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  • Difficulty Level:

    workshop-level-i I
  • Keywords: DYNAMIC FX


Houdini is a heavily used tool to deliver visual effects for feature film, tv and commercial as well as game companies worldwide. In this 8 week workshop, Chris will show you how to use Houdini's powerful procedural workflow, ideal to create abstract effects and generative art.
Starting from scratch you will quickly learn how to use Houdini’s tools in a fun way and archive impressive effects that are fun, effective and easily art directable.
You will learn about the workflow of an effects artist and Chris will share his personal workflow as well as plenty of tips and tricks, gathered during his work on feature films and various projects.
This class will touch some tech and math subjects that will enable you to take your effects to the next level but will also be focused on the creative and artistic side in the process of developing an abstract effect.


DISCLAIMER: Although there is no definate start date yet, this class is expected to begin sometime this year. Please note that the Course Outline below is an example outline and is subject to change 2 months before the start of the class.

Classroom Access Policy

CGMA policy states that all students will have access to classroom content for the duration of the class plus 4 weeks to review content. After this time is up classroom content will no longer be available.

For those classes with live Q&As, Q&A recordings as well as feedback recordings will be available for up to 6 months after the class is complete.

Certificate of Completion Policy

CGMA policy allows students to miss up to 2 assignments per class before they become ineligible to receive their Certificate of Completion.


Week 1 - Let the Magic Begin

What is Proceduralism and how do I use it in FX. We’re having fun in SOPs and understanding randomness, noise, fractals and other ways to keep control over the procedurals to stay within some design principles.

This week is about the basics of design and how we apply those pattens in a 3D animation and how we shape a look for a procedural animation.

- Talk about design principles 

- Look at examples of procedural artworks

- Talk about how to set up a Houdini scene in a more efficient way

- Work with attributes  

- Working with points

- Build a first procedural animation using copy stamping

- Build a simple shading, lighting and rendering setup

Week 2 - Adding a Pinch of Funny, Funny Math

We will create small algorithms to implement the fibonacci series, talk about the golden ratio and use Wrangler Sops and the SOP Solver.


- Point distribution

- Wrangle sops

- Distribution algorithms

- Spirals with sinus and cosinus

- How to implement the fibonacci sequence in SOPs

- SOP solvers

- Animated distribution

Week 3 - Particle Love

We will use the power of Houdini to create and control big numbers of points or particles. We will be in POPland as well as using SOP techniques like point clouds. Also we’ll start using compositing to improve the look of our FX.


- Advected particles

- Crating more interesting shapes using particle forces 

- Delayed loads

- Particle rendering

- Passing attributes into Mantra

- How to get more out of your particle animations in Nuke

Week 4 - Turn Up the Volumes

We Dive into DOPland to play with volumes and learn essential techniques to keep them under control and spice it up with particles.


- Advecting particles

- Smart ways for sourcing the volumes

- Passing attributes from the source into the volume

- Fast and efficient ways of working with volumes

- Volume clustering

- Get more out of your volumes with efficient light setups

- Putting it all together in Nuke

Week 5 - Love & Bullets

This week we will have a look at different RBD solvers with focus on the fast bullet solver and how Houdini’s proceduralism is ideal for great results. Procedural constraints and interesting distraction shapes.


- Procedural fracturing

- Procedural constraints

- Activating and deactivating of bullet pieces

- Passing attributes, from SOPs into DOPs and back 

- The bullet solver 

- Emitting particles from fractured pieces

Week 6 -

We will have a look at python and VEX and how we can build powerful tools with code. 


- Houdini’s coding approaches

- Coding for generative/algorithmic art

- Random/ semi-random processes

- Growth algorithms

- Emergent and fractal processes

Week 7 - Final Project I

We look at ideas for the final project, talk about how to find ideas and talk about advanced mantra techniques to let your project shine. We will also talk about some techniques to create a more stylised look of your animation. And spicing it even more up with using music to drive our animation.


- Advanced shading 

- Advanced rendering

- Audio driven animation

Week 8 - Final Project II

This week is about summing up and talk about how to pass our tools and images further, wrapped up in user friendly OTLs as well as in form of deep images for the compositors.


- Creating user friendly OTLs to pass your tools along

- Deep compositing


Minimum Skill Requirements

You’ll need a general understanding of Houdini’s workflow and how to navigate in the user interface. You should be familiar with the Houdini terminology, we will talk about SOPs, DOPs, ROPs, VEX etc. and that should sound familiar to you. A basic understanding of particles, volumes as well as rigid body simulations will be necessary as well as a fundamental understanding of animation, shading, rendering and compositing.
We'll write scripts and use expressions so you’ll having a hard time to follow along without basic programming and scripting skills 

Software requirements

You will at least need the free Apprentice edition of SideFX’s current Houdini 15.5 , you will be able to follow along all the classes and assignments within the course but your renders will be limited to a resolution of 720p and will include a watermark. If you don’t like that you can get the $199 Houdini Indie version. Either of the two will do.
We will be also using nuke, there’s a free non commercial version you can use.



Mastering Destruction in Houdini
with Keith Kamholz

Learn in-depth technical working knowledge of Houdini fractures & rigid body simulations.
workshop-level-i I
8 Weeks 8 WEEKLY UNITS (starts: Oct. 14) (Sold Out) (teaching now) (starts: T.B.A.) (coming soon)