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Abstract FX in Houdini

Abstract FX in Houdini

An 8-week course using Houdini as a design tool that focuses on abstraction and non-traditional FX
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Create abstract effects using Houdini

Create abstract effects using Houdini
Virtually every tool in Houdini can be used for abstraction. Houdini is a means to an end, but not the end in itself. This class will focus on using Houdini outside of the traditional FX pipeline. Houdini can do much more than simulations and explosions. Here, we’ll be using Houdini as a design tool, focusing on abstraction and non-traditional FX. We’ll be looking at lots of inspirational forms from nature and architecture and learning how to create procedural networks that capture the essence of them. Rather than completing one large project, we’ll be tackling small tools and concepts that you can use as building blocks for larger ideas and visions. The goal is to get you thinking procedurally, embracing the core concepts of Houdini, and pushing you into new creative territory by expanding your tool set. NOTE: Lectures were recorded using Houdini 18.5
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Registration Period
Jul 19, 2023 - Oct 09, 2023
Course Start
Oct 06, 2023

Course Format


Skills Level



8 weeks


Live recorded session


Individually recorded

Lecture Type

Due each week. Expect to spend 10-15 hrs/wk viewing lectures, Q&A, and time on assignments.
Working knowledge of Houdini and some coding experience is recommended.
Houdini 18.5 or latest Houdini, Nuke

The more you know, the better.

We’re going to start off the course with a look at various methods of procedural modeling in Houdini. We’ll go through examples of some of the common modeling nodes, and then put everything together to create a procedural Haeckel-inspired organism.
We’ll break apart the various methods of instancing geometry to points. We’ll learn about how to control their attributes through VEX and VOP operators, and how to randomize or use animated instances in production. Out demo for this week will be a procedurally animated garden.
This lesson will focus on the core concepts of particles and particle behavior in Houdini. We’ll learn various methods of controlling particle behavior, leading to a demo project of a particle-human being formed from abstract clusters of environment particles.
We’re going to break down rigid-body simulations this week, learning how to art-direct and control bullet-solver simulations. We’ll focus on choreographing a simulation where parts of the simulation are controlled by an underlying animation, while other parts are allowed to break free and become simulation objects.
Houdini’s Vellum solver is great for more than just cloth. While we will cover cloth, we’ll mainly focus on building a layered granular simulation for this week. We’ll learn how to set up and use Vellum constraints, how to art-direct Vellum simulations, and how to have vellum objects interact with other Houdini objects.
This week is all about volumetric fluid simulations. We are going to take a big tour of FLIP fluids and volumetric smoke simulations. We’ll go into various solver settings and cover meshing fluids, as well. For our demo project, we will combine both a volumetric smoke simulation and FLIP simulation to make something truly weird.
KineFX is Houdini’s new system for procedural rigging. While KineFX is still under development, we want to make sure to get you up to speed with as much info as we can, so you’ll be ready to run when it becomes fully production-ready. This week will focus on building a character rig in KineFX. In addition to building a rig, you’ll also learn how to apply motion-capture clips to it.
The entire world of your imagination is open to you, once you get a proper grip on Houdini. In this lesson, we are going to explore some math-heavy, and some easier low-tech, ways of making intricate designs.

Unleashing your creative potential

3D motion designer
Course Start: Oct 06, 2023
Matt Taylor is a designer and technical artist based in Leeds, UK. He has worked in 3D and motion design since 2013, beginning his career using Cinema4D before moving on to Houdini. He currently works for a small studio in Leeds, and also freelances on Houdini focused projects. His personal work - as @Emty01 - aims to discover new visual ideas by solving technical problems, particularly using Vex and Python. This and the creation of new tools are his main areas of focus as well as supporting other Houdini learners on their journey.

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Jul 19, 2023 - Oct 09, 2023
COURSE BEGINS on Oct 06, 2023
Abstract FX in Houdini

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Adam is an incredible teacher and this course far exceeded my expectations. I really appreciate his ability to teach a technical subject while keeping us engaged / grounded in the high-level theory behind it all.


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