"Houdini 15.5 delivers great production-inspired features both to our established community and our emerging user base. There’s a lot more included than in a typical point release, as we’ve been able to finalize a wide range of features well ahead of our major release schedule." Details can be found here.
Third Party Rendering support in Houdini Indie will be available when Houdini 15.5 is released at the end of May 2016. All of the renderers listed here will work within the existing Houdini Indie render limits - 1920x1080 for animation sequences and unlimited for still images. Rendering in Houdini Indie will go directly to the renderer without saving out render description files.Details can be found here.
Houdini Engine Indie works with all of the Houdini Engine plug-ins including Unity, UE4, Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D and Autodesk 3DS Max. These plug-ins let game devs load Houdini Digital Assets which can be created in Houdini Indie or downloaded from the Unity Asset Store and the Orbolt 3D Smart Asset store. Details can be found here.
Side Effects Software is proud to release the 2015 Demo Reel featuring the work of Houdini customers worldwide. The shots in this reel are a small sampling of all the amazing work created by the Houdini community of artists. A great deal of dedication has gone into every frame. Congratulations to all the artists and studios responsible for these fantastic shots!
Houdini 15 introduces new modeling, rendering and animation tools for generalists, animators, lighters, game makers and VFX artists. This brings Houdini to a bigger part of the pipeline while the VFX tools become faster and more efficient at handling big data.
Houdini Engine for Unreal Engine 4!!!
Houdini 14 has been released!!
Houdini 14 Sneak Peek!!
Asset Request Winner!!
Orbolt now accepts and fully supports Indie assets. The site will autoconvert files on upload just like Apprentice assets so they can be sold and shared with others. Let us know if you have any issues or questions email@example.com
Asset Request Contest!!
Houdini Indie ReleasedSide Effects Software has launched Houdini Indie, a $199/year version of Houdini that contains all of the animation and VFX tools and is available under a limited commercial license to independent animators and game makers. As well, they have launched an Indie version of Houdini Engine, a $99/year version of Houdini Engine available for limited commercial use.
Maya Orbolt Browser!!
Orbolt's out of beta!!
Engine Asset Creation!
Houdini Engine and Cinema 4D!!
Houdini Engine and Digital Assets!!
Changing asset location
|Digital assets can now flow from Houdini to Orbolt to a custom digital content creation app such as Maya or Unity. The Houdini Engine provides a bridge that connects other applications to the Houdini universe.
So what implications does this have for Orbolt?
For asset authors, this opens up a whole new facet of users that will be able to experience your work. Those that aren't familiar with Houdini or working in a pipeline based around other packages are now able to use your assets. All of the controls and functionality that you've put into the setup are still there, but now are functioning in the host application thanks to the Houdini Engine.
For artists, they are now able to use the assets in their favorite environment. The Engine opens up features that are unique only to Houdini and allows other users to experience them in their package of choice. You get the power of Houdini in app of you choice.
Asset Store Update!
To embed or not to embed.. multiple assets and example hip file.
Assets In The Orbolt Cloud!
St. Patrick's day Contest Winner!!..and we have a winner!!!
Houdini 12.5 is out!!!
Assets for St. Patrick's day contestEarlier in February we announced a contest coming this march! And to make sure that your well prepared for it, we're going to supply a few assets which can be adapted to a St.Patrick's Day theme.
Have we got dependency issues?Not unless you consider innovation a dependency... This post is a follow-up to Part1 on upload via the Asset Author Tools RMB menu.
Use other assets in your ownWe've noticed that some authors are beginning to use store assets within their own, bigger assets. This is pretty cool because it lets us build upon each others work! It does raise a few speed bumps however. The most common issue with this is how to handle these dependent assets.
Upload the lowest-level assets first, and work your way to the top.
Special tools make authoring easier!A while back one of the developers published some Asset Author Tools to help artists create assets. There are some little-known advantages to using these tools that I'd like to share with you.
Direct upload from with Houdini lets you skip a few steps!!With the Asset Author Tools installed, you can just RMB over and asset that you are working on and you'll see some new commands available. Notice the "Upload to Orbolt Asset Store..."
Now is the perfect time to save the hip file as an example file.
There are Houdini Artists working at night for you!..well, it's night somewhere on the planet right?
Staff Artists are BusyHoudini artists here also spend a bit of their time creating assets for the store too! Right now we're focused on creating tools for learning, and reviewing incoming Assets from you. We do this as a way to seed the store with fresh content, and ensure that there is some free content for hobbyists and students.
Our Role is to FacilitateWe view our customers as the artists, for whom we provide tools. The Orbolt Asset store is intended as a tool and resource for our community. The community artists provide the content
Happy Valentine's Day!We thought we'd send you this festive image...hope you don't mind that we chose this instead of sending chocolates or long-stemmed roses!
Send a Video !While approach might work for a store website, we recommend that you not try this with your significant other (I did last year and ate dinner alone as a result, sniff).
Honest Pricing for High-Value SoftwareWhat's your household budget for Console games?
Variety is the spice of life!As our community continues to grow, you're going to see a wide range of assets and prices. We recognize that different customers have different needs and expectations from our store. Hobbyists and students may prefer free stuff to experiment and learn with, whereas production studios are more likely interested in higher-end "developer" assets which offer major, plug-in like, functionality.
LinksLearn more about Houdini digital assets (webinar).
St. Patrick's day ContestWe're hosting another artist challenge! St.Patrick's Day is Sunday March 17th.
Is an asset a brick, or a factory?Houdini Digital Assets (HDA) can be as small, like simple material shaders, or large like a suite of tools with major Plug In functionality.
Trial period makes it risk-freeWhen you download an asset, you're not just getting a polygon model, you're getting software. Which is why we refer to them as "smart" assets . Features and functionality vary from one asset to the next, and authors price them accordingly. We appreciate the value of your hard-earned money, so we've included a free trial period with every asset. You can try before you buy, and be confident with the asset before you've been asked to pay a cent.
Let you developers know what you think.
Authors Can Add Extra Help FilesExample files are a great starting place for customizing assets. If you're an author and you'd like to add a second or third hip file, you can send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will host the file and provide you with the url to paste into your asset description!
Author Tip: Asset inputsAsset authors need to predict how their assets will be used, and expose all the right functionality to their customers. One of the most basic, and occasionally overlooked features, is the simple ability to allow the asset to be parented to other objects.
Change The Default Input ValueBasic tab and change the maximum inputs to 1. This will add an input to your asset node. You can see this change in the network view.
Set The Output TransformNow that your asset can be parented, you can optionally specify ANY node in your asset to be used as the transform. By default "input1" is used, which will be the top of your hierarchy. Usually this is what you want.
PayPal had issues yesterdayTo all of you who were affected by PayPal's service interruption yesterday, we offer our apologies for any hassle. Read the news HERE .
Add Images to help cardsHere's an image which demonstrates how to include custom images in your digital asset's help card.
Creating HDR imagesThis post outlines a few different methods for creating HDR images.
Mirrored Ball MethodOne of there easiest, and least effective ways to make an hdr image, is use "mirrored ball" approach. In this case, photograpsh need to be taken from a single perspective, at 10+ different exposures and merged in Photoshop or HDRshop.
Panoramic TransformationsDiffernt 3D packages expect IBL images in different layouts. Houdini's environment light expects a LatLong layout (also called sphererical mapping). Below is the "unwrapped" version of the image.
Wide Angle Lens Method
Using a Pano headBy far the most labor intensive method is to use a panoramic head. This involves taking photos with a standard lens, from 48 perspectives to capture the entire 360 field of view. Keep in mind that you need 10+ exposures of each perspective. Then you need to merge and stitch the results.
Using a specialized cameraThere is a company called Spheron which produces a specialized camera for just this task. For the ultra high end, this is probably the way to go.
What's the problem with jpgs?Typical photographs can either display extreme highlights or lowlights, but not both at once. In the example images below, note how the exposure allows either the interior room to be exposed, or the exterior parking lot. This makes them poor choices for use in IBL (image based lighting) and as displacement maps.
Imitating real-world lightingIn real life, your eyeball can handle both lighting conditions at the same time. In order to create photo-realistic lighting in CG images however, you need wide range of exposures. In other words, a more dynamic range of lighting.
Can my cell phone can do that?Probaby not.
High Dynamic Range Image format
Image Based Lighting BasicsIt's fairly quick and easy to get photo-realistic results using image-based lighting.
Intro to the Environment LightOnce an image is chosen, the results can be seen immediately.Below is an image which demonstrates some of the various options for the light.
Portal GeometryAnother option is to include "Portal Geometry"
Holiday Contest ResultsA few weeks ago we announced a contest to create a holiday-themed image using assets from the Orbolt Smart 3D asset store. Check out some of the finalists here...
Author tip: Example hip filesWhat is the best way to show off your work? These guidelines can help...
Example filesWhat we hope for in an example file is something which..
GuidelinesHere are some possible guides to consider.
Holiday Challenge SubmissionsSounds like a wrestling move, looks like peace and goodwill to mankind...it's a contest!
Intro to LayersEver notice that CG images tend to have really black shadows? The truth is, %100 black almost never occurs in real life.
Basic composite example
Step 1: Clean-up the image
Step 2: Import CG elements
Step 3: Shadows on the building
Step 4: Re-Apply Foreground
Step 5: Final Composite
Anatomy of a Blackhawk 3
Anatomy of a Blackhawk 4
Anatomy of An AssetEver wondered what goes on under the hood a digital asset? This blog takes a look at the modelling and early development of the Military Helicopter Asset
Anatomy of a Blackhawk 2The process of duplicating, mirroring and then joining the sides, results in a surface that is neat and orderly (all the edges meet nicely). The basic process is to model one side and mirror it. Then model the top, and mirror it. Then tweak, then join.
Reno Madness?What exactly is this construction crew doing? The Holiday Challenge continues! Prizes!
Got a question about an asset?Contact the author directly through personal messaging. Here's how...
Holiday Card Asset ChallengeCelebrating the holidays is getting easier. Our designers have made you these customizable greeting cards!
Post your images too!Try these assets and make a card. Then show your work HERE .
We decorated the tree over the weekend.But we're still deciding what belongs underneath. Maybe it you could use your personal touch. Rudolph and Santa had the weekend off and the designers here began decorating the tree in their absence. This scene was made with the tree, ornaments, and giftbox assets...Still needs toys though!
Holiday Challenge is warming up as December approaches!Q: How do we QA Holiday-themed assets? A:We make greeting cards that you can customize! Yes, we're going to be posting everything you need to create your own Holiday card...and we sincerely hope that you can find some way to add your own bizarre twist to it. Stay tuned for our updated works-in-progress.
Houdini Versions, Orbolt Assets and You!
This post covers the differences between Houdini/Houdini Apprentice when creating Orbolt assets.
Below is a handy chart highlighting the major features of each version of Houdini Apprentice.
One of the requirements of Apprentice version is that the software be used for non commercial work only. The good news is that it sill can be used to create assets that can be sold commercially on the Orbolt website! Any assets created with Houdini Apprentice or Houdini Apprentice HD will be converted at upload stage to fully commercial format. This lets anyone download Houdini Apprentice for free and start creating assets without any cost.
The author decides if they want to give away the asset for free or charge for it. If the asset has a set price, an automatic Trial version will be available. This allows users to download and try the asset for 3 days free of charge. The time starts at the moment of download. It gives everyone a chance to play with the assets in the store, without any risk. Once the trial expires the user can choose to purchase the asset if they would like to continue to use it.
Any assets that are sold will have two prices that the users can choose from. The Apprentice version, which will usually be cheaper to fall in line with Houdini Apprentice/HD pricing. This version can be used for non commercial projects and will taint the Houdini session into non commercial format. The commercial version of the asset can be used without any restrictions for commercial or non commercial projects.
Any questions or concerns don't hesitate to ask at: email@example.com
Don't launder your money, clear your cache! Yes we've updated the server to roll in some new features: Version history, enhanced uploads, and copy-protection for free assets. Upload your otl file and see what's new!
Now when you upload or update an asset, you can new describe what changes you have made since the last version. This information is visible every Asset's page in the Orbolt Asset store, and will soon be available inside Houdini when you're prompted to update an asset.
Copy Protection for Free Assets:
Authors are now able to copy-protect free assets, should they desire. Until now, only paid assets could be copy-protected. Now, you can still give your asset away for free but hide how it works.
The upload page has been redesigned and streamlined to make it easier to upload assets. Managing icons has been simplified, especially when the otl file contains an icon that is different from the previous version's icon.