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OTL's and Hiding The Interface

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From the standpoint of the artist, I can safely say that one of the major reasons more artists are not using Houdini is the sometimes intimidating look of the interface. Surely, much power is displayed directly by the existing interface, but, perhaps, it is overwhelming to the artist who simply wants to complete an envisioned task.

How much of the interface look can a series of OTL's change, especially aesthetically, by limiting the amount of information an artist is required to view? Can colors, buttons, sliders, icons, window borders, etc. be changed via OTL's? Could someone, theoretically, redesign the Houdini interface, substituting the many acronyms, (SOP, COP, SHOP, CHOP), for plain English function descriptions or colorful iconic graphics which stand for the same thing? Where would one begin who seeks to do these things?


Greg Smith

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Sorry Greg, OTLs are not all powerful. There isn't a way to redesign the interface as you wish. They can be considered as a tools or assets, hence the Sesi name HDA. You can bundle and simplify networks in them, which is part of why they were designed. It was an effort to help smooth that first feeling when a new user looks a Houdini.

But I wouldn't be so hasty to say the interface is intimidating. It is very spartan without the hidden toggles for options in so many popUp windows of other packages. The hood is really open, which may really be the cause of the intimidation. Other packages like to take of the user with options and what at first would appear to be less important clutter and toggles. It does have a lot of ways of doing a similar action, networks in networks etc. which can lead to a bit of confusion.

Everyone liked the Soft3D interface, very spartan with a lot of drilling down to get at the finer points, but you were still limited to what you could do with the button. Maya has a lot of popUp windows, and different kinds of viewers/schematics that allow you to see portions of the same information in different forms. In my opinion, Houdini gives you the straight goods right from the gate.

Everyone gets comfortable to a UI they have used for a long period of time, and the transition is hard. I for one am eager to see how Sesi can take some of the legacy OP demos they had and get them up to date and working with the embedded browser and otls. If it is done correctly the learning curve won't be as steep.


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