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baq

Effects in Houdini vs effects in Maya+MEL

Hi.

Sometimes I look through big studios pages to see who they look for job.

Very often for FX_Animator I see: Maya+MEL, but when I see sometimes Houdini FX_Animator, in requirements I usually see: 'Houdini knowledge' or somethin like that but without any scripting knowledge.

So I wonder If one wanna achive some very complicated effect in Maya should know MEL veryyy good? And to achieve the same effect in Houdini, is there need to know scripting??

Greetz

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Well, I'd say that for any FX animator, scripting is a good thing to know. That being said, I think that you can go extremely far in houdini without scripting. Certain scripts may just make workflow a bit more efficient here and there.

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From a certain point of view, it hardly matters wich application you use. But Maya has a likely very artist friendly user interface, that somewhat narrows down your options to make things easier: there are a couple of options dialogues, some premade scripts etc. Though the interface "hides" quite a few options you can make use of them using MEL. Pretty much everything once the very core of maya starts is executed via MEL (all Interfaces...). Back on Effects, for any complex particle effect you'll most likely end in Maya writing complex expressions. In a way you need MEL and since there is a fair bunch of people around who work with Maya but have little experience with MEL they state explictly that you need to know MEL as well.

From my experience with Houdini, the guys at SESI, they try to make things as generic and flexible as possible. The Operators give you a much more direct access. These networks of operators represent a dataflow chart and if you look at the VOP's you can even directly output the Code you created with these networks. One could say you constantly code/script in a visual way (and at times you'll do "classic" scripting/coding as well) when working with Houdini. An artist with very little intrested in the technical part will have a much harder time with Houdini than for instance with Maya. I have the feeling that SESI expect that the users have a certain degree of theoretical/technical knowledge on computer graphics or there is a TD around that does the work, e.g. he prepares the scenes so the animators can only mess around with those parts he intends to / wants them to and creates an easy to use interface for them. Anyhow, before I start drifting too much from the inital topic, even if Houdini provides a more visual interface for those *classic MEL tasks* you have to know what you're doing, understand the math, physics etc. Besides I bet any complex effect in Houdini will have just as well a fair amount of expressions, VEX code involved. Once you're used scripting/coding it's more or less ;) just a tool, but the part about evoloving the right formulas etc. will remain pretty challanging :ph34r:

Bottom line: someone who's proficient with Houdini likely knows how to code even if he creates usually some complex effects using only the visual tools / predefined Operators in Houdini. The Maya one most likely has no choice, but needs to do a fair amount of work with MEL. In the end both dudes / dudettes will know how to script and know their math :P

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I think that is very true, I've taught a few people to use Houdini to do some pretty powerful things but where they fall down is when they don't know their math. But they certainly pick up the methodology easier than trying to teach them scripting, all that syntax fries minds.

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I'm studying the math now. I really wish I paid more attention in high school instead of chasing after the girls. Correction, I wish I paid more attention to math class AND chase after the girls.

It is funny because I understand vector math but I'm am lost in trying to understand trig functions.

Now that I am also study c/c++, houdini remind me of visual programming. I think sibarrack said it here on sesi forum. Where each node/operator is like function and when you wire something in you are passing input parameters to the function and the output of the operator is like the return value. Maybe I messed up this whole concept with my sloppy grammer? :blink:

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