Paths

Houdini: Core Skills

Authors: Beau Garcia, John Moncrief, Andreas Vrhovsek, Jeff Wolverton

With its procedural node-based workflow, Houdini lets you create more content faster to reduce timelines and enjoy enhanced flexibility in all your creative tasks. Houdini is... Read more

Beginner

The first section of courses will give you a solid understanding of the fundamental concepts of Houdini, including understanding the interface, working within Houdini contexts, thinking procedurally, dynamic solvers, particle systems, and shaders and materials. This section is critical to understanding what comes next and will provide the foundation for the rest of the path.

Introduction to Houdini 15

by John Moncrief

Nov 11, 2015 / 7h 28m

7h 28m

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Description

In this Houdini 15 tutorial, you'll develop the skills you need to get up and running. You'll get the most out of this course when you're brand new to Houdini, but still have a basic understanding of general 3D concepts. We'll start with the first time you ever launch Houdini and walk through creating an awesome effects shot. Along the way, you'll learn some of the most powerful aspects of this node-based software such as the key concepts of the Houdini user interface, basic geometry manipulation and polygon modeling. We'll also explore how to import geometry, create custom user interfaces, apply materials and manipulate UVs. We'll get our feet wet in each step of the pipeline, including modeling, animation, dynamics, lighting and rendering to construct a dramatic FX shot using rigid bodies and fractured geometry. By the end of this Houdini training, you'll be able to dive into the other amazing Houdini content in our library with confidence. Software required: Houdini 15

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Houdini 157h 26m

Introduction to Collisions in Houdini

by John Moncrief

Feb 26, 2015 / 1h 45m

1h 45m

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Description

We'll start with a general overview of dynamics in Houdini and discuss the key concepts behind working with simulations. We'll explore the idea of animation without keyframes and the role of solvers in Houdini's dynamic context. Next we go over how to properly set up your scene for working in the dynamic context and how to avoid common mistakes. We'll talk about basic rigid body techniques for creating object interactions. We'll go over how to set up effective collision geometry, and wrap things up by taking a look at the Finite Element Solver and cloth simulations. This course was developed for an artist with a solid understanding of basic 3D concepts and a general understanding of Houdini's interface. While this Houdini training covers the fundamental concepts behind dynamic operators, it is not intended to cover every parameter of every solver. We will instead focus on the ideas and workflow of the dynamic context and the key parameters that will easily allow us to direct the behavior of our simulation.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Collisions in Houdini1h 44m

Introduction to Particles in Houdini

by John Moncrief

Apr 8, 2015 / 2h 29m

2h 29m

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Description

In this Houdini tutorial we take a look at "Particle Operators", or POPs, as they're called. We'll start off with a discussion of the fundamental concepts behind Houdini's Particle Operators, and the tools of the Particle Shelf, while focusing on efficient workflow within the dynamics context. Next, we build the most basic of setups constructed using only the shelf tools and simple geometry, and then we work our way through complex particle sourcing, particle forces, and setting up sprites. Finally, we'll learn to write our own custom VEX expressions to control various aspects of particle behavior. This Houdini training is intended for an artist with a solid understanding of basic 3D concepts and a general understanding of Houdini's interface and workflow. Software required: Houdini14.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Particles in Houdini2h 28m

Introduction to Materials in Houdini

by John Moncrief

Jul 5, 2015 / 1h 53m

1h 53m

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Description

In this series of tutorials, we'll take an introductory look at materials in Houdini. We'll start by setting up our Houdini session for a proper shading workflow. We'll learn about the Render View, the Material Palette, basic environment lights, and the Mantra render node. We'll learn how to apply materials from the Material Palette to various types of geometry. We'll explore the general materials starting with the Clay shader; taking time to understand the fundamental parameters that control color and alpha. Next, we'll move to the more complex and highly functional Mantra Surface Shader to create a realistic car paint surface. Finally, we'll create an Alien Skin shader using displacement and subsurface scattering. This course is designed to be an introductory course covering the basic principles and techniques for working with materials in Houdini and was developed for an artist with a basic understanding of Houdini's general terminology, user interface, and controls. Software required: Houdini 14.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Materials in Houdini1h 52m

Introduction to Hair and Fur in Houdini 15

by John Moncrief

Jan 5, 2016 / 1h 44m

1h 44m

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Description

In this course, we will explore Houdini 15's Hair and Fur toolset. We start by examining the Hair shelf tools, taking time to understand how these tools work and how to use them to generate the initial building blocks of hair and fur. We'll explore the grooming tools and learn how to create different hair styles easily with the onscreen brushes. We will learn how to create different "looks" for a single groom just by modifying the Mantra Textured Hair shader. We'll discuss "Best Practices" for rendering Hair and Fur and wrap things up with a look at adding dynamics to hair and fur. This series of lessons was developed for an artist with a solid understanding of basic 3d concepts and a general understanding of Houdini's interface. If you're brand new to Houdini, check out our newest "Introduction to Houdini" course before taking on this material.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview1m
  2. Setting up the Initial Hair28m
  3. The Grooming Tools42m
  4. The Textured Hair Shader19m
  5. Rendering Hair and Fur13m

Intermediate

After getting a solid understanding of the basic concepts, it's time to build on that knowledge and explore fluid simulations, dynamic oceans, Houdini Engine, Houdini Vex Operators, and VDB-based cloud systems. This section of tutorials will take you through several projects intended to sharpen your Houdini skills and expand your knowledge of the software. You'll learn how to develop procedural tools and the best practices for approaching and overcoming many common visual effects challenges.

Introduction to Fluid Simulations in Houdini

by John Moncrief

May 6, 2015 / 2h 3m

2h 3m

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Description

This course provides an overview of the basic concepts used to create and control fluid simulations in Houdini. We cover the particle fluid shelf tools, but we also dive deeper than before into the networks created by the shelf tools to gain control of our simulations. We'll take a look at fluid emitters, the "Fluid From Object" tool, and the FLIP Tank tool. We find out how to control unruly simulations using the Pump and Sink tools. Finally, we play around with special fluid parameters like viscosity, learn how to float a boat in a virtual ocean, and work through other real-world scenarios to give you a working knowledge of fluids in Houdini. Software required: Houdini 14.0.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Fluid Simulations in Houdini2h 2m

Introduction to Dynamic Oceans in Houdini

by John Moncrief

Jun 1, 2015 / 1h 54m

1h 54m

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Description

This series of Houdini tutorials explores the many different techniques used in Houdini's OceanFX toolset. We'll get started by using the shelf tools, but almost instantly dive deeper into those networks; discussing the details of the nodes at the heart of the OceanFX toolkit, the Ocean Spectrum and the Ocean Evaluate. We'll learn how to set up a quick iterative rendering process for tweaking the look of ocean shaders, then see how to track an object with a fluid tank, which allows us to create large ocean scenes with minimal simulation time. We'll examine the whitewater simulator and see how to effectively integrate elements like spray, foam, and bubbles into our oceans. This series of lessons was developed for an artist with a solid understanding of basic 3d concepts, a familiarity with the Houdini User Interface, and a basic knowledge of Houdini fluids. If you're completely new to Houdini fluids, you can get up to speed quickly by FIRST watching the "Introduction to Fluid Simulations in Houdini" course. Simulating large oceans has always been a challenge for visual effects artist, but Houdini's OceanFX Toolkit makes the process fun and produces great results. Software required: Houdini 14.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Dynamic Oceans in Houdini1h 52m

Modeling For Dynamics In Houdini and Maya

by John Moncrief

Jun 24, 2015 / 1h 14m

1h 14m

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Description

In this series of tutorials, we'll examine workflows for preparing geometry for dynamic simulations. We'll use various modeling techniques to create fast and efficient collision geometry from high resolution models in both Houdini and Maya. We'll create custom tools in Houdini that can be used in a number of various situations while working through real world scenarios and learn how to leverage these tools right within the Maya interface using Houdini Engine for Maya. Software required: Houdini 14 and Maya 2015.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Modeling for Dynamics In Houdini and Maya1h 13m

Creating Custom Shaders in Houdini

by John Moncrief

Oct 15, 2015 / 1h 22m

1h 22m

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Description

In this Houdini tutorial, we'll explore under the hood of a shading network. We'll start by creating our first simple shader from scratch using the basic Surface Model. We'll see how to promote parameters and build an artist friendly user interface for our shader. Next we'll add displacement to our shader and learn how to bring properties from our geometry into the shading network so that we can develop a dynamically changing surface. By the end of this Houdini training, you'll be able to create your own custom shaders. Software required: Houdini 15.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview0m
  2. Creating Custom Shaders in Houdini1h 22m

Creating Cloudscape in Houdini

by Andreas Vrhovsek

Mar 23, 2015 / 2h 21m

2h 21m

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Description

In this Houdini tutorial we'll use VDBs to utilize the latest technology and explore some new features. We'll create a cloudscape using particles as a base and then add cloud-like internal motion. This setup allows objects to interact with the clouds and gives a dynamic overall feeling. By the end of this Houdini training you'll have learned that changing the look and structure with given nodes, that it's possible to define the renders before further manipulation in the image network. Software Required: Houdini 14

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview0m
  2. Creating Cloudscape in Houdini2h 20m

Advanced

The final section of this path expands your core Houdini knowledge into specific project-driven production scenarios. You will gain deeper understanding of the principles behind proceduralism, HDA development, and effects production. By the time you finish this section, you should be ready to approach any visual effects challenge with confidence.

Building FX Tools in Houdini

by Beau Garcia

Aug 1, 2015 / 5h 12m

5h 12m

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Description

In this Houdini tutorial, we'll learn how to create in-depth procedural FX tools. Throughout the lessons, we'll look at the steps required to build these tools from scratch. In the course we'll cover highly procedural approaches to creating a curve tangle generation tool and a particle flow simulation tool, while implementing our own particle system and particle forces from scratch, all without the use of a Houdini FX license. To achieve these tools, we'll extensively implement various VOP networks inside Houdini, which will allow us complete control over our setups. As we utilize numerous vector, trigonometry, and attribute manipulation techniques, you'll have gained invaluable knowledge on fundamental workflows and techniques that can be used to tackle problems faced as an Houdini FX Technical Director. By the end of the Houdini training, you'll have a solid understanding of how to approach procedural tool development, how to implement your own particle solver from scratch, and how to package it all up into easily accessible and artist-friendly Houdini Digital Assets. Software required: Houdini 14, Windows.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview0m
  2. Building FX Tools in Houdini5h 11m

Advanced Rigid Body Dynamics Using Proxy Objects in Houdini

by Jeff Wolverton

Mar 10, 2015 / 2h 49m

2h 49m

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Description

In this Houdini tutorial, we'll examine multiple methods for accomplishing high resolution object simulation in Houdini using lower resolution proxy objects. In practice, when designing effects for motion pictures, we're often given very hi-res geometry (cars, rocks, etc) and are expected to simulate them in high quantities, which can be prohibitively slow using the actual objects. By making lower resolution proxies to use as RBD objects (or from a particle sim-and-replace) and replacing them post-simulation, the process can be greatly sped up. Different methods can be utilized for simulating multiple objects, packed objects, and varying topologies (for example, we wouldn't want every rock to be identical, or a parking lot full of many copies of the exact same car). At many studios, custom software is used due to these problems. Specifically, we'll do two test cases to demonstrate all the details and trade-offs of using the various methods. In the first test case we'll make a volcano spewing out hi-res rocks and finally we'll create a 'Carnado' (a tornado hitting a parking lot of cars, throwing hi-res car models all over the place, simulated with low-res proxy cars). By the end of this Houdini training you'll have a firm grip on how to use Houdini 14 to overcome these hurdles and simulate with low res geometry but use high res geometry in the final result. Software required: Houdini 14.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Advanced Rigid Body Dynamics using Proxy Objects in Houdini2h 48m

Disintegration, Teleportation and Reintegration Effects in Houdini

by Jeff Wolverton

Oct 27, 2015 / 3h 31m

3h 31m

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Description

In this Houdini tutorial, we'll learn how to combine visually complex methods to construct new effects. The first method we'll look at is the concept of a shader slowly disappearing the shell of a 3D object, or an object breaking into pieces. You'll learn about flowing the particles along curves and using cross-time tricks to disintegrate one object but have it reintegrate into a different object when it reconstructs itself. By the end of this Houdini training, you'll have learned techniques for teleportation effects, disintegration effects and effects when an object needs to transform visually into another object despite having mismatched topologies. Software required: Houdini 14.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Disintegration, Teleportation and Reintegration Effects in Houdini3h 29m

What you will learn

  • The Houdini User Interface
  • Particle Systems
  • FLIP Fluids
  • Rigid Bodies
  • Cloth and Finite Element Solver
  • Mantra Rendering
  • Houdini Digital Asset Development
  • Procedural Modeling
  • Basic VOPs and Vex Scripting
  • Dynamic Oceans
  • Houdini's OpenVDB Tool Set

Pre-requisites

Introductory knowledge of basic 3D concepts. Some familiarity with another 3D application (Maya, Cinema4D, 3DS Max) might be helpful, but is not required. You'll get the most out of this path when you're brand new to Houdini, but still have a basic understanding of general 3D concepts.

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