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The connection between SideFX (Houdini) and Derivative (Touchdesigner)

SideFX Houdini History

Leaders in Procedural Software since 1987. In the beginning there were two: Kim Davidson and Greg Hermanovic – animation enthusiasts with a flair for UNIX coding. In 1985 they joined Omnibus, a pioneering company in the then emerging world of computer graphics. They immersed themselves in production, writing their own software and creating visual effects for film and broadcast.

In 1987, with an opportunity to bring 3D graphics to a wider audience, Davidson and Hermanovic created Side Effects Software and released PRISMS. Developed and rigorously tested in production, PRISMS was a procedural graphics application which would lay the groundwork for Houdini.

Since then SideFX and Houdini have been a big part of the feature film VFX with Houdini customers regularly winning awards for their excellent work. Recently, Houdini and Houdini Engine are being used by game developers to create next gen content and high-end cinematics.


CppCon 2018: Mark Elendt

Derivative Touchdesigner History

Derivative was founded in 2000 by Greg Hermanovic, Rob Bairos and Jarrett Smith.

TouchDesigner’s deep roots are in the PRISMS software product developed at Omnibus Computer Graphics in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York in 1984 to 1987. When Omnibus collapsed due to higher than anticipated costs of purchasing and maintaining its competitors, coupled with an even higher level of expectations instilled in its shareholders, PRISMS was purchased from the Omnibus liquidators by Kim Davidson and Greg Hermanovic, forming the inception of Side Effects.

Side Effects developed and licensed PRISMS to end-users for 11 years until 1998, and PRISMS was used in over 200 feature films, culminating in its first Academy Award in 1998. Meanwhile Houdini emerged in 1995 as Side Effects Software’s next-generation product, serving the visual effects market to this day. In 2002, Side Effects Software received its second Academy Award for the innovations within Houdini, with another 300+ features films made with Houdini to date.

Greg Hermanovic spun-off Derivative in 2000, starting from the then-current Houdini 4.1. Derivative embarked on a mission to make a real-time 2D and 3D interactive animation product, suitable for authoring any form of interactive art/media/visualization.

Derivative‘s first generation of its product TouchDesigner spanned from TouchDesigner 007 to 017 during 2002 to 2007.

Then in 2008 Derivative released its next-gen TouchDesigner 077 in beta form, which was a rewrite of its previous incarnations, incorporating fully procedural OpenGL compositing and effects, a new user interface and more.


Interesting, right?…

I’ve started in the procedural world with the software Quartz Composer (wiki post) (Thanks Fx Movement for talking to me about it), a cool soft to create visual generative content that was decontaminated in 2016. I was finding a similar software trying too much software and one day Qifeng, a university friend, talk me about a very powerful software called “TouchDesginer”. I started using TD and learning its use and being able to create my own interface based on TD called Touchin.

One day, working with it in Dreambeach, Jonay, the other stage VJ told me: “Hey, do you know use Houdini, this software is very similar…” and I told him: “No! I don’t know use it…”, and he told me: “Wow, is very similar, you can see it…”.

When I started with Houdini (after Touchdesigner) I could check it that was the “same logic” -more or less-. For example, I saw that the windows of parameters are super-similar, and the contexts are very similar. It’s interesting knowing that the COPs context works very similarly. There are nodes, more or less, equal.

When I was learning Houdini, a lot of things sound familiar to me and was “easier”…

That’s very cool, two friends have done two very cool softwares. Thanks, Kim and Greg, you can join again to do a Houdigner or Touchini  (a mix between Houdini + Touchdesigner), up to you 😉.  Thanks!

SideFX Things