This course is closed for enrollments, submit the form to get notified early next time this course runs.

Thank you for your interest, you will be notified next time this course runs.

Oops, something went wrong:

Manage subscriptions
  • Difficulty Level:

    workshop-level-f F
  • Keywords: DYNAMIC FX


Spencer Lueders is currently a FX Lead at Sony Pictures Imageworks in Los Angeles. CGWorkshops is lucky enough to have Spencer back with his 8 week online, fully ­mentored Houdini training course.

Spencer will cover a variety of material and get into many technical low level concepts, such as the maths, geometry, and trigonometry involved in gaining complete control over an effect.

When it comes to making great FX, there aren't any push­button solutions. This course helps to lay that groundwork to understand what is going on under the 'hood'. Spencer will take you step­by­step through the construction using production techniques in Houdini ­ right from looking at the UI and procedural modeling in Week 1, and eventually on to particles, grains and fluids. You will cover methods that give complete control when you're creating cracks, dust and debris, dissolving effects, as well as procedural animation and modeling, to name a few.

Finally, you'll bring in the various elements you have created together in one final scene.

Don't miss the chance to learn from one of the industry's most experienced Houdini professionals.


Week 1 - The Always Exciting Part - Learning the UI and Constructing a Model

This week we will be covering Houdini’s Procedural workflow, the User Interface, and explore a few of Houdini’s modeling tools. The goal by the end of the first week is to have a comfort level with Houdini’s interface as we will go straight into more complicated workflows and concepts throughout the following weeks.

  • Proceduralism
  • User Interfaces
  • Creating Networks

Week 2 - Copies are Cool, Copies are Cool, Copies are Cool - The Copy Operator and Noise

Can you feel the magic yet? For this week, we will cover the amazingness of the Copy Surface Operator (SOP) and its vast capabilities to create complex models, procedural animation and effects. We will also begin to cover the power of Noise and random values to give our geometry more organic behavior.

  • Copy Surface Operator
  • Stamping to Create Copy Variations
  • Noise

Week 3 - POPs is the Magic Word - Introduction to Particles

Particles and Noise. The bread and butter of Houdini. We will get into what a particle is, how we can control it using forces, collisions as well as expressions. We cover how to surface and apply geometry to our particles.

  • Particle fundamentals
  • Controlling simulations
  • Writing Simulations to Disk
  • Apply Geometry to Particles

Week 4 - Is it me Or Are Particles Lazy? - Building Particle Emitters

For this class, we will define where particles emit, set their initial velocity to direct our effect. We will learn how to set a vectors length, direction and rotation in order to maximize the amount of control we have. We also dive into using volumes to affect the particle behavior.

  • Controlling Initial Velocity
  • Vectors - Length, Direction and Rotation
  • Collisions with Volumes

Week 5 - Other Fun Particle Tricks To Show Your Friends - Dissolving Geometry

Dissolving geometry is always a good trick to own. We will look at a method of creating a dissolving effect that will eat away our model. We will explore the use of volume fluids to advect our particles to create natural, fluid motion.

  • Attractors
  • Integrating particles with geometry
  • Advection using Voxel Fields

Week 6 - Sims are for Sucka’s! - Procedural Methods to create FX without simulation

This week we will explore alternative methods for developing an effect without the use of simulations which can often allow for more flexibility, control, and increased efficiencies. We will get into using various attribute types as well a few trigonomic functions to produce a production level effect.

  • Discuss goals when creating an effect
  • Geometry Attribute Types
  • Cover Math/Trigonometry topics to build robust effect

Week 7 - Let’s Flip for FLIP fluids - Introduction to FLIP fluids

We will take a look at Houdini’s FLIP particle fluid solver which is useful for creating...FLUIDS! Key areas we will explore are the fundamentals of FLIP, various ways to control the properties, emission, and build custom forces to get the most out of our simulation. We also will take a look at the Grain solver which is perfect for producing cohesive elements such as sand and snow.

  • Particle Fluid fundamentals
  • Controlling Fluids with custom forces
  • Grain Solver

Week 8 - I Want To Be a Houdini When I Grow Up - Bringing It All Together

The final week we will bring the various elements we have created together over the previous weeks. We will also explore some of the methods for rendering in Houdini.

  • Bring Elements Learned Over Course Together
  • Render using Mantra.



  • There is an expectation that each student have a working knowledge of another 3d software package. Typically, Houdini has a steep learning curve and this class isdesigned to be fairly technical and students who do not have an understanding of general 3d concepts can quickly fall behind.


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



VEX In Houdini
with Shawn Lipowski

Learn to speak VEX with LookFX's Shaun Lipowski
workshop-level-a A
8 Weeks 8 WEEKLY UNITS (starts: Jul. 6) (Sold Out) (teaching now) (starts: T.B.A.) (coming soon)

Houdini PyroFx in Film Production
with Ruben Mayor

Learn the power of Houdini and it's native fluid solver - PyroFX
workshop-level-i I
8 Weeks 8 WEEKLY UNITS (starts: Oct. 5) (Sold Out) (teaching now) (starts: T.B.A.) (coming soon)

Fluids FX Using Houdini
with Spencer Lueders

Jump to the next level using Houdini to simulate fluids.
workshop-level-i I
8 Weeks 8 WEEKLY UNITS (starts: Feb. 1) (Sold Out) (teaching now) (starts: T.B.A.) (coming soon)