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Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
SideFX has announced the release of Houdini 15.5 with an improved workflow for modelers, advanced crowd controls and a new VR lens camera for rendering to industry standard formats.
Houdini 15.5 delivers great production inspired features both to our established community and our emerging user base. There’s a lot more included than in a typical point release, as we’ve been able to finalize a wide range of features well ahead of our major release schedule.
Cristin Barghiel, VP Product Development, SideFX
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.
The focus on games is no longer just about Houdini Engine – with the addition of triplanar UV projection, UV bake curvature and tighter UV packing, my dream of procedural tripleA content baking of hundreds of props overnight just got one step closer! SideFX listened to user feedback and took the time to completely rewrite the Dissolve SOP, which now produces stunning results. This level of commitment to continual improvement of new and existing tools just warms my heart.
Magnus Larsson, Senior Artist, Machinegames
Crowd Tools now feature advanced locomotion controls, accurate foot planting and terrain adaption, and more sophisticated crowd steering. The all new Mocap Biped 3 comes with a rich library of motion clips for a diverse selection of motions. Crowd tools now support direct FBX imports as agents for better integration with other applications, a smoother workflow and redesigned/simplified shelf tools.
The new V R Camera is based on a VR lens shader that lets you render VR images to forms such as Latlong spherical projection, perspective Cube Map or a stacked Cube Map 3×2. The camera lets you set the eye separation and eyetoneck distance, and can be used to render to Houdini’s builtin Mantra renderer.
Houdini 15.5 also brings T hird Party Rendering to Houdini Indie. Now independent artists and studios can use RenderMan, Arnold and OctaneRender in their lighting pipeline along with Houdini’s builtin Mantra renderer. Houdini Indie support will also be available for VRay, Redshift and Maxwell.
Houdini 15.5 can be downloaded from SideFX.com immediately, with base Houdini available for as low as $1,995 USD and Houdini FX available for as low as $4,495 USD. Both these prices include first year on the Annual Upgrade Plan, which provides production level support plus access to daily builds and dot releases.
Houdini Indie is available for $199 USD per year, including the newly added third party rendering. Indie offers an affordable yet professional version to animators and game developers grossing up to $100K USD per year. (Note: Indie cannot be used in the same pipeline as commercial versions of Houdini; it uses its own file format for saving scenes and digital assets, and renders animations up to 1920×1080)
FREE Houdini Apprentice For students and artists looking to learn more about working procedurally, SideFX has a free Houdini Apprentice Edition that allows noncommercial usage with a nonintrusive watermark and a render restriction of 1280×720.