Softimage ice & Houdini

General discussion about 3D DCC and other topics
xsisoft
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Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by xsisoft » 02 Mar 2019, 10:31

Softimage ice & Houdini

your opinion and comparison, strengths and weaknesses!

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Rork
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by Rork » 04 Mar 2019, 15:06

The first in a assembled hammer, the second one a package you have to assemble yourself. ;)
Both will be able to hammer something.....
SI UI tutorials: Toolbar http://goo.gl/iYOL0l | Custom Layout http://goo.gl/6iP5xQ | RenderManager View http://goo.gl/b4ZkjQ

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whurst
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by whurst » 04 Mar 2019, 20:06

@Rork: You nailed it !

In Houdini you do not really have a "menu" to let say "Create a cube" or "Save Pose" or "Extract Polygons".
In Houdini is everything based on nodes, instead of "Menu-Entries" they doing "Magic"

Sure in Houdini you have this Shelf, but these are just create Nodes, they could not count as "Menu"

ICE is not that flexible like Houdini Node Network, because there are some actions you can not do with ICE. This is why you have "Menu-Entries"

These are two different work flows

If you closer look to Particles and Dynamics, there is nothing what you can't do with both.
Means you can do the same thing in ICE also in Houdini, there are just different naming and workflows, but the result remains the same. It does what you want to do ...

xsisoft
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by xsisoft » 05 Mar 2019, 16:02

can be more detailed!
"because there are some actions you can not do with ICE"

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rray
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by rray » 05 Mar 2019, 18:01

From my little knowledge of Houdini, dynamic creation of point/edge/polygroups would be something that's not part of ICE.

This would be like you have something like a subdivide polygons node in ICE that could store every point it generated in such a group, and use a follow up node to pick up that group and only affect those points, or points that are not in that group
softimage resources section updated Feb 7 2019

julca
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by julca » 05 Mar 2019, 18:54

whurst wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 20:06
In Houdini you do not really have a "menu" to let say "Create a cube" or "Save Pose" or "Extract Polygons".
In Houdini is everything based on nodes, instead of "Menu-Entries" they doing "Magic"
I'm not agree with that [-x , you have a menu to create a cube (tab -> Create -> Box) and idem to extract polygons (tab -> Shelves -> Modify -> Extract).
I don't know for "Save Pose" :-? ...

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whurst
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by whurst » 05 Mar 2019, 19:00

Hi rray,

you can create dynamic geometry in ICE. That is possible (see emPolygonizer). And you can create a polygon by hand in ICE, but that is not really fun ...
Even you finally have your polygons, you getting trouble to simply rotate the geometry, because ICE based on points (particles)

There are many "Menu" Based tools, you can realize in ICE, like cutting polygons, subdivide, reduce polygons, boolean, smoothing, but this can be a nightmare - no - it will be a nightmare

But besides of geometry or points, there are many other stuff you can not do with ICE.

Modify render parameters, or modify shader or material, lights, environment is not possible in ICE
File import / export is not possible in ICE (except pointclouds)
RigedSoftBody is also hard, maybe nearly impossible
Shape animations (like facerobot) (unsure - maybe it will be a node for that)
Anyway ... the list is long

ICE is not build for creating a complete IK animation bone setup
ICE invented for particles and dynamics related to particles, and nothing more

Houdini instead based only on network nodes, this is a complete other software

You can not really "versus" both together

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whurst
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by whurst » 05 Mar 2019, 19:09

julca wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 18:54
whurst wrote:
04 Mar 2019, 20:06
In Houdini you do not really have a "menu" to let say "Create a cube" or "Save Pose" or "Extract Polygons".
In Houdini is everything based on nodes, instead of "Menu-Entries" they doing "Magic"
I'm not agree with that [-x , you have a menu to create a cube (tab -> Create -> Box) and idem to extract polygons (tab -> Shelves -> Modify -> Extract).
I don't know for "Save Pose" :-? ...
Well you would, if you read the context.

These functions does not create ICE nodes

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Daniel Brassard
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by Daniel Brassard » 05 Mar 2019, 19:22

Comparing Softimage ICE and Houdini, apple and oranges.

Both are built with different philosophies and workflow in mind. Narrowing Softimage to ICE and comparing to Houdini is forgetting that Softimage is more than just ICE, and in many ways Soft is better than Houdini (try modeling and animating with Houdini ... not its strength). Yes Houdini is better at procedural because it is core to the app philosophy. For me, ICE is the visual scripting and FX engine of Softimage, complementing the traditional scripting and expressions of XSI, a more intuitive way to experiment without diving into code creation and complexity.

Yes, ICE was initially created for particles and dynamics effect but it was nicely expending into other areas. Who knows where ICE would be today.
$ifndef "Softimage"
set "Softimage" "true"
$endif

xsisoft
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by xsisoft » 05 Mar 2019, 20:01

GOLD WORDS

"ICE invented for particles and dynamics related to particles, and nothing more "

"Narrowing Softimage to ICE and comparing to Houdini is forgetting that Softimage is more than just ICE, and in many ways Soft is better than Houdini (try modeling and animating with Houdini ... not its strength). Yes Houdini is better at procedural because it is core to the app philosophy. For me, ICE is the visual scripting and FX engine of Softimage, complementing the traditional scripting and expressions of XSI, a more intuitive way to experiment without diving into code creation and complexity. "

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FXDude
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by FXDude » 05 Mar 2019, 21:26

Maybe the goldest of the gold words :ymsmug:
Daniel Brassard wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 19:22
[...] a more intuitive way to experiment without diving into code creation and complexity.

luceric
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by luceric » 05 Mar 2019, 22:08

ICE was developed for deformations for character animation, and secondarily for particles and dynamics. The tech of point locators is all about interpolating parameters on surfaces and not merely animating particle points.

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rray
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by rray » 05 Mar 2019, 23:43

luceric that's interesting, didn't know that either.

I wondered something about point locators. These things are so brilliant... Having them as basic elements like points is (part of) what makes ICE so powerful.

It would be the #1 thing I would miss when using Houdini. Is the idea of point locators itself patented, or is there slight a chance they might find a way into that package?
softimage resources section updated Feb 7 2019

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Mathaeus
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by Mathaeus » 06 Mar 2019, 00:54

rray wrote:
05 Mar 2019, 18:01
From my little knowledge of Houdini, dynamic creation of point/edge/polygroups would be something that's not part of ICE.

This would be like you have something like a subdivide polygons node in ICE that could store every point it generated in such a group, and use a follow up node to pick up that group and only affect those points, or points that are not in that group
That's nice, especially ability to set groups directly in VOPs, by exporting the integer attribute with group_ prefix... and not so nice (: when it comes to sorting these points in order to get some curve from points, or like. From my experience, all the time, creation of one group somehow involves at least ten more nodes for sorting, additional filtering, whatever.
Half of that belongs to procedural approach where is easy to get a general rule, but things are getting complicated when in comes to exceptions. Another half is Houdini, who is definitively not 3d app comparable to SI, neither Maya. In SI we have groups, weight map painter, operator stack and construction modes, all that possible to edit independently of ICE tree, with immediate response. While *theoretically*, everything of mentioned is possible in H, in practice, best I was able to get in H trying to emulate modeling-animation stack in H, were complicated setups involving Object merge (like Clone in SI), slow and too often not lazy in evaluation. Ironically, it's exactly an ''advantage'' of H to branch into multiple outputs, together with rigid behavior of Edit node, which makes it close to unusable for combining the manual and procedural approach. In other words, H has no operator stack, as an great example that success is based on rules and limits, instead of abstract 'possibilities''.

Other than that, bad points when compared to SI or Maya in some cases, are:
- almost zero response of end users, out of studios. Nothing even close to ICE times around 2009-2012, when probably everything I've posted in ICE section, got some voluntary testers as well. Everyone is author in H world, every tool is a rough prototype.
- rigid and slow communication between these SOPs DOPs, CHOPs, viewport. One has to to be very careful about position of deformed mesh relative to bone hierarchy, just to keep the playback. Built in hair (view port) editing can not compete to Maya Yeti or even xGen. Direct Blendshape editing in latest Mayas belong to science fiction in H.
- artist unfriendly networks. In ICE, it was possible to create 'by functionality'' compounds, having all inputs exposed for direct connections of unified, factory modulators or anything specific as well. In H, same thing is abstract network, where artist have to type something about attribute in different node somewhere far behind in network or even anther network, or to write expressions.
- a lot of ''unusual'' solutions, or better to say, no solutions at all. While ago I had hard time trying to get plain clamping of primary rays in Mantra - anywhere else (Arnold, Cycles) this is just granted, but not in Houdini. At the end, got somehow typical ''half'' solution with direct lighting.
- too generic, can do everything, can not compete against anyone. Can do wonders with voxels, but speed is nowhere to zBrush. Easier to make procedural NURBS models with free node editors in Rhino or MoI or even by connecting nodes in Maya, just because these three have reliable Nurbs engines, while Houdini don't.
- rabid community always ready to defend everything related to SideFX, providing a zero of real info. In Maya world, they'll just tell what's a crap that doesn't worth learning.

jamination
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by jamination » 17 Mar 2019, 22:49

The one thing I use ICE for A LOT is very controlled motion graphics, complete control over each particles over time (non simulated), lie size, rotation, color. I don't mean like helper controlled like Mograph (at least my limited understanding of Mograph), but per point control and time, most any attribute, is this something that can be as easily done in Houdini, if so it may make my transition to another package tolerable.

thanks
Phil Harbath
Jamination Productions

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Mathaeus
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Re: Softimage ice & Houdini

Post by Mathaeus » 18 Mar 2019, 10:25

jamination wrote:
17 Mar 2019, 22:49
The one thing I use ICE for A LOT is very controlled motion graphics, complete control over each particles over time (non simulated), lie size, rotation, color. I don't mean like helper controlled like Mograph (at least my limited understanding of Mograph), but per point control and time, most any attribute, is this something that can be as easily done in Houdini, if so it may make my transition to another package tolerable.

thanks
You should try these things, it's only your impression that counts, here.
Of course it's possible, H has all low level nodes you'll need (while Mograph or Maya MASH simply do not, so that's a difference). On other side, it's quite different easy-not easy balance, compared to ICE. Let's say, motion blur in H is ''granted'' (at least that I know with Mantra) in H, no need to cache the un-simulated tree even using built-in renderer. Some features, like distributing the multiple instances, or equivalent of anything called 'modulate by...'' in ICE, are not so streamlined in H. In any case, it won't go without some learning time.

It also worth trying Blender's Animation Nodes add-on, in many way limited compared to ICE or H, but closer possible thing to ICE philosophy. ICE philosophy = programming stuff reduced to maximum, while still supporting all possible low level control. Everything is node, no need to use any code at all.