Thursday, January 15th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Side Effects releases Houdini 14

Side Effects Software has released Houdini 14, the latest update to its flagship 3D package, adding a new position-based dynamics solver, crowd pipeline tools and new hair grooming tools.

We covered the new features when Side Effects released its teaser video last month, so we won’t go over the same ground here. The news release below fleshes out some of the details, particularly for the crowd system.

You can also find a very detailed feature list via the link at the foot of the story.

Houdini 14 should be available from Side Effects’ website by the time you read this, for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Pricing remains unchanged at $1,995 for the standard edition or $4,995 for Houdini FX.

The Indie version, intended for anyone making under $100K/year costs $199/year.

Side Effects Software, an industry leader in 3D animation and visual effects software, is proud to announce the immediate release of Houdini 14. With a new Position-Based Dynamics solver for granular simulation, new crowd pipeline tools, UI enhancements and grooming tools for hair and fur, this release brings a better user experience, improved scalability and optimized performance to VFX artists, animators and game makers.

The new Position-­Based Dynamics is a multi­physics environment ideally suited to the creation of wet and dry sand. Multi­threaded thanks to its exclusive reliance on VEX-based operators, the new solver can run on the CPU or on the GPU using OpenCL. In addition to sand effects, artists can create solids, sheets or tethers to generate soft body, cloth and wire­like simulations.

The new crowd system uses artist­-friendly shelf tools along with a new packed agent primitive type, a Finite State Machine solver and hardware accelerated display of instanced crowds. The system has a seamless conduit to Houdini’s Mantra renderer and is equipped with controls for crowd layout, steering, collision avoidance, terrain adaptation, motion blending, and look­-at targets.

This crowd pipeline is intended primarily for large, mid-­to-­background, non­-interacting crowds executing basic motions and can seamlessly interact with dynamic elements such as Bullet, fluids and sand. It will be enhanced in future releases to support more complex agent interactions and AI for creating hero-quality crowds.

With Houdini 14, a great deal of work has gone into user experience. From preselection highlighting to new handles, improved edge­ loop selection, new UV Flatten and UV Layout tools with UDIM support, grooming tools for hair and fur, an advanced visualizer architecture, custom panels and much more, this release will make it easier for artists to work procedurally.

Meanwhile, animators will appreciate the new faster Animation editor with Animation layers and significant speed improvements to the display and playback of rigs.  

Read a full list of new features in Houdini 14