TORONTO: OCTOBER 15, 2015 – Just nine months after artists first got their hands on Houdini 14, Side Effects Software has announced the release of Houdini 15 with onion skinning, new shader building tools, crowd ragdolls and Houdini Engine 2.0. This new version enhances modeling, rendering and animation tools to meet the needs of generalists, animators, lighters, and game makers while the VFX tools become faster, more scalable and more efficient at handling big data.
“With this release, Side Effects is working hard to bring Houdini’s modeling, rendering and animation tools up to the level of its VFX tools,” says Kim Davidson, President and CEO, Side Effects Software. “With more game studios creating content using procedural techniques and commercial studios looking for artist-friendly tools, Houdini 15 offers a well-rounded solution.”
Houdini has traditionally offered strong procedural modeling sometimes at the expense of its interactive workflow. With improvements made in Houdini 14 and now 15, modellers are now able to work intuitively in the viewport with the new tweak edit workflow, edge sliding, soft selection highlighting and new tools such as PolyBridge and PolyExpand 2D. For working with hi-res models, new retopology tools make it easy to build low-res geometry by drawing right on top of high-res geometry.
Rendering in Houdini 15 is faster and richer with improvements to the Mantra renderer such as checkpointing and render view feedback. Shader building has been enhanced with a new shader library, a rebuilt Shader FX 2.0 menu, layered materials and a cartoon shader.
Houdini 15 also includes an implementation of Disney’s physically-based Principled Shader which is designed to provide artistic flexibility with a minimal set of controls. In addition, a library of royalty-free PBR Ready Textures will be available on sidefx.com for use with Houdini 15’s shader building tools.
Material stylesheets create a production-level workflow for creating and managing material overrides that work well with Alembic files and packed geometry. Easily set up random textures and variances in material settings to give a unique look to a collection of similar items such as crowd agents.
RenderMan 20 and RIS shading support is fully integrated into Houdini 15. RIS shaders are available in the RIS Shader Network SHOP and Houdini’s VOP context provides a native environment for building RIS shaders with OSL support.
“Pixar and Side Effects have worked together to create a first class experience for lighters,” says Chris Ford, Business Director – RenderMan, Pixar Animation Studios. “Houdini 15 offers interactive shader building tools which make it easy for artists to achieve the look they desire.”
Houdini 15 comes with a complete set of RenderMan BxDF, Pattern, and Integrator RIS shaders as well RIS light shaders and Camera, Light Probe, and Rolling Shutter RIS projection shaders. There is also a new RIS render node which allows the RIB and RIS render nodes to have cleaner interfaces specific to each mode.
The animation workflow in Houdini 15 is better than ever with onion skinning, a pose library panel, an improved character picker panel and enhancements to the dope sheet. This makes it easier to pose and keyframe characters in Houdini.
New lightweight female and male rigs provide sample characters that artists can use to explore the animation tools in Houdini. Houdini 15 also includes dual quaternion support for deforming twisting geometry and preventing volume loss.
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