Introduction To Houdini For FX Artists

Introduction To Houdini For FX Artists

Course Description

This course is designed for people who have a good understanding of CG and interested in gaining a full understanding of Houdini and how to properly utilize it’s capacity to create particles FX, water simulation, destruction and volume simulation.The course will also cover in depth how to render the various FX elements and how to composite them using Houdini COPs
We will be creating a variety of FX and with each topic we will cover a specific part of Houdini and learn how to work with a handful of nodes
We will have an interior scene to start with where we will design various particle while learning how create complex visuals and understand how particle simulation works
We will then continue and start choreographing the destruction of this environment and learn how to fracture geometry and use Bullets
Once we destroy our environment we will create a huge flooding to understand and learn how water simulation works in Houdini
Then we will learn how to use volume and smoke simulation to create various smoke based FX to enhance what we’ve created in week 2
We will learn how to shade and render a variety of FX, including particles, volumes and water using mantra
After all the fx creation and rendering we will learn how to composite all these passes using  Houdini COPs.
By the end of the 8th week the student should acquired a very deep understanding of how Houdini works and be able to create and render Particles FX, water simulation, destruction.

The weekly breakdown is still being worked and may change.
This workshop contains lot more information and the weekly breakdown is just the highlights.
Assignments and weekly lecture are very very demanding and can be challenging to new Houdini comers.
It is required that the student have a very good CG background in shading and lighting as well as some algebra and trigonometry to be able to follow along.


  • Content Created by: Saber Jlassi , Igor ZanicUrban Bradesko
  • Q&A and Forum support: Urban Bradesko
  • Video recorded by: Saber Jlassi
  • Tools: Houdini 16.5
  • Duration: 8 weeks
  • Difficulty : Beginner to Intermediate
  • Format: Recorded videos delivered weekly alongside assignment and video feedback.
  • Q&A: 30 min+ video recorded every week to answer questions and provide guidance.
  • Prerequisite:
  • Very good 3D generalist background.
  • Familiar with what FX is.
  • Note:  There is very little scripting or programming in this course.


  • Start-Date: 4 March 2018
  • LIMITED Seats


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Second payment is due on the 26th of March 2018.

 Week1 –

  • Intro to proceduralism and Houdini’s interface
  • Maya vs Max vs Houdini, transition and differences
  • Intro to Houdini contexts
  • Intro to vex and pointvops
  • How to get the most out of the workshop
  • A deeper look at the various fx to be created and how to plan for the various assignment
  • Hardware requirement

Week2 —

  • Intro to pops
  • An introduction to Designing FX
  • Timing & Layering
  • Create a simple procedural system that uses path finding to create various particles streams
  • Create various FX elements using POPs
  • Particles Caching and optimization

 Week3 —

  • Intro to Houdini volumes and vdb manipulation.
  • Intro to Dops and smoke solver
  • Create various smoke elements to enhance all the particles FX created week 2
  • Volume caching and optimization

Week4 —-

  • Intro to mantra
  • Intro to shading in mantra
  • Shading all the particles FX previously created
  • Rendering the environment and setting up all the passes need to render our particles FX
  • Intro to cops in Houdini
  • FX lookdev using Houdini cops

Week5 —–

  • Intro to Bullets and constraints
  • Fracturing using voronoi and boolean
  • What is convex decomposition
  • Edge displacement and high-res interior
  • Create the constraint
  • Simulate the rbd
  • Caching the rbd and optimisation
  • Setup a workflow for using lowres geometry
    for simulation and highres geometry for rendering

Week6 ——

  • Create various debris systems using particles and bullets.
  • Create smoke trail simulation using pops and smoke solver
  • Create a smoke sim to use as an air field for particle advection.
  • Intro to grain solver and how to use it to enhance our scene to create a sand simulation

Week7 ——

  • Intro to flipfluids in Houdini
  • Prepping the geometry for flip fluids and collision
  • Create Custom forces to enhance the flip fluid sim
  • Create the Highres sim
  • Meshing in Houdini
  • Intro to whitewater in Houdini
  • Create whitewater source
  • Create a highres foam simulation including, bubbles, spray and foam.

Week8 ——–

  • Advanced water shading.
  • Foam shading (foam, spray, bubbles)
  • Lighting the flip fluid statue rising scene
  • Optimization and setting up all the render passes.
  • Create procedural atmospheric FX using vdb.
  • Volume shading and rendering in mantra.
  • Final compositing of all the FX layers and beauty passes using Houdini COPs
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