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This CGWorkshop will take you to the next level using Houdini to simulate fluids, fire and smoke and will teach you the secondary elements required to produce high quality, dynamic simulations.

Starting with the basics of voxels you will learn about smoke solvers, micro solvers and the Pyro Solver. You will then move on to gain a firm understanding of the Houdini FLIP Solver, particle manipulation and heuristics while working on your own simulation projects.

This course will fill quickly as it is the perfect next-step for the many students who have taken Saber Jlassi's Intro to FX in Houdini course. 

Houdini's Apprentice education edition software is available as a free download, and is all you will need to take this workshop.


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.


Week 1 - Voxel Sounds Like A City In Europe - The Anatomy of a Voxel

In the first week we will be covering the introductory concepts of volumes and explore ways to create and modify volume data. The goal by the end of the first week is for you to be comfortable with what a volume is and what its properties are as we will go straight into more complicated workflows and concepts throughout the following weeks.

We will cover:

  1. What a voxel is
  2. Properties of a Voxel
  3. Modifing Voxels Using Noise

Week 2 - Where There’s Smoke¨ There’s… - Smoke Solver and Microsolvers

Let’s begin with some awesome! In week two, we will cover the smoke solver and how volume fields are used to create elaborate smoke simulations. We will begin to cover methods to increase control of our smoke simulations using Houdini’s ‘microsolvers’.

  1. Functionality Of Volume Solvers
  2. Using Microsolvers to increase control

Week 3 - Fire! - The Pyro Solver and SOP Solver

The Pyro Solver is essentially the Smoke Solver on steroids. This week you will learn to navigate the complexities of the Pyro Solver in order to fully maximize its capabilities. We will also take a look at the Sop Solver to modify attributes in order to dynamically change the location and behavior of our simulation.

  1. Understanding the fundamentals of the ‘pyro’ model
  2. Shaping and Controlling simulations
  3. Using SOP Solver to Dynamically change emission

Week 4 - Is It Me Or Are Particles Still Lazy? - Using Voxel Fields To Manipulate Particles

We can use the volume data created from fluid simulations to drive the behavior of just about any other geometry, such as particles. In week three we will take a look at using Volume Fields to affect particles. This week will segway into the following weeks' class of FLIP fluids.

  1. Advection using Volumes
  2. Houdini 13 Particles in Dynamics Context (DOPS)
  3. Analyzing Volume Data to Build Elements

Week 5 - Stuff Which Pertains To Everyday Life - FLIP Fluids

In week five we will take a look at Houdini’s FLIP particle fluid solver which is useful for creating...FLUIDS! Particle Fluids are used to generate splashes, sand, and oil to name a few. We will explore are the fundamentals of FLIP, various ways to control the properties, emission before we build custom forces to get the most out of our simulation.

  1. Particle Fluid fundamentals
  2. Controlling Fluids with dynamic attributes

Week 6 - More Froth Always Sells A Shot - Generating Secondary Elements

When creating a water effect, typically it will require more than just a pretty surface to sell the shot. Week six covers effective methods for creating various secondary elements, such as foam, mist, and spray which get driven off of the base fluid simulation. Mastering these will help you achieve another level of complexity and realism to add to your simulations.

  1. Using Sim Data to generate Foam, Spray and Mist
  2. Creating Heuristics to modify behavior

Week 7 - You Can Talk The Talk But What About Walking - Simulation Workflows

As simulations can often times take hours and even days to complete, this week will explore methods for adjusting your sims efficiently so you can spend more time executing and delivering. To do this we will look at how to break down an effect into smaller components to allow for great flexibility and control.

  1. Methods to Iterate Simulations Efficiently
  2. Break down effect into small elements to gain control

Week 8 - CGI Always Looks Plastic - Rendering Fire and Fluids

In the final week we will bring some of the various elements we have created together over the previous weeks and render them. We will also take a look at some advanced methods for generating volumes to render and ways to get the most detail efficiently.

  1. Methods for Rendering Fire, Water, and Smoke Elements using Mantra
  2. Generating Volumes from points


Software Needed

Houdini's Apprentice education edition software is available as a free download, and is all you will need to take this workshop.

Minimum Skills

This course is designed for the intermediate to advanced Houdini users. Students will need to have a foundation knowledge of Houdini, the UI and the general functionality of the application such as the node based workflow. Students who have completed Saber's Introduction to FX in Houdini course are ideally suited to this course.

This course is designed on a technical foundation a good understanding of general 3D concepts is also essential.



VEX In Houdini
with Anastasia Opara

Learn to speak VEX with LookFX's Shaun Lipowski
workshop-level-a A
8 Weeks 8 WEEKLY UNITS (starts: Oct. 14) (Sold Out) (teaching now) (starts: T.B.A.) (coming soon)