1000+ Hits and Fur Virgin, no more!

This post is lengthly so grab a cup of something.

Yes thats right, this silly little blog that still has a wordpress affix has had over 1000 hits. I guess its a bit of an achievement (but who give a crap, most sites gets that in a day). Even though less than 1% has commented, should i take that as a hint that the rest of the web hits are just people who stumble here by accident and leaving swiftly? Let me know 🙂
But what the the point of this entry, well i have had no reason to update except ive been working on a particular project…
You may remember the post a while ago about me getting frustrated with Houdini Fur. Well since then SideFX has released a multitude of written tutorials on the mechanics of the Fur Sop and Fur Procedural (although if SideFX is listening i think the people would love to see a workflow walkthrough).
So here are my pathetic results after nearly 30 day of tinkering.

The model was made in Wings 3d, and took a night to make (2 hours tops). Someone please let me know where to find good mouse reference. I spent nearly 2 hours alone looking for decent images, and i got a handful and the rest were of the mechanical variety. So this is what i have to so for my efforts, not much but i think ive made some ground especially with the last image (below).

So to help any Houdini wannabe’s outthere, like myself. Let me explain how i got from the model to the last image. ughhhhh… here is the network (much easier).

So for those who use houdini you shouldnt be too scared, the nulls are referenced by an object merge in another object, but to be totally honest you should check out the written tutorials that come in the help files. go through them, dont just look at the files go through them (it really helps).
I guess the only difference from the example files and my setup is the Fur Procedural has varying root width. I have painted the model with a Paint SOP and that is fed into a Attribute Create SOP which uses the painted points to control the density, (although im thinking of using a texture map to have greater control, but this method is much faster). Im going to try and use this method to control the length but the model obviously isnt that high rez so it might be a bit hard. BTW the parameters needed to control these options are in the fur sop help files. When the skin geoemtry is reference its carried over to the Fur procedural (to check MMB over the Skin GEO to see if it has eg FURDENSITY, FURLENGTH). You need to also reference them in the Fur SOP for preview purposes.
The normals have been combed with a Comb SOP to govern the direction of the fur. If you have a symmetrical model be sure to use the mirror tab (also used it in the Paint SOP).In a few tests i did edit the copied lines, just before the Fur sop, but its was way too labor intensive. There needs to be some changes made to the Edit SOP by the developers which allows the Brush option to have a move/tweak option, kinda like Zbrush’s Move brush. Its more like sculpting at the moment.

In a nut shell, thats it, and im still working on the lighting, dynamics and rigging, so its an expansive project but one that is really getting me around Houdini.
So there should be enough in there for users who have gone through the tutorials but need some sort of insight. One piece of ….. Two pieces of advice i would give when making Fur is, Dont give up and dont be afraid to start all over again (you learn something new each time).

After all that i have to say, making an almost completel Fur covered model has to be one of the most difficult things to do in CG. Even big studios have trouble with it. I know this isnt a news blog in particular but one fella who knows Fur is Andy Boyd (who was recently interviewed by odForce). Here is a few pics he did for Framstore in the rexona commercial.


Andy has since moved to LA where he now works at Method Studios. And here is one of the first things he has worked on there.

Method Studios

Interestingly, here is Framestore again, without Andy on the Super Squirrels commercial.


Now im not trying to stir some shit up here. You can see what im saying without me having to say it. But the factors in what might seem a simple observation are pretty influential. You have to consider the people on the team, the software/pipeline, the client and of course the biggest factor of all TIME. Now im sure Andy wont take all the credit, not alot of people would (If you accept credit when something good happens, then you gotta accept the blame when something bad happens,) but I think we know Andy had a big part to play.
One thing i will say is the Fur dynamics in the Super Squirrels spot was amazing, and really made the sequence hold up. Maybe thts why as a still it might not look overly impressive.
Framestore has created some of the best work in Europe, i just hope that Andy taught his techniques to few people before he left (and that they were tied up on some other project so they couldnt work on Super Squirrels spot).

Again I dont know the full story, its just my take on it.

So thats it for what must be the longest post on the site. I will no doubt see you within another 30 days.

Just joking, see ya soon


1000+ Hits and Fur Virgin, no more!

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