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jrockstad

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jrockstad last won the day on November 14 2018

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About jrockstad

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    John
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  1. The advantage of specialized tools is that they have been optimized, both in the workflow and computation sense, for their respective tasks and are often very stable, fast and efficient. However, that efficiency comes largely as a result of those tools working in a highly prescribed fashion, so you are beholden to the developer to implement new features if you find yourself needing to step outside those bounds. Houdini should be the preferred choice when flexibility and the ability to adapt to complex shot requirements is paramount. One more point to consider is that after you bought all those plugins you'd have likely spent more than you would for a single Houdini license and you'd be juggling all those different licenses, dealing with support teams from different developers, and so on. With Houdini's everything's just right there.
  2. Curve to polygon?

    The Curve SOP in Houdini actually creates polygons by default, so you could actually just draw a rough poly curve and smooth it to get the right shape, but it's really no problem to start with NURBS. In that case, I would immediately follow the curve with a Convert SOP, then a PolyExtrude to get the base surface, followed by another PolyExtrude for thickness, just extrude along local Z axis in both. Remember to tick off the Output Front parameter in the first PolyExtrude though, otherwise the second won't work properly.
  3. I've opened Houdini 8 and I believe even older files on current releases, so generally you'll be fine. There are always caveats though - the more complex the scene and the more it utilizes very actively developed areas of Houdini (RBD, fluids, particles, etc.), the more likely you are to run into issues. One issue that's pretty common is seeing "Skipping parameter [x]" warnings when you load the scene, which basically means that parameter does not exist or has been renamed in the version of Houdini you are opening the scene in. It's good practice to take a minute and read through these as it can help you sort things out if you end up having to do some cleanup on your scene to get it up an running.
  4. Reflection on Ocean Shader FX

    It seems to me like you just need a better environment. The sky you have there looks very dull, you really need a high-intensity direct light (i.e., the sun in most cases) in the right position to observe that kind of behavior. I've attached a simple Ocean FX render I did a while back, using stock shader settings but a nice HDR for lighting. To maximize this effect the sun should be relatively close to the horizon, so you'll want to go for sunrise / early afternoon and evening / sunset looks rather than midday when the sun is very high in the sky. Camera angle is important as well, remember that most materials appear more reflective at glancing angles - note in your reference image how the camera is nearly level with the water. Naturally this is something you can adjust based on the look you're after and what kind of environment you're using but it's worth keeping in mind. I recommend investing in some good high-res HDR skies if you don't have any already. I'm personally a fan of HDR Maps because of the high resolution and option to purchase individual HDRs at a reasonable price, but there are a lot of great options out there.
  5. CMI VFX course reviews

    Yeah, their buggy video player and slow / unreliable playback has been a beef of mine for a while now. If you're charging people $50+ for most videos you really need to have that kind of stuff sorted out. I'm definitely pleased that they plan on ditching the high-concept UI and improving the video player.
  6. This page has some great information for working with the Copy SOP: http://www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini15.5/copy/instanceattrs Those are all the attributes that can be applied to your template points to influence the behavior of the copied geometry. In this case you're interested in the rot attribute, which allows you to keep the normals for use in orienting the copies. Here is a basic setup using a Point Wrangle: float rad = radians(ch("rotation")); @rot = quaternion(rad, @N); This depends on having a spare parameter attached to your Wrangle named "rotation." You can play around with offsetting rotation speed by point number to make the animation a bit more interesting. Hope that helped!
  7. Building organic forms

    You might also look into Houdini's VDB toolset as an alternative or supplement to the growth techniques. The basic workflow is to create volumes from geometry, manipulate them with noises and such, perform add / subtract or various other operations on the volumes, then mesh. It's a bit more of an artistic approach - you can think of it as kind of like a more procedural way of 'sculpting' geometry. Also, VDB is a great bag of tricks for pretty much anyone in Houdini, so it's great to know even if you don't use it so much in this particular instance. On the sidefx.com tutorial page, search for VDB and you can find some videos to get you up to speed on the basics.
  8. Spyrogif

    Lots of great information there to chew on, thanks for the write-up! L-systems and plant / tree modeling in general is an area I've been interested in exploring more for a while so I think I should have a lot fun going through that Algorithmic Botany site.
  9. Controlling depth of render-time subdivision

    Thank you Andy, yes indeed that is very helpful. I thought the shading quality setting was only used for the micropoly engine and didn't realize that it also affected subdivision mesh quality. In the meantime I will log that request with Side Effects as you suggest as well Marty. Thanks!
  10. Spyrogif

    Love this one, great concept and beautiful, photographic composition. Where the trees made in Houdini, or Speedtree...? The wind effect is amazing, very subtle and natural-looking, could you share a bit how that was achieved?
  11. Controlling depth of render-time subdivision

    Yeah, those are the only ones I found as well. It seems strange to me that this wouldn't be an option, unless the subdivision depth is absolutely hard-coded into Houdini. I've been using Modo a lot lately and this an area where I think Houdini could take some cues from that package - in Modo, you press the tab key, get a sub-d mesh preview in the viewport and in your render, nice and simple, and you've got separate parameters for viewport and render subdivision depth as well. Yes, I realize Maya's smooth-mesh preview does pretty much the same thing, but I like Modo more.
  12. Controlling depth of render-time subdivision

    Ah, I probably confused things by mentioning the Subdivide SOP, but no, this isn't a viewport but rather a render issue. I want to know if, using the Render Polygons As Subdivision parameter on an object, it is possible to control the depth of the rendered subdivision surface.
  13. how to create a round bevel beetween 2 curves ?

    This thread got me playing around with the Rails SOP a bit, and I noticed an interesting little quirk - if you draw a curve and use the Mirror SOP with the keep original option to get the second rail then the Rails SOP goes nuts, so you need to use Copy or Duplicate with -1 scale in the mirror axis as Marc did in the screencap he posted. Not a huge deal, but I'd be interested to know why it's so fussy about that.
  14. Hi guys, so, I'm almost positive this has come up on the forums before, but searching around a bit has failed me. The issue is that I generally prefer to use the Render Polygons As Subdivision option for my renders and just use the Subdivide node to preview, which is normally just fine, but I'm finding the mesh just a tad chunky on this close-up shot I'm working on. I assume the default subdivision depth is 2, and that there must be a parameter hidden away somewhere allowing this to be modified, but I haven't found anything after digging around a bit in the render parameters. Is there a geometry attribute to control this, or a parameter that I'm missing...? Thanks!
  15. Ice Shading

    Do you have a render you could share? I'd definitely be interested to see what you came up with.
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