[Sidefx-houdini-list] New obfuscation of Lookat - am I the only one saddened?

Andy Nicholas andy at andynicholas.com
Mon May 8 05:45:35 EDT 2017

Uggh. Yep. Couldn't agree more. I love that it's in CHOPs (I wasn't a 
fan of the original design - too black box), but it's a poor attempt at 
simplifying how people interact with it for so many reasons.

So sure, the GUI presents a simple interface to applying contraints 
(aside from the annoying viewport picking). But in 90% of cases you 
still need to modify the look-at axis or change the target object, so 
you're going to have to drill down anyway and understand the network 
(that you didn't create) to change parameters. So why try to hide it in 
the first place? Like you guys said already, it needs to add some spare 
parameters at the top level so you have direct access.

Looking at the top level object, you're able to tell if an object has 
constraints, but you have no idea which constraints it actually has. Not 
to mention that you can't remove them or change their order of 
evaluation. If you add multiple constraints and drill down to look at 
the CHOP network, unless you're quite familiar with constraint CHOP 
networks, you'll still have no idea what constraints you have.

Lastly, it's the old case of being able to add nodes into a tree with a 
menu system, but good luck if you change or customise the tree yourself. 
The result of menu operations probably won't give expected behaviour any 

Sorry to the hardworking SideFX dev team but I find the motivations 
behind designs like this hard to understand. It's usually as a result of 
people saying "it's too complicated, can we simplify" without thinking 
it through. Like I said, I don't have a problem with CHOP constraints,  
just how it's hidden behind a pointlessly over simplified interface. It 
just doesn't add anything.

On 07/05/2017 18:27, Peter Bowmar wrote:
> Hi,
> Just curious if I'm the only one saddened by the new, much clumsier, Lookat
> "constraints" on Cameras, Lights etc?
> I recall commenting on how the multiple levels of obfuscation and lack of
> UI saddened me before, but now that I actually want to use it for
> something... wow it really slows down the workflow.
> -You _must_ use a shelf tool for something that previously was a single
> drag and drop operation. Massive workflow slowdown.
> -the actual parameters that get created are buried on nodes inside the
> object itself (!!) so both obfuscation and a massive workflow slowdown as
> you jump contexts
> I get that it's "more powerful" in the sense it's a CHOPnet you can
> intercept and manipulate, and I think that's great. However the tradeoffs
> aren't worth it since you don't actually manipulate the CHOP data in 99% of
> simple "LookAt" cases.
> I'm not opposed to the actual calculation being done in CHOPs, I love CHOPs
> like any self-respecting Houdini zealot.
> I just the think the way the UI and requirement for a shelf-tool has been
> done is a massive leap backwards and makes me sad :(

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