3D developer Side Effects has released Houdini Select, a version of the high-end 3D suite that costs under a tenth of the price of the full version and is pitched against the likes of NewTek LightWave. Houdini sits at the top-end of the 3D market and is known mainly for its particle system, which has won acclaim for its use in films such as The Perfect Storm and Godzilla. According to Side Effects, Houdini Select includes the same modelling, animation, texturing and shading tools as the full version – plus the same standard Mantra rendering tools. What’s been taken out includes particle operators, channel operators, compositing operators, character tools and the ability to output to other rendering tools such as RenderMan and Mental Ray. Houdini Select can also be used to provide extra modelling and animation seats within a Houdini network. Houdini Select also includes most of the new features found in version 5 of Houdini (excluding the extra character tools), which has also been released. These include a completely re-written modeller, which includes handles and brushes for painting, combing and deforming. Modelling tools follow both NURBs and Bezier methodologies, with a number of extra features adding games-specific tools. Alongside this sits a new texture editor. Houdini 5 and Houdini Select also include a redesigned interface with customizable viewport handles and a procedural backbone that Side Effects claims boosts workflow productivity. Houdini Select has a list price of $1999. Side Effects has also announced that it will be giving away CDs featuring Houdini Select with a free four month license at a launch event hosted by distributor Techimage at the Le Meridien hotel in Picadilly, London on March 20. You can register for this on the Techimage Web site.