3d and the world of Side FXs HOUDINI

from SideFX have done it again, they first impressed with their insane particle simulations, mimicking smoke and fire in photo-realistic manners, and now their cutting edge mantra and procedural material generator keep blowing our minds.

Here is an example af a generated material

Now Houdini is a full blown 3d software comparable to Maya or 3ds Max, and one should not forget the diversity it offer.

MODELING | Houdini includes a wide variety of polygon, NURBS and subdivision surface modeling tools. Procedural techniques can be used to maintain a robust construction history and to create complex models such as environments.
CLOUDS & VOLUMES | The Cloud FX tools offer an artist-friendly way of building, sculpting and rendering cloud formations. This workflow utilizes sparse volume sculpting tools created as part of the OpenVDB open source initiative.
ANIMATION | Houdini has an animator-friendly workflow which includes a channel editor, dope sheet and interactive timeline. Set keyframes on any parameter or use Houdini’s Advanced Motion-editing tools for even more control.
CHARACTER RIGGING | Houdini’s node-based approach fits perfectly with the working methodology of a typical character rigging TD. Characters can then be wrapped up into a single Digital Asset node and delivered to the animation team.
LIGHTING | Houdini’s lighting workflow provides a flexible and powerful environment for managing lights, building shaders and defining the look of a shot. Environment and GI lights work well with Mantra’s physically-based rendering.
MANTRA RENDERING | With Houdini, you can rely on a robust built-in rendering solution called Mantra or create custom support for a wide variety of third party renderers. Mantra is particularly good at rendering volumes such as smoke.
COMPOSITING | Houdini includes a node-based compositor which is perfect for creating slap comps. Lighters can test out render passes before sending plates to artists working with other compositing apps.
HOUDINI DIGITAL ASSETS | Create Houdini Digital Assets for use in Houdini or other apps via the Houdini engine. Assets from Houdini FX can be opened up and manipulated in Houdini Base.
INTEROPERABILITY | Import and export to a variety of formats including Alembic, FBX, OBJ, OpenEXR and more.

...and dont forget it can still do dynamic simulations like the

We cannot wait to see what they come up with next, some say realtime global illumination?

News in the Gaming world

Houdini for Unreal Engine 4

Side Effects Software is excited to announce the release of Houdini Engine for UE4. This plug-in provides game artists and developers with access to Houdini’s award-winning procedural technology right inside the UE4 editor.
"Creating highly detailed, interactive worlds is within reach for teams of all sizes.

Unreal Engine 4 gives developers powerful procedural features which are seamlessly enhanced through the Houdini Engine integration," says Kim Libreri, CTO of Epic Games.
The plug-in lets artists load Houdini Digital Assets built using Houdini’s procedural node-based workflow into the UE4 editor with parameters and controls that can be manipulated to create custom results. Working together, Houdini and the Houdini Engine empower artists with an easy way to create their own tools that can be quickly shared with colleagues to ensure consistent high-quality results.

To enhance the creation of procedural game assets, Side Effects recently released Houdini 15 with new modeling and texturing tools. Modellers now have access to a new tweak edit workflow, edge sliding, soft selection highlighting and new tools such as PolyBridge and PolyExpand 2D – ideal for road generation. For working with hi-res models, new retopology tools make it easy to build low-res geometry by drawing right on top of high-res geometry.
“All of the modeling and texturing improvements in Houdini 15 have been developed with game artists in mind,” says Judith Crow, Director, Games Segment, Side Effects. “These tools can be used for interactive modeling in the viewport or to create procedural assets which can be loaded into the UE4 editor using the Houdini Engine plug-in.”
Houdini 15 also includes texture baking and viewport support for UDIM textures, world-space normal maps, UV mesh boundaries and overlapping UV regions. Game developers can now import and export tangent-space normal maps and convert bump and displacement maps to normal maps.

Welcome to ZBrush 4R7

Zbrush the king of modelling 3d software keeps finding new and innovative tools to help the creative artists. 
So whats new?

Well meet the: ZModeler brush. This polygonal modelling system is designed to simplify the creation process. Not just quickly but dynamically easy to create new shapes, fuse polygons, delete full blocks of geometry, connect parts with advanced paths, and repeat your actions with a single click.

With the ZModeler brush, ZBrush takes a quantum leap beyond the organics that it is already relied upon for. You can refine the shape of your model in real-time to revolutionize how you create hard surface models, architectural structures or highly detailed environments.


ALSO With ZBrush 4R7 the BPR Render system will now render all Surface Noise as displacement, deforming the mesh to match the attributes of any procedurally created noise. It is like having a displacement map without needing to actually create the map.

With the new NanoMesh and ArrayMesh features, you as the artist can bring more complexity and detail to your work while still maintaining a low polygon count. Both NanoMesh and ArrayMesh will allow for multiple instances of any object to be created and then adjusted in a matter of seconds.


ZBrush To KeyShot

With the ZBrush to Keyshot Bridge1 you can seamlessly connect ZBrush with KeyShot 5 to produce hyper-realistic and high quality images. If you don't already own KeyShot 5 or if its price is simply out of your reach, a "special edition" KeyShot for ZBrush is also available2.
The KeyShot to ZBrush Bridge changes your Best Preview Render (BPR) button to instead send your models to KeyShot with a single click. All associated data transfers automatically, including materials, displaced geometries, procedural noise, PolyPaint or textures -- and of course the new NanoMesh and ArrayMesh. If ZBrush can display it, KeyShot can render it!

Zbrush 4R7 is a serious upgrade and a must have for 3d artist who wishes to strive for perfection.


GTX Titan II

possible picture of the new chip
Nvidia keeps pushing boundaries, and rumors of the replacement of the great Titan black (and Z) are talking about a quantum leap forward in terms of speed and design.

There are evidence to what is comming. The GM200 silicon will be built on the existing 28 nm or even the 20nm silicon fab process if there are delays. Among other SKUs, NVIDIA's next GeForce GTX TITAN product, the GTX TITAN II, could be based on this chip. We might all ready look at it this year.

A curious-looking data entry was submitted from an anonymous source to SiSoft's hardware database, which gives away some rather glaring details of the GM200.

To begin with, the GM200 will be built on the existing 28 nm node, and will feature a die-area of 551 mm². The chip will be based on the "Maxwell" architecture, and feature 3,072 CUDA cores, cushioned by a 3 MB L3 cache. The chip will likely feature a 384-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, with lossless texture compression algorithms, which work to step up memory bandwidth. The standard memory amount is a staggering 12 GB, double that of the first-generation GTX TITAN. Given how AMD recently gave 8 GB variants of its Radeon R9 290X a coordinated launch, GPU vendors could be seeing a utility in giving their products such massive amounts of video memory, to cope with resolutions such as 5K 16xHD. The chip features reasonably high clock speeds, with the core running at 1100 MHz (normal), and a staggering 1.390+ MHz GPU Boost. The memory, however, is clocked at 6.00 GHz. In terms of CUDA cores we might see a serious increase, the Titan black has 2880 and we hope for 5760, but realisticly 5000 CUDA cores are far more likely to happen.

Now this could also just be a base model to test heat and endurance factors, it might be ramped up even more to compete with AMD´s Ati which makes some serious highend cards.

Stay tuned for more updates as we come closer to some concrete facts from Nvida themselves. 

Houdini H13 Delivers

Houdini has come a very long way. This time its a complete packages but is it worth compared to other 3D package?

Faster and more flexible tools.
Houdini 13 increases productivity and allows for far bigger and more impact. Feature film VFX artist, a game developer or a commercial studio, this new release brings you according to SideFX new and enhanced tools that will meet the most demanding production requirements, do we agree?

A brief overview...

Particles have always played a key role in the creation of VFX in Houdini even as Rigid Body Dynamics, Fluids and Cloth effects have begun to take over. With Houdini 13, particles have been fully integrated into the dynamics context for better behaviour, more control and interaction with other simulation tools. This vex-based architecture is multi-threaded and allows for speeds up to 10x faster and cached results that allow for scrubbing back and forth in the timeline. To control these particles, there is a new stream concept as well as the use of VEX-based expressions which are much faster and more flexible. There are also new tools and forces such as the Axis Force which uses 3D volumes to control particles.

To create realistic destruction effects, the industry is moving to the use of finite elements. In Houdini 13, the Finite element solver brings this leading edge technology to the forefront.
The Finite Element solver analyses the stresses on an object then either bends or breaks the object. It can also be used for soft body effects with volume preservation. With the new Finite Element solver, Houdini 13 will take the simulation of digital destruction (and gooey slimy objects) to the next level. 

A new lighting work flow has been built around the use of Alembic and Packed Primitives as a way of efficiently managing massive datasets.
This new work flow offers a new Data tree view for working with the Alembic files and assigning materials and light assignments. This new work flow is linear out of the box and along with improvements to the quality and performance of Mantra offers a powerful set of lighting tools. In professional production pipelines these new tools will offer a robust solution that makes Mantra’s physically-based rendering a very attractive option. 

The Bullet solver in Houdini is now more accurate and supports most geometry types out of the box. it is much faster and scalable and can be used in conjunction with packed primitives for efficient instancing of pieces. There is also a new debris shelf tool for adding detail to really sell a shot.
The FLIP fluid and Ocean FX tools in Houdini continue to evolve with a new mist solver, new shelf tools and a new Fluid surfacer that is much faster. A new ocean material is available and the integration of FLIP fluid sims and larger OceanFX surfaces is easier than ever. 

Houdini continues to support industry standards which make it easier for artists to work in a multi-application environment.
  • Alembic by ILM and Sony Imageworks plays a key role in the new lighting workflow in Houdini 13.
  • OpenEXR 2 by ILM is now supported to allow for deep compositing of Mantra renderings in Nuke.
  • OpenSubdiv from Pixar which provides viewport subdivision display, geometry-level subdivides, Mantra integration and continued support for crease weights.
OpenVDB from DreamWorks Animation continues to evolve and played a big part in making the new particle surfacer faster and more memory efficient.

And HoudiniFX

With Pyro FX , Fire and Smoke simulations look more realistic and are faster and easier to set up. The speed gains in Houdini 12 are significant allowing for more iterations. The ability to simulate using the GPU takes things to a whole new level and advances in volume rendering create an impressive final look.
Create realistic sims using forces such as surface tension, viscosity, and visco-elasticity. Particle fluids can be surfaced at the geometry level to produce high quality splashes while fluid forces are used to create white water effects.
In Houdini FX, you can use the Bullet Rigid Body solver to create highly complex simulations of large data sets. This solver and Houdini’s own solver work with various forces, constraints and collisions for complete control.
Whether you are creating dust and debris or a flocks of birds, the particle tools in Houdini let you define a clear set of rules using a simple node network made up of sources, forces, attractors and collision objects.
The Finite Element solver analyses the stresses on an object then either bends or breaks the object. It can also be used for soft body effects with volume preservation. Take the simulation of digital destruction, and gooey slimy objects, to the next level.
Houdini FX’s cloth solver can handle multiple layers while generating accurate, realistic results over long simulations. By adjusting a few simple parameters, you can achieve a variety of different looks and material types.
Ideally suited to creating hair and fur simulations, the Wire solver in Houdini FX also can be used for other types of thin shapes. Control wires with attributes such as thickness, length, rigidity and curl for added control.
Houdini FX includes all Houdini features including modelling, animation, character rigging, lighting, rendering, compositing and volumes. Digital Assets created in Houdini FX can be opened, animated and rendered in Houdini.

The Render
Mantra Render Types
  • Physically Based Rendering - Create complex Global Illumination including multiple diffuse bounces with this powerful render engine.
  • Micro-polygon Rendering - A scan-line, ray-trace hybrid with support for ray traced reflections, refractions and shadows.
  • Ray Tracing - Create high quality reflections, refractions, and shadows. Render instanced objects at lightning speed.
  • Render fluid-based smoke and cloud effects using the new Volumetric renderer with deep shadow maps and motion blur
  • Render fur procedurally using guide hairs and painted grooming attributes

Houdini is on the right track and has been for most of its many releases, this is by far the best version yet and if the FX part of Houdini was an integral part of the reg. packages it would be a 10/10 but its not, however, its still very remarkable what they have achieved and Houdini delivers again. We highlighted in red the render part we think is setting new standards, a volumetric render is currentlt not possible with iray (3ds max) and its a killer hardware bassed render. I guess the other companies now need to look over the shoulders of sidefx and their incredible team.



We deal with everything in 3D.

A given software's functions and its strengthens and weaknesses. Techniques; modelling (character, etc.), scene setup, texturing, lightning, dynamics (fluids, etc.), rendering and composition.
Plugins and what opportunities
they offer.