MOPs: Motion Operators for Houdini


The Origin of MOPs

Sometime in mid-2017, an online discussion with a relatively new Houdini artist raised an interesting idea… why doesn’t Houdini have tools to easily create motion graphics? Tools like Maya’s MASH and Cinema4D’s Mograph are built specifically to copy, animate, transform, and retime animations quickly and intuitively. I thought to myself “it can’t be THAT hard!” and got to work right away. (It was pretty hard.)

A few weeks after I started, word got around that I was trying to tackle this. The guys from Entagma reached out to see what I was doing, as they were also working on solving the same problem. We decided to join forces and the end result was MOPs.

What is MOPs?

MOPs is a collection of Houdini Digital Assets that enable new Houdini users to quickly create the kinds of motion graphics setups they’d expect from other software packages, and then push them much further thanks to Houdini’s power, flexibility and speed.

Underlying the user-facing side of the assets is a set of low-level “technical” nodes, which can be used as a sort of API for creating new MOPs tools quickly. This enables seasoned artists to extend the toolkit without having to redo all the tedious math involved.

The actual guts of MOPs are just manipulating Houdini’s Packed Primitives, so users can throw MOPs nodes into their scenes just about anywhere they’d like, and freely interchange them with any native Houdini SOPs without problems.

SideFX Software, the makers of Houdini, have been very generous in providing code to help further development, and even link directly to our project on their homepage!

MOPs is free and open-source, and Moritz (Pixelkram) and I are both constantly refining and adding new features. You can view the project page here.