Side FX Releases Houdini 15 & Houdini Engine 2.0

Side FX sets itself up with what looks to be another killer Houdini release. Houdini 15 adds improvements in areas wide, with modeling, rendering, shading, animation, physics, and with the Houdini Engine.

Side Effects Software has announced the release of Houdini 15 with onion skinning, new shader building tools, crowd ragdolls and Houdini Engine 2.0

Houdini 15 Modeling

In the case of modeling, SideFX notes that they have focused on the procedural aspect of modeling, often times at the expense of an interactive workflow. This has changed in Houdini 15. Modeling work will now be live in the viewport, thanks to the new tweak edit workflow. This includes things like edge sliding, soft selections, and picking and highlighting.

Some new tools have been added to the modeling toolset as well. New to Houdini 15 modeling are the PolyBridge and PolyExpand tools. New Retopo tools round out the list for the modeling improvements, making it easier to build low resolution geometry by drawing on top of your high.


Rendering and Shading

Houdini 15’s Mantra renderer has received some enhancements. Mantra is faster and offers checkpointing and render view feedback within the application.

There is now a new shader library which is hopeful to speed up shader and look dev workflows. SideFX reimagined the Shader FX 2 menu, and have added a new NPR cartoon shader and layered material.

Houdini 15 supports RenderMan 20 and RIS shading. RIS shaders are now available in the RIS Shader Network SHOP and Houdini’s VOP context provides a native environment for building RIS shaders with OSL support.

Houdini 15 also makes room for including an implementation of Disney’s physically-plausible Principled Shader, in addition to shipping with a library of  PBR ready textures for use with Houdini 15’s shader building tools.


Houdini 15 adds some long-time needed animation features with onion skinning, and the addition of a pose library panel. There is also a new and improved character picker panel and enhancements to the dope sheet.


New ragdoll dynamics have been added crowd tools in Houdini 15.  There is now a limb detachment feature, fuzzy logic and better crowd behavior. The Latest release makes it easier to set up material and geometry variations. There is also an Agent Cam tool (how cool is that?!) which creates a camera that is attached to the head of a crowd agent for those POV shots.

houdini engine 2

If you are working with the Houdini Engine in your favorite application, It has been updated to version 2.0. Houdini Engine 2.0 has separated the API front end from the compute back-end. This will allow for more sessions per host and multiple threads per host. This should bring greater stability to the Houdini Engine allowing you to integrate it without library conflicts.

To learn more about the latest features of Houdini 15, Check the page at