Sneak peek: Houdini 19.5
Posted on 18 July 2022. Check out this story for more details on the new features in Houdini 19.5.
SideFX has posted a sneak preview of Houdini 19.5, the next version of the procedural 3D software.
It features changes throughout Houdini’s toolset, from 3D modelling to character effects, fluid simulation, Pyro smoke and fire simulation, the Solaris scene layout system, and Karma, Houdini’s new render engine.
In the story below, you can find a list of everything shown in the video, complete with timecodes.
Updated 21 July 2022: Houdini 19.5 has now been released. We’ve left this story online as the timecodes for the video may be useful, but you can read a detailed run-down of the new features here.
Houdini 19.5 features several updates to FLIP fluid simulation workflow, including simulation up-resing, and the option to use any arbitrary shape as the boundary for a FLIP simulation, as shown in the image above.
00:24 SOP FLIP workflow
FLIP fluid sourcing and solving available in SOPs
00:43 SOP FLIP viscosity
00:53 SOP FLIP configs
“Many convenient set-ups” for FLIP in SOPs – examples include lava, beach, waves, ocean
00:58 SOP FLIP Boundary
Custom FLIP boundaries
01:02 SOP FLIP Domains
Resizeable domains with multiple collisions within tank
01:07 SOP FLIP Upresing
Balance low- and high-resolution sims to capture detail where needed
01:22 Kelvin Wakes (via SideFX Labs)
New time-independent deformer
The 3D modelling toolset gets a reworked Curve tool, though most of the completely new tools are available through SideFX Labs, SideFX’s set of experimental Houdini add-ons.
01:26 Curve Orientation
Enhanced Curve tool with orientation and auto-tangent support
01:34 PolyScalpel (via SideFX Labs)
“Highly versatile” cutting tool for curves and surfaces
01:54 PolyWireUV (via SideFX Labs)
UV generation for polywire geometry
Output rig to pose and deform with Houdini’s new KineFX rigging toolset
Smoke and fire simulation
Pyro, Houdini’s toolset for smoke are fire simulation gets performance and workflow improvements.
02:40 Pyro Source Instancing
GPU-accelerated instancing and turbulence
02:50 Environment Lights
Enhanced lighting for volumes like smoke and clouds in the 3D viewport
02:57 Content Library
Free, render-ready Pyro project files for Houdini’s Karma renderer, Unreal Engine and Unity
Solaris, Houdini’s USD-based toolset for scene layout and lighting, continues to evolve, with new brushes for populating scenes with objects, then orienting them by ‘combing’ them like a hair groom.
03:18 Layout Line Brush
More dedicated brushes for building environments in Solaris
03:30 Render Region
Moveable IPR window in the 3D Hydra viewport
03:37 USD asset database
Create, save and load individual database files for quick access to assets
03:45 Layout Paint Brush
Place USD assets with random scale, orientation and distribution
03:55 Layout Stack Brush
Vertical asset placement with optional spacing, randomised translation and rotation
04:03 Layout Comb Brush
Orient USD assets based on the direction of cursor: works rather like a hair groom brush
04:22 Light Filters (available in the Karma renderer)
Gobo and barn door
Light projection and gel
04:45 Light Filter Networks (available in Karma CPU only)
Houdini’s crowd simulation tools get a reworked look-at system for crowd agents, with artists able to use other agents or point clouds as targets, plus an ‘attention span’ control for gaze duration.
05:08 Crowds LookAt
Redesigned and expanded Agent LookAt capabilities
Hair and fur simulation
The changes to the hair and fur toolset this time round are mainly workflow improvements for real-time hair grooming, with the full changelog also listing an interactive hair cutting tool.
05:22 Grooming improvements
Mirrored brush actions also work on asummetrical grooms
05:40 Hair HDA procedural
Generate simple fur and/or deform complex hair grooms at render time
Works with Karma CPU, Karma XPU and any Hydra delegate, including RenderMan and Arnold
Does not consume a Houdini Engine licence
Both the Karma CPU and new Karma XPU render engines reach milestones in Houdini 19.5, with Karma CPU now “ready to take over render duties” from the legacy Mantra renderer, and XPU moving into beta.
05:51 Karma Ocean
Dedicated ocean rendering with Karma Ocean LOP
Encino waves in Ocean Spectrum SOP
06:16 MaterialX Nested Dielectrics
06:21 Ongoing Karma XPU development
06:29 Facing-ratio and Curvature VOPs
Karma CPU only
06:31 Rounded Edge VOP
Karma CPU only
Watertight subdivision/displacement in both Karma engines
06:50 MaterialX SSS
Random walk subsurface scattering
06:57 Motion Blur
Dedicated Motion Blur LOP for simplified set-up
Character artists get improvements to Vellum, Houdini’s position-based dynamics solver for soft tissues, but new rigging toolset KineFX mainly gets workflow and performance improvements this time around.
07:02 Muscles and Tissue
Vellum muscle, tissue and skin sims: fastser, more accurate and robust
Improved tissue sliding
Other new features
You can find a complete list of changes at 07:25 in the video. As well as those covered earlier, they include:
Texture baking (beta)
Auto-crop post process
Motion vector and heatmap AOVs
Volume velocity blur
Pose-space muscle deformation with FEM Deform
Ability to define rigid portions on skin via cavity maps
Ability to paint ‘soft tissue’ constraints on incoming rigid geometry
Tissue layer thickness and muscle compression controls
Shallow Water Solver SOP: very fast 2D solver customisable via masks
Integration with Unreal Engine and Unity
Unreal Engine 5.0 support, including on macOS
Unreal Nanite support for output meshes
Skeletal mesh I/O from Unreal
Output SOP support for Unreal End Unity
Redesigned LIDAR import with richer format
New spiral generator
Hexahedron primitive support
New tools available via SideFX Labs
Tubular UV unwrappers
Physical ambient occlusion
Fast Gaussian curvature
Spectral feature tranfer
Geometry data-scan and mesh-scan clean-up
Buildings from patterns
Hair groom exporting to Unreal Engine
Pricing and system requirements
Houdini 19.5 is now available for Windows 8+, macOS 10.15+, and Linux distros.
Houdini FX costs $4,495 for a node-locked licence; $6,995 for a floating licence. Houdini Core, which lacks advanced simulation tools, costs $1,995 for a node-locked licence; $2,995 for a floating licence.
There is also a free Houdini Apprentice learning edition and a lower-cost, rental-only Houdini Indie edition. Both save in their own file formats and have feature restrictions. See a product comparison table here.