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.


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