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Making a switch?

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Hi All,

I am looking for some friendly advice. I am senior 3d designer and have been thinking of making the switch to Houdini. I have used 3ds max mostly, although I do have experience with Maya and Keyshot and recently using UE4 a lot. 

I do a variety of different type of work, ranging from arch viz to product. My pipeline is pretty much 3ds max and vray,substance painter/ photoshop ( starting to learn Substance Designer ), and then  UE4. 

Do you think Houdini would be a good fit with that workflow?

From my understanding is that I can download the learning addition of Houdini to get going with and thats completely free, correct?

Anyone else make the switch over from a different program? What are some good learning resources for Houdini?


Thanks for the help everyone,





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Hello @alxmont,
maybe you should send some examples of your work ... and also send examples from the internet, what type of work you would like to do in the future (with Houdini). And people here will tell you, if Houdini is a good tool for you to achieve that goal. The free edition of Houdini is called Apprentice.

Here you can filter tutorials by categories and industries:

Here in this facebook post, there are many links to learning resources:

Btw you may also watch this talk, at this year's Siggraph. It might be related to your expertise:
SOLARIS Reveal: Layout, Look dev & Lighting
In this talk, Scott will introduce SideFX Solaris, a powerful new layout, look dev and lighting platform coming to Houdini 18 later this year. 

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Hi @alxmont

It really depends on what you want to do.
You talk about Archviz, and frankly I don't see the benefit of switching to houdini.
Don't get me wrong, I've been in a "semi-switch" from C4D for two years and I love houdini.  But each software has these cons and pros and the big strength of houdini is FX.
Honestly for the archiz I don't really see the point.
Arch modelling made according to plans, is part of direct modelling. And with all due respect, Houdini is not the best on this point.
If you use a lot of purchased libraries, imports is not really comfortable.

But as ikoon say Maybe "Solaris" could be of great interest. SideFX all time do a hard work and Houdini really improves with each version.

Now there is learning (free) or indie (really affordable) editions. Take your time to try it, and look what benefit you can get from it.

Edited by flcc
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  • 2 weeks later...

For archviz and product viz, while you can do all that with houdini, 3ds max is probably a pretty good option more geared out of the box towards that kind of use. so i presume you won't gain much by switching. BUT: one thing to consider is, if you're freelancing and don't need to render hires animations (more than HD), you can have full featured highend 3d package for $400/2 yrs (Houdini Indie), compared to $2000/1yr or so with Autodesk? hmmm... that alone may be one good reason for switching. another thing is that Houdini seems to be todays fastest developing software with the most open architecture. comparing new features of any houdini release with new features of any other 3d package at that year is just silly. maybe only Blender is making any real progress and introducing interesting and inovative features (with is also silly given it's zero price). anything from autodesk pretty much stagnates, Modo doesn't make big waves either... so in terms of future development and customizability, Houdini seems to be a pretty good bet. it all gets down to what is your motivation behind wanting to switch.

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i think you better of with blender, there a is lot Archviz stuff going on with it. (poliigon.com /blenderguru for example).  you have all the render engine you need (cycles, eveee, vray, indigo etc..) and best modeling tools in the industry for this kind of work. 

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A big benifit of houdini is it's procedural tools and pipeline streamlining. You can make it do what you want within reason. Say for your arch vis, if you have alot of repetitive tasks involved in modelling you could make a procedural setup that generates different variations of the same asset. It has also becoming increasingly good at scene layout and small prop placement. E.g. making a tool that populates all your shelves with relevent objects shouldn't be too hard.

It does take time to learn and if you're only using it for destructive modelling then it may not be worth it.

That being said, I find it super for realtime modelling. You can use a boolean workflow to generate your high poly mesh (made out of a bunch of smoothed simple pieces). Then you can go up in your node graph and do the same boolean operations on unsmoothed pieces, stick down a divide node and voila. You have a high and low poly mesh generated by the same pieces sitting in the same node tree. Very fun software

Edited by ColecloughGeorge
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