Thursday, December 14th, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Download SideFX’s free Skinning Converter for Houdini

SideFX has released Skinning Converter: a neat free add-on for Houdini that turns any deforming mesh sequence with constant topology into a bone-based animation.

The tool can be used to convert computationally expensive scenes, like cloth or soft tissue simulations, into a more lightweight form that can be exported for use in a game engine.

Convert simulations to bone-based animations and adjust bone placement manually
We’ve covered skinning conversion tools on CG Channel in the past – Naughty Dog character TD Hans Godard wrote one for Maya in 2015 – but only as commercial products.

SideFX’s version has the advantage of being free, and it looks a nice implementation of the concept.

Skinning Converter plugs into any Houdini network that generates a mesh sequence with non-changing topology, and converts the output to a bone-based animation with a user-specified number of bones.

Users can choose to have bones distributed evenly across the mesh or to have them cluster in regions of high detail, and can even paint in bones by hand.

There is also an error visualisation display to help identify regions of the mesh where the bone-based output does not match the source animation in order help refine bone placement.

Availability and system requirements
Skinning Converter is provided as a Houdini Digital Asset, and works with Houdini 16.5.

It can be downloaded from the tutorials section of SideFX’s website, along with two other new free tools for converting Houdini heightfields into meshes or textures.

Download SideFX’s free Skinning Converter for Houdini