Side Effects Software has launched Houdini Escape, its character animation tool. The package is part of the Houdini 7 family of products and offers a cheaper alternative to Houdini Master for those only needing Houdini’s character animation tools.

As well as the character rigging tools, Houdini Escape offers an integrated environment for modeling, animating, texturing, lighting and rendering, the company claims. Available for Windows, Linux and Solaris systems, Houdini Escape costs $1,995 (around £1,120).

In addition to the built-in Houdini Mantra renderer, Houdini Master now supports third party rendering from RenderMan and Mental Ray natively. Third party rendering support is also available as an add-on for Houdini Escape for $2,495 (£1,400) for a floating license.

Side Effects also announced a new render farm product called Rscript that generates rendering input files from Houdini and supports Houdini Mantra's IFD and RenderMan RIB generation. Rscript, focused on rendering, is a cheaper alternative to HScript which lets you script all aspects of a Houdini scene, and costs $1,395 (£780) for a floating license.

Lastly the company announced that the Houdini Developer's Kit (HDK) is now free with all Houdini workstation products, permitting greater customization of Houdini products.