SideFX has officially announced Houdini 16 software for 3D animation and video effects. The latest update includes new workflows for terrain building, shading, character rigging and visual effects creation, as well as a new network editor and radial viewport menus.

SideFX Houdini 16 features:

User Experience – New Node Network and Radial Menus

For a fast and fluid experience, the new network editor has been redesigned from scratch to include custom node shapes, alignment and layout tools, ‘dot’ nodes and much more. New context-sensitive and fully customizable radial menus provide quick access to common tools, making Houdini more accessible for artists.

  • – Brand new architecture for better performance, user experience, and control
  • – Completely redesigned look and feel
  • – ‘Dot’ connections to help route wires
  • – Customizable node shapes
  • – Resizeable color palette
  • – ‘Flyout ring’ to quickly access node flags and node info at any zoom level
  • – Persistent node info dialog with live links and cut-and-paste capabilities
  • – Visual ‘badges’ to indicate certain properties of the node
  • – Multi-selectable and multi-assignable wires
  • – Ability to knife-cut wire connections
  • – Snapping guides for fast and easy node alignment
  • – Automatic shifting of nodes to accommodate new entrants
  • – Intuitive, gesture-driven network layout tools
  • – Quickmark hotkeys to jump between networks or within one network
  • – Dimming of long wires to prevent obstruction of nodes
  • – Visual indication of non-local dependencies, with handy jump-to controls
  • – Background image support for network boxes or the entire canvas
  • – Font size, color and background controls for sticky notes
  • – Optional display of the node type
  • – Powerful search engine
Modeling – Artist-Friendly Tools and Procedural Techniques

The modeling toolset in Houdini continues to grow – with new Boolean tools, Smooth and PolyFill. These tools make it easier to create a good surface topology for use in Film, TV, Games and VR, and can be used interactively in the viewport or procedurally in the network editor.

  • Fast Boolean with exact predicates and arithmetic
  • – 3D and UV smoothing with advanced surface analysis kernels
  • – PolyFill with quads, fans, and more
  • – Enhanced PolySplit and PolyBevel
  • – Redesigned Copy/Instance and Group
  • – Intersection analysis and stitching
  • – Robust 2D triangulation
  • – Selection enhancements
  • – Fast tool access via customizable, gestural radial menus
  • – Infinite reference plane with rulers
  • – Medial axis snapping
  • – Vertex normal support in the viewport for cussing
  • – Pseudo-bevelling with Normal SOP
  • – Aggressive geometry compression
  • – Extensive OpenCL support
  • – ‘Compiled SOP’ architecture: parallel cooking and memory savings
  • – 3D Mouse support
Terrain Generation – Full Artistic Control using Volume Slices and Height Fields

SideFX Houdini 16 terrain system lets you layer and edit terrain easily with tools such as procedural noise, or paint or mask out areas directly. The operations are very similar to image compositing, so terrain artists will find the Houdini workflow familiar. The terrain can then collide with Fluid simulations, Crowd agents, Particles, RBD/destruction and Pyro FX – without converting the heightfields into geometry.

  • – Brand new architecture for procedural terrain generation
  • – Based on height-field volumes in SOPs
  • – Full and immediate access to Houdini’s modeling arsenal
  • – 30+ dedicated surface operators
  • – Powerful erosion models
  • – Straightforward workflow, similar to image compositing but in 3D
  • – Seamless optional leveraging of Houdini’s compositing network (COPs)
  • – Ability to mask areas of interest with freeform curves and texture maps
  • – Ability to paint and override any attribute
  • – Support for GeoTIFF and several Lidar formats
  • – Native output to game engines
  • – Fully tileable
  • – Game-friendly terrain material and specialized shader for VFX use
  • – High-quality visualization in the viewport
  • – Dedicated Mantra procedural for rendering
  • – Very fast: hardware accelerated via OpenCL
  • – Native collision support for Houdini’s physical sim environment (DOPs)
Look Development – Streamlined Shader Building Workflow

SideFX Houdini 16 includes a new shader building workflow that allows for layer mixing and quick access to procedural texturing tools. Mantra has been enhanced with improved BSDFs for creating Sub-Surface Scattering, Dielectrics, Absorption and more. Game artists can leverage an improved texture baking workflow.

  • Architecture for single-tiered shader creation in VOPs (no SHOPs required)
  • – Much streamlined workflow to aid both new and existing users
  • – Full support for nested, unlimited shader layering
  • – SideFX Houdini 16 brings redesigned VOP node tiles
  • – Ray-traced SSS BSDF with image-plane outputs
  • – SideFX Houdini 16 brings support for unified nested dielectrics
  • – Dispersion and absorption BSDFs
  • – Redesigned Principled uber shader with extensive features and controls
  • – Updated shader gallery with new entries such as skin, wax, and mountain
  • – Easy OpenGL tagging of shader attributes for viewport visualization
  • – Viewport support for metallics, coat, occlusion, reflection and more
  • – Texture baking enhancements
  • – OpenColor IO support
  • – Per-pixel inspection of material stylesheet overrides in IPR
  • – Significant performance enhancements to Mantra
  • – Fine-grained, intuitive controls for the quality/performance tradeoff
  • – Direct rendering of HIP files containing curves and points with no Engine license
Character Animation & Rigging – Advanced Rigging Tools with Muscles

SideFX Houdini 16 new animation and rigging tools have been improving over the last few releases – and with the Auto-rigging, Muscle and Flesh architecture and Invisible rigs in Houdini 16, a complete character workflow is now in place. The new Biharmonic skin capturing will save riggers valuable time while the FEM-based muscles produce high-realism results.

  • Many enhancements to the Animation Editor
  • – Flexible constraint architecture based on VOPs and CHOPs
  • – Biped and quadruped auto-rigs
  • – Biharmonic skin capturing to diminish the need for weight painting
  • – Fast bone placement with medial axis support
  • – ‘Invisible rig’ support in Pose tool
  • – Spring-based and FEM-based skin & muscle system
  • – Significantly improved FEM soft body solver
  • – Optimized for performance
Hair & Grooming – Designed for Unlimited Control

SideFX Houdini 16 brings new hair and fur tools let you easily layer and blend attributes while mixing things like frizz, clumping, bending, partying and curling. Trim or extend hair using 3D brushes; employ masks to isolate areas of interest; paint any hair attribute in an interactive yet procedurally-safe manner. There is nothing black-boxed about the new system, and the artistic freedom it affords is endless.

  • – Complete overhaul of hair and fur creation, grooming, and rendering
  • – Unrestricted layering of grooming operations in SOPs
  • – Rich set of dedicated tools such as clump, frizz, curl, trim, extend and part
  • – Flexible masking tools to isolate areas of interest
  • – Ability to override any attribute via texture maps or 3D paint
  • – Total freedom to mix attribute painting with 3D brushing
  • – Equal editing access to grooming guides and generated hair
  • – Full preservation of procedural graph
  • – Built-in simulation controls
  • – Easy and accurate retargeting
  • – High-quality hair visualization in the viewport
  • – Dedicated shelf tools and desktop
  • – Very fast: uses OpenCL and the new ‘Compiled SOPs’ architecture
  • – SOP-based Mantra procedural that does not consume Engine license
Ocean Tools – New Infinite Ocean Architecture

SideFX Houdini 16 brings ability to layer wave spectra using point instantly lets artists create complex, realistic and seamless oceans with elegance and ease. No more tiling artifacts with Houdini 16’s truly infinite oceans. Art direct ability is paramount and individually modeled and animated hero waves now mix perfectly with existing spectra.

  • – Complete overhaul of the ocean FX architecture
  • – Unlimited layering of arbitrary wave spectra in SOPs
  • – Infinite oceans: tile-free approach that eliminates concern for artifacts
  • – Waves can be applied artefact-free even to deformed/warped base grids
  • – Art-directable, animated hero waves can be mixed in seamlessly
  • – Masking tools to isolate areas of interest
  • – 3D particle foam system for a richer and more realistic look
  • – Guided sims: seamless blending of FLIP fluid sim with ocean surface
  • – Improved boundary layer that preserves boundary velocities
  • – Very fast: OpenCL accelerated
  • – Layerable ocean shader that lets you plug in foam particles
  • – Render-time evaluation of ocean surface via dedicated Mantra procedural
FLIP Fluids – Art Directable Fluid Simulations

SideFX Houdini 16 brings enhancements to FLIP Fluids include physically-correct surface tension for classic water-crowning shots. Art-directable ‘fluid suction’ uses objects – even deforming objects – to guide the fluid in a controllable fashion that enhances the aesthetic of the fluid dynamics. Whitewater in Houdini 16 is all 3D particle-based which gives much richer, more natural results. For anything viscous, there is a new slip function which provides control over how the fluid interacts with the collision geometry.

  • – SideFX Houdini 16 Physically correct simulation of surface tension
  • – Suction force: art-directable fluids driven by animated geometry
  • – Waterline feature: wave dynamics that extends correctly beyond boundaries
  • – SideFX Houdini 16 Enhanced viscosity solver with slip controls
  • – Fully OpenCL-accelerated pyro pipeline
  • – Native support for collision with heightfield terrains

Houdini Engine & Games

    • – SideFX Houdini 16 HAPI 3.0: no longer Houdini Digital Asset (HDA) centric; packed primitive support
    • – Remote debugger: live view and manipulation of game engine scene within Houdini
    • – Many UE4 and Unity plug-in enhancements
    • – Dedicated shelf tools for games
    • – Rigid-body and breakable simulation export to FBX
    • – Blendshape export to FBX
    • – Simulation export to textures for use in real-time engines
    • – Much improved texture baking
    • – More robust PolyExpand2D
SideFX Houdini 16 versions:
  • Houdini Apprentice – Free edition, non-commercial use, a render restriction of 1280×720 and a watermark
  • Houdini Indie – $199 a year, for indie animators and developers making up to $100,000 annually, render restriction of 1920×1080. This annual license includes all upgrades.
  • Houdini FX – starting at $4,495
  • Houdini Core – starting at 1,495 (with a promotion until May 31, 2017)

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