SAN DIEGO -- At SIGGRAPH, Toronto's Side Effects Software www.sidefx.com has introduced the pre-release of its Houdini 6.1 3D animation tool. The upgrade features major workflow enhancements for managing, updating and reusing elements created using Houdini packages.
Highlights include drag-and-drop support for promoting handles and parameters onto a digital asset. A streamlined pose tool makes it easier to animate characters, as it better recognizes and works with bone structures. Side Effects' COO Tony Cristiano says much of the development in the 6.1 release have come through close work with its customers. The company will collaborate with users and help tailor the release to their specific needs. Some of these enhanced features, in turn, get wrapped into the commercial version of the tool.
The company says it has already distributed several thousand copies of its Apprentice CD, which is a learning version of the release designed to allow users to become familiar with the tool. They can then purchase a commercial license or simply use it as a way to gain skills for the job market.
Side Effects currently offers releases for Windows, Linux, Irix and Sun workstations. Halo is the company's compositor; Escape is a rigging tool. Select is Side Effects' $1,299 modeling and lighting tool. Master is a superset of these releases, including all of their functionality.