Intro to Houdini FX

Embrance the industry's latest 3D software to gain a deeper grasp of how it works

This course will demystify Houdini and show you how to make the most out of it.

We will take you from zero to hero with Houdini’s procedural workflow. You will gain confidence and experience in all areas of Houdini’s powerful pipeline including procedural geometry, particles, fluids, dynamics, shading, lighting, and rendering

On completion of this course you will

  • Gain a good understanding of the core concepts of Houdini and proceduralism
  • Be able to develop simple procedural workflows and have them rendered in
  • Learn how to troubleshoot a workflow
  • Fix problems on your own, allowing you to further learn Houdini by yourself
  • Understand the key elements that make an FX believable
  • Understand the fundamental techniques of procedural animation
  • Know the best practices to develop production quality procedural FX setups
15. - 27. 8. 2021
/ 12 participants New
10 days [80 hours]
Beginner to intermediate
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

About the course

Houdini initially got its fame with FX, allowing TDs to build procedural effects as well as custom simulation solvers that were not possible, or too tedious to build in other software. But now these possibilities extend way beyond the FX area and it becomes a very serious software for all-round 3D generalists.

Its procedural philosophy and robustness make it a solution of choice for all kinds of work. More and bigger studios adopt it at the core of their pipeline or use it extensively for high-end productions but it also scales very well for smaller structures or independent freelancers.

With each new release, Houdini gets more and more artist-friendly and SideFx confirms its will to make Houdini a major player in all aspects of the CGI industry. Not only in Film, Television, and Advertising but also in Games and Real-Time productions. You better be ready!

About the course

This course covers the core concepts of Houdini and proceduralism. The course covers procedural modeling, lightning, rendering and fundamentals of FX simulations.

This will be quite intense course, and you will be given a lot of practical exercises that will help you build a strong knowledge of Houdini and procedural thinking. You will practice on a lot of small exercises and very small projects to learn on your own when you leave the course.

You will learn to work in collaboration with co-workers to quickly deliver setups as you would do in a production environment.

On completion of this course you will:

  • Gain a good understanding of the core concepts of Houdini and proceduralism,
  • Be able to develop simple procedural workflows and have them rendered in Mantra,
  • Learn how to troubleshoot a workflow,
  • Fix problems on your own, allowing you to further learn Houdini by yourself.
  • Understand the key elements that make an FX believable (timing, animation, physics…).
  • Understand the fundamental techniques of procedural animation.
  • Know the best practices to develop production quality procedural FX setups.

How it works

Participants will develop various simple procedural assets that will be used to build and render a broader environment.
The first week will be dedicated to the learning and understanding of the core concepts of Houdini.
The second week will cover more advanced tools and workflows in Houdini.

Participants will be given various exercises to practice upon this learning and build their knowledge base.

Lesson plan

  • Introduction to Houdini, its philosophy, its workflow
    Learning Houdini when coming from Maya: important concepts and bridges Introduction to surface operators (SOPs), parameters, channels and geometry attributes Working with geometry in Houdini: manipulating geometry, basic modeling tools
  • Introduction to procedural workflows
    Generating terrains with Height Fields
    Scattering and varying objects, copies and instances with point attributes Looping over geometry in SOPs
  • Lighting, Shading, Textures, & Rendering
    Creating shaders and materials
    Setting up lights and cameras
    Using render operators (ROPs) to render in Houdini
  • Animating in Houdini
    Traditional and procedural animation in Houdini Introduction to the channel operators CHOPs
  • Introduction to VEX operators (VOPs)
    Using VOPs to manipulate geometry and build shaders
  • Solaris and Lighting operators (LOPs)
    Basics of USD How LOPs work
  • More about rendering in Houdini
  • Compositing and automating tasks in Houdini
    Using COPs to build procedural textures, as well as compositing and image processing workflows Introduction to task operators (TOPs) and automating workflows
  • Volumes
    Volumes formats in Houdini
    Manipulating volumes in Houdini and volume operations
  • Houdini Digital Assets (HDAs) and further topics
    Packaging procedural workflows into tools and libraries
    How to build, deploy and maintain your tools as digital assets A quick introduction to FX, solvers and simulations
    A few words about customizing Houdini

Who is it for

Equally suited for avid learners as well as more experienced artists who wish to hone and/or diversify their skill sets.

The course is for 3D artists to embrace Houdini as either:

  • beginners for whom it’s a new tool or,
  • strengthen skills and understanding for those who already have some experience with Houdini.

We require

  • Working knowledge of any other 3D package.
  • Openness to learning new approaches and topics.
  • Communication skills in English.

Preferences would be given to those registered for both Houdini courses; Houdini for 3D Artists and Advanced FX in Houdini

Where will this get you

If you’re looking to grow in the VFX industry and want to work towards ending up somewhere like one of those top-tier companies, becoming an expert in Houdini is a stepping stone to get you there. You can consider junior level opportunities as 3D artist on completion of the course.

All participants will get well-respected qualification within the industry, demonstrating you’ve studied an industry-based course and have the practical, hands-on skills studios are looking for.

Catch the list of studios at the end of the Houdini Customer Reel.

Why this is a residential and not online course

The advantage of this course, as compared to online training, is that you will get direct interaction with the mentor, with dedicated answers, tailored to your needs. This will not only give you the chance to build on your own strengths quicker, but also to lean out and clarify immediately the concepts that would otherwise take days to grasp.

You will also benefit from a strong interaction with other students. Having different views on how to tackle a problem is key in learning this software, as more often than not, there are many different ways to achieve the same thing in Houdini. So this will give you the chance to challenge yourself with each other and learn faster and more efficiently.

Fees and funding

Fees: 1 500 EUR

The fee covers the fee of the course. It doesn’t cover accommodation, meals, and travel.
Approximate living costs during your stay in the Czech Republic:

  • Accommodation at the venue: 12 EUR / night
  • Breakfast at the hotel – 5 EUR
  • Restaurant meal between 5 – 10 EUR
  • Grocery in general – 50 EUR per person a week

Funding for Czech employees and freelancers

Czech Labour Office (Úřad práce) offers to cover up to 85% of the course fee within the so-called POVEZ II project (Support of Vocational Training for Employees II). See the details and conditions here.

Cancellation Policy

The fee of 50% off the course price applies when canceling 45 days before the start of the course into which one gets accepted. Cancellation fees do not apply for reasons related to COVID-19 situation.

COVID-19: Be creative. Be safe!

We would like to assure you that our courses are just for small groups of people and we care about all hygiene recommendations. If the courses have to be canceled for reasons related to COVID-19, your money will be refunded. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that nothing will stop us!

Direct interaction
with world class
mentors from top

Our Mentors
Double Negative

More than
800 students from
32 countries

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The Houdini course is lead by a real-life professional working on a daily basis with the world leading VFX projects, such as Hollywood movies or Netflix shows. The teaching center is located in historical and beautiful Cesky Krumlov, South of Czech Republic. The conditions are excellent and two weeks are a substantial dose of training to get you stareted with Houdini. Keep in mind it's still only the beginning of a much longer learning process.
The Houdini course is great way to get general knowledge of FX in Houdini and to set you on the path of deeper understanding how things work under the hood(ini).

1 500 EUR

per participant

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