Side Effects Software has released Houdini 6, the latest version of the procedural modeling and animation software that garnered a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year. Houdini Apprentice users can also download a free non-commercial version of Houdini 6, including all-new training materials at www.sidefx.com.
The new digital assets feature is designed to enable users to create and manage libraries of re-usable characters, effects and other elements that can be set up with more artist-friendly controls. Other enhancements include global illumination, embedded on-line help, and enhanced animation, interface, lighting, compositing and particle tools.
Geometry, bones, shaders and motion can be brought together into a unified custom asset with high-level controls for artists and animators who dont need to know about the underlying procedural networks. These assets can then be managed through special libraries that make it easy to insert updates into the pipeline or re-use assets across a production. Digital assets can also be used as custom tools for streamlining the manipulation of geometry, motion, shaders, effects and composites.
"Houdini 6 helps studios create fully-encapsulated digital assets that can be managed in one place and referenced across multiple scenes and projects," explained Dr. Paul Salvini, cto at Side Effects Software. "For example, a TD could set up a CG fish with built-in effects such as fins that react to the fishs motion along a path curve or bubbles that are emitted depending on the fishs speed. The animator could use a simple version of the fish for keyframing then switch to a full-resolution version when it is time for rendering. The nondestructive nature of the technology enables the TD to make further changes to the fish without affecting the work of the animator."
The new embedded help browser in Houdini 6 uses html and Houdinis hscript language to create interactive learning materials while providing a framework for technical directors to produce in-house documentation and browser-driven scripts related to specific production pipelines. Global Illumination is now supported in Houdinis built-in Mantra renderer, allowing realistic renderings that simulate the way light inter-reflects within a scene. Other improvements include a hotkey driven keyframing system and new character tools include forward and inverse kinematic blending and dynamic parenting. Houdini 6 has also been enhanced with a variety of new compositing operators and particles can now be set up to slide across a surface then drop off at an appropriate point.
For more detailed information on Houdini 6 features, system requirements, pricing and purchasing information please contact Side Effects Software (www.sidefx.com). All Houdini applications work together seamlessly and are available for the Windows, Linux, IRIX and Solaris operating systems. Houdini has been used to create stunning digital animation in blockbuster films, includingX2: X-MEN UNITED, DAREDEVIL, SPIDER-MAN, XXX, THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, BLACK HAWK DOWN, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, X-MEN and THE MATRIX.