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LaidlawFX

Houdini 17 Wishlist

205 posts in this topic

Houdini 16 launch has been announced, February 21st!

Time for the dreamers and the wishlist* to move on to the next major version. Perhaps a 16.5... as gleaned from the Amarok event???

So IMO I think the gauntlet has been thrown down. Houdini needs to be a fully fleshed out 3-D package that any person can create content in from beginning to end. No more weak spots, where you have to dive into another package, since you have no choice. Halo I mean COPs I'm looking at you. If I want to use another package that's fine, but I should no longer need to use another tool from my tool belt from the beginning to end of my 3-D authoring pipeline needs.

Houdini Engine UI functionality needs to be more fully integrated into their host packages. Blueprint nodes in Unreal. Network editable nodes in Unity and Maya. Fully fleshed out UI options for parameter interfaces; rollovers, help, disable whens, hide whens. I should be able to create one tool for all my host programs, especially if they are SideFX supported ones. Lead Houdini Engine by example so when I want to implement it into my own pipeline or tools I know it can be done.

A unified node context, I know this drives people banana's, but it should be a choice to work in different node contexts. Not a mandatory obligation that you need to be in /obj/ Scene, /obj/sop/ Sops, Dops, Materials, etc. to perform those task. Houdini was created with the combinations of several different programs as defined by these contexts nearly 20 years ago now. It's time to UNITE them all! We can still keep the old Context's just as POPs still lives under the hood, or you can just unleash the / context to us all, but it would be nice to work in a unified context i.e. Nuke. And as always it's the users responsibility to keep their network clean! Thank SideFX gods for the wire dots, and the circular contexts.

More fully fleshed out presets. The shelf is good, but if I'm working a commercial or doing some R&D for a bigger project I need a full fleshed out setup. The setups exist out there, but I don't need to rebuild the same setup at every studio I work at. Additionally the Shelf tools needs some love. Just make them the same as hda with all their functionality. Add an Extract Content feature. Don't keep them the separate beast that they are. HDA's are powerful, shelfs are deprived and in constant sadness to their tool brethren. 

An example library for each node and code example that is easy to view and find. It's rare to find examples spread through the Houdini Doc's. If I could have the help Pane, or an example Pane that I could search through that be amazing. This could be tied in with more fully fleshed out presets. You don't necessarily need a lone example per a file, combined ones often make greater sense. The orbolt pane for instance. The upgrade to the Help docs has been awesome, including the more graphical documentation i.e. the packed sop. But those example files are trailing.

More common studio tools that are predefined. Every studio ends up creating special importers and exporters that all in the end do the same thing. Just create a few common studio nodes, that can be easily manipulated. Either via python modules as they presented in their rigging tools, or by non-compiled file sops and rops. The Alembic ROP is a very convenient example of showing the code so you can manipulate it. I shouldn't need to have multiple different contexts and nodes to import and export geometry and data. An uber file sop to load them all.  An uber filecache to export them all. One ring! My precious!

I would still love to take all the older nodes like the point sop, and have them converted to vops/wrangles. Maintain the same parameter ui, but have a little button or switch that flips from a wrangle to a code version. There is a certain sense that there is still a layer of black box with each of these nodes. This is where the fabric crowd, and programmers say they don't understand what is happening, and flip a table and say they need to build it from scratch. I can understand the proprietary algorithms being compiled black box nodes, but the point sop... come on now, this isn't a dark secret to the world. This would allow us to retire so many old nodes.

Speaking of which the node count in Houdini is only getting more ridiculous each version. There is no way one person can know them all. I LOVE all the new features, but there comes a point when there are too many nodes. The biggest hindrance to new people is not knowing that a node exist that they can use. Node acumen should not be a barrier to using Houdini. The Houdini learning curve is dropping faster and faster. However, I've used Houdini for a decade with a wide variety or projects, and I can easily say I have not used every node. That's cool, but it also ridiculous.  There does not need to be a multiply, add, add constant, etc. a single math node would suffice, opalias that stuff! There needs to be a survey of all the nodes, alias them to a wrangle/vop and retire! retire! retire! those nodes. Plus make some useful example along the way.

Ok I think I ranted enough. My blood got pumping for Houdini 16 and I'm stoked about the new toys. I can not wait for this new Lego set and to work on some more amazing projects. And yes I will make my nodes look like Legos...

*As a note any true bugs of RFE's please send to SideFX Support. This is only an un-official wishlist, so we can compare notes, rant and rave.

 

 

 

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Match the toolset to the advertising for cloth and fem collisions. The H16 presentation still has cloth as a significant advertised feature. 

editSOP to have world-space co-ordinates for moving a point

Multiple handles for objects that move objects along each axis - i.e. 3 object selected and dragging the z handle moves each object in the z

Auto set-pivot for the viewport viewtool, shift+Z, aka C4D 

CurveSop updated to use bezier handles with standard illustrator type controls for adjusting them

GPU the Vex code so Mantra can be GPU based

Metal/Vulkan viewport shaders to free up CPU compute time.

Bring Sop collisions into the Dop network as OpenCL so we can run a whole sim on the GPU

TurbulanceFX 2.0 style adaptive bounding boxes for pyro et al

Multiple GPU card support for processing - that line in the specs about multiple cards may be used in the future has been there since H12 :lol:

Floating licenses for Indie/Fx

Viewport visualisers showing attributes with screen-space adaptivity for visual clarity like XSI

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Callbacks.

Callbacks.

No Polling for changes.

Callbacks.

I don't want to so much as breath without Houdini notifying me about it, in advance.

Default State setting for HDAs to work for all states and dynamically generated radial menu for HDAs with multiple states.

Event handling for customizable HDA states with override-able methods through the hdaModule().

Make Autodesk even more distraught over the complete annihilation of their "industry leading" rigging and animation tools!

 

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Well really, is happening again, 16 is not even released and we start to ask about 17.

Honestly give the guys a well deserved rest for a month, like they can enjoy what they have achieve in 16 which is huge, and then start to think in 17.

Take it easy :)

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10 minutes ago, lisux said:

Well really, is happening again, 16 is not even released and we start to ask about 17.

Honestly give the guys a well deserved rest for a month, like they can enjoy what they have achieve in 16 which is huge, and then start to think in 17.

Take it easy :)

SESI should enjoy every minute of it. They did really well this version.

Lol, but it's all out of love, and after it's been announced. I've done it since 12, and a Wishlist on Odforce goes back to 2002? Gotta keep up with Traditions. Got to keep the dreams burning.

 

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50 minutes ago, lisux said:

Well really, is happening again, 16 is not even released and we start to ask about 17

H17 development branch starts immediately. Best not to wait!  

 

Edit: on that note version numbers are overall feeling a touch archaic. Good for marketing but would be more fun to be modular and add in features as they are developed.

Edited by marty
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I want Houdini 17 to make me pancakes with syrup.

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16 minutes ago, Atom said:

I want Houdini 17 to make me pancakes with syrup.

Just use the FEM softbodies and viscous shelf tools silly :lol:

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37 minutes ago, Atom said:

I want Houdini 17 to make me pancakes with syrup.

Canadian or American Maple Syrup?

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6 hours ago, marty said:

editSOP to have world-space co-ordinates for moving a point

Multiple handles for objects that move objects along each axis - i.e. 3 object selected and dragging the z handle moves each object in the z

Auto set-pivot for the viewport viewtool, shift+Z, aka C4D

I for one would like to see all the points from this thread solved: https://sidefx.com/forum/topic/42294/

Without ALL those and a few others, trad. mod. would still be a downgrade from XSI to H for me. The new H16's booleans is awesome, but very situational for trad-mod.

If "auto set-pivot" means that the viewport orbits around the point where you click, it might be a good feature for some situations, but for modeling "orbit around selection" (objs, points, etc) is the most useful. Perhaps option toggles to have both behaviors enabled, just one or none at all would be best.

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In the area of character animation. PSD editor/node interface. And blendshape editor.

The current one is fine, but you have to use chops, vex or hscript to allow for correctives. 

Or make a custom GUI in python to automate adding, removing, editing shapes.

In this respect, it feels like the old Maya blendshape.

The new one from 2016 allows users to setup correctives on the fly.

I'm not envious of Maya but that is one feature that is very attractive.

 

The only other thing I can think of is some approximation of Vop textures in the viewport. They don't have to be high rez, and it's not asking for shaders to be previewed in the viewport. Just soemthing in the viewport without having to render.

 

This aside, best release ever, I say that every time but this version feel like an exponential leap.

 

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Make it full Qt app, and stop worrying about bells and whistles, the community does the rest. ;)

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Right. And maybe then, I'll see those dreaded handle glows replaced with a simple color change.

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4 hours ago, Stalkerx777 said:

Make it full Qt app, and stop worrying about bells and whistles, the community does the rest. ;)

Now that SESI has start to enter the maya territory, that would be nice to finish the job in animation / rigging and that no animator on earth could complain about H.

Having the ability to build advanced UI in H with QT with a clean and well documented help.

Maybe having a stellar QT UI to start work with as a starting point could be nice.

Take exemple of Martin Orlowski work (Maybe hire him as a consultant ? :) )

And have those georgous UI and neat controlers for H animators.

https://zerply.com/r/29Fe4BLS 

 

Edited by sebkaine

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Cristin did mention that next year is big changes to lighting - so that means GPU right?

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15 hours ago, marty said:

Edit: on that note version numbers are overall feeling a touch archaic. Good for marketing but would be more fun to be modular and add in features as they are developed.

For a product that is constantly in development each day with a fresh cut, the major numbers do seem a bit ?forced/arbitrary? in agreement.

I suppose you could just do a public reveal of each major feature enhancements when they come out. Focusing less on the number, after all at 16 Houdini should be able to drive in most US States, plus Houdini is Hiding it's prism's age (over 30! never ask a software it's age).

Constant Launches like Terrain Tools! in little letters 15.1, Rigging Tools! in little letters 15.2. The public advertising pace would be a much different beast, a more constant flow. This may hamper major project ramping, but most Houdini users, are already used to a Production/Daily Build system. However, Houdini is really turning into a "service" to use the M$ parlance, it may be a better strategy. Major versions are still good, but those could be reserved for more core architectural changes under the hood, with a bit of an UI update. i.e. like an operating system. 

I honestly have gotten annoyed at Autodesk for doing public launches every with the year version, and jack shit changes.

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I'm actually really looking forward to the updated modeling, animation, and rigging tools they were hinting at, beyond what they presented. My wife whose an animator, was actually drooling over the presented animation tools as is, and she's hardcore into Motion Builder and Maya. With the ability of how you can advance the tool sets in Houdini I got generally more excited. Especially with Motion Builder being consumed by Maya in 2017, plus Max's odd's on out going the way of the Dodo/XSI. R.I.P. Plus it is annoying as hell when a manager tell me Houdini is just a particle simulator right?

Oh one wish on top of those rigging tool sets, is to make sure the end results transfer via FBX. So they can be used right away into a game engine, or maya/motion builder. Most internal studio have their animation export pipeline tailored to fbx for animation exports.

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4 minutes ago, LaidlawFX said:

For a product that is constantly in development each day with a fresh cut, the major numbers do seem a bit ?forced/arbitrary? in agreement.

I suppose you could just do a public reveal of each major feature enhancements when they come out. Focusing less on the number, after all at 16 Houdini should be able to drive in most US States, plus Houdini is Hiding it's prism's age (over 30! never ask a software it's age).

Constant Launches like Terrain Tools! in little letters 15.1, Rigging Tools! in little letters 15.2. The public advertising pace would be a much different beast, a more constant flow. This may hamper major project ramping, but most Houdini users, are already used to a Production/Daily Build system. However, Houdini is really turning into a "service" to use the M$ parlance, it may be a better strategy. Major versions are still good, but those could be reserved for more core architectural changes under the hood, with a bit of an UI update. i.e. like an operating system. 

I honestly have gotten annoyed at Autodesk for doing public launches every with the year version, and jack shit changes.

Interesting points, but I am going to disagree a bit :P (or weigh your arguments differently I suppose)

For major (any more than a year length) projects it is reaaaaly vital to have predictability, especially in the current decade I think. As you may have experienced
(or heard from people around you, as we are both in the same industry I think) is that it is already really hard to convince the people of new technology,
especially if it can make or break the effort of 300+ people over more than 3 years.

So for Sesi I think it is important to do as much to keep the adoption rate over time as high as possible. Right now games are quickly adopting it,
but people in that industry have been known to be very stubborn at times, "doing things how they are used to do them", so more variation in change is probably not a good idea in that regard.
For example people are really keen on stuff improving without it changing, which is already quite hard to do with procedural tech (butterfly effect of different inputs)

It is totally possible that management would enforce the same version of software for more than a couple of years, especially in the 2nd half of projects, unless there are super obvious advantages.
While with Houdini there are many improvements every time, which is clear to TAs and TDs, sometimes its hard to convince the people with less technical know-how.

Clear demarcations of versions and roadmaps are probably a good way of ease the mind of people who make these kinds of decisions.

That said, I do agree on these points for small/personal projects, where you have complete control over what software to use. 

[after ninja]:

yeah the stuff on their longer-term roadmap sounds extremely neat :)

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13 minutes ago, acey195 said:

Interesting points, but I am going to disagree a bit :P (or weigh your arguments differently I suppose)

I actually agree with you on this completely. Especially, with trying to pitch Houdini the hard-way, LMAO! So many stories...

Maybe something SESI should advertise more is the concept of their Daily, Production, and Minor Build releases. At some major VFX studios they had very good built in processes to handle this i.e. R&H and DD, that may seem black arts to most non-Houdini manager's and studio's, not us the current users, who are only used to Major Production releases due to Autodesk. It's actually easy to implement a system to check these with Houdini's architecture, however, it's not common knowledge. At R&H there was over 130 active seats of Houdini, plus a larger 1000 person+ international studio system prior to the bankruptcy, on several productions, on several branches, with internal and external alpha(s) and beta(s). It was a good pipeline for this and getting better. I applaud those guys, especially the Diaspora from LA. This could be wrapped into a production tool distributed by SideFX. What everyday consumers consider a download manager or launcher, i.e. similar to the Unreal Launcher, Steam Launcher, or an OS updater. However I would make it a two fold system where for major studios you keep the same traditional launcher, but this is the "production" launcher. Where you can easily beta your tools and release into the native ecosystem. Especially now with HDA comparison tool they spoke of, it would be possible to have a Houdini specific Integration/Performance Test for studio environments. The daily build system has this as can be noted by the "bad" builds that turn pink/?red?. Plus they have the farm system, plus all the other technology at SESI disposal already. It won't prevent every problem, but by comparison to a game engine development team, or the money on the line for a VFX blockbuster, this type of update should be extremely minimalist in comparison and fit within a AAA development cycle for games for certain. It would be a great studio tool, that they could provide so you don't have to rebuild the same tool set at every studio. lol, sorry, I had to go flip a table, I'm back now. "A SideFX production launcher", this would of course be a very big wish, maybe for the next major version ;) Something to talk about :P 

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