Houdini: The VFX Industry’s Best Kept Secret

Houdini: The VFX Industry’s Best Kept Secret

A few weeks ago, we posted some details of changes and improvements we were making to our courses. We promised we would be giving details of these improvements soon, and today we are going to be talking to you about Houdini.

But before I go off and spend time describing how we have incorporated Houdini in the curriculum of some of our more advanced courses, I wanted to give you a little bit of a potted history about Houdini. It’s my way of explaining why Houdini is so important for the 3D artist and why we have now decided to teach it.

Houdini is one of the industry’s best-kept secrets. It is mainly used for VFX work as a compliment tool to the traditional production pipeline. It is made by a company called Side Effects and is essentially a procedural 3D environment - think of it as like having NUKE but for 3D - and it's won many awards for its unique set of features.

Admittedly, it is a tool for the more experienced 3D artist as it relies on a good knowledge of the fundamentals of 3D graphics. Houdini is a great visual programming environment and that’s why it is generally adopted in high-end VFX pipelines. That’s because in Houdini you can easily prototype and write tools without having to hire many specialist coders. This gives Technical Directors (TDs) a great deal of flexibility.

The only problem with Houdini in the past is that the interface has been very hard to get to grips with, meaning most artists who want to learn it face a very steep learning curve. But since 2007 Side Effects have made some significant changes to Houdini’s interface in order to address this issue and make their product more accessible, but it still remains a tool for the more experienced 3D artist.

Most of the VFX production houses now use Houdini and if you are keen to progress your career, learning Houdini will give you a distinct advantage over the competition and will subsequently open doors to more senior positions.

I will be writing over the coming days about how we have integrated Houdini into our curriculum, but in the meantime, I will leave you with a link to a recent story we wrote about how one of our escapees who used Houdini to create some very cools sequences for his showreel, as well as some useful links where you can get more information about Houdini.

1 Comments Isabelle Duarte

Posted by
Isabelle Duarte
Tue 17 Jan 2012: 10:40am

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  • ataulm:

    Thanks for these links Isabelle, I'm doing a research project on Houdini and these will be useful.

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