Houdini Free Download – Get into Pc – Question of the day
Feel free to skip down to the examples if you’re pressed for time, this intro and notes are a little rambly Suddenly your world is upside down.
Parameter panels look different, data flow is no longer linear, the geometry spreadsheet has gone weird, even the base layout of nodes is slightly different, nothing can be laid out in straight lines anymore, almost like its intentionally throwing you off balance.
Having chipped away at it for a few months, I can say it’s not that bad. Ironically, a lot of the initial confusion stems from the way DOP networks are created by the ‘user friendly’ shelf tools. They might be easy to create, but they’re not easy to pull apart, and even harder to understand when they don’t work as expected. These examples are mainly about creating simple self-contained setups, with as little roundabout references as possible, with the shortest explanation possible but no shorter.
Some text rambles on, some is super brief, but the idea is that they show the technique and the minimum nodes required to setup an effect. These are definitely not 2 hour masterclass lectures! Dops aren’t sops obviously , they don’t directly model the flow of points through a graph, rather they setup behaviors and relationships. Remember that a sim is all about calculating based on the results of the previous frame, so thats what DOP networks are there to help you setup; a way to set an initial state, then a loop where data flows through, gets to the bottom, is fed into the top again, every frame.
Remember also that sims aren’t a geometry processing system the way SOPs are; it’s not necessarily a linear flow of data from start to end. A particle system might make new points every frame, a RBD system might spawn new shapes or delete old ones , a pyro solve might be working with a fixed amount of voxels, but the inputs for, say, velocity, might be totally different each frame.
A straight-up data flow like SOPs doesn’t work here. That said, a lot of dop nodes are actually sop and vop networks under the hood, one of those ‘aha! Eg, if you dive deep enough into a ripple solver, you find that its a hairy-yet-understandable vop network. Generally speaking, they’re not as complicated as they look at first glance, but they’re not not complicated.
Start with the simple things like a pop network or the ripple solver, work up. Oh, and that weird looking geometry spreadsheet problem?
The attributes you want are there, just a little further down. In the left side of the geo spreadsheet, expand blah object eg popobject for a pop solver , and click on ‘Geometry’. There’s the spreadsheet you missed so much. While the examples embedded in the help docs are pretty good, the help info itself is of varying quality. The worst is that a lot of dop nodes have an identical chunk of text for common attributes, after a while you gloss over them to skip to the examples.
The problem there is when you realise that a lot of dop nodes rely on specific point attribute to do interesting things, but they’re not clearly marked, or there are so many attributes that the interesting ones get buried.
I only found this out via an odforce post. The upshot is a lot of dops learnin’ comes from pulling apart other peoples example scenes. Maybe I’m still on the steep part of the learning curve, but dop networks don’t give the same sense of discovery-via-play that sops do. You can’t just unplug-replug, attach this to that, swap inputs etc and see the results live. Most of the time its more like ‘I’m sure I’ve built this right, but nothing moves, compare to an example, rebuild, now it works, ahh wait its now exploding, try rebuilding a 3rd time, ah, now it works, don’t touch it’.
The frustrating fumbling-in-the-dark thing is getting better, but its still a little disorienting. Particle Pop nodes aren’t too bad, and some of the higher level volume nodes like the pyro solver are ok, but a lot of the other ones are like looking at the control panel of a nuclear reactor. Lots of familiar yet unfamilar generic names, every single value has a dropdown to make it be instant, or every frame, or something else, ugh.
Again, getting better with time, but It seems a lot of this could do with some tidy up, or at the very least a high level explanation of why they are as they are. This page sort of does it, but it only really makes sense after you’ve used dops for a bit, and it doesn’t’ really go into enough depth. Probably the most frustrating part of dops. Why can I wire this force dop in and it works, but another force dop will error?
Which of the 4 inputs to a pyro node do I wire this resize container into? How do I wire a multisolver into an existing network? Why does this node not have an input, but this other one does? Download scene: File:ripple. One of the simplest dop solvers, fun to play with.
Nothing fancy, its basically a feedback loop for motion; any deformation on a mesh is propagated to the rest of the mesh as ripples, with basic control over wave speed and energy decay.
That means in this example, all the interaction of the water surface, pig, struts are faked in sops. I calculate the velocity of the pig, attribtransfer v to the water mesh, then push points based on v.
Similarly, I attribtransfer a ‘struts’ attribute from the struts to the water mesh, and use it to drive a sine wave up-down motion on the points near the struts. The ripple solver takes these simple deformations and triggers ripples.
On the ripple solver itself is where I set the wave speed and energy loss to 5 and 0. What tripped me up initially were the names of the 2 inputs required for the ripple object, ‘initial’ and ‘rest’. To me, rest means the static rest pose, but for the ripple solver, you use rest as the animated target as well as enabling ‘use deforming rest’. To create this dop network just involved putting down a dopnet, then inside creating the ripple object and ripple solver, connecting them together, and pointing the sop inputs on the ripple object to the right sop nodes.
Middle clicking on the solver inputs tell you what goes where, generally dop objects go to the left connection on dop solvers. Bonus points for making that output a null. There’s a few reasons for this:. Hit ‘d’ in the network view, go to the ‘Dependency’ tab, turn on the first 5, then the last checkbox. To make this I setup the inputs the pig, the emit plane, wrangle to create the v attrib , then tabbed in a popnet, connected the emit plane to the first input, dived inside.
Note in the gif you can see a tail behind the particles, which is visualising their velocity. That’s enabled with the ‘display point trails’ viewport button in the middle of the gif, which sits in the middle of the right-side viewport tools. To bring in the collision geo, tab in a static geo node, point its sop path to the pig geo.
To make it collide, create a merge node, connect the solver and static geo to it. Took a while to understand this, it seemed too simple, but there it is. Merged solvers or merged static geo and solvers will collide with each other. In this case, we need the static geo to affect the solver, so if the order is wrong, you can use shift-r to reverse the order of inputs.
If there’s many inputs, use the parameter pane to do a more careful re-order. I also added a ground plane, which is a dops virtual representation of an infinite ground plane, also attached that to the merge node again, keeping it to the left of the solver. Initially I tried using a geometric grid, but particles slipped through it, I’ll explain more on that later. With basic collisions sorted, time to look at how to use collisions to drive colour and replicate particles. On the solver node, collision behavior, enable ‘add hit attributes’.
The dopnet will do just that. But how to see them? Go to the geometry spreadsheet, note that its not showing point info anymore, but a odd tree view. The per-particle info is still in there, just a little hidden. In that tree view will be the popobject, and within there a geometry object.
Select it, the right side should now look like the geometry spreadsheet again. One of those is ‘hittotal’, which as expected, tracks the number of times a particle has hit.
First trick we’ll do is use that to change the particle colour. All it does is set all particles red, but if the hittotal is greater than 0, make it green. Rewind and playback the sim, should do as expected. Now to replicate points on collision. There’s a node to do exactly that, popreplicate. If thats created and inserted after the wrangle, you’ll see all points get a cloud of new points around them that track with the parent.
Not quite what we want. First, to make them only replicate when the particles collide, we’ll use a pseudo group at the top. Make the group. That should now make the replicated particles only appear after a hit. Next, to make them do something interesting. Go to the attributes tab, and set inherit velocity and radial velocity to 0.
That makes them diverge from their parent particle in a more interesting way. If you change the initial velocity dropdown to ‘add to inherited velocity’, you get access to the extra controls to add more variance, which can help.
Finally on the shape tab I set the mode to circle, and on the birth tab I set the lifespan to 2, const activation and cost rate to 0, and impulse activation to 1, and impulse count to Pops can emit either as a rate per second constant or as a fixed amount impulse , here I want an explicit amount of particles replicated per collision.
Many ways to achieve this effect, here’s my take. The core is just setting v of particles with curl noise, but processed curl noise so it stays rectilinear. To do that uses some simple logic; the curl noise generates smooth swirling vectors. Each particle gets that vector based on its current location, and determines the largest component of that vector.
It then multiples that component by 1, and the rest by 0. The particles are coloured white, meanwhile their trails are created using an add an solver sop, coloured green, and merged with the original particle. The advantage of using curl noise is it should keep the particles and lines from intersecting too much, without requiring collision detection. Simple in hindsight, but needed a few attempts and some reading to get this working especially this great post from odforce.
– Houdini (software) – Wikipedia
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