Jump to content

Recommended Posts

That shot of Prisms, made me cry. I think with H5.5, we finally duplicated it's animation tools. H6 finally surpasses it for good with all the object viewport-centric channel scoping. Phew.

I think Houdini .5 releases do reflect incremental feature releases as well as substantial bug fixes. The features in .5 releases are carefully selected to not impact production so they tend to be UI stuff that doens't get picked up on the feature lists but boost productivity and rounding out of new features based on feedback.

H5.0 = VEX

H5.5 = VOPs

I would expect an H6.1 and probably an H6.5 if the new features require more time to sort out. I doubt it though. You have to remember that this must be a tough balance for them with incremental releases: new features vs. stability.

Now for the real reason SESI can delay incremental reasons: SESI listens! Production facilities pull SESI a lot. That means two things:

- SESI actually delivers fixes in a timely fashion, sometimes over night if they impact production

- SESI provides incremental builds on the DLS website to deliver these fixes when the need for global fixes is heard.

Remember that many other Vendors wait for incrementals to release bug fixes and call them "features". :rolleyes:

What makes me laugh is RedHat! RH8 and 5 months later RH9! I think not. :angry: How about RH8.1 or 8.5. Almost enough to make me move to slackware if they keep this up.

Alias must be relying on mel and the huge investment of time and money from large facilities and the user base to carry maya through the forseable future in Feature Film production. They are definitely moving away from the high end for now and focusing on other markets. Does this concern the big LA studios? Does the legions of maya minions counter this effect?

Vector rendering sure is fantastic for the maya animators but for feature film? Maybee for those studios that do the computer monitor images. This tool is one of those bridge tools for alias and is targeted at the ad and broadcast agencies dabbling in a bit of 3D and do both broadcast and web design as a turn-key solution. Flash is also a pretty cool buzzword these days with the skater-boy crowd. How do the big shops feel about spending huge maintenance fees just to see flash output and trivial blending of object parenting? As Jason eluded to, H6 now has a whole GUI on top of the blend SOP. That means that I am no longer one of the scarce few who could use it in animation. Thank-god. Next, CHOPS???

Two things I want to know:

1) How much better does Houdini need to be before big film studios wake up from their sleep? Or, how much lube does it really take to pull the a-probe out...

2) What ever happened to that laid-off splinter alias-wavefront programmer group that is supposed to be supporting and building tools for Feature Film? You know, the former wavefront guys that wrote the cloth? Running stealth mode or just simply diversified in to other things?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont really care about new features at this point, although *improvements* to exisitng tools are what I want to see...which SESI seems to do already. Besides, who wants to constantly learn a new tool every 6-8 months? bah! Theoretically, with a little wrangling on my end I can do anything needed, however, I would like to see improved dynamics capabilities. SESI deffinately takes customer feedback seriously, so hop on your companies support list or Forum and report any oddities.

/rant on - What irks me are the people who mouth off about Houdini's inabilities and have never used it, or have only used it for brief periods of time in the past..I think a lot of people have run into this :) The good side to this is a low percentage of pre-madonna's coming into the community...so ya, Houdini SUCKS! KEEP OUT!! *snicker*

/rant off

"1) How much better does Houdini need to be before big film studios wake up from their sleep? Or, how much lube does it really take to pull the a-probe out..." ~ old_school

Probably a coup de tat, mutiny, hostile takeover, company merger(!?) or better yet, send in "The Digital Terrorist" (Marc) and his fleet of jeeps with .50 cal's mounted on them...

:P:P:P:P:P:P:P:P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah baby!!

It reminds me of a famous quote, "Its time to kick ass and chew bubblegum...... and I'm all out of gum."

word yo!

Marc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"1) How much better does Houdini need to be before big film studios wake up from their sleep? Or, how much lube does it really take to pull the a-probe out..."

it's a bit of a Catch22...

VFX studio needs to do a shot > have to hire people to do it > the industry is full of Maya users > so they use Maya and hire from the great ocean of users out there....

I have noticed the HUGE difference between SESI amd A|W...

a|w waits for 3-4 months and then releases 'some' bug fixes - and says "well we didn't fix all that stuff people have been screaming about for 2 years but here is a new fluid system that is cool..." and yes it's cool - but it's hard to learn to use it when you have to fight maya all day because it's poly engine is so bad....etc etc...

In an ideal world each new release would do two things:

1) fix the bugs in the last release

2) add new features

(rince and repeat)

with 2) being optional - I'd rather see a bug fix release than a new feature

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Arctor.

I like how the major versions of Houdini add new features while the .x's fix everything up. I love new features, but I like being able to use them reliably.

As far as features go my favorite feature is flexibility, :D and the second is the program being stable. Personally I think its kinda sad that we consider "being stable" a feature.

I remember once back at school we had a team of students all working on a project and this really nasty bug in Maya (3.0 i think) showed up. So we contacted A|W support and they said there was a fix in a .x maintenance release. It was like pulling teeth to try and get them to send us the patch. (Via CD, email, FTP, whatever) Granted our liceneses were only Edu but still we were paying. In the end they finally sent it to us, and it did fix the bug, but it also seem to introduce a few others. <_<

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that I really admire how SESI releases builds and how they quickly stomp out bugs.

jim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In an ideal world each new release would do two things:

1) fix the bugs in the last release

2) add new features

(rince and repeat)

Like everything the key is balance. You can't spend years making the most rock solid app every. Because if you did, the only feature you'll have is a "make sphere" button. On the other hand you can go the Maya route and keep pumping in new features so fast and moving the UI around that users don't have a chance to find the bugs.

I think SESI has struck a really good balance. You guys agree?

jim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I think SESI has struck a really good balance. You guys agree?"

yeah...it really does seem that way...and the fact that there is such great public feedback from the developers gives me a warm feeling...er...well...you know what I mean.

when I was in school and doing my demo I was having terrible problems with renders crashing in Maya3...in the end I had to abandon what I was doing and just get something finished...2 weeks after I graduated there was a bug found with Win2000 + Maya + AMD... <_<

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
H5.0 = VEX

H5.5 = VOPs

actually, vex came with version 4. so I guess we had to wait a version and a half ;)

come to think of it RBD's came with version 4 too... I bet they'll be as cool as vops at version 7.5 :P

Sorry, just bitter cause I tried using the RBD unify pop yesterday :angry:

Oh well.

-Zig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Two things I want to know:

1) How much better does Houdini need to be before big film studios wake up from their sleep? Or, how much lube does it really take to pull the a-probe out...

Well, obviously the biggest thing we're fighting here is history, right? People love character animation and Maya swept them up with Maya 1.0 and remained focussed on modeling and character. In that slow, dark time between Houdini 4 and 5 - which was a two year period, companies grew to trust Maya, mostly for lack of an alternative.

I feel like the capabilities overlap to a large degree now with 5.5, and now 6.0 puts such a huge emphasis on integration into a large factility and still provides cool tools like Global Illumination and enhanced character tools for inidividuals to play with.

So now it feels like, on the average, Houdini's drawing even with Maya - but the great thing is that Houdini remains committed to the film/effects industry and when we finally get those great simulation tools they've been promising us (RBD/cloth/fluid) to help re-affirm Houdini's dominance in the effects industry, I think Houdini will be highly sought after by companies.

One severe limitation, I believe is the lack of a Free HDK, and that the HDK does not cater for access to the UI. Another is the lack of a powerful scripting language - one with functions, arrays, hashes, gui and file i/o. Tcl/Tk is horrible - they need to bind PERL or native support for PHP.. something C-like and straightforward like VEX is. People like to develop external tools and unfortunately Houdini doesn't provide this too well right now. I agree that especially with OTL's in 6.0, interesting things may happen yet..

As far as character is concerned, what is really needed is proof. Proof that you can reliably manage large projects and produce fast and high quality animation with the new character tools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"As far as character is concerned, what is really needed is proof. Proof that you can reliably manage large projects and produce fast and high quality animation with the new character tools." ~ Jason

good points jason... question is, will any studio take up the new character/modeling tools for production over maya? wait until the non-6.0 versions!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, thats the thing... so many places (like ours) have pipelines in place to support Maya's character, so it makes it impossible to win a battle where the character tools capabilities match. There has to be a compelling reason to switch - i.e. technology in Houdini that'll ooh and ahh Maya character guys. I'm talking about excellent skin solvers and animation tools together with a strong scripting language as a backbone for it all. Even a simple character pipeline at a company has the capability of putting a nice GUI on top of in-house techniques for archiving characters, switching rigs or portions of rigs, entering characters into a database. Most of these things can be done in Houdini, but it'd be a painful blend of Tcl/Tk, hscript and such. The OTL's could be a good option for keeping archived characters and their setups, but doesn't assist with archiving of things like texture-maps and external files; those have to be written by the company to work in the job structure.

Houdini needs ill technology to win here.. it needs those good things like muscle solvers, pose-space deformations, good and fast dynamics solvers to woo the fickle Maya users over and incur the fair amount of re-development necessary to build a support pipeline for Houdini's character.

The best thing SESI can do is provide character technology that Maya users dream about and not aim to match Maya... which is really not that hard to match if you think about the depth of Maya's character tools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What would Houdini be like if Houdini had all the Maya users? Say Houdini 6.5 releases some super slick character tool, it catches on and the users start flowing in like drunks at Oktoberfest. This is good from SESI's point of view as it means more profits. But would these new users start requesting features that would hinder Houdini's flexibility? Dumbing down the software, so to speak. I'm not saying Maya users are dumb, but the more users you have the more people you have to cater to.

See what I'm getting at?

jim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"...the more users you have the more people you have to cater to..."

good point...how long before Houdini gets a 'vector renderer'... <_<

hopefully with Apprentice catching on more and more, people will start using Houdini's charcater tools and we'll start seeing work that will break the the idea that Houdini isn't for character animation...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that SESI have been remarkably focused on film and tv work, besides their brief flirt with gaming (Proceed) - which is excellent for all of us. They've got a long way to go in the features market so there is no way they can afford to start doing any web or interactive development that'll detract from their fantastic progress in the high-end market.

I wanna see character stuff done in da Houd! Anyone??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SESI seems pretty focused on what will be released for the coming year(s), *catering* doesnt seem to be apart of the formula, unless they are working with a company to improve on new or old products... Count on their staff to keep things nice and tidy.

Only shitty thing about tons of users would be all the ego and BS one would have to siv through just to get an answer, *the other softwares* forums wreak of it....however, that is why we come to odforce... get answers, or none at all!! ..plus there is the list, which has kept its professional air about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SESI seems pretty focused on what will be released for the coming year(s), *catering* doesnt seem to be apart of the formula, unless they are working with a company to improve on new or old products.

That makes me feel better. SESI impresses me more and more each day. :D

This reminds me of a bakery that I used to go to. They started really small, just selling these really nice hand made breads. Word spread, they got more customers, they needed to buy fancier equipment to handle the demand. More machines == less hands. Over time their bread ended up being no different than the stuff from the store. :angry: Popularity is a mixed blessing.

jim.

In SESI we trust. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wanna see character stuff done in da Houd! Anyone??

You work for Digital Domain and you haven't yet???????????!!!!

Anyways, my contribution to the Houdini Apprentice Challenge will feature it. I hope I'll have enough time to finish it in time, or even get it going. So far, I only have some sketches and storyboards.

Damn homework!...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, you'd think I'd have seen some nice char stuff going on, eh? But the reason I can make such comments on Maya entrenchment is because it's exactly what is the case here. The character guys use Maya and the effects guys use Houdini. To convince a character guy to learn Houdini and it's character tools is downright impossible -after all, what benefits are there?- although I have an offer from an excellent animator to just animate a character if I can provide a nice rig. Animating is one thing, rigging involves an in-depth knowledge of the entire package which is beyond the average animator.

Even many of the old skool Houdini users here do not understand the 5.0 capabilities of Houdini, let alone considering learning character tools and rigging techniques, so my work is cut out for me trying to excite interest in character tools from both sides.

Thank God for dudes here like AnakinZ78, sirogi, Mir and Marc and others for their fresh approach to the new features in Houdini. That being said, we've acquired some (less experienced) people here that embrace the package as a whole and maybe they'll run with it too.. the phuture is bright!

I love thekenny's contribution to the movement too: keep it up!

Cheers,

Jason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this make me fairly hopeful for my phuture :) as I'm mostly a character setup guy right now and it is one of my main intrests in Houdini...

so for me and others new to Houdini, kicking out some nice character stuff might be a good way of becoming an employable kinda guy :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×