Sunday, May 12th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Check out SideFX’s new free Project Dryad tools for Houdini

SideFX has released the first batch of tools from Project Dryad, its ongoing project to create a semi-automated system for generating large-scale natural environments in Houdini.

The first three Project Dryad biome tools are available in current releases of SideFX Labs, the company’s set of experimental free add-on tools for the procedural 3D software.

A set of Houdini tools for creating large natural environments for games and VFX
First announced at GDC 2023 – you can see a recording above – Project Dryad is a semi-automated system for creating natural environments driven by real-world physical properties.

That includes both terrain and biomes – geographic regions with similar geography, climate and vegatation – with Project Dryad populating environments procedurally with users’ own assets.

The output can be art directed by setting up the boundaries between biomes, and by adjusting the rules and parameters used to populate them.

The aim is to generate environments that reflect how factors like soil quality, altitude and rainfall affect where different species of plants grow in the real world.

First set of Project Dryad tools let you process terrain inputs and classify biomes
The first three tools from Project Dryad – the Biome Initialize, Biome Curve Setup and Biome Profile SOPs – focus on the first part of the process: setting up inputs and classifying biomes.

You can find video tutorials on how to use them via the links below, along with instructions for installing the SideFX Labs tools themselves within Houdini.

We’ll update this story as more Project Dryad tools become available.

Price and system requirements
The Project Dryad tools are available via the free SideFX Labs toolset for Houdini 20: the initial video tutorials show version 20.0.697, which was released last week.

The source code is available under a modified 3-clause BSD license.

You can find pricing and system requirements for Houdini itself in this story on Houdini 20.

Check out SideFX Labs’ video tutorials on using the Project Dryad tools

Read the instructions for installing the SideFX Labs tools in the Houdini documentation

Download source code for the SideFX Labs tools from SideFX’s GitHub repo

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