[Sidefx-houdini-list] Autodesk bought Softimage

Andy Nicholas andy at andynicholas.com
Sat Oct 25 10:30:46 EDT 2008

> SoftImage's innovation on ICE is their marketing,

Have you used it though Ammon? I think you'll find that it's not just a
pretty, well marketed particle system. It's incredibly fast, and by that,
I mean faster than Houdini. This opens up doors to visualising and
achieving effects that previously couldn't be done without a lot of extra
time, effort, and planning.

I don't want this to sound like I'm dissing Houdini and just trying to
promote ICE, but the reality of production focusses one's attention very
quickly onto what the best tool is for the job. I've frequently found
myself doing things in ICE that I'd never consider doing in Houdini,
usually down to computational speed, but also due to the way that the
workflow in ICE makes it extremely quick to test things out, and it allows
you to work at a high level rather than getting lost in the details.

For example, a simple node such as "Point in volume" just returns a true
or false based on a point posiiton, but it's so incredibly handy that I
use it all the time. I'm sure I could use a Ray SOP to do something
similar, but it's all about convenience. ICE is very convenient when it
comes to this sort of thing.

When people talk about innovation, I think this can apply in lots of
different areas. It doesn't have to be some new algorithm to achieve a
specific effect, I think it can also be in introducing a new standard and
ease of workflow. If you've used ICE in production, then you'll know that
Softimage has done exactly that.

I guess I just don't particularly like to hear people knocking something
when they haven't seen the sort of positive affect it's had. The guys at
Softimage put a lot of work into it and have completely changed the way
that we work with effects.

All this pro-ICE stuff aside, for the job I'm doing at the moment I'd
never consider using any other package than Houdini. In terms of the level
of control it gives you to manipulate simulations from sources like
Realflow for example, it's incredible. I have no doubt that without
Houdini my current job wouldn't be feasible.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think it's a mistake to invest
yourself so heavily in one package or tool, it pays to be flexible and to
examine other possibilities. Dismissing ICE as nothing new because it has
similarities to VEX and VOPs is only limiting your choices, and I can't
see a good reason for doing that.



> On Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 3:13 AM, Dragos Stefan <ds_list at dsg.ro> wrote:
>> I totally agree about Houdini's help. I don't think however that
>> Softimage's support compares with SESI's. And when it comes to ICE,
>> well, in my opinion it took far too long for them to come out with it,
>> and when they did it showed up there was really no innovation as they
>> just copied what SESI did with VEX/VOPs many years ago.
> SoftImage's innovation on ICE is their marketing, just like it was
> when SoftImage
> introduced the "world's first"(*) animation software with non-linear
> animation.
> Cheers,
> Ammon
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