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alksndr

Bunch of thoughts on SubD modeling in Houdini

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Hey guys, I've recently taken a big interest in modeling in Houdini with some of the latest features- the pie menus bring speed and the boolean -> group border edges -> chamfer workflow is by far the fastest in houdini, no other software can do this so quickly. I understand it may never be quite as fast as modo/xsi but I'm okay with taking a small hit there since there are plenty of other benefits of keeping things within Houdini. With that said, after taking a day or so to mess around, there are a few glaring things that I want to discuss and seek out advice. Some of these could be missing features, some could be things I just don't know how to do. I'm also going to take a look at the Direct Modeling plugin by Alexey to see how much of this has been covered. Some of these are pretty easy to make and so I'll do that if there is no magic checkbox i'm missing, but some are not. Please let me know if you know how to do any of these things 

So here goes!

Geo creation
    - Most programs have a construction plane thing now where we can make a box on the ground or the x/z plane. That would be ideal but I am also having trouble just moving a box to be flat on the ground in a quick way. I've tried all snapping options, am I missing something? Will anything snap the bottom of the box to the grid so its perfectly standing on the ground?

Target weld Solved by Alexey DM HDA
    - I'm currently snappoing points with edit mode then using fuse. Would like to just be able to select one point then another point and have those merge

Select adjacent 
    - Selects adjecent points/polygons/edges. So useful for subd. 

Insert Multiple Edge Loops
    - The polysplit edge loop when set to >1 divisions seem to only be even spaced, the workaround is to use the scale tool to push them towards the edges so you get a harder edge when sub'd. Would like an option to just place the 2nd edge the same % distance from the border as the 1st.

Soft Transform
    - This tool is frustrating because it seems you need to activate it first THEN make the selection. It doesn't have the very cool slide on surface feature but you can ray the result back on to the original, seems like a totally fine way to go about it to me.

Pivot  Solved by Alexey DM HDA
    - Would like to be able to visually move the pivot if I say make a selection and want to rotate from some random area that I decide

Mirror & Subdivide preview
    - I've combined these because I like how the subdivide preview works with the + key, its global. But I want to have a control of the setting, I'd like to change the preview to 2 subdiv levels. It also seems to turn on really slow. I want mirror to work the same way, just a little preview that I don't have to worry about getting lost in the node graph and when I'm done I can go and put down the real one and merge the verts.  the result of subdiv preview on a boolean mesh and placing the subdivide node down is different. Whats going on with that? 

Extract
    - This doesn't seem to work at all. What can I do to take a face from one box and remove it to start modeling a new thing?

Merge
    - It's too slow to create a new primitive, go to node graph, place merge node, connect 2 lines to begin working. How can it be setup so that simply selecting 2 objects in viewport and hitting a hotkey can create a merge node?

Saving Prefs
    - For quick modeling in houdini I think there are a couple necessary settings to turn on. 1. Tool options > create in context and 2. the final node of every "branch" should have the purple selectable tab on

Edited by alksndr

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hi,

geo creation - as far as I know, you have to either place your geometry manually or automatically with center in 0,0,0 (with ctrl)

target weld is something I wish too

select adjacent like grow selection? ctrl + g

insert multiple edges with placement control... we don't have that. hopefully in the future releases.

pivot - you can switch to pivot mode and move it as a gizmo or snap it. very handy. hotkey is '

mirror & subdiv preview - yep, more work needs to be done here

extract - if you want to extract a poly to start a new shape, just select the poly and delete others... if that's what you want. what extract shelf tool does is it takes the selection and extracts it as an entirely new object.

merge - you can create a shelf tool with python script that does that. I've done that for most frequently used nodes so I can access those with hotkey. 

 

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Hey!

Target welding is implemented very well in the direct modeling tool, 100 bucks but at least there is some way to do it.

Here is an image of what I mean by select adjacent. This is incredibly useful, I will have to figure out some ideas on how to make my own version of this. So you have the yellow face selected and it will get the red faces. This works for points and edges too. I believe XSI is the only program that does this out of the box - Ks74cVX.jpg

 

I guess what I'm looking for over extract is to just be able to copy and paste polygons, it seems like houdini just simply doesn't do that. This may be the only program that copying pasting polygons is not available! Getting around with this simple blast->del opposite on the original branche->merge hda is simple though

Will look into the merge node, haven't done much python but seems simple enough.

 

A lot of the problems have been solved, im very very close to feeling like modeling in here is great. Another thing I'm trying to figure out is how to add a hotkey to switch parameter in a tool. IE: I press f for polybevel which ive set to default round, but now I want to press c to switch it to chamfer and want to brackets to change the divisions.

 

Thank you!

 

Edited by alksndr

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select adjacent - ok this is not possible at 1 click right now. you would have to 1 - select a poly, 2 - make a group, 3 - grow selection, 4 - make a group that equals a boolean difference with the first group. guess that makes you rather not needing adjacent selections :)

extracting geometry in houdini works exactly like that. blast or del or split node. to me, it seems that copying/pasting geometry in any other package works exactly the same way only you don't see nodes.

I'm using houdini for modeling quite a bit. I guess with any app you have to adapt to slightly different tool set. Still missing some functionality too, but I found my way around. For modeling some things, Houdini is actually really great.

DM plugin looks really nice. Would be interesting to have that implemented out of the box.

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6 hours ago, davpe said:

select adjacent - ok this is not possible at 1 click right now. you would have to 1 - select a poly, 2 - make a group, 3 - grow selection, 4 - make a group that equals a boolean difference with the first group. guess that makes you rather not needing adjacent selections :)

extracting geometry in houdini works exactly like that. blast or del or split node. to me, it seems that copying/pasting geometry in any other package works exactly the same way only you don't see nodes.

I'm using houdini for modeling quite a bit. I guess with any app you have to adapt to slightly different tool set. Still missing some functionality too, but I found my way around. For modeling some things, Houdini is actually really great.

DM plugin looks really nice. Would be interesting to have that implemented out of the box.

Sweet, that totally makes sense. I will make some tools for that :)

3 hours ago, dedeks3000 said:

by 'switch parameter ' , do you mean prests ?

If so, look here :

https://www.sidefx.com/tutorials/presets/

Sadly no, here's the problem: I make a bevel and in other programs something will pop up on the ui right near my pointer to slide the value. I barely have any hand movement required. Since houdini has all the parms in the window thats going to be on the side, its one of those slow things that is off putting because I have to go to the side change the value then go back to the model. So what I'd like to do is to just have hotkeys for the parameters , like a/s serves to increase value, c will change the type of bevel, etc. 

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10 hours ago, alksndr said:

 So you have the yellow face selected and it will get the red faces. This works for points and edges too. I believe XSI is the only program that does this out of the box - Ks74cVX.jpg

 

 

 

but this is just 'grow/shrink' in Max...yes....out of the box.......(same for Maya)....what makes you think ONLY XSI ?

(SHIFT+G in Houdini)

If excluding the orig central face, is CTRL+click too much ?

Edited by Noobini

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Not sure if it has been mentioned before but you can simply do a copy/paste with the duplicate SOP.

You will also find it in the poly modeling radial menu under Adjust.

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4 hours ago, dedeks3000 said:

Hey didn't know about this, awesome, looking into it now

3 hours ago, Noobini said:

but this is just 'grow/shrink' in Max...yes....out of the box.......(same for Maya)....what makes you think ONLY XSI ?

(SHIFT+G in Houdini)

If excluding the orig central face, is CTRL+click too much ?

Yeah it excludes the face, manually deselecting it is fine in that example with 1 face but not if theres 10 long tiny faces especially hidden away if youre making a panel line. Much nicer to extrude a whole ring of faces -> select adjacent -> polysplit 2 lines and get control edges for an inset with 3 clicks. I'm experimenting now with the boolean+groups

3 hours ago, Doudini said:

Not sure if it has been mentioned before but you can simply do a copy/paste with the duplicate SOP.

You will also find it in the poly modeling radial menu under Adjust.

Awesome!

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12 minutes ago, alksndr said:

Hey didn't know about this, awesome, looking into it now

Yeah it excludes the face, manually deselecting it is fine in that example with 1 face but not if theres 10 long tiny faces especially hidden away if youre making a panel line. Much nicer to extrude a whole ring of faces -> select adjacent -> polysplit 2 lines and get control edges for an inset with 3 clicks. I'm experimenting now with the boolean+groups

Awesome!

yeah fair point if it's a complex initial selection

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Currently dealing with 2 issues

1. The hud sliders are in the corner (apparently they're on by default, ive never even noticed them) and moving them around to a closer spot doesn't seem to ever save. I've tried making permanent default and locking them and everything else I saw I could try. Surely there has to be a way to make them always be in a different location?

2. I've been able to grow the selection with nodes by converting the input group to points then back to prims and subtracting- all that works great. BUT I don't know how to make it all work in a HDA system. What expression can I put in the group that tells it to read whatever is selected?

Maybe the only way around this is to have 2 hotkeys, one to create a group and then the other to activate this stack? Probably delete the groups at the end automatically to be able to run it over and over. 

growadj.hip

Edited by alksndr

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surely a python guy can do this ? (grow....then subtract orig selection in python too)

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