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pixels, motion, and scripting
david van brink // Sat 2009.04.4 10:49 // {houdini}

houdini

Lately been trying 3d apps, looking for my next toy.

tubey.jpg
Quick recap of 3d software that I’ve used or recently tried:

LightWave. Fluent. This app has everything except proper instancing. Crufty bizarro-world interface… and yet, gets the job done. Expressions and scripting available.

modo. Fluent. Smooth as silk. Clean and modern UI. Like lightwave, but from this universe, instead of the Amiga. Still lacks expressions, limited animation, and no whizbangery (no bones, particles, or dynamics). Yet.

Cinema 4D (c4d). Comes so highly recommended. Only tried it for an hour or two. Lovely modern app. I could see getting a lot done with this. Scripting and expressions. The UI is modern and responsive.

Maya. I want to like it, because I’ve seen great stuff come out of it (from people who are by far better artists than I, alas). But I feel the weight of history in it, it remains inscrutable to me. I have an expert friend who is going to sit down with me and give me a good dose of Getting-It. I hope. I love scripting, that won’t be the obstacle.

Houdini. Love at first click.

Most apps aspire to give you a clean well-lighted crafts studio, with the kiln warmed up, the tools spread out before you.

Houdini gives you a fully stocked laboratory, soldering iron (1), screwdriver (1), wirecutters (1), and a high-voltage supply rail. Go!

This means there’s a high fixed overhead to get anything done. But it sure lends itself to quirky algorithmic experiments.

The picture at the top, and the bottom, are relatively trivial Houdini documents with some stacked operators. The bottom one uses random expressions to control the height of the blocks-stacks. (The stars part is straight from a tutorial on the company site.)

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