HtoA 1.8.0

2 October 2015

This is a bugfix and performance release, with reduced OpenVDB memory usage.

  1. Get the install files on Solid Angle Downloads.
  2. Follow these installation instructions.

This release uses Arnold and OpenVDB 3.0.0.

Binaries available for the following Houdini, Houdini FX or Houdini Education production builds:

  • 14.0.444
  • 14.0.395

and for the following platforms:

  • Linux x86_64 (gcc4.4 for H14, gcc4.8 for H15)
  • Windows 7 x64 (vc11)
  • Mac OS X 10.8+

Please note that Houdini Apprentice and Houdini Indie do not support third party renderers and thus cannot run HtoA.

See the Arnold release notes for the full list of core enhancements.
  • Reduced OpenVDB memory usage: In the OpenVDB DSO provided with our DCC plugins, voxel storage is now optimized to reduce memory usage by about 45%. Depending on the scene this may also reduce render time up to 10%. Additionally, slow .vdb file loading from network drives on Windows has been fixed, and we have improved the accounting of OpenVDB memory usage in the stats. (core#4858, core#4869, core#4870, core#4871)
  • Autobump on polymeshes: The autobump feature, enabled by disp_autobump, is now supported on polymeshes with no subdivision. Previously it required subdivision to work. (core#4885)
  • Faster subdivision: Faster exact (limit) normals and tangents, in certain cases, subdivision_smooth_derivs speedups up to 50%, smoothing speedups up to 25%. (core#4867, core#4868, core#4878)
  • Faster AiVCellNoise3/4: The vector cell noise API functions AiVCellNoise3() and AiVCellNoise4(), which are used in e.g. MayaNoise type "billow", are now about 1.6x faster. (core#4889)
  • EXR long names: Attribute and channel names up to 255 chars are now supported in EXR files. Arnold will warn if long names are used since the output files are not compatible with reader applications that use EXR libraries older than 1.7.0. (core#4862)
  • Log improvements: The system/unaccounted line under the render time log category has been updated to actually report the unaccounted time, which we define as the total render time reported minus all the other render related time stats. Also, the rays/pixel stats printed at every 5% progress message is now more accurate, computed since the previous 5% message, and is no longer a "running average" of the rays/pixel for the entire image. (core#4843, core#4894)
  • Flush SOP cache: When translating heavy geometry, the SOP cache keeps growing until no memory is available. The Arnold ROP now has an option to flush the SOP cache after each frame, this option is turned on by default. (htoa#667)
  • Updated Shadow Matte: Numerous features and fixes have been applied to the Shadow Matte shader: An additional shadow_matte AOV now contains the shadow mask. The shadow_opacity parameter now correctly affect the shadow independently of the indirect components. A new diffuse_use_background flag allows to chose between the background and an arbitrary color for the indirect diffuse tint. The background does not affect the indirect specular any longer. The specular roughness now matches the Standard shader's look (csp#85)
  • Blocky artifacts with matte objects (core#4866)
  • Incomplete cameras and objects with automatic Arnold properties when the Houdini install path contains spaces (htoa#651)
  • Export vertex attributes as indexed user data only for polymeshes, the sole Arnold shape supporting them for now (htoa#581)
  • Safer assignment of user data when the GDP translates as several Arnold nodes (htoa#687)
  • Fix inconsistent file permissions after install for some files on Linux (htoa#673)
  • Forced Phantom not working on objects without Arnold properties (htoa#688)
  • The use_shadow_group parameter is wrongly set on shapes when a native Houdini light is in the scene (htoa#694)
  • Wrong uniform user data count on polysoups with primitive attributes (htoa#684)
  • Wrong order for per-instance materials, target objects and target .ass files in Houdini 15 when they are specified with the shop_materialpath, instance or instancefile string attributes (htoa#681)
  • Cameras defined as digital assets were not exported (htoa#669) 
Incompatible changes
  • Output driver append mode: To prevent wasted work, Arnold will now error out when some drivers are in append mode and others are not, or do not support it. Also, when in append mode, display viewers (such as the one in kick, MtoA, etc) will not force a full render and instead will just display the new buckets as they are rendered. (core#4841)
  • Non-planar 'Z' AOV: The Z-depth AOV for custom cameras or non-planar perspective cameras now corresponds to distance along the camera ray. This had been broken since, and before that had a different value for custom cameras. For those cameras, 'Z' used to be distance from 'P' to camera center, which could sometimes result in decreasing Z values along the ray. (core#4722)
  • Scaled camera transforms: Only rotation and translation are allowed on camera transforms. Scaling or skew will be ignored, and a warning printed out. This was previously not done consistently, causing unexpected results with DOF. (core#2260)
  • Faster AiVCellNoise3/4: The "seed" for the random numbers in these functions has effectively changed, so while the type of noise is the same, the specific output given is now different. (core#4889)
  • Updated Shadow Matte: Due to the various fixes, the look of the Shadow Matte shader has changed, in particular the equivalent roughness parameter is the square root of what is was previously (csp#85)
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