Houdini

(15)
4.4 out of 5 stars

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 <span>Michael M.</span>
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 <span>Roberto T.</span>
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 <span>Courtney Y.</span>
Courtney Y.
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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 <span>Mike B.</span>
Mike B.
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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 <span>Mirko R.</span>
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 <span>Julian R.</span>
Julian R.
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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.

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