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best flipbook tool from Shelf


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Hi, I am a senior Houdini artist, but a intermediate about python script.

I am looking for flipbook tool because original one is so inconvenient that every time we need to type file name and saving path. Thus, I wonder if we have the following tool:

1 click a shelf tool.
2 pop up a custom UI.
3 type rez, frame range, and automatically create a default image file name and its path in the UI, based on hip file.   
4 click a button and start playblast and save the image seq.
5 Ideally it has option to save mp4 with ffmpeg. (I have no idea how to plugin this external software!! )

I cannot make such a tool from full scratch, but am capable to customize it.
So far, I found useful article, and can read it but don't know, for instance, I can create a custom UI but don't know how to link those values to actual flipbook parameters.

I really appreciate if you have python shelf scripts for 5 steps, or more hints to create the tool.



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I can give you hints on how to start this :

import roptoolutils, os, hou, subprocess

# Getting default start and end frame
start_frame, end_frame = hou.playbar.frameRange()

# Gathering values input from the user
button_idx, values = hou.ui.readMultiInput(
    "Set the flipbook options", ("Start Frame", "End Frame", "Width", "Height", "Convert To Video"),
    initial_contents=(str(int(start_frame)), str(int(end_frame)), "1920", "1080", "Yes"),
    title="Flipbook Options",
    buttons=("OK", "Cancel"),
    default_choice=0, close_choice=1,

# If the user clicks ok
if button_idx != 1:
  new_start_frame = int(values[0])
  new_end_frame = int(values[1])
  new_width = int(values[2])
  new_height = int(values[3])
  convert_to_video = True if (values[4] == "Yes") else False
  # Creating an opengl rop
  ogl_rop = roptoolutils.createRenderNode("opengl")
  # optional, if a camera node is selected, set the output camera to be the selected one
  selected_nodes = hou.selectedNodes()
  if len(selected_nodes) > 0:
     n = selected_nodes[0]
     if n.type().name() == "cam":
  # Setting a bunch of parms
  # Creating the output directory, increments if it already exists
  version = 1
  output_dir = "{}/flipbook/{}".format(hou.getenv("HIP"), "{}".format(version).zfill(3))
  while os.path.exists(output_dir):
    version += 1
    output_dir = "{}/flipbook/{}".format(hou.getenv("HIP"), "{}".format(version).zfill(3))
  # Setting the output path of the images
  output_path = "{}/flipbook_img.$F.png".format(output_dir)
  # Launch the ogl rop render
  print("Launching opengl render...")
  # Conversion to video with ffmpeg, assuming ffmpeg is in the PATH
  if convert_to_video:
    print("Converting to video using ffmpeg...")
    subprocess.check_output(["ffmpeg", "-i", output_path.replace("$F", "%d"), "{}/flipbook_video.mp4".format(output_dir)])
  print("Flipbook cancelled...")


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