Need to create sand? Want better crowd tools? Then Side Effects Software’s Houdini 14 might be for you. The company has launched the latest release of its flagship software with a new Position­Based Dynamics solver for granular simulation, and new crowd pipeline tools. There’s also UI improvements and hair and fur grooming tools, plus optimizations in the software itself.

Crowd viewport in Houdini 14.
Crowd viewport in Houdini 14.

Side Effects notes that the Position­Based Dynamics is a multi­physics environment which can be used for both wet and dry sand. It’s a multi­threaded solver thanks to its exclusive reliance on VEX­based operators and can run on the CPU or on the GPU using OpenCL. In addition to sand effects, artists can create solids, sheets or tethers to generate soft body, cloth and wire­like simulations.

Above – see some of Houdini 14’s main features.

The new crowd system, says Side Effects, uses artist­ friendly shelf tools along with a new packed agent primitive type, a Finite State Machine solver and hardware accelerated display of instanced crowds. The system has a seamless conduit to Houdini’s Mantra renderer and is equipped with controls for crowd layout, steering, collision avoidance, terrain adaptation, motion blending, and look­at targets.

This crowd pipeline is intended primarily for large, mid­to­background, non­interacting crowds executing basic motions and can seamlessly interact with dynamic elements such as Bullet, fluids and sand. This pipeline will be enhanced in future releases to support more complex agent interactions and AI for creating hero quality crowds.

Houdini 14 is available right now – prices for base Houdini start at $1,995, with Houdini FX starting at $4,495.

You can find out more about Houdini 14 at Side Effects’ website:

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