Learning Houdini Journal 21: The New Houdini 15.5

Jun 01, 2016 at 11:00 pm by -gToon

This is the twenty-first entry of a year-long journal on learning the 3D application, Houdini, created by Side Effects Software. Houdini is a sophisticated application that is widely used in the production of visual effects for Hollywood films such as Big Hero 6, Mad Max: Fury Road and many others.

In my previous Learning Houdini Journal 120, I almost completed a short series of tutorials by Jose Sanchez from his Vimeo page. The 4-part series is called "Introduction to Procedural Modeling". Jose showed how using basic modeling nodes in Houdini could produce great results. Unfortunately, when I upgraded to Windows 10, I forgot to save my Houdini files and lost all of my work on these great tutorials. Since I want to keep moving forward, I'm going to start a new set of tutorials from GameTutors.com. But first, Houdini has released a new version of their software which includes a particular focus on modeling.

Houdini's New Version 15.5

Parametric modeling is more involved than modeling in other applications. Node-based 3D model creation process takes some time to get used to. Which is why I was delighted to download Houdini 15.5 to my new Windows 10 installation because Side Effects has added some great new modeling tools and re-worked on old ones. This journal will focus on some of these new modeling features.

Modeling Tools such as PolyBevel, PolySplit and Dissolve have been rewritten from the ground up to add key features and optimize experience for modelers. Retopo tools now have splitting, straightening, edge loop and brush tools for positioning and relaxing points. New straighten, distribute points and make circle options are now available when editing points.


•New PolyBevel SOP

•New PolySplit SOP

•New Dissolve SOP

•TopoBuild tool (phase II)

•Variable width offsets in PolyExpand2D

•Double-click for edge loop selection

•Double-click for point and primitive island selection

The Poly-Split and Poly-Bevel tools are particularly helpful to me as I've had problems making them work in my tutorials. Now, they are much easier to use and work perfectly. Bravo to SideFX for making these tools work so well (along with many other new additions: see video below for examples).

Game Tutors Tutorials

After realizing that I didn't want to go back and completely re-create my work from the Jose Sanchez tutorials, I searched around for some new ones and discovered gametutor.com, a great place for free and paid tutorials with a special focus on using Houdini for Indie Game asset creation. If you haven't checked this site out, I urge you to do so as you can sign up and get a load of free Houdini tutorials.

The tutorial series I chose to work on was the Procedural Bookcase creation tutorial.

Procedural Bookcase

The Procedural Book Shelf course will take you through the process of creating a simple Houdini Asset, which lets you construct a book shelf with user defined Shelf count, and book density. Throughout this course you will get a nice foundational set of Houdini skills that will allow you to build your own simple procedural assets, using Houdini. By the end of this course you will have a fully functional procedural book case, you can use in your own projects, plus the knowledge to build your own simple Houdini Assets.

Difficulty: Beginner
Category: Modeling
Total Lessons: 6
Running Time: 01:11:11

It's a great course and I've been watching it through and taking notes before I get started. Gametutors (GaTu) focuses on Houdini, Unity and Substance primarily. Their video set up is excellent and I really like the simplicity of their style.

Next week, I'll start posting on my bookshelf creation progress.

Houdini 15.5 | What's New from Go Procedural on Vimeo.


Next: Building a Procedural Bookcase