Houdini 4.0; Exclusive Sneak Peak





Toronto, Ont. -- Houdini 4.0, shipping date to be announced this fall, promises to be a momentous release with the product being expanded to include a number of new features and functionality.

"Houdini 4.0 represents the next generation of procedural animation technology," said Paul Salvini, Director of Research and Development at Side Effects Software. "It has a wealth of new features combined with a revolutionary new procedural interface and workflow. Our Research and Development team worked closely with users in designing and building this new release. The result is a highly streamlined product that brings proceduralism and production efficiency to new heights."

Houdini 4.0’s cross-platform, floating licenses will support IRIX, Windows NT and Linux.
Using the VEX shader language artists can combine true displacement mapping with real raytraced shadows. Render time for this image was 2.5 minutes.

Some of the things to watch for in 4.0 are:

A port to Linux: Side Effects Software will be the first major 3D animation company to port a product to the popular O/S and to prove it they showed Houdini running on Red Hat Linux 6.0 at the Evans & Sutherland booth at Siggraph. Technology from XI Graphics and Evans & Sutherland made the port possible with more third party X-Server, open GL and card manufacturers to be supported with the release of the product.

New workflow: Side Effects Software’s "Project Karma" has been underway for nearly 18 months and the results are that Houdini 4.0 will not only have a new, easy-to-use UI it will provide users with a highly efficient workflow. Some of the features animators can look forward to include: a dynamic customizable desktop made up of any arrangement of editor panes; zoomable tile networks with new tools for color coding and grouping; quick links to jump between operators and web browser style back, forward and bookmark functions.

Programmable Shaders: A powerful Houdini shader-authoring language has been incorporated into the Mantra renderer. The new VEX language will prove familiar to PRman users. As for those wanting to avoid the code altogether, they will be able to use Cinema Graphics’ ShadeTree GUI for VEX. Mantra 4.0 will ship with a substantial library of both PRman and VEX shaders.

Mantra has been repriced and rebundled so that every license of Houdini will come with five licenses of the hybrid micropolygon/raytrace renderer.

Those needing additional licenses can purchase them for $500 (USD): a significant decrease from the previous $4,000 (USD). Customers with 10 or more Houdini licenses in their shop will get unlimited access to Mantra.

For more information: http://www.sidefx.com