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Side Effects launches Houdini Engine plugins for Maya, Unity

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Side Effects Software has released free preview versions of its Houdini Engine plugins for Maya and Unity. Both plugins are included as part of the current production build of Houdini and the free Apprentice Edition.

Announced in July, the Houdini Engine API extracts Houdini’s core technologies into a form that can be integrated into other tools, eliminating the need to bake out and export data.

Instead, key parameters of Houdini Digital Assets remain directly editable within the new host software.

Effectively, the new plugins let users edit content created in Houdini inside Maya or Unity as if they were still using Houdini itself.

For experimentation, not production
According to Side Effects’ FAQs, the aim of the public preview is “to decide if there is a business case for moving forward with creating commercial versions”.

As such, Side Effects hasn’t currently announced a timescale or pricing for a commercial release – or indeed, guaranteed that the plugins will ever be released commercially.

Until a decision is made, the preview versions of the plugins – which are described as being pre-beta – will remain available “indefinitely”, although in a 30-day time-bombed format.

Each will work for 30 days after a particular production build of Houdini is installed; after that, you’ll need to install a new build to keep using the plugins.

PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
Side Effects Software, an industry leader in 3D animation and visual effects software, is proud to announce the immediate release of experimental Houdini Engine plug-ins for public preview. These plug-ins allow for deep integration of Houdini technology into Autodesk Maya and the Unity editor and will be available freely to CG artists during the experimental testing period.

The Houdini Engine now includes access to all of the new Houdini 13 features such as finite elements, enhanced Bullet, new particle tools and a feature-rich Find Shortest Path tool. The plug-ins were written with the recently updated Houdini Engine API 1.5 which adds texture baking, volume support, and more. Volume support is especially notable because it lets artists work with assets built using Pyro and Cloud FX tools in the Houdini Engine.

To access the Houdini Engine, artists can download the latest production build of Houdini or the free Houdini Apprentice Learning Edition and install the experimental plug-ins along with the Houdini interactive software. Houdini Digital Assets created in either Houdini or Apprentice can then be loaded into Maya and Unity using the Houdini Engine plug-ins. A growing library of Digital Assets for use in both Maya and Unity will be available at the Orbolt Smart 3D Asset store.

Read quickstart guides to using the new plugins on the Side Effects Labs website

Download Houdini Apprentice (Includes both Maya and Unity plugins)

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