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marcotronic

Procedural subdivision modeling best practices / your workflow

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Hi people,

 

I'm coming from traditional 3D modeling packages  (about 13 years of experience here...) like Maya, C4D, modo, Blender and recently started using Houdini as I'm fascinated by its procedural tools and workflows. When I've been modeling in those traditional 3D applications I usually used that typical box-modeling approach for modeling stuff and used subdivision to get a smooth mesh. I typically used edgeloops to crease certain edges in the subdivided mesh - the usual workflow you are all familiar with, I guess.

I'm wondering now about the best practices to crease edges for subdivided meshes in Houdini. How do you guys usually do this in Houdini? I know that I can do the same in Houdini and use edgeloops in my meshes, add a subdivide node and have the same result as in my traditional packages. The main concern is I want to stay as procedural as possible. I can change the position of my edgeloops afterwards in the specific nodes and keep the whole model history non-destructive, okay. I could possible also use the crease node on certain edges and do it that way.

I have seen a lot of tutorials now where stuff like stairs etc. are modeled procedurally which is awesome. Everything is being modeled without any subdivisions but with plain hard edges - which doesn't result in very realistic geometry as we all know 100% hard edges do not exist in realilty. Okay, these tutorials are also usually aimed at game developers and in games you usually want to avoid too much polygons. None of those tuts show or even mention how to do the whole stuff with softer edges or subdivision surfaces.

So what's your workflow when you want to model something procedurally that's looking as if it's been modeled the traditional subdivision surface way in the end? I'm sure there are ways in Houdini I haven't even thought about and I have just scratched the surface of Houdini yet:)

 

thanks a lot for your help in advance.

Marco

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i think nobody shows how to do it because nobody is usually doing it. procedural approach is a great thing to master but it simply doesn't suit any task. it is great to keep the asset, that you want to use hundred times, procedural but this mostly applies to a generic stuff or small details in the huge scene so it doesn't have to be very detailed and quantity is what counts most. modeling procedurally detailed asset for vfx is probably not a very good idea due to its technical and time demands, unless you have very good reason to do that. 

what I found out is that procedural approach is great for concepting when you're not sure about proportions and placement of things. when it comes to the phase that I'm satisfied with the overall shapes i just start modelling as usual or export to zbrush or something. depends on the nature of the model. in some cases, when modeling architecture or technical stuff, you can take your procedurally generated parts and replace them with detailed geo modelled by usual ways. this way you kind of keep proceduralism in terms of placement and the scale of the things and you can easily alter one part and changes are propagated to the other ones automatically. kind of instancing approach. for many models this is not a efficient solution though. the power is in ability to combine different approaches conveniently and to approach each situation individually :)  

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Very broad question. An example of what you want to achieve would be helpful.

But in general you can set the extrusion depth to 2 or 3 if you need edge loops. Also insetting flat pieces with the extrude node helps to define edges before adding thickness.

Edited by konstantin magnus
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If you haven't viewed Konstantin's shampoo tube modeling tutorial take a look. There are a lot of great/traditional tips in there for product modeling.

 

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Thanks a lot, guys! Konstantin's tutorial is indeed very helpful! Lots of cool tips & tricks here!

Marco

Edited by marcotronic
typos

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Guest tar

Overall for Houdini modelling; keep an eye on H15.5 and beyond - quite a few of the modelling tools are slated to be rewritten. It's a focus of the development team.

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23 minutes ago, marty said:

Overall for Houdini modelling; keep an eye on H15.5 and beyond - quite a few of the modelling tools are slated to be rewritten. It's a focus of the development team.

Thanks! Yes, I will definitely keep an eye on 15.5 as I just bought an Indie license and I'm totally looking forward to 15.5 as SideFX will open the Indie version for 3rd party renderers as well. Really hope Redshift for Houdini will be available in the not too distant future. Awesome renderer...

 

Marco

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