What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Forum for users who have migrated or are migrating to Houdini
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bb3d
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by bb3d » 31 Jan 2016, 16:49

Fianna wrote:Hi Oli+guys - this thread has been nice to follow. I just want to clarify and ask whether you would opt for 3rd party rendering in Indie with the same resolution restrictions that we have for Mantra (maximum 1920x1080 for animations), or want no restrictions at all but have additional fee for that option.

-fianna
With the ongoing trend to 4K movies the resolution restriction will be a problem in the near future. So, yes, I would pay an extra fee for this restriction being removed.

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Fianna
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by Fianna » 01 Feb 2016, 17:29

Thanks for the feedback guys, this is very helpful :-bd

Rork - about the restriction for resolution; it's unlimited res for single frame renders. 1920x1080 restriction is only for rendering out sequence.

BenR - I did check on the specificities of Indie license. So as a freelancer like yourself, you qualify for Indie if your gross revenue is under $100,000 USD irregardless of how much the client for whom you are working for, makes. For end content that you deliver to your client, it would non-adjustable files like rendered output (images or video), geometry (*.bgeo/*.obj) - but not *.hiplc files.

-fianna

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druitre
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by druitre » 01 Feb 2016, 17:46

Fianna,

that's how I figured it works but still good to hear it confirmed. Thanks,
Jasper

BenR
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by BenR » 01 Feb 2016, 18:51

Fianna wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys, this is very helpful :-bd

Rork - about the restriction for resolution; it's unlimited res for single frame renders. 1920x1080 restriction is only for rendering out sequence.

BenR - I did check on the specificities of Indie license. So as a freelancer like yourself, you qualify for Indie if your gross revenue is under $100,000 USD irregardless of how much the client for whom you are working for, makes. For end content that you deliver to your client, it would non-adjustable files like rendered output (images or video), geometry (*.bgeo/*.obj) - but not *.hiplc files.

-fianna
Thanks Fianna, that's great.

Ben

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Rork
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by Rork » 01 Feb 2016, 19:12

@Fianna,

Thanks for the answers!
Unlimited res for still frames makes this a lot more interesting when 3rd party renderers are involved :)

rob
SI UI tutorials: Toolbar http://goo.gl/iYOL0l | Custom Layout http://goo.gl/6iP5xQ | RenderManager View http://goo.gl/b4ZkjQ
So long, and thanks for all the Fish!!

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Hirazi Blue
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by Hirazi Blue » 01 Feb 2016, 19:53

@Fianna - As you quite apparently do not work for AD anymore
it might be useful to update your user profile with a new mail address,
so the board knows where to send notifications to.
Currently your mail address is still an @autodesk.com address.
;)

I would have sent you a PM about it, but without proper notification PMs are too easily ignored!
...

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Fianna
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by Fianna » 02 Feb 2016, 00:09

* facepalm *
Ah yes, thank you for pointing that out, Hirazi Blue :) totally forgot to update that.

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Werner
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by Werner » 12 Feb 2016, 08:12

Let me jump on the bandwagon. :) I do not necessarily speak for everyone at Luma animation here in South Africa where I work.

Do you have experience with Houdini?
------------------------------------
We started testing Houdini about 4-5 months after the EOL of Softimage. It soon became clear that development was moving in the direction we needed (Non destructive workflow).

How deep is you knowledge?
------------------------------------
We slowly converted to areas we needed, like character animation, and left FX stuff alone for most of the time. It's only now that we are starting to use the power of Pyro and other FX tools.
Rigging, animation and scene setups for commercial work was priority. We had ups and downs, but feel very comfortable in Houdini now, and we can finish new projects in Houdini.

Can you point out strong and weak spots of Houdini?
------------------------------------
Strongest point I would say is the non destructive workflow that we partially enjoyed from Softimage. This makes it much easier to keep clients happy who like to make modeling changes during render phase.
Rigging tools are great (not perfect) but easy to adjust and re-use some parts on other characters are possible.
Weakest area for me is still on the modeling side. The one area where we jump out of Houdini to Zbrush or Softimage. Allot of the issues was addressed in H15, but they are not there yet. Manipulating multiple components in local mode is absent (free HDA available from orbolt helps here). A new PolyBevel is in the works, but till then I hate the current tool.

What are your suggestions for improvement?
------------------------------------
Better modeling workflow. You can develop many awesome modeling tools, but if the workflow is slow and clunky, it will stay on the shelf collecting dust.
Things I think will improve workflow are simple. Double click edge to loop select. Drag-Fuse points tool like the fuse button on the Softimage Tweak tool.
More viewport centric interaction with tools while modeling, and less Tab/ get tool/ place tool/ make selection of primitives and adjust.
Animation tools are good but needs that little extra effort.
New and more current skinning and deformation technology would be great.

What do you think about the "Houdini Indie" version?
------------------------------------
Don't know...we went from Apprentice straight into Houdini FX and base Houdini.

What are you thoughts about the pricing and their upgrade plan?
------------------------------------
N/A my employers take care of that.
------------------------------------
Will you consider to license one or more copies of Houdini in the near future?
We started with 2 FX, and 8 base licenses but will most certainly need more licenses soon.

Lastly, I would like to thank SideFX for all the support and great work over the last year. You guys are amazing and we are happy with our move. Bring on H16 :)

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McNistor
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by McNistor » 06 May 2016, 17:15

I won't go into any details here, but I'll say this: for someone that wants to focus and specialize on the more artistic stuff (modeling and rigging for the sole purpose of character posing), the more I dig in, the more frustrated I get with Houdini.

Mantra was the only attracting light for this moth and now that Autodesk aquired Arnold, meaning we'll see it shipped with their products at some point, I'll probably have to take a deep breath and open Maya. After about 10 yrs...
The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.
-Thucydides

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Hirazi Blue
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by Hirazi Blue » 06 May 2016, 18:08

McNistor wrote:I won't go into any details here
Please do elaborate! I am currently struggling with the question
if I should jump on the Houdini Indie bandwagon
and would really appreciate more details about its potential weaknesses
so I know better what to expect...
;)
...

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McNistor
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by McNistor » 06 May 2016, 20:51

Well, I can't, that would take too much time. I mean, of course, people have different views on what's a detailed description on something and I happen to be long winded on a few topics of interest to me. To put things in perspective - in two yrs I've written almost a thousand post on sidefx's forums, most of which were about improving Houdini's modeling tools as well as its interaction. Last version of Houdini brought a few modeling improvements, aka a new extrude and something (don't remember). Problem is, these tools seem to focus still on the procedural side - they give good results while being accessed via the Netview the bread&butter of the Houdini power-user. Most Houdini users are clueless about viewport interaction - they use it almost like a viewer and short of removing it altogether they wouldn't give two shits about it.

Now, given the fact that you've opened this thread and asked for people's opinions on the matter, I hope it won't be viewed as condescending when I say that you should disregard people's opinions to some degree (to be determined by yourself) and make sure you reach a conclusion based at least partially on your own experience. This crap has been repeated ad nauseam on various forums and finding myself having to repeat it after strongly speaking against this practice, makes me feel a bit like a hypocrite while it also teaches me a lesson in that regard. In this era, with huge amounts of info I can understand the appeal of being fed an already processed information. I gobble up pre-digested info all the time and I probably am the victim of misinformation on various subjects as anyone else. However, given the importance of the subject at hand (the way I perceive it at least), I strongly advice you to take the painful, increasingly less available time to discover whether Houdini is for you or not.

For me it isn't. At least, not yet. If it will ever be, it remains to be seen. What I've learned during these yrs is that one has to invest in concepts not workflows. The technical side of 3d is more bound to an app on another, but the artistic side is much looser. The latter is what I've been focused on, in a quest of becoming a character artist, leaving the generalist side behind me. This focus on the artistic side of 3d allows me to implement my ideas with whatever tool is currently in vogue (Zb at the moment) and although I can't say this works for everybody, it definitely works for me. Also, it's not like you have to buy everything under the sun to determine if some program satisfies your needs - there are lots of tutorials out there and while it's not the same as experiencing it yourself I think they're good enough for someone to gauge if they should buy one app or another.

Bottom line is, if you're into the more artistic side of 3d, stick with Softimage for now. If you're into modeling and character stuff, Softimage is still the better tool. Keep an eye on both Houdini and Maya for the yrs to come, right now, even after the official EOL, Softimage is still better than Houdini or Maya in these respects. Things might change, but I submit to you that we should deal with that when we'll cross that bridge.
Zbrush however, if you're an aspiring 3d character modeler, is not a choice, it's literally a must. Can't say the same for any other 3d industry behemoth wannabe out there.
The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.
-Thucydides

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MauricioPC
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by MauricioPC » 07 May 2016, 04:53

Great points McNistor, thanks for sharing it.

For me, I'll give a little background on myself and take everything with a little grain of salt as I'm nowhere near the intelligence of the guys here.
I have a film degree, worked with editing (AVID) for 4-5 years and in 2005 I started learning 3D in 3ds Max. After 2-3 of basic stuff, I changed fields into Sales, which payed a lot better. After 3 years, I decided to get back at 3D and started learning Softimage. 1 years after, Autodesk announced the EOL. After that I tried several software, including Modo, Max again, Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender and Houdini.

Do you have experience with Houdini?
Very basic. I'm doing this course from ProteusVFX on Fluids FX (http://www.proteusvfxschool.com/fluidfx ... i/?lang=en). I also am seeing this training from Digital Tutors (http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/2 ... Houdini-15). I'll admit right now that I couldn't get pass the modeling part, which I found pretty boring.

How deep is you knowledge?
See above. Basic knowledge and a little more complex in FX (still learning).

Can you point out strong and weak spots of Houdini?
It's a package that has everything. Very stable, light and powerful.

For cons I think the over the top complexity for simple things.

What are your suggestions for improvement?
Houdini should have a "layer" of simplicity on top of the base Houdini version. A different UI configuration, something for suited for generalists and with a workflow focused less on nested nodes and more on sliders, options, etc. See Cinema 4D or Modo for the general idea.

But for the hardcore Houdini, it would be simply a matter of diving in and doing complex stuff, changing the UI layout or something similar. All the power would still be there, but under a layer of simplicity.

What do you think about the "Houdini Indie" version?
Love it! Even more now with 3rd party render available.

What are you thoughts about the pricing and their upgrade plan?
For the Indie is great, for the normal and FX version, I find it expensive. Even more if you think I want to be a generalist, which means I'll purchase all my tools. In this sense, it's a hard investment to make at the beginning of a career.

Will you consider to license one or more copies of Houdini in the near future?
I would buy Houdini Indie right now if I could use it alone for work as a generalist. Even more with 3rd party rendering, which would make Houdini suited for all type of work, be it FX, motion graphics, animation and even product viz. Why I say that? Because Softimage was suite for all these type of work. If Houdini wants to also be a truly generalist software, it needs to be able to tackle several markets.

Problem is ... modeling is Houdini is really boring, cumbersome and slow. Unless you are creating a digital asset tool, modeling should be faster. UV mapping is also so so. Because of this I'm finishing a purchase of a used Modo 801 license, so I can have modeling, UV, shading and rendering power for a freelance generalist life. If Houdini would provide that, I would pass buying Modo and just buy Houdini + a faster render for product viz.

You should look at this thread (http://www.si-community.com/community/v ... =25&t=2739) to see the amount of work done in Softimage over several different types of tasks and markets.

Hope this helps.

Bullit
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by Bullit » 10 May 2016, 18:00

Thanks for your opinion McNistor someone that tried for 2 years to get in Houdini should be valued.

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Mathaeus
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by Mathaeus » 10 May 2016, 21:23

Hirazi Blue wrote: if I should jump on the Houdini Indie bandwagon
and would really appreciate more details about its potential weaknesses
so I know better what to expect...
;)
Generally, avoid viewport interaction of any kind. As McNistor said, as long the view port is used only as display, should be fine. While interaction is surprisingly complex, close to SI or Maya level of complexity, it is full of specific, unseen solutions, from non usual 'save as' feedback messages, to shift+something for plain front-back-perspective-so on switch - and that shift+ is not easy to un-customize. And so on. Didn't even tried direct modeling, but last summer, small devil convinced me to explore key-framed animation and rigging in H - and I still feeling as an complete idiot because I've tried.
Another feature that really asks for serious tutorial before starting, imho it is HDA creation (digital asset, like ICE compounds). It's waaay more complex than ICE compounding, again full of unique solutions, like parameters linked by expressions instead of plain 'wiring' like anywhere else. It has a many modes of instancing, building the local, per scene based parameters over instanced stuff, interface editor can do very different results, depend from where is activated... Let's say one evening I've managed to screw up a few factory shaders, recklessly diving into networks, unlocking and wiring things, naively believing that nothing dangerous could happen if I'm only playing with nodes without writing a line of code.
On positive side, mentioned Network View (ICE tree + Rendertree in SI) is full of nice ergonomics, RMB over node output for calling the node menu, plain MMB for panning (no shift there for pan, hehe...). While is more straightforward than ICE ( H has no automatic ICE context), asks for more work, sometimes much more nodes for same thing, Network View is something I like - or in other word, these days if I want to build some custom node math in Maya node editor, I'd create a prototype in H, first.

julca
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by julca » 10 May 2016, 22:33

Do you have experience with Houdini?
Less than one year.
At start, I jump into it for a project with fluid sim and a bit of pyro.

How deep is you knowledge?
Since this first project I watch many tutorials and go deeper into it with procedural modeling.
I also learn how to build and work with digital asset.
I learn vex code
I also wondered if I could fully model a project in Houdini...

Can you point out strong and weak spots of Houdini?
... interactive modeling can become really difficult.
There are many powerfull "operators" and that's really cool but others need some basics improvements :
- bevel don't work well (pinch, etc.) in some situations which are trivial on the softimage side.
- a simple "edge divide" dont always connect all edges because it take the input selection order into account ~x( .
- can't use a display override to display some objects textured and keep others in global wireframe mode for example (that's my main wall for now to model from reference's pictures).
- the snap's operations are spreaded : need to manually check options with mouse click, not as elegant than the softimage one (Yes I know we are well served with xsi)

In the other side :
- Make a digital asset with interface are really very simple and fun to do (sincerely not complicated : drag and drop parameter to build your interface).
- Overall, Houdini is more complex than ICE, so for simple thing ICE will done the job faster.
But the fact is that you can go more far and "easily" combine all object's properties to make near all you want (it just need time to understand all..).
- writing vex code is like writing a script in softimage but give a really powerfull result (close to compiled C/C++ code as the doc say).

What are your suggestions for improvement?
- more user friendly for interactive modeling : cf. last answer about weak spots of Houdini

What do you think about the "Houdini Indie" version?
- Fantastic for a freelancer as me and even more with the support of third party engine in the next 15.5 version (All for 200$ !!) !!

What are you thoughts about the pricing and their upgrade plan?
- As a freelance, indie at 200$ for a powerful simulation program is a really good option, even if I don't made my modeling in it (for now..).

Will you consider to license one or more copies of Houdini in the near future?
- One is enough for now.
McNistor wrote:...To put things in perspective - in two yrs I've written almost a thousand post on sidefx's forums, most of which were about improving Houdini's modeling tools as well as its interaction. Last version of Houdini brought a few modeling improvements, aka a new extrude and something (don't remember)...
@McNistor,
When I have go on Houdini at the beginning I would be happy to see your involvement and I must tell you that it motivated me to go further with this software.
So I'm inevitably a little sad to see your reaction today.
Know that I totally understand that after much effort you are naturally a less patient and a little angry.
Perhaps I would have same reaction in two years..
You also may know that I submit some RFE but I do not know what will be the impact.

The fact is that today, even if I spend time on Houdini, I still make my projects in Softimage until I find the/my good horse (I remain hopeful).

forton
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Re: What are your thoughts about Houdini?

Post by forton » 12 May 2016, 19:54

Simple reply here,

I just bought indie and my first impression is that it could be my software of choice in the future.
One thing is holding me back to put all my energy in it:
I work about 50% in the office in Brussels and 50% at home, a portable license is just waaay to expensive.
Indie license is not really an option if I want to use it for bigger projects later.

A home license like the one from Autodesk (damn, did I say this?) would be a game changer for me.
Or even better, a dongle, (but that's maybe too nineties).
Last edited by forton on 13 May 2016, 22:21, edited 1 time in total.