I promised to keep you posted on how we're changing our curriculum to include Houdini in some of our courses, and that’s the subject of this post.
As explained in a previous post, Houdini's a tool for the more experienced 3D artist. It requires a fair bit of expertise before you can appreciate what the program can achieve, and to then put those skills into practice. That’s why we've decided to make it part of our VFX Animation Professional Course.
Students on this course spend the first 12 weeks, covering the basic 3D VFX skills that a junior position in the industry will require, and then an additional 6 weeks of more advanced teaching. It’s not until then that we begin to tackle how to get the best out of Houdini, and this final part of tuition will give them the skills to land a TD (Technical Director) role.
I personally developed the course curriculum, dedicating the first week to teach camera tracking and mocap, then in the 2nd & 3rd week I give a thorough overview of the Houdini interface and techniques. After that in the 4th & 5th week we bring all those skills together to build a crowd system, similar to what you may see in the movies, but using Houdini rather than the better known Massive. In the 6th week students complete their final project, which can eventually be used in their Showreel.
During the six weeks of intensive Houdini tuition my aim is to instill an overall competence in the program. For Houdini is a visual programming interface which means you can make unique tools that otherwise can only usually be created by intensive coding, thus opening up a lot of exciting creative possibilities. That's why it's such useful part of the film production pipeline.
By now it's possible you're questioning whether learning Houdini is relevant to your career aspirations. Well, it really depends on what you want to become. If you enjoy resolving aesthetic problems with a more technical approach, then I would say Houdini is definitely for you.
But to summarise, if you're the kind of person who enjoys more technical aspects of 3D and Visual Effects, then becoming a TD is the right career path for you, and Houdini should definitely be a part of your arsenal.
I hope I've answered most of your questions regarding Houdini on our courses, and what part it may play in developing your own VFX career. But if you've any more questions please just drop me a line below, and I’ll be happy to answer.
I’ll also be running a Webinar on the topic of Houdini shortly, so stay tuned for more information on that.