[Sidefx-houdini-list] Houdini Apprentice to UDK

JUSTIN REEVES jreeves16 at msn.com
Thu Jan 10 08:50:21 EST 2013

Thanks guys this was the help i needed, i debated between the Unity and UDK but the tools are limited in the free version of Unity, and arent in UDK, and the lighting seemed better(lighting junkie) but I heard Unity was easier to use, scripting was easier to learn, and there was just more learning materials out there. I wish I could use Houdini just for the fact that i used it for 4 years, and a 3D package is a lot of learning, so i didnt want to learn another one, especially a inferior one. With all this in mind Ill probably try Blender and Unity.
You guys have been a huge help, and as for SideFX hope you get the game stuff squared away, seems it has been many years since H mentioned gaming with Houdini, but seems its not there still.

Justin Reeves

> Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2013 20:01:14 -0800
> From: ken.ouellette at gmail.com
> To: sidefx-houdini-list at sidefx.com
> Subject: Re: [Sidefx-houdini-list] Houdini Apprentice to UDK
> Having somewhat recently moved into games... I transitioned from a Feature
> Animation/VFX "upbringing" to the games environment last April and now get
> to work with Craig....
> I was hopeful about usign the Apprentice to help learn Unreal via using it
> and the UDK, but without FBX support that was quickly stopped. If the
> intent is to author any animation from a DCC (maya, houdini, etc) and get
> it into the UDK you need to use  skeleton and rig it and that means FBX
> export. Like Craig I've been able to get an FBX from Houdini into Unreal,
> but it was a bit more work. You can fiddle with the import options and do
> some work to avoid the smoothing group options but  I haven't tried it for
> deforming mesh. Static should be okay if you can sort out the import issues.
> Unity is a bit more forgiving and has options to allow for bone scaling.
> UDK/Unreal doesn't like that at all, you can do a uniform scale in its
> AnimTree editor, but it only expects rotations by default. Even to get
> translations in and working you have to dive down and flip a toggle. I
> haven't tried to go from Houdini to Unity but it should be possible.. I'll
> give that a go when I get a chance.
> Unity will see the .obj and you can use it without pain. IT doesn't have
> native support for blendshapes (morphs). You can write your own script to
> do that or find a solution in the UnityStore or forums. Its animation
> editor is great comparatively to UDK's Matinee, but it is still quirky and
> your animations may actually be easier to execute in a DCC that can export
> a FBX. Unity will allow you to scale joints in the DCC and it will respect
> that change IF you put the imported animation to use its "legacy" mode.
> I would recommend Unity and a DCC capable of spitting out reliable FBX at
> the moment for animations and mesh.. it will be easier. For particles, you
> as Craig says, you have to do that in-engine for that kind of work.
> FWIW - if you look at Unity at a highlevel there are a lot of similarities
> to Houdini....
> Ken Ouellette
> Technical Art Director
> TUFF Studio
> Microsoft Studios
> On Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 6:36 PM, Craig Hoffman <craigleehoffman at aol.com>wrote:
> >
> > Thought I would chime in here as a long time Houdini user that has been in
> > the game world for a while and has UDK experience.
> >
> > Unreal only imports .fbx files now.  It has no .obj import.  Houdini
> > Apprentice doesn't export .fbx- you have to have a paid Master or Escape
> > copy to export .fbx.  Even with a paid version, .fbx import into Unreal is
> > difficult.  I have had success in the past, but I recall a bunch of issues
> > with surfaces coming in faceted, etc.  Other packages have support for
> > "smoothing groups" that I believe Unreal expects or something.  Regardless,
> > there is a lot of futzing with things (.fbx export and import settings,
> > point vs. vert normals/Uv's, etc.) to try to get it to work properly and I
> > know experienced Houdini users who gave up after constant crashing of
> > Unreal during Houdini .fbx import into it.
> >
> > Unity has support for importing .obj files, and I believe Apprentice can
> > export .obj files- so that would work.  But .obj is quite limited beyond
> > basic static meshes with one uv set (you might have to make sure it is a
> > point attribute rather than a vert attribute- I can't remember) and no
> > extra attributes, though vert color should work (but I recall some issue
> > with that too...).
> >
> > Anyway, if you want animation (not just static models) Houdini Apprentice
> > isn't a solution- and even the paid versions are wonky as I mentioned
> > earlier.  I know Side Effects wants to get more Game Companies using
> > Houdini, so hopefully they are actually making some effort to make sure
> > their .fbx export will easily import into the major game engines in the
> > near future.
> >
> > As far as FX stuff goes- particles and such- those are generally done in
> > games in the real time sprite and ribbon based particle systems that are
> > part of the game engines.  Unreal has Cascade and Unity has a new higher
> > quality Particle System in Unity 4.0.  There is no easy way to bake out a
> > particle system from a package like Houdini or Maya and import into Unreal
> > or Unity.  For real time you have to stick with sprite/ribbon type particle
> > FX or skeletal meshes for other things- though blendshapes are also
> > supported.  This is for performance on the GPU.
> >
> > I once took a Houdini DOPs shatter sim and attached bones to the pieces
> > and exported the .fbx from Houdini and got it into Unreal in the past, but
> > it wasn't easy.  It would be great if Side Effects added support for tools
> > like that so that artists can easier utilize Houdini's fantastic dynamics
> > stuff to bake out sims for import into game engines.
> >
> > My 2 cents.  :)
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Craig Hoffman
> > Technical Art Director
> > Good Science Studio
> > Microsoft Studios
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> >
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