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dupevfx

Idea VFX pipeline for Houdini

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Hey,

 

This is a very broad question but being somewhat new to Houdini (not vfx in general) I thought it would be worth asking people with more Houdini knowledge than myself.

 

We are a small VFX studio and we have recently switched to being fully Houdini, as in, everything but some modelling, rigging and animation will be done in Houdini. We are also using Arnold for rendering.

 

I've been looking at ways we can handle things like asset management through houdini, for instance creating a chair asset from modelling to lookdev and ending up with a final asset to then be referenced in shots for rendering.

 

Obviously there are many ways of doing this, I've seen houdini HDAs which seem like they could be the way to go but I'm wondering how other studios are working with Houdini, not just single artists.

 

Any links or information to research would be much appreciated.

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Hello Dupe,

I also had the same question a while ago. This topic about animation transfer could help. And despite this animation pipeline is super draft it still might be useful.

I would say that a good starting point could be defining the project management system (e.g. Shotgun, Ftrack or custom tools).

PS. why not to use Houdini for animation and rigging as well? The 18.5 looks even more powerful in this field?

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Thanks Kiryha,

Thanks for the links, I'll be reading through these tomorrow.

In terms of project management we have our own internal database where we set our "shot info" so we know what and where to save files etc the front end of that is ftrack, so that side is fine.

Its more me not knowing how things are done as well in Houdini, so I dont want to start scripting our own tools for asset management and then someone say "hey why didnt you just use HDA's" for example haha

Have you ever tried to get a senior animator to use anything other than what they are comfortable with? (maya) .. I hope they do transition soon but I'm doubtful, and that would then reduce our "job pool". We are more environment work rather than animation though so I'd happily keep animation more manual for now. In the short term.

Will read your links! Thanks again

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28 minutes ago, dupevfx said:

and then someone say "hey why didnt you just use HDA's" for example

I think we need to examine Solaris workflow to understand how SideFX supposes to handle project data to avoid such things. As I understand, they came to a Solaris solution working with several big studios and it should be the way to go.

The USD based pipeline makes integration of Maya as an animation tool a lot easier as well. I feel that Houdini did not beat Maya in the VFX industry completely (yet) only because of the painful transition for animation artists and pipeline TDs :)

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speaking about out of the box solutions:

i think Solaris/USD and TOPs is a good way to go. it's still quite new, but Solaris provides tools for scene/shots management that are future proof, TOPs provide tools for data handling and batch processing, and allows linking to different softwares, like Shotgun.

Other tools you can use:

HDAs - a robust way to share simple or complex functionality between projects/users, but are a bit cumbersome for some uses. HDAs have some specific workflow mechanics inbuilt which can be both an advantage or a drag, depending how you wanna use it.

Gallery files are good for quick and simple exchange of houdini setups. Unfortunately it doesn't really have any solid pipeline hooks, nor support for versioning or other stuff like this so I wouldn't recommend relying on this too much. 

And of course there is a solid Python API that allows you to do a lot with little effort, and can be executed from almost anywhere in Houdini.

 

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On 05/11/2020 at 12:02 PM, davpe said:

speaking about out of the box solutions:

i think Solaris/USD and TOPs is a good way to go. it's still quite new, but Solaris provides tools for scene/shots management that are future proof, TOPs provide tools for data handling and batch processing, and allows linking to different softwares, like Shotgun.

Other tools you can use:

HDAs - a robust way to share simple or complex functionality between projects/users, but are a bit cumbersome for some uses. HDAs have some specific workflow mechanics inbuilt which can be both an advantage or a drag, depending how you wanna use it.

Gallery files are good for quick and simple exchange of houdini setups. Unfortunately it doesn't really have any solid pipeline hooks, nor support for versioning or other stuff like this so I wouldn't recommend relying on this too much. 

And of course there is a solid Python API that allows you to do a lot with little effort, and can be executed from almost anywhere in Houdini.

 

Hey David, yes I've been doing a bunch of research and testing for Solaris/USD. Originally I was thinking to setup a basic Houdini pipe and then figure out Solaris/USD once its more established BUT from my testing the last couple of days, I must say, its pretty great.

I'm hitting some issues which I need to figure out but all in all this answers the problem.

Cheers mate

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