On just about every film, TV show or game we cover here on fxguide, the production has used Side Effects Sofware’s Houdini. The procedural node-based workflow in Houdini has made it the go-to tool for effects sims, but there’s been an increasing use of Houdini in animation, crowds and in portability between packages thanks to Houdini Engine. Now Side Effects has released Houdini 15 which again features some new modeling, animation and rendering tools, and specifically, onion skinning, new shader building tools, crowd ragdolls and Houdini Engine 2.0.

Modeling: New tweak edit workflow, edge sliding, soft selection highlighting and new tools such as PolyBridge and PolyExpand 2D, plus ability to draw on top of high-res geo.

Rendering: Mantra renderer improved with better checkpointing and render view feedback. New shader library, re-built Shade FX 2.0 menu, layered materials and cartoon shader. Includes implementation of Disney’s physically-baed Principled Shader. RenderMan 20 and RIS shading support is also fully integrated into Houdini 15.

Houdini 15 includes per-object onion-skinning in the viewport. You can set the number of before and after frames and other settings in the scene view’s display options.
Houdini 15 includes per-object onion-skinning in the viewport. You can set the number of before and after frames and other settings in the scene view’s display options.

Animation: Now includes onion skinning, pose library panel, improved character picker panel and dope sheet enhancements.

Gaming: Houdini 15 includes texture baking and viewport support for UDIM textures, world-space normal maps, UV mesh boundaries and overlapping UV regions.

Crowd ragdolls: Crowd tools in Houdini now feature ragdoll dynamics with limb detachment, fuzzy logic and crowd behavior enhancements. Agent Cam tool included.

New shelf tools make it easy to set up viscous fluids such as lava or melting objects.
New shelf tools make it easy to set up viscous fluids such as lava or melting objects.

Effects: New viscous fluids: Lava, Melt Object and Emit Steam. New adaptive PBD allows artists to focus gain simulations on particles involved in collisions.

Houdini Engine 2.0: Houdini Digital Assets can be opened in Maya, Cinema4D, Unreal Engine 4 and Unity. Now Houdini Engine 2.0 separates API front end from compute back-end, which means multiple sessions per host, multiple threads and greater stability. For eg, an indie developer Hideki Suzuki has completed a 3DS Max plugin.

You can grab Houdini right now from sidefx.com.


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  • Rivai Chen

    Softimage Render Tree in Houdini ? Nice !