Side Effects Software has announced a new product called the Houdini Engine that uses elements of the company's popular effects tool to act as a procedural engine and allow Houdini assets to be used in other 3D apps.

Houdini Engine Overview from Side Effects

It is aiming the new release, to be previewed at SIGGRAPH 2013, at film and game studios, with plug-ins for Maya and the Unity game engine currently under development. The Houdini Engine will enable artists to load Houdini Digital Assets into their own 3D applications and build an integrated procedural pipeline that does not rely on baked-out data.

Houdini game level generator.
Houdini game level generator.

The proposed plugins for Maya and Unity are being labeled as experimental software from SideFX labs (artists can sign up to labs.sidefx.com for testing of the plugins).

How does it work?

Here's how Side Effects explains the Houdini Engine workflow (from their press release):

The Houdini Engine works by leveraging Houdini’s Digital Asset technology. These digital assets can be built interactively using networks of nodes to define a controllable flow of live data, usually without writing any code. Houdini studios have been using these assets to successfully build robust pipelines where artists and technical directors create tools that are shared and re-used to ensure consistency across a project.

Now with the Houdini Engine, these digital assets can be used by anyone. The assets can be loaded into any application where artists can set parameters to customize the output. Houdini’s procedural engine will then “cook” the asset and the results, previously only available to Houdini artists, will be delivered to the host application.

houdini_greebles_asset

When is it available?
Side Effects says the Houdini Engine API is available today as an enterprise solution for film and game studios looking to bring Houdini into their pipeline or third party companies looking to incorporate Houdini technology into their existing applications.

Side Effects is previewing Houdini Engine at SIGGRAPH 2013 next week.


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  • I’ve really enjoyed watching Side Effects Software’s aggressive strategy with Houdini over the last few years.