Houdini Engine supports a deep integration of Houdini and its procedural workflow within the larger framework of a Studio pipeline. Houdini Engine functions as both a plug-in to other applications and a non-graphical solution for batch processing and distributing important tasks to the farm.
IN HOUDINI | In Houdini, everything you do creates a node. These nodes are wired together into networks which define a flow of data which make it easy to go back and make changes. Networks can also be encapsulated into single nodes called Houdini Digital Assets which are easy to share with colleagues. These assets provide artist-built tools that brings procedural solutions to your pipelines.
IN HOST APPLICATION | Houdini Engine lets you load Houdini Digital Assets into other 3D apps. Any parameters added to the asset are available for editing and handles can be set up in the viewport for interactive manipulation. One asset can be used multiple times in a level or in multiple levels. Changes made to the core asset, even deep into production, will update all instantiations of the asset.
The Houdini Engine can also be used to Batch Process Houdini in non-graphical mode on the farm. You can use Houdini Engine licenses in batch mode to distribute a wide range of important tasks such as rendering, dynamic simulation, motion and geometry caching.
Houdini Engine licenses let you run the plug-ins and batch process on computers which don’t have access to interactive licenses. They offer a more affordable solution for larger pipelines.
Houdini Engine brings a procedural node-based approach to some of your favorite apps. In Houdini, build nodes networks that define a recipe that can be applied over and over, then wrap them up to create custom smart assets. Share these assets with colleagues who can load them directly into 3D apps such as Autodesk® Maya,® or Autodesk® 3ds Max,® or into game editors such as Unity® or Unreal Engine.®
Create procedural game art using Houdini Digital Assets loaded into the Unity game editor. Create unique environments and props that can be modified using parameters on the asset.
The Houdini Engine API can be used to create plug-ins for any number of applications. If you are interested in creating a plug-in for your favorite app, you can get started right away!
A Houdini Engine license can be used to batch process Houdini scenes on the farm. Whether you are rendering to Houdini Mantra, processing a large fluid sim or combining a library of assets into a single scene, Houdini Engine provides behind-the-scenes control.
Houdini’s Mantra renderer works by processing scene description [.ifd] files created by Houdini at render time. To free up your workstation from this task, you can utilize Houdini Batch to create these .ifd files then send them to the unlimited Mantra tokens which come free with each license of Houdini.
To quickly explore multiple iterations in Houdini, you can use the Wedge tool to render or simulate a shot multiple times, using different parameter settings. This approach lets you easily compare results with randomized values. Houdini Batch can be used to rapidly generate different wedges and to add text to the output file name or stamp a settings watermark on the resulting images to identify the impact of each wedge on the result.
HQueue is a general-purpose job management system that distributes, monitors and manages tasks across a collection of computing nodes, or client machines. It specializes in managing render and dynamic simulation jobs submitted from Houdini however it can be customized to work with any job from any application.
To create smoke and fire, VFX artists can turn to Houdini’s Pyro FX tools to simulate and render fire and smoke effects then partition and distribute them to your farm using Houdini Engine. The speed and memory advantages make this a great way to meet key deadlines.
In Houdini, FLIP fluids provide a unique combination of particle and fluid dynamics to create realistic simulations of flowing and splashing liquids. In Houdini, these processor-heavy calculations can be sliced into smaller simulations that are distributed to the farm. These slices not only speed up your overall simulation time but also allow for bigger overall sims because the total memory used is split into smaller, more manageable chunks.
With Houdini’s Digital Asset technology it is possible to encapsulate and store scene components into easily updatable parts, then manage the scene layout using an external asset management system. With Houdini Batch, asset-based scenes can be easily built on the farm. This approach ensures that the latest assets are in place and makes it easy to re-process shots using updated assets down the line.
As an animation or VFX is passed from the creation stage to final output, it is often useful to cache out geometry to disk using either .bgeo or Alembic files to lock down motion and deformation and make the rendering process more secure. Houdini Batch can be used to manage this output as changes are made to your scenes and assets. This geometry could be a deforming character, points from a particle sim or a surfaced fluid simulation.
Python can be used to launch and drive Houdini Batch from within your existing pipeline. You can use scripting to make Houdini Batch a part of your wider pipeline and to integrate it fully into your workflow. You can also use scripting inside your Houdini scene files to customize your solution using either Python or Houdini’s hscript.
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