Mastering Pyro FX In Houdini


Course Description

This course is in depth lecture on how to create Highend pyro FX using Houdini and how to create a custom solver to achieve a unique look.
This course focuses on rendering highend volumes and explosions using Arnold.
We will start from week1 by building a good understanding of how smoke solver works in Houdini and create two simulations, the Tank shockwave and Rebelway logo as an exercise.
In week2 we will learn how to use the Pyro solver in Houdini and as an illustration we will learn how to create Explosions and Fire and learn why we need to create a custom solver.
Week3 we start creating our own solver that will get rid of the mushroom look once and for all and we will create a variety of FX element using it.
Week4 we will start adding more feature, and primarily the ability to create Fire and we will create various element(please refer to the video for the examples).
Week5 we continue improving our solver to add our own combustion model and to be able to simulation various types of explosions.
Week6 we continue adding more features to the solver and learn how to create more complex sourcing.
Wee7 we dive even deeper and start looking at adding volume displacement without creating rest fields, and learn how to create color fields and various other adv techniques.
Week8, 9 we dive into arnold and learn the secret to realistic volume rendering, go over a variety of the sims created during the workshop and render them while exploring different techniques each time.
then we take a look at how to light the factory and set up all the passes to render the scene efficiently.
Week10 Compositing

if you join the 10 weeks workshop you get:
FREE Arnold license
for the duration of the workshop.
There is 2 new tutorials on Volume Rendering Using Mantra and Redshift that will be coming later this year to complement this course.
Students who joins the workshop will get 30% discount for 1 and or 40% discount for 2 and they will also get to pick the content of the training.
These tutorials will be made available to the public as well.

This workshop contains lot more information and the weekly breakdown is just the highlights.
The course curriculum is still being finalized and may slightly change as we progress through the workshop.
Reel and or example work and hip files will be requested to verify that the student has all the prerequisite needed to fully understand the course content.
This is a very advanced workshop and requires a lot of time and dedication and patience to master this topic.
It is crucial to have good hardware to be able to sim and render highres volumes (at least an i7 with 32gb memory or higher).
Sim time varies based on the resolution and the size of the grid and it can go any where from 4 hours up to 15 hours for 100 frames.
Student must have at least a Houdini Indie license to be able to render using Arnold.


  • Instructor : Saber Jlassi
  • Tools: Houdini 16.0 , Arnold 5.0
  • Duration: 7 or 10 weeks
  • Difficulty : Intermediate/Advanced
  • Format: Recorded videos delivered weekly alongside assignment and video feedback.
  • Q&A: 40 min+ video recorded every week to answer questions and provide guidance.
  • Prerequisite:
    1 –
    This is required if you join the 10 weeks workshop and it is 40% off until 25th of October.
    2- Introduction to FX using Houdini By Saber Jlassi and/or
    Comfortable creating FX similar to the ones
    shown in week3 and week8 of this video
  • Note:  There is no scripting or programming in this course.
  • The 21st of October session is now FULL.
  • Next Session Start-Date: 4th February 2018
  • LIMITED Seats

Start date: 4th February 2018

Mastering Pyro FX In Houdini - Simulation Only - 7 weeks Full payment

$649.99Add to cart

Pay 50% Now and 50% later

$324.99Add to cart

This is the first Installment ONLY, Second Installment is due on the 22nd of February 2018.

Start date: 4th February 2018

Mastering Pyro FX In Houdini -Simulation & Rendering - 10 weeks Full payment

$899.99Add to cart

Pay 50% Now and 50% later

$449.99Add to cart

This is the first Installment ONLY, Second Installment is due on the 27nd of February 2018.


Mastering Pyro FX In Houdini -Content Explained

Houdini Viewport Smoke Preview

 Week1 –

  • Intro to voxels and how to manipulate and create volume data in Houdini.
  • Intro to dops and smoke solver.
  • How does a smoke solver works.
  • Fume FX, Maya Fluids, and why Houdini Stands out.
  • Analyse various real explosions to set the goal for what we need to achieve.
  • Analyse various CG explosion done by big studio to understand where we are at in terms of volume rendering and simulation.
  • Iteration Iteration Iteration, how much tweaking do I need to get realistic sims.
  • Create the Tank shockwave FX as a first example to learn the basics of smoke solver and applying forces.
  • Create the Rebelway logo smoke simulation to further understand how to inject forces and sink density.
  • An in depth look at all the smoke solver settings and the best defaults that we need to use.

Week2 —

  • An in depth look at the Houdini Pyro Solver and how does it work
  • Create an explosion (possibly a nuclear explosion) to understand how the solver works and it’s limitations.
  • An in depth look at allthe forces microsolver that ships with Houdini and their limitations.
  • How to use Pyro Solver to create fire.

Week3 —

  • Learn all about microsolvers and how to properly utilize them.
  • Learn why we need a custom solver and set the goal that we need to achieve.
  • Create a custom solver smoke solver that get’s rid of the mushroom look once and for all using various microsolvers.
  • Add a very efficient way to create very detailed volumes without having to use super highres grids and by just combining various microsolvers.
  • Create a custom turbulence force that know where it needs to be applied and generates much more interesting details.

Week4 —-

  • Continue adding more features to our solver and this time we’re going to add support for creating Fire.
  • Create an engine thrust, and various other FX elements to further learn how to use the custom solver and tweak it.

Week5 —–

  • Continue working on the custom solver and add support for creating explosions with very complex expansions.
  • Add a very intelligent way that auto balances the explosion expansion, temperature and the speed at which it travels.
  • Extend the solver to add smarter noise masking features.

Week6 ——

  • An in-depth look at how to create various complex emission and tendrils.
  • Create a massive explosion using complex emission and our custom solver.
  • How to efficiently create collision and deal with highres meshes (robot simulation).

 Week7 ——-

  • This is a much more advanced section where we will take a look at combining sop solver, pop solver, and dops.
  • Use vdb and volume vops to process the data while it’s being used by dops.
  • Learn how to optimize sim data and work efficiently with very large volumes.
  • Color advection.

 Week8 ———

  • Implement a technique that allows to do rendertime displacement without having to sim rest fields.
  • Extend the custom solver to support creating custom volume fields that can be later used to create various complex shading FX.
  • Unlock the secret to rendering photo-realistic smoke and explosions.
  • An in depth look at rendering various sims using arnold 5.0 and the latest standard volume shader.
  • For FUN, learn how to create specular component on volumes.

 Week9 ———

  • lighting the factory and how to setup all the passes needed to render the scene in the most efficient possible way without sacrificing the quality.
  • TIPS and Tricks!

Week10 ———-

  • Learn how to use arnold aovs to further tweak the volume.
  • How to get the most out of volume aovs and how to add extra details in comp.
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