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Move to Houdini

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It has been about six months since I switched exclusively to Houdini from C4D. For me, it was a great move, but I've come to appreciate more what C4D offers. In Houdini, almost nothing is built for free. There are limited primitives compared with C4D, and even automatically creating a UV map for a sweep nurb requires a lot of unintuitive steps in Houdini and is effortless in C4D. Realistically, you need to learn at least a little hscript or python and some short lines of code in VEX to be productive. However, I have a much better understanding of rigging, modeling, UV maping, etc. than I ever had in C4D. Houdini forces you to really understand concepts, not just kind of sort of understand. Houdini's power is amazing. I recently finished rigging a hand model in Houdini that replaces one I used in C4D, and I learned a lot about mistakes I had done in C4D from lack of deep knowledge. I won't be returning to C4D, but I have a new appreciation for the stability, simplicity, and power (particularly of NPR and mograph) of that program.


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That's awesome to hear. Houdini is extra hard to learn, but once mastered, your abilities are on another level. I tried modeling and I soon realized this is not for me, this is not fun, this seems like heavy duty work...its really hard to switch once you get use to Cinema 4D, you soon start to miss little things, R21 will be even more of those little things. I also tried Modo and Blender and I always get back to Cinema 4D. 

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I'm in the same place. the power of Houdini is incredible BUT if you need to bang out a quick detailed model it ain't gonna happen in Houdini or at least from my meager perspective I do love the node aspect.  for instance you don't like the bevel you applied you just go up to the node, make your change and it cascades down. Sometime Houdini does through a curve ball, sometimes you don't get expected results, try again and it works, you didn't make any changes yet the second go it works. :confused:

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Houdini does have some quirks that can be frustrating. Sometimes selecting something in the screen view does not work, but selecting in the network view and then going into the screen view and right click>accept selection works. Constraints sometimes only update manually or by closing and reopening. But even though Houdini is less stable than C4D, it is rare to have significant corruption in a file. Sometimes one will have to recreate a node, but the rest of the file is fine.


I actually don't find modeling that much slower in Houdini, but that is because you can go back and tweak earlier steps a lot easier than in most 3D programs, as you mentioned, Bob. Even if some of the nodes will give errors or unexpected behavior after changing earlier nodes, it is almost always simple to fix them. (like changing the number of sides to a cylinder, where an edge loop is added afterwards). I don't think the topobuild is as good as C4D polypen.


The biggest benefits to a move to Houdini have been: far better rendering, the ability to tweak everything in a model, the ability to add attributes to anything to drive modeling, the best mathematical commands (which makes xpresso look like childrens' toys), the ability to create as many digital assets as you want (so that the "primitive" menu can be as extensive as you want), and no real limitations if one is willing to dive into VEX. It is a full featured program/language and you don't need to buy plugins except perhaps a faster rendering engine. It is also priced far less than other programs (excepting Blender) and gets updated daily. Support is awesome.

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That nodal graph you have is awesome.  A rig like that in C4D with the linear Object Manager is infuriating.  Can never really see the entirety of a complex rig.  Maybe C4D with switch everything to a nodal view.  Only if, everything would be so much more simple.  You could also see where things in Mograph are connected instead of having to go through some list in the Attributes for every Mograph object.  Till then I'm looking at Houdini paired with Blender for the future. 


It's getting so affordable to get started in 3D now a days.


Could you list some resources that helped you move over?

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I've used Lynda.com and Helloluxx, which weren't bad, as well as some youtube videos and tips from SideFX forums. For me the best way to get started were:


Rohan Dalvi's introduction to Houdini free series on Youtube:


For use of attributes for modeling (not fire, water, blowing things up, the soccer ball tutorial in the free book:



The free rigging series from SideFX starting with: (does not cover binding/skinning though, but that is generally a one click process if the bones are set up correctly:



and best of all, for usable functional modeling, the Lamp Project by Varomix (unfortunately costing $175, but totally worth it):



Prior to using Houdini, my favorite 3D program was XSI - as it was simple, intuitive, and powerful. I've used C4D, Modo, Blender, Maya, and XSI - but I find Houdini is a league of its own. It is fun to use, and incredibly powerful. I gave up on it several times in the past, thinking it was too difficult. But nowdays, the tutorials will get you past the hump and it is totally worth it.



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I forgot to add the very good (and free) tutorial: https://www.udemy.com/vehicle-modeling-in-houdini-16-scifi-dropship/


I would be careful about using any tutorial over two years old to get started. Frequently they use deprecated nodes (like the PointSOP) or use of a color ramp to move points. While figuring out a more elegant and modern solution is pretty easy after you have been using Houdini for awhile, it would be very confusing when starting out.


Every model you create is a mini tutorial, as you can go step by step through the nodes and see how the model was built. You can also reuse these nodes for other models. A discussion of why one might change from Maya to Houdini would be equally well applicable for C4D to Houdini: http://www.tokeru.com/cgwiki/index.php?title=MayaToHoudini

When one purchases a premade model on something like turbosquid, one has no idea the steps the artist made to create it. Houdini models, on the other hand, teach the process. Some of Hrvoje's tutorials on modeling a human could be all encompassed on a single Houdini model. It also would allow one to show the steps like https://www.peterstrobos.com/blog/my-virtual-hand/ uses (though he used Blender and the steps are only shown in the blog).


The reason I recommend Varomix's lamp tutorial above all others is that it covers modeling with virtually no programming in an efficient and logical manner. (I think he might use one or two variables, but there is no programming needed). It covers all the basic modelling steps for hard surface modeling, sweep and lathe nurbs equivalent. It makes UV editing as simple as in RizomeUV. You learn to make a beautiful render. Not only is Mantra explained in an understandable manner, but he shows how to use Redshift (which is a lot faster for most scenes). He covers use of substance painter and compositing in Fusion. That single tutorial would get you reasonable proficient in basic modeling that doesn't include water, fire, explosions, crowd scenes, and special effects - which are what most people think of when considering Houdini. He also discusses ways to make it easy to navigate the network pane (which sometimes can seem overly complicated).


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