Linux maintainer saught for forthcoming HoudiniOgre exporter

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futnuh
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Linux maintainer saught for forthcoming HoudiniOgre exporter

Post by futnuh » Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:15 am

Image

Back in early February we managed to contract this rather clever British bloke to help alleviate our pain in exporting geometry and skeletal animation from our modeling tool of choice, Side Effects Houdini (http://www.sidefx.com/), to our graphics engine of choice ... Ogre. For anyone who reads Sinbad's blog, you might recall this post about his love of the tool and despair over its SDK documentation, http://www.stevestreeting.com/?p=469

Well the exporter is finished and ready for a first binary Windows release.

As a Linux user, why should you care? Because Houdini is also available for Linux (in fact, I suspect it runs better on Linux than Windows). Furthermore, it - just like our exporter - is free for non-commercial use. That's right, the tool that rules Hollywood runs on the hacker's platform (and I mean hacker in it's non-pejorative sense) and is freely available for non-commercial use. Procedural geometry straight to .mesh. Character animation straight to .skel.

Image

We are looking for a Linux and Ogre-savvy developer willing to port and maintain the Linux version of the exporter. Porting should be trivial; really an exercise in understanding Houdini's somewhat-bizarre build system and then packaging it up for easy install. Ideally you would have access to the various flavours of Linux that run Houdini and be willing and able to produce binary releases for those that matter to Ogre users.

Reimbursement? None initially, just the appreciation of Linux Ogre users who adopt Houdini. That said, the exporter is also being released as a commercial product and we are more than happy to negotiate a percentage commission on paid Linux licenses. Now to be honest, we have no idea if there is any commercial demand for this tool - it was created to meet our internal needs. Keep that in mind before you start calculating compound interest on future earnings.

If you're interested, please contact me direct by email (details below).

Cheers,
Darran.

Darran Edmundson (darran at edmstudio dot com)
Partner, EDM Studio Inc
http://www.edmstudio.com
Last edited by futnuh on Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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ajuss
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Post by ajuss » Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:28 am

hi,
this is good news
and where can i download this exporter? It's not listed in ogre tools/exporters page

ajuss
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futnuh
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Post by futnuh » Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:11 pm

It is "ready for release." We are just putting together a windows installer ...
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futnuh
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Post by futnuh » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:35 am

Thanks for the responses, we potentially have a very illustrious maintainer (no, not Sinbad himself). Hopefully a release will be ready soon after Eihort ships.
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Post by Tubez » Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:53 am

Excellent news! Can't wait to play around with it.
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Post by xavier » Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:44 am

Damn I forgot how interesting and powerful Houdini is...it's no more in cost than the high-end Max, I don't know why anyone would still use Max (other than familiarity).

BTW anyone who thinks Blender has a steep learning curve....try Houdini. ;) Of course, if you learn Houdini you'll never use anything else, I think.
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Do you need help? What have you tried?

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Post by big_o » Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:13 pm

Downloaded the non-commercial version and gave it a whirl yesterday. The interface, compared to Blender's felt crowded, and the work flow felt tediously slow, but maybe that's just because I'm not used to it.

I'm going to play with it a bit more, but I still like blender better. :)
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Post by futnuh » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:05 pm

big_o wrote:Downloaded the non-commercial version and gave it a whirl yesterday. The interface, compared to Blender's felt crowded, and the work flow felt tediously slow, but maybe that's just because I'm not used to it.
It probably depends on what you're trying to do. Houdini's free-flow modeling is admittedly clunky. For organic modeling, I personally would use one of ZBrush, Wings3D, Blender, Nendo, Mirai, etc.

Houdini's defining strength is its procedural approach - it is more like a visual programming language than a menu-driven animation package. Proceduralism shows its benefits when you want to make changes. Other packages try to implement this with modifier stacks, histories, etc. In contrast, Houdini is designed from the ground up around the concept of networks and data flow. Literally every parameter is a "channel", and any channel can be used to drive any number of other channels.

How does this help? Well consider our medviz application as a somewhat simple example. The sliceable head is actually 100 different mesh models that are swapped in depending on the slice plane. These 100 versions were created in Houdini. Now clipping a model is easy enough in all 3d packages. Consider though the "lip" that I've created to give the cropped skull some thickness. The Houdini network I've built (visually scripted) automatically generates this lip regardless of where the slice plane is positioned.

I'd be very interested to know how easy/hard it is to replicate this in Blender? I.e., use a simple head model and set Blender up to slice at an adjustable height and generate the "lip" for 100 different levels. Perhaps it isn't difficult ...

Image


The Houdini learning curve is steep. Not because the interface is clunky though, but because you're learning a new approach. As with programming, when learning a new language look for what differentiates it from others. The graphical end of Houdini can be thought of as the IDE. It's grokking the underlying paradigm/language that takes time to learn and yields the greatest rewards. (These rewards can be financial too - the effects house are always looking for skilled Houdini "programmers".)

If you're interested, check out some of the free video tutorials on 3dBuzz.
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Post by big_o » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:57 am

I understand where you're coming from, I'm just still trying to wrap my head around the whole node based procedural work flow. Houdini is just different right now.

I'm going to stick with this and see where it goes.

I've never tried anything like that with Blender so I really don't know.
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Post by ajuss » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:06 pm

hi,
thanks for the 3dbuzz link
what is your favorite model/animation transfer format?
i can see that houdini supports at least collada import.
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Post by futnuh » Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:50 pm

ajuss wrote:What is your favorite model/animation transfer format?
i can see that houdini supports at least collada import.
For polygonal geometry transfer, .obj is read/writeable by all packages. It's an old dumb format, but everyone supports it. For animation, there's no standard - you have to be a "data wrangler" on a case-by-case basis. Hopefully 5 years from now this will no longer be the case with the widespread acceptance of Collada. (Note, I think Houdini9 is going to have better Collada support. It will also use Python for scripting.)
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Post by ajuss » Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:27 am

after watching half of 3dbuzz houdini videos i'm very eager to try out this exporter.
any news?
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Post by futnuh » Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:52 am

ajuss wrote:after watching half of 3dbuzz houdini videos i'm very eager to try out this exporter. any news?
The Windows version will be released on Wednesday. I don't have a firm date yet on the Linux version. I do know however that there are only two very minor issues in getting it compiled under Linux. We're hopeful that it won't be far behind the Windows release.
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Post by ajuss » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:26 am

futnuh,
thanks a lot for the good news!
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futnuh
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Post by futnuh » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:59 pm

Windows version is released for anyone interested. There's a news item with link on the Ogre Home Page.
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Post by Ayudo » Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:02 pm

Hello futnuh!

Unfortunally Quicktime 7.1.3 freezes (and so does the browser) when I try to watch the video on Ogre-Main-Page.
But I could download it and watch it with VLC - amazing stuff :-)

Maybe you want to change the extension from .mov (the default for quicktime-movies) to .avi ?

Good luck!
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Post by ajuss » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:09 am

wow,

quictime freezes for me too, VLC works

this is amazing, i'm really impressed what you can do with houdini!

does/will this exporter support animation?

thanks a lot futnuh
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Post by futnuh » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:35 am

ajuss wrote:does/will this exporter support animation?
The exporter supports character animation right now although this is largely untested. I'll try and get a simple demo online by next week. In the near future, I'd like to see support for vertex animation.

Houdini9 will be released soon and apparently boasted a nice python interface. At that point, I think it will be easier to export scene data such as animation, camera data, etc. through python add-on tools.

I'm using the exporter heavily at the moment on a project and have come up with some nice little workflows. I'll endeavour to release these as video tutorials (with sound next time).
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Post by ajuss » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:58 am

this is even more that i've dreamed of!
i like the autorig in houdini and i will try it out soon.
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Post by Chris Jones » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:24 am

quicktime freezes for me too
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Post by Aladrin » Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:39 pm

Chris Jones wrote:quicktime freezes for me too
Firefox/Kubuntu here... Quicktime plays, but my browser is locked until it finishes playing. After it finishes, everything goes back to normal. It's like being forced to watch it all ;) Oh, and you can't fast-forward or anything. Heh.
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Post by futnuh » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:38 pm

Aladrin wrote:Oh, and you can't fast-forward or anything. Heh.
Yes, but can you slow it down and see what happens between frames? It took a couple of attempts to lay that down in 10 minutes ... ;-)

Re the skeletal animation, have a read of the help file that ships with the exporter. Lay down a OgreExporter ROP, right click on the (ogre) icon in the middle of the tile, and ... help. It's concise but gives a hint on how to do it. I'd try with something simple first.
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Post by Aladrin » Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:20 pm

futnuh wrote:
Aladrin wrote:Oh, and you can't fast-forward or anything. Heh.
Yes, but can you slow it down and see what happens between frames? It took a couple of attempts to lay that down in 10 minutes ... ;-)

Re the skeletal animation, have a read of the help file that ships with the exporter. Lay down a OgreExporter ROP, right click on the (ogre) icon in the middle of the tile, and ... help. It's concise but gives a hint on how to do it. I'd try with something simple first.
No, I mean, the controls for the video player in the browser don't work at all. No pause, no fast-forward, nothing. You have to simply watch the movie the whole way through, and then you get control back. lol

It's not your fault, it's Quicktime.
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Re: Linux maintainer saught for forthcoming HoudiniOgre expo

Post by sabotage3d » Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:11 pm

Is this topic completely dead as I am interested in maintaining such a tool.

Thanks,

Alex
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