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running Houdini laptop Sept. 10, 2009, 7:45 p.m.

Here's what I do so I can use houdini from my piece of #$&* laptop…. get a good desktop pc that can run houdini well and then connect to it remotely using logmein.com (I've found the default windows remote desktop doesn't work well with houdini as it doesn't work right with rendering)

This works pretty well for me as long as the internet connection for the laptop and for the desktop is pretty fast… you notice a bit of lag sometimes and I wouldn't recommend this for doing modeling but for any other type of work its fine since you're just moving pieces around in a scene and such and setting parameters.

You can use modeling programs like rhino, moi (nurbs) and silo (poly) that will run pretty well even on older laptops and then send it over to your desktop to do the visfx part in houdini.

mental ray and houdini Sept. 4, 2009, 9:06 p.m.

Sty.. what you are referring to are just pre-made shaders / materials that give a good output and you are correct that within houdini there isn't really anything on this level that is “pre-packaged”, rather you have to use the vex builder and / or play around with the existing materials they provide to get the output you want but any shader offered for mental ray can definitely be replicated within houdini and a great deal more customization can more easily be attained than it could for a mental ray shader due to the node based system rather than having to write custom code for the shaders (in mental ray)

mental ray and houdini Sept. 4, 2009, 8:52 p.m.

I don't really see why you would need to use mental ray with houdini.. as others have pointed out there are advantages to using mantra which already comes with it so this is likely the reason why you aren't getting much input as probably no one here is familiar with using it in houdini.. however if you want to use mental ray within another package like 3ds max there are ways to export different digital assets to other packages so you can render within that package using mental ray.

As someone who has used 3ds max before, the power of the vex shader builder simply is on another level than anything offered with a package using mental ray… also mantra definitely is quite a bit faster in my experience.

EDIT: as someone else pointed out.. apprentice doesn't support 3rd party renderers.. so do you have a commercial license? If you do then you should contact side effects for direct support which they should be able to provide.. if you are using apprentice than you have to give up on it since its not possible to use mental ray with apprentice.