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VEX in Houdini

VEX in Houdini

An 8-week course on mastering the power of VEX in Houdini; learn to create sophisticated tools that leverage the latest features of VEX like geometry creation
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Become a master of VEX in Houdini

Become a master of VEX in Houdini
This course is a comprehensive introduction to the use of VEX in Houdini. Some of what you’ll learn includes: implementing collision deformers, Laplacian and Taubin smoothing, Perlin Noise, and implementing our own fBM noise, different shaders in VEX, volume manipulation, pyroclastic noise, terrain erosion, and more.
Registration Now Open
Registration Period
Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
Course Start
Jul 06, 2024

Course Format


Skills Level



8 weeks


Once a week


Individual recordings

Lecture Type

Due each week. Expect to spend 10-20 hrs/wk viewing lectures, Q&A, and assignments to classes
Comfortable knowledge of Houdini and its principles and programming experience, preferably in a C-like language (C, C++, MEL, RSL, Java)
Latest Houdini

The more you know, the better.

The first class deals with setting up Houdini to work with VEX and VOPs and starting to get our feet wet with writing a few geometry deformers in SOPs. We will be talking through the theory behind Laplacian and Taubin smoothing and learn how to implement those algorithms in VEX.
One of the fundamental principles in VFX is noise. We will be looking in detail into the theory of noise and learn some specific terminology and compare different functions in small VEX examples. We will then go ahead and implement our own fBM functions which we will then use to create procedural effects like a fireball and lightning. We will touch upon how to treat noise functions on animated characters and then slightly bend our minds to create amazing patterns using the concept of domain warping.
Main topic of this week is geometry creation. We will be growing some grass curves, implement features on how to even animate it, and learn how to turn them into polygonal geometry we can render. We move on to implementing our first SOP solver to create some actual animated lightning –applying what we learned about noise and geometry creation.
This week focuses on the great Grey Scott Reaction/Diffusion model. We will learn about its theory and how to implement it in VEX. With the resulting setup we will experiment in various ways, to create some amazing naturalistic looking pictures.
Another often used method is flocking. Used for birds, fish or spaceships, the flocking mechanism by Reynolds – often referred to as BOIDS – is a fundamental principle driving many workflows in VFX. We will look into BOIDs theory and then learn about and implement a full flocking setup with behaviours like separation, alignment, wander and cohesion and instantiate geometry to the simulated points to create a flock of birds.
Growth algorithms are an important part of VFX work. Veins, magic, plants and other vegetation can be created with space colonization algorithms. We will be looking at the principle of seed and feed points, create ivy overgrowth and bushy plants to populate a 3D scene, making it more believable and life-like.
After dealing a lot with polygonal geometry, our focus will shift to other primitive types. We will be looking at the principle of advection by moving points and volumes through a velocity field and also implement a volume displacement setup to create cloud like effects. We will learn how to use point replication to increase the detail of point renders in a geometry context but also as a render time procedural. We will extend that excursion into rendering land by writing a more complex procedural that turns points into fur at render time.
We finish off the class by learning about concepts of Thermal and Hydraulic erosion. We will apply those algorithms to write our own VEX setup, creating highly realistic landscapes to be used in VFX or Games.

Taking your skills, to the next level

FX Technical Director
LECTURES BY Johannes Richter
Course Start: Jul 06, 2024
Timothy is currently a Lead FX TD at MISC Studios in London, having worked at Goodbye Kansas, Framestore, MPC, Electric Theatre Collective, and at Double Negative before. Timothy has worked on the cities for the Yorktown sequence for Star Trek: Beyond, did a variety of FX on Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Birds of Paradise, and more recently worked on streaming/TV series such as Locke and Key, Vigil, The Rig, Cursed, Jack Ryan and more, and has worked on a number of commercials projects, both doing FX and building procedural modelling tools, for clients like Honda, Seat, Dyson, Argos and others.

He studied digital effects at Bournemouth University and game art at the Utrecht School of Art and Technology. Timothy has been teaching in various capacities, most recently at Anomalia (Czechia), at Pluralsight (City Generation with Python in Houdini), as Houdini tutor for MOPA (Arles, France) and has also done a number of Master Classes, for Bournemouth University and Staffordshire University.

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Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
COURSE BEGINS on Jul 06, 2024
VEX in Houdini

What makes this learning experience unique?


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Enjoy lifetime access to the spectrum of course content, including lectures, live Q&As, and feedback sessions.


Show off your Certification of Completion when you turn in 80% of course assignments.


Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with flexible, online course scheduling.


Johannes is a great tutor that knows well how to explain the concepts in an approachable manner. Even later in the course, he was able to keep hinting at things that were thought in the course so it would remain in the back of your mind. Excellent instructor.


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