I can help you creating your assets and levels through Houdini´s procedural nature. Faster, in a non-destructive fashion, getting instant benefit from proceduralism, especially regarding exploring and time-saving.
Check this reel from sidefx showing projects that benefit from proceduralism.
You are right, it is hard to tell by just watching a video. Basically, main areas are:
Asset creation: Props, vehicles, characters
World Building: Level generation, terrains and dressing
Support stuff: for a wide variety of topics.
I am not a VFX professional but, from experience, I can also provide a lot of support VFX artists and other departments might require like meshes, Vertex Animated Textures (VAT), Vector Fields (VF), simple Rigid Body Simulations and so on
Houdini is a monster piece of software. You can create outstanding FX with it, but also procedural modeling and tools that connect seamlessly with game engines (UE4, Unity), which is both what interests you and my speciality.
Check some examples within my portfolio. Watching any of the Houdini-Unreal examples, you can easy tell why procedural generation for gamedev is getting more and more popular.
It runs smoothly and you want to keep your pipeline as it is now. However, you see the potential of creating 3D content procedurally and you want to benefit from it.
In this case, I would be doing my voodoo in my cave to create the assets (props, levels, simulations,…) and delivering them to you in universal format of your choice (.obj, .fbx, .abc). See Procedural Modeling.
The benefit, compared to assigning the task to one of your artists is that I can assume bigger workloads, like creating a castle in no time, in a non-destructive fashion (iterable, organic, open to changes)
Ok, so you asked for a tool.
You can manipulate them interactively within Maya, 3dsMax, UE4, Unity and Cinema4D to create assets and environments.
In this case, you would be briefing me with:
What you want the tool to do
Just a simple brief will do the job: “I need a tool to create sword variations following these design rules”.
Or “I need to populate a level with all these props”.
I am experienced 3D artist for both movie and videogames, so we can communicate in common language.
Wheter You are an indie studio (make <100$/year)
When the plug-in tries to load a tool (HDA) then an appropriate license is checked out.
So, if you are an indie studio, you are eligible to get the “Houdini engine” (thats the name of the plugin) for free (link here), so I will be creating the tool with “Indie license type”.
If you are a bigger studio, you need a studio license type(link here), so I will be creating the tool with “Studio license type”.
In other words, the tool created is license type-aware. This is important.
What platform you will use to run the tool
The official plugin (called Houdini Engine) ships with support for UnrealEngine, Unity, 3dsMax, Maya and Cinema4D)
In theory, any tool will be loaded successfully in any of those platforms, but it won´t behave the same due to the target platform limitations.
For instance, 3dsMax is not able to represent curve-based ramps, whilst UE4 and Maya do.
Another example, you cannot type values lower than 0.001 within Maya, whilst UE4 accepts that.
Therefore, I need to know the target platform in advance to make it behave as expected.
Depending on what you asked for, I will deliver either Procedurally generated models (obj, abc, fbx,…) and/or Houdini tools (also known as HDA – Houdini Digital Asset) which is just a file that holds the ‘recipe’ to do what we want it to do. It might be a tool for creating bridges inside UE4 or a tool for modeling car wheels inside of Maya. It looks like this:
Finally, you would drag&drop this file within your project to start using it!
Not really. There are things that might look easy at first sight but once you addressed it, you realized you just opened a can of worms. It also works the other way around: apparently difficult goals become surprisingly easy.
Also, I am not a VFX artist.
My specialization is Procedural Modeling and Tools (HDAs) for asset and enviro production.
However I usually create RDB, cloth, particles and other setups to benefit from them to get to my goal.
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We will we achieve your production goals together. Check Houdini Gamedev Reel