TORONTO — 3D animation and visual effects software provider Side Effects (www.sidefx.com) has released Houdini Engine for Maya. The plug-in provides animation and game studios with deep integration of Houdini’s procedural technology into Maya scenes and pipelines.
Interoperability is a key issue for studios working in a mixed pipeline. The Houdini Engine brings Houdini’s procedural workflow inside Maya. Houdini Digital Assets can then be created by artists and technical directors using geometry, particles, FLIP fluids, Pyro FX, volumes and finite elements, that are then handed off to Maya artists working in the software they know best.
“The Houdini Engine is becoming an important part of our content creation workflow, allowing us to rapidly prototype and test new algorithms directly from within Maya,” says Michiel van der Leeuw, technical director at Guerrilla Games. “Houdini’s procedural technology is used directly where the artist needs it, without the need of a complex file based import / export pipeline, saving us valuable time. It also enables us to experiment with new ideas that normally require tech and tool code support. We have the full set of Houdini algorithms available to us, reducing iteration times and improving the quality of the assets produced. The Houdini Engine merged well with our existing code-base, enabling us to add support for our own internal geometry formats and engine specific features.”
Side Effects released Houdini Engine plug-ins for 3DS Max and Unreal in late 2014. These two plug-ins join a list that also includes Cinema 4D and Unity, which are also planned for release in 2014. The Unreal plug-in is being developed by Side Effects while the 3DS Max plug-in is being created by independent developer Hideki Suzuki who began coding right after the release of Houdini Engine source code on GitHub in April.
Houdini Engine for Maya is now available on OSX, Windows and Linux using the same installer you use to install Houdini. The Unity plug-in is available for experimental testing and the planned plug-ins for Cinema 4D, 3DS Max and Unreal will be released for testing by late summer.
Artists with Houdini or Houdini FX licenses can run the Houdini Engine using their existing licenses. Artists who only need to work in Maya can use a dedicated Houdini Engine license, which comes with a 15-day free trial. Houdini Engine workstation licenses are available for $499 annually while floating licenses for use in a single facility start at $795 annually. Volume pricing is available for large numbers of floating licenses.