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SideFX Ships Houdini 20.5

Introducing the image processing feature Copernicus, new rigging and animation tools, the MPM solver for solid mechanics, and more.

SideFX has finally announced the long-awaited release of Houdini 20.5, a massive update to the studio's flagship procedural 3D software, introducing a slew of new workflows, features, and improvements such as the novel MPM solver for solid mechanics, Copernicus for image processing, and new rigging and animation tools.

The highlight of the release is the newly-added Substance 3D alternative dubbed Copernicus, a 2D and 3D GPU image processing framework that provides real-time image manipulation and is ideal for tasks such as building texture maps. Released in beta, this robust toolset allows you to use nodes to create texture maps with noise, distortion, and the rasterization of 3D shapes, handle compositing tasks, and generate non-photorealistic, cartoony looks for your renders. Furthermore, Copernicus supports tools created using the OpenFX standard and can use machine learning to build custom filters.

Another standout feature introduced by Houdini 20.5 is the Material Point Method (MPM) solver that extends the FLIP Solver to solid mechanics and allows you to simulate such materials as snow, soil, mud, concrete, metal, jello, rubber, water, honey, and sand. The release also includes a new RBD Car Rig, which converts car geometry into a drivable dynamic car rig with constraints for suspension and motor, and brings support for VDB collisions created by the VDB Colliders SOP to the Vellum Solver.

The software's modeling toolset has also been upgraded, with complete rewrites of key tools like Clip and Sculpt to ensure they handle dense meshes at interactive speeds. The new Sculpt SOP includes additional brushes, stroke types, masking controls, a revamped interactive viewport state, and a non-destructive workflow. Quad Remesh now provides better control over the resulting mesh, while the enhanced Info Panel allows for a better UX for artists working with node networks.

On top of that, Houdini 20.5 enhances the application's animation and rigging workflows by introducing KineFX powered by APEX, which lets you assign ready-to-animate rig components by simply tagging joints, enabling users to set keyframes to animation layers and use constraints and handles to manage the interactions of characters and props, and adding the option to enable Ragdolls in APEX Animate to simulate motion on your models.

Houdini 20.5 also features:

  • New Solaris workflows for layout, lookdev, and lighting.
  • Karma XPU now has Adaptive Sampling, which makes it faster.
  • Houdini now lets you save a set of parameter values, or a set of network items – such as nodes, dots, sticky notes, and boxes – as a named recipe.
  • The MMB info window has a new look for readability and can be docked along with your other panes.
  • Some of the tools from Project Dryad, a suite of biome generation tools coming soon from SideFX Labs, are already available, and you can explore them in the Content Library. 

You can find the full list of Houdini 20.5's new features here and learn more about them by checking out SideFX's recently-released series of presentations dedicated to the update over here.

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