The new Cloud FX tools offer an artist-friendly way of building, sculpting and rendering cloud formations. This workflow utilizes sparse volume sculpting tools created as part of the OpenVDB [Openvdb.org] open source initiative. The integration of these tools is the result of a direct collaboration between DreamWorks Animation and Side Effects Software.
Houdini 12.5 includes an Ocean FX Wave tool, which deforms geometry into animated oceanscapes using volumes. You can visualize the results in the viewport and either render the geometry as is or export an animated texture to use as a displacement map. The Ocean FX Wave Tank tool goes even further and lets you generate a FLIP fluid simulation derived from an animated ocean surface. For even more realism, a unified Whitewater solver is available to create spray, foam and churn based on the underlying FLIP fluid sim. A new Mist tool can then be used to further enhance the whitewater effects.
The lighting and rendering pipeline in Houdini 12.5 has been significantly enhanced with relighting options and optimizations in IPR [Interactive Photorealistic Rendering]. Primitive support for file types, such as Alembic, resulti in much lighter data passing to either the viewport or the Mantra renderer. These enhancements make Houdini much more robust when working with huge data sets and demonstrates one of the key reasons studios are taking a closer look at Houdini's Mantra renderer as their "goto" renderer.
Houdini 12.5 includes many additional features, including Volume lights, new Bullet RBD constraints, a new PolySoup primitive type for optimizing large models, point primitives, a powerful Surface remesher and more. Visit sidefx.com for more details and to download a free trial of the software.
Houdini 12.5 can be downloaded from sidefx.com immediately. Houdini, used for modeling, animation, character rigging and rendering, is available for as low as $1,995 and Houdini FX, used for visual effects such as particles, Pyro FX and fluids, is available for as low as $4,495.