July 17, 2006


With the Auto Rig, animators can quickly create production-quality biped rigs with high-level, easy-to-use controls. Creating a realistic muscle and skin system is easy with Houdini’s new metaball capture and metaball-based muscle tool.  Now animators can set up skin sliding and muscle deformations without relying on lengthy simulations.

These character tools, along with the Character Picker and Pose Library, are also featured in Houdini Escape, which is suitable for riggers and animators. Escape also provides a strong platform for lighting, rendering and compositing.For artists who want to bring their work from other 3D animation packages into Houdini, Houdini 8.1 includes support for the import of Collada files. Collada ( is an open digital asset exchange for interactive 3D applications. Houdini 8.1 supports the import of geometry, lights, cameras, transformations and keyframe animation through Collada. Animated character rigs can also be imported as a hierarchy of keyframed null objects that can be used with Houdini 8.1’s new muscle tools. 

Side Effects is offering two price promotions for animators who might want to buy or rent Houdini Master. Through September 30, 2006, up to two copies of Houdini Master can be purchased for $9,999 - a savings of over 40 percent. Customers who choose the rental option for at least three months will get one month free. As a bonus, those who take advantage of either of these offers will receive a free copy of the book “The Magic of Houdini”.

At the upcoming SIGGRAPH show, Side Effects will offer demos of Houdini 8.1, as well as host presentations by some of its high-profile users, including Framestore-CFC, Rhythm & Hues, DNA and Sony Pictures Imageworks. The company will also host a Houdini Pub Night to bring the worldwide Houdini community together.