[Sidefx-houdini-list] Autodesk bought Softimage

Andy Nicholas andy at andynicholas.com
Sat Oct 25 11:39:30 EDT 2008


> Is it same flexible? Can you fetch any information from any place or pass
> any data into any part of your scene?

Yes, you can certainly get data from almost anywhere. You're limited at
the moment as to where you can put it though, so it's certainly not as
flexible to the same degree as Houdini. Flexibility can be a mixed
blessing though, and isn't always a good thing unless you're pretty
structured about the way you work. ICE is quite good in a way, in that the
flexibility it offers is constrained to a particular location as it's just
an operator like any other in XSI.

XSI will never take over from Houdini as that's not what they're trying to
do. They're two very different packages and each has it's strength. I'm
just saying that it's a mistake to knock ICE based on the fact that it
looks similar to VOPs, and therefore can't offer anything new. It can, and
it has.


> This is not because of *cool* architecture of ICE. You can achieve this in
> different ways, for example as you said using a Ray SOP, or sampling from
> volume. No problem. OTLs, presets?

Yep, you're missing my point. My point wasn't about the technology and
"if" you can or can't do something, it was all about how easy it is to do
something, and how fast it is to previsualise and explore options. ICE is
much faster for this. Houdini on the other hand is a power house for
getting a specific effect done - if you know how you want to do it,
Houdini'll get it done no questions asked. But I think ICE is much better
for artistic exploration.


> Sometimes "easy" is easy only for the first look. For example nCloth. It's
> easy. But it's not procedural. What means it's "pan in the ass" in the
> case than you need to do lots of changes.

ICE is procedural. The surrounding XSI structure isn't necessarily
procedural, at least, not in the Houdini sense of the word. Agreed though,
there are definitely issues with linking up ICE trees to objects in the
scene. The workflow on this isn't great. But again, it's all about what
you're using it for. I'm not saying ICE is always better than Houdini,
that's rediculous. What I am saying though is that ICE *can* be better
than Houdini for some jobs.

Andy



>> I really feel they won't reach the level of Houdini 9.5 before at least
> 3-4 years.
>
> Even in 3-4 years it could be just seriously improved *bad* ideology.
> Houdini had *good* ideology from the beginning. Big difference.
>
> On Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 4:56 PM, François Duchesneau
> <sidefx at trinix.ca>wrote:
>
>> You can use a Group Sop to get points that are inside a mesh and it's
>> fast.
>>
>> I haven't played with Ice but from what I've heard what has been done is
>> great but apart of particles and the equivalent of Vop to deform
>> geometry, what else do they have. I really feel they won't reach the
>> level of Houdini 9.5 before at least 3-4 years.
>>
>> François
>>
>> Andy Nicholas wrote:
>> >> 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.
>> >
>> > Cheers!
>> >
>> > Andy
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >> 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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>> >>
>> >
>> >
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