[Sidefx-houdini-list] Autodesk bought Softimage

Andy Nicholas andy at andynicholas.com
Sat Oct 25 11:46:01 EDT 2008

Totally agree, but I don't think they're trying to become Houdini. I also
think that even if they were, it'd take them a lot longer than you
mentioned to get anywhere near Houdini.

As far as I'm concerned, they're just adding features that the XSI
community have been asking for for a long time, it just so happens that
they realise the power of a nodal system. Its unsurprising that parallels
are going to be drawn between Houdini and XSI, but I don't think it's a
worthwhile comparison. I've always felt that they're intended for two
different markets (although I think SideFX is trying to widen that now).


> 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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