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Houdini

4.4
(15)

SideFX develops Houdini, a 3D animation and visual effects software for use in film, commercials and video games.

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Houdini review by Michael M.
Michael M.
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"Procedural thinking at its fullness."

What do you like best?

The linear way to approach common tasks in general 3D applications is limiting. It forces you to know where you want to go with that element and you must be conscious through the process to guarantee its heading toward that goal. With Houdini, after a while you build up a reverse engineering thinking that will be extremely powerful in a production environment, enabling you to go back and forward with any level of complexity, so you can explore different paths of production without changing the core structure of your shot. It allows you to operate changes back in time in your network and change the way you started.

What do you dislike?

I wish it was faster to simulate things, it really demands a lot of the machine. The performance is the only thing I am not a fan, but the results are extraordinary, but then again, it is the nature of the precision. It gets better each year, so might just be a matter of time.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Be specific with what you want within Houdini. It is such a vast universe of things you can do in it that you quickly become lost learning a myriad of things and end up frustrated. Eeach area is so vast you might never see the end of it. So choose an area you want to explore and dive into it. It is not uncommon to see a senior houdini artist that never touched some areas of the software yet!

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Non destructive modeling and animation.

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Houdini review by Roberto T.
Roberto T.
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"Very Polihedric Software"

What do you like best?

Houdini is widely used for Visual Effects; however, as game artist, what I enjoy the best from Houdini is the possiblity to create procedural asset.

Moreover, the community is helpful and from the officia website you can access lot of tutorial and documentation that will help you to get confident with the software.

What do you dislike?

I deeply appreciate this software and it is difficult to find something to dislike.

My main difficulty in using Houdini, coming from a Fine Art background, was a pretty step learning curve.

The software is not very user friendly for an artist, and you need to get familiar with nodes and possibly python language (even though this is not fundamental).

Recommendations to others considering the product

If, like me, you will find it difficult to learn Houdini at the beginning, just stick to it: your efforts will be repaid.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Working with Houdini and creating procedural asset allows me to speed up the production.

Creating one Digital Asset, allows me to obtain multiple and different meshes.

What 3D Modeling solution do you use?

Thanks for letting us know!
Houdini review by Courtney Y.
Courtney Y.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"User-friendly"

What do you like best?

Compared to the constantly changing interface of Maya, Houdini has proven to be extremely easy to use and easy to learn. The functions all work extremely well and it can handle a wide range of physics-based elements. There are plenty of tutorials online if you're willing to look for them.

What do you dislike?

The only part of Houdini I don't like is how it isn't the best tool for modeling. I would use it for everything but sometimes I have to switch between two programs which is a hassle. The modeling tools aren't necessarily bad, but they're a bit harder to use than a program built for solely that. I'd use Houdini more for effects and simulations as opposed to creating characters or full length animations.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Try to use both at first then see if you can switch to Houdini fully. Houdini is a great program but it does take some getting used to. Learn all the shortcuts and really focus in on that hypergraph because it's set up so much nicer than other programs.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

My biggest problems are creating procedural assets to be transferred to Maya. Houdini is great at creating and implementing these

Houdini review by Mike B.
Mike B.
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Verified Current User
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"Amazing Software"

What do you like best?

The software is extremely powerful for anything procedural. The node-based workflow is consistent throughout the program so when you learn one aspect of the software you can take that knowledge to another. This means that once you learn how to work with the nodes for fluid dynamics, you can take that knowledge and use them on textures, It has limitless possibilities due to its procedural nature and powerful engine. Houdini Digital Assets can be exported and used like plugins inside other programs. These plugins are run in the Houdini Engine inside of programs like Maya and Cinema 4D. Mantra rendering engine is very powerful and gives great results with a little tweaking.

What do you dislike?

Very steep learning curve. A lot of the resources online, both independent and from SideFX, were outdated when I first started using the software (2014). This made it difficult to pick up on my own. The software also requires a lot of technical knowledge, making it hard for most artists to take advantage of its power.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Invest in tutorials, especially up to date ones. A lot of changed in the past couple of years, but all for the better. A lot of settings have moved around and such, but after a few months things should start to make sense. Its a very impressive and powerful software when you get the hang of it.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I'm still learning Houdini, so I'm not able to utilize all of its abilities. I've heard of big studios completely incorporating Houdini into their 3D pipelines. They use it for FX simulations, scene lighting/rendering, and shading.

Houdini review by Mirko R.
Mirko R.
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"Houdini is a houdini for particle simulations"

What do you like best?

Particle simulations with Houdini is one of the best options in this 3d program. The rendering engine is also very good. Quick solutions can be found for any problem that involves particle simulations in every kind of 3d environment. It is compatible with other 3d softwares.

What do you dislike?

The program just lost momentum. There were a lot of expectations for this program but they did not listen to the users. INterface is very confusing for new customers. They have to learn a lot of new otion that are not intuitive so it takes too much time to resolve a simple problem. Because the are one of the last Autodesk competitors in the 3D industry Houdini should also cost much less to survive and unleash its full potential but they missed it to do, so that there are less and less users, and many do not want to learn how to use another 3d program just for a few good options that it contains, so people like me are leaving the considerations of even trying to use the best functions in it.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Perfect for dynamic simulations.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

There are a lot of options for making particle simulations and rendering options were also very good.

Houdini review by Julian R.
Julian R.
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Verified Current User
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"Amazing and flexible procedural workflow"

What do you like best?

For me, the most important feature of houdini is the node workflow, when you create procedures it's really easy to combine, reuse or even review the work you have done. Furthermore, Features like the packing geometry allow an excellent performance which means you require less hardware resources to achieve good or even great results!

What do you dislike?

There are still some problems with the viewport, specially in Mac, some right click options cannot be activated and the point display freezes frequently. Also, it would be nice to have the possibility to open two or more sessions in mac so you can copy and paste parts of previous networks and work on several files at the same time.

The modelling tools definitely need to be refined, there are a lot of problems in the viewport when you try to move vertices or switch tools. The edit and blast node features are nice but Houdini has problems when selecting multiple faces causing the generation of just too much nodes.

Moreover it would be nice to have a preset library for mantra materials and enhance the current interface to make more user friendly the addition of specular maps and normal maps.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Don't be afraid to play and have fun doing stuff.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The possibility to create assets and tools which I can combine and reuse for different projects.

The performance on the program is really fast and efficient allowing me to work even on a laptop.

Houdini review by Lucas K.
Lucas K.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Amazed with which tasks I can accomplish"

What do you like best?

I love the procedural nature of the software and the fact that every task or job can be built into a tool and incorporated on the pipeline. The copy sop provides a robust way of duplicating geometry and randomizing it's attributes. The attrib VOP allows for a nice way of visual programming in VEX, making it possible to work with scripts without really having to learn to program.

What do you dislike?

The learning curve still very steep in some areas, sometimes it takes a long time to do something default from another packages. I would wish to see improvements on it's viewport display, it still a bit buggy depending on the version you are running.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Houdini is a must in any studio today, doesn't matter it's size. A small studio can get very interesting results fast as well as creative solutions and effects not possible otherwise. A big studio will always gain from it's robust effects tools and procedural nature.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I'm improving my workflow and pipeline creating tools for repetitive and complex tasks. I realize I can have a very automated system for most of my effects. After a few hours of R&D I can turn several different versions for client approval that would take me many more hours of repetitive work on other packages.

Also, with alembic support growing in other packages it is becoming easier everyday to integrate Houdini in the pipeline. With Houdini Engine I'm able to create assets inside houdini and easily translate that to games and other products.

Houdini review by Danny B.
Danny B.
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Verified Current User
Review Source

"Learning curve, but a powerful tool"

What do you like best?

I love the program's ability to handle large amounts of geometry. It is very efficient for creating complex scenes that require duplicated geometry. It also allows for easy procedural modeling and animation, which results in much less meticulous work from the user. The mantra render is also produces very nice results. It also has some of the nicest tools for particles and fluids.

What do you dislike?

There is a strong learning curve if you are not familiar with using a nodular workflow. If you are new at this your workspace will also likely become quite messy and tangled with the connected nodes.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I would highly recommend any 3D artist try Houdini, it has a toolset that is fairly wide. Some of it's aspects, such as particles and fluids, are better than that of its competitors.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I used this software primarily to easily create complex scenes of repeating geometry. I have realized the benefits of Houdini's copying abilities, and use of instancing lights and geometry on to points.

Houdini review by Kevin a.
Kevin a.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"The Leader of Effects"

What do you like best?

There are only a few effects software out there and Houdini FX gives a superior performance and dramatic and easy to use yet powerful 3D experience to VFX artists . The ability to integrate all your effects to your scene using a third party software is good . Houdini is fast and reduces timlines and enjoys enhanced flexibility in all your creative tasks . Houdini is perfect for visual effects and tech directors using effecrs , particle system and dynamics . Houdini is being taught to many students who desire to become an effects and simulation artist . So there is always a future for people who are willing to learn or become a effects artist .

What do you dislike?

Houdini is expensive . If you want limited options for a game Houdini offers that too with a annual subscription . About the workflow , Houdini FX allows users to integrate their effects with 3d modelling softwares so that , we don't have to switch it here and there . But , sometime , that makes your system to lag and some times to crash .

Recommendations to others considering the product

Consider using , other effects softwares first .

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I prefer to use dynamics and particles from the 3d modeling software inside , cause it's better when your composing . Since I have mentioned that Houdini is costly I cannot afford it . I use it in my university to achieve better effetcs if my softwares can't handle that amount of usage .

Houdini review by Sam W.
Sam W.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Not for the faint of heart, Definitely for the big production value!"

What do you like best?

Houdini is incredibly powerful. You wouldn't believe what it can create with in a short amount of time for well versed artists.

What do you dislike?

The level of complexity is very challenging and the community seems rather small compared to that of other 3D packages. The biggest downfall for houdini without a doubt was the learning curve. It turns away many people.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Get some serious training. You'll be glad you use it. Don't get realflow or other packages for FX. This is the FX simulation package to use.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

When I need to create a powerful simulation or visual item for a client I can always rely on Houdini to be capable.

Houdini review by User
User
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"The lead of VFX software"

What do you like best?

Houdini is the lead software when you talk about vfx, the simulations and the procedural modeling is just amazing, and the render software is amazing.

The use of this software is not only limited to movies, but videogames, the fast iteration with the procedural modeling will help you to create amazing and seamless environments for your games.

What do you dislike?

The UI is really hard to learn at start, the nodes have pretty difficult names too

Recommendations to others considering the product

The software is amazing, is the best of the best fo create digital simulations and have a lot of tools for modeling and animation.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

i was using this to test the procedural modeling tools and simulation to create fast environments/backgrounds.

Houdini review by Jose F.
Jose F.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Perfectly Crafted for Technical Users"

What do you like best?

The Ability to artfully fuse Creativity and technology,

The program is light and brilliant interms of computing the craft in a brilliant manner.

What do you dislike?

Nothing much,

I maybe dislike the fact they concentrate more on VEX code based nodes,

its just me, because i loved to go into the network and play around and recreate things which was not possible.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you love to build tools and expertise in quality production works, Houdini is your best choice.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am an VFX artist, mostly creating tools and techniques for simulations and procedural texturing(look dev).

Houdini review by User in Motion Pictures and Film
User in Motion Pictures and Film
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Verified Current User
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"Houdini is used in every film in the facility"

What do you like best?

Houdini is the best for any fx task you can think of. I haven't worked on a movie in the past 5 years where Houdini has not been used

What do you dislike?

Complex to get started and unintuitive. Also very expensive for the master licences!

Recommendations to others considering the product

Use it, it is the best!

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It is phenomenal at any fx sim you can throw at it

Houdini review by Emiliya V.
Emiliya V.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Lokta"

What do you like best?

I prefere don't recommend this software my friends becouse it is so difficult for understand and working. But I love Houdini FX exactly for this! Nodes, skills, greatful result.

What do you dislike?

hurd doing something and sometimes i don't understand VEX.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

-

Houdini review by Industry Analyst / Tech Writer in Transportation/Trucking/Railroad
Industry Analyst / Tech Writer in Transportation/Trucking/Railroad
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Goto software for VFX"

What do you like best?

One of the best software out there in visual effect. All the studio I know all uses Houdini for VFX work. Constant revision and updates

What do you dislike?

Not much to say, I haven't found anything to dislike.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Visual effects, every studio uses this software for their work and rendering

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