino and it is not intended for a game/illustration pipeline. But if Grasshopper is designed for generating static forms, and if it takes significantly less time to get up and running in for that, maybe I should bypass Houdini for now?
According to Grasshopper nodes [], actually I'm not sure is it GH *itself* a shortest path compared to Houdini. Even basic GH set, without all these addons, is looking like a vector math wonderland, compared to comprehensive, but still generic ‘DCC style’ set in H.
However, there are another parameters, like general background. Imho Houdini is more about ‘beauty of code’, where resulting model or render is a kind of representation of ‘node art’ or ‘code art’ - plus of course simulations, solvers and such. So that's reason for optimistic ideas, how Houdini is ‘ideal’ for everything procedural, actually people just don't care that much.
Rhino and Grasshopper are coming from very CAD environment, so I'd be pretty sure you'll be able to find much more of practical tutorials for your goals, how to create this or that, possibly skipping the technical parts, at least when you're close to CAD world. Perhaps not so flexible, but don't forget that flexibility in Houdini is not granted, it's your job to enable it. It's not going without price of long times to evaluate, where any small inconsistency somewhere in graph of hundred nodes, could create unwanted result.
While ago I was experimenting with similar [], space ships and suits stuff. Today I'd probably choose a mix of any classic modeling 3d app, Blender or else, and CAD nurbs app (Rhino and Grashopper, MoI and Elephant, F360, whatever). Partially because CAD NurbS engines are far stronger than in any DCC (and Houdini nurbs is not best one, nicely to say, even in DCC). Mainly, because they are just up to task.
When it comes to learning the vectors and such, I'd go with Houdini, definitively. Also, H is unmatched in creating a beautiful networks