Houdini 8.1 makes its character tools more accessible than before. A new biped auto rig tool lets users quickly position characters’ joints and generate production-ready rigs. The character picker makes it easy to import an image of the character and set up pick points. There is also a pose and clip library for easily building off of existing motion when animating a shot. Both of these tools are integrated into Houdini’s built-in browser for easy access.
For capturing and binding geometry, Houdini 8.1 includes a new approach that is designed for setting up fully functional muscle systems. Using a new muscle tool, riggers can quickly build up a system of metaball-based muscles. Once this system is in place, the meatballs - instead of bones - can be used to capture the geometry.
Houdini’s dynamics architecture has also been updated with improvements to both the rigid body and wire solvers. The rigid body solver now supports thin plates, auto freezing and advanced visualization options for previewing a simulation’s dynamic properties. The Wire solver has been optimized and simulates up to 10x faster than before. There are also new wire creation and editing tools to help streamline workflow.
Recently, CORE Feature Animation used Houdini to create the characters in Disney’s The Wild. The film focuses on a collection of zoo animals that leave their protected environment for adventure in the big city, and later, a remote island.