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bentraje

Is there some sense in learning Object Level Rigging as opposed to KineFX?

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Hi,

I'm new to Houdini.  (Well back and forth user).
I was wondering if I should just invest time on the KineFX toolset for rigging fully or learn also the Object Level Rigging.
I'm a rigger in other DCC. So rigging is not new to me.

That said, I would like to future proof. I used houdini before H15 on some fur. And just learned that they introduced a new fur workflow in H16 and the technical know how of the old one is potentially useless.

Will this be the same thing with KineFX vs the Object Level Rigging? I'm not talking about the concepts but the technical knowhow basically nodes of the previous system can't be opened in the next version or so.

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It is not easy to answer this quickly. I recommend checking the basic rigging series on sidefx by Goldfarb, just to understand what is involved in it, to get a basic idea. Later you can learn a lot by playing with autimatic rig, because it is basically a tool which creates nodes for you, based on a template, then you can look into it and understand what is under the hood. Other than that, there are a lot of little tricks, such as python codes to make things faster to build. The logic at the end is actually the same, there are some objects which are organized in hierarchy and they modify the geometry based on the weights on your skin. You can use few methods to capture the weights, you can paint weights later, this is almost the same like in other DCC-s. KineFX is a game changer because it is flexible since it uses the world space transform of named points for joints (check the introduction videos to understand better). Kinefx is a surface workflow rather than just a rig, since joints are basically points and you can use any geometry with points as a joint. This makes building, manipulating and changing joints on a fly procedural and very powerful layering tool for animation and all kind of constraints. Another advantage is speed, because object level rigs rely on CHOP networks for the constraints and chops can become a bit heavy and slow down the process. It will take time to understand how powerful it is, but it is worthy to dig and experiment, as with object rigging you will understand quickly, since it is not that different that what your usual DCC is doing. I hope I made myself clear enough :) 

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Posted (edited)

It's a tricky call, particularly with Houdini which releases fairly significant overhauls to their workflows year to year (Pyro in particular comes to mind, along with the move from cloth/FEM to vellum, etc.). 

The object-level rigging will be familiar to other packages like Maya, but from the major push, promotion and training that SideFX and others have been releasing, it does not appear that KineFX is going away any time soon.  From the initial press releases/discussion, it sounds as though it has been in the works for a while at SideFX with the intention of it being the new go-to rigging technique - I'd say it's a safe bet to invest in learning it so you become more adept with the current/modern rigging techniques for Houdini rather than still using an older/deprecated system.

Edited by ryew
typos
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Hi @skomdra @ryew

Thanks for the response. I've watched several rigging videos (KineFX and Object Level rigging) from the time of this posting and now.

RE: because object level rigs rely on CHOP networks . . .
This is the kind of insight I was looking for. Didn't know about this.
From this impression, I guess CHOP networks will remain single threaded on the future releases?

RE: object-level rigging will be familiar to other packages like Maya
Yea. It definitely is and I just watched the rigging videos on this one with ease.

RE: KineFX "flexibility"
It's powerful.With the full body IK, it reminds me of Maya's Human IK.
But it seems to be rigid in its system. It's good for MOCAP processing but I don't see it using any bend arm legs. Sticky lips set-up etc. Or even just facial rigging in general in KineFX.
All I see is body rigging mocap demo. Correct me if I'm wrong.


 

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From this impression, I guess CHOP networks will remain single threaded on the future releases?
 

Not sure, my impression is it stays the same, because they would need to make a complete new system from ground up. CHOPs is one of the first systems from Hermanovic who now uses it on his new product Touchdesigner. But new nodes in kinefx are using some vops with the operations on clips which could be replacement for CHOPs, so my guess is that everything keyframe based will gradually move to sops and clip operators, it makes so much more sense, visually and because multi threaded. 

17 hours ago, bentraje said:

All I see is body rigging mocap demo. Correct me if I'm wrong.

You are right about the mocap and putting a big focus on this aspect, at the moment. It is something to keep in mind, houdini is mostly used for liveaction special effects still. But make no mistake, mocap is just one possibility which is featured in this version. New paradigms in houdini introduced from 18, like python states and powerful rig nodes from 18.5 under the hood are just the beginning. They are working very actively on expanding these tools, as we speak. If you find time, google kinefx, you will be surprised what are people pulling up already, from using skeleton for modeling, to making custom HDA-s by utilizing kinefx vops and wrangles. There are still some hick-ups with the UI, especially, showing the keyframes on the timeline and some not so intuitive problems with the animation editor, but they are minor compared to what you can already do by using sop nodes in updating your rig and animation on a fly. Compared to this, Maya's human IK is very rigid, actually. It opens endless possibilities for experimentation. The problem is to forget the traditional workflow, but once you make that step, you can just keep discovering new stuff and experiment. The most difficult is to transfer quickly if you are already bind with the specific pipeline, but if you are free to just play of joy, kinefx is your toy. I can't speak about facial animation and what goes there (other then clever using of different blend shapes) but you can easily do all kind of bending of the limbs with just making your joints more procedural, using different sop nodes and then also curve IK constraints to get pretty much what ever you can imagine. 

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@skomdra

RE: CHOPS
Ah gotcha. I guess there's no way around it. Well, it's not a total loss for me per se since I haven't invested too much into it.

RE: KineFX Rigging
Thanks for the clarification. Will invest more item time with this system.
I just really need a KineFX rig (the traidional one not that mocap one) to pick around. AFAIK, the content library only offers the object level rigging files.

Anyhow, have a great day ahead! :)

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, bentraje said:

I just really need a KineFX rig (the traidional one not that mocap one) to pick around. AFAIK, the content library only offers the object level rigging files.

https://github.com/kamilhepner/kinefx_tools

these tools might help you started, he created some hdas, just to make this bridge between traditional rigging and kinefx tools. 

 

Edited by skomdra
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