[Sidefx-houdini-list] Autodesk bought Softimage

Meng-Yang Lu ntmonkey at gmail.com
Sat Oct 25 13:20:26 EDT 2008

Andy, you're my hero!
It is true.  XSI users aren't trying to one-up Houdini.  The users have a
much loftier goal, and that's to get out to the pub.  ICE fills in a huge
gap that's been missing for us, and we're just starting to see what it can
do.  Many of us did fire up Houdini if we had access to it to supplement FX
work because XSI's particles were so bad.

However, ICE is serious business.  It's already fast, and there's a huge
shift of moving more stuff into that architecture.  Speed is sexy, and it's
attracting a lot of TDs and Devs to push it to it's limits.  So far, it's
taking the abuse quite well.

As for flexibility, it doesn't wire into everything in XSI yet, but who says
EVERYTHING has to be procedural?  Particles, points, and kinematics are
already getting a boost from it, so life is good.  Best part is that XSI
still feels like XSI and nothing like Houdini (ICE's interface feels
familiar to XSI's native rendertree), whereas Houdini now feels like Maya
and Firefox (I like the old houdini).

There's nothing shameful about using multiple apps and loving various bits
from each.  It's like having multiple girlfriends, each to suit your fancy
depending on how you feel.  Unlike girlfriends, software is quite alright
with that.

See ya at the pubs,


On Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 8:46 AM, Andy Nicholas <andy at andynicholas.com>wrote:

> 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).
> A
> > 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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> >
> >
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Meng Yang Lu
3D Operator
The Mill LA

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