Welcome to the MARDINI Daily Art Challenge  - your chance to compete for cool prizes by creating images or animations! With a different challenge every day during the month of March, you'll have 31 chances to enter and win. 

For this MARDINI you will use the daily theme prompts that allow you to freely express yourself and use the Houdini Tools that you know best. The focus of this contest is the aesthetics of your submitted artwork although clever use of Houdini might give you an edge. You can refer to the 2022 winners to get an idea of what artists accomplished last year.


The MARDINI Daily Challenge Forum has now been made available and on each day a thread for the daily topic will appear for you to post your work. Create your images or animations using Houdini products, including Indie and Apprentice, and render using Karma, Mantra or third party renderers working from within the Houdini environment. Any compositing work should be done using COPS.

Submit your work to these forums in order for your artwork to be considered. To win the daily prizes, you must post:

  •  your image or animation 
  • a screengrab that shows your artwork in the viewport and a network that shows how you used Houdini. 

These must be posted before Midnight EST/EDT on each day. You may submit art to any of the topics throughout the month but your work will only be eligible for the daily prizes or daily entry point if you submit before the daily deadline. You will still be eligible for the Iron Heart prize if you submit after the topic date. 

Feel free to also post your Mardini entries on social media using the hashtag #MARDINI2023. Note that posting to social media does not constitute and entry to the contest. You must post to the forum for your entries to be considered.


There are a number of different ways to win with the MARDINI Daily Challenge:

All entries will be reviewed by a panel of Judges and on a daily basis the top 3 images and top 3 animations will be rewarded points.





1st Place Image

5 pts

1st Place Animation

5 pts

2nd Place Image

4 pts

2nd Place Animation

4 pts

3rd Place Image

3 pts

3rd Place Animation

3 pts

Image Entry

1 pts

 Animation Entry

1 pts

The artist with the most points after 31 days.

From the winning entries for each day, our panel of judges will pick the top three Images and the top three Animations.

Everyone who submits entries for all 31 challenges and submits them using the following contact sheet template [PSD] to the Iron Heart forum by April 4, 2023 at Midnight EST/EDT wins the Iron Heart. 


First Place: 1 YR Houdini FX [SideFX]
Second Place: 1 YR Houdini CORE [SideFX]
Third Place: 1 YR Houdini CORE [SideFX] 

1 YR Houdini FX [SideFX]

Houdini T-Shirt [SideFX]

Houdini Swag Pack


This contest is open to any 3D artist anywhere in the world.  All entries must be received on or before the closing date.
  • Only one submission per day per artist is allowed. You can create an image or an animation but not both.
  • This contest is void where prohibited.
  • Employees of SideFX or any of their agents may participate in the contest but are not eligible to win.
  • The judges' decision is final.
  • SideFX is not responsible for submissions that arrive late, or are lost or damaged during submission.
  • If the prize cannot be awarded due to unforeseen circumstances, no cash alternatives are available.
  • Artwork created for these challenges must be created using primarily Houdini products. Winners will be asked to submit .hip files to verify that Houdini was used for all aspects of the designs. If you do not submit the files then you will be disqualified.
  • External geometry and texture maps may be used as part of your submission but Houdini must be your main tool.
  • All content must be the property of the submitter. If you are running Houdini on an employer or school computer make sure that this does not compromise your ownership rights.
  • Entries that clearly infringe on the copyrights of another company will be disqualified. 
  • Your entry in the contest constitutes an agreement to allow SideFX unrestricted use and distribution of the artwork submitted.


Q. What has changed from last year's MARDINI Contest?
A. The daily prompts are not Houdini nodes this year. While we may return to nodes in the future, the more general prompts offer a chance for artists to use the tools they rely on the most instead of being forced into using unfamiliar nodes. If you miss the opportunity to use new parts of Houdini you aren't familiar with then you can set a personal goal to use new nodes in your own work.

Another change is that 3rd party models are being allowed this year but you must show a Houdini screen grab to show the extent of how Houdini was used to create your entry. Individual models can be imported but not complete scenes. Layout should be done in Houdini.

Q. Is the Deadline midnight EST or EDT? 
A. Since March will see daylight savings time arrive, the deadline will be either midnight EST or EDT depending on the change. It is your responsibility to keep track of the change which happens on March 12th.

Q. Can third party render engines such as RenderMan, Arnold, V-Ray or Redshift be used? 
A. Yes as long as they are set up to render inside Houdini.

Q. Are Indie and Apprentice users eligible?
A. Yes. 

Q. Are we allowed to use SideFX Labs, MOPs and or QLibs?
A. Yes plug-ins and third party tools are also allowed.

Q. Are multiple submissions allowed?
A. Only one submission per day per artist is allowed. That means either one animation or one image not both.

Q. Does my choice of image/animation on day one stick for the duration of the challenge? 
A. No. You can create an image one day and an animation another. They will just be judged in different categories each day but the points will be combined to find the best overall.

Q. Can I output animations using flipbooks?
A. Yes. You can use the Viewport OpenGL to output your entry.

Q. Can 3rd party models or Megascans/Substance be used?
A. Megascan and other 3rd party models ARE allowed in the contest this year. Megascan and Substance textures are also allowed.

Q. Can I use an existing Houdini project as one of my entries?
A. In the spirit of MARDINI, you should create a new entry every day and not use artwork you have created for some other purpose. You may repurpose a model but the shot should be unique.

Q. Do I need to enter every day to win?
A. Not necessarily. There are four ways to win - see the rules above for more details.

Q. Are groups allowed?
A. No, this contest is designed for individual artists.

Q. If I win multiple daily challenges do I get multiple T-shirts?
A. Artists will only get one T-shirt no matter how many daily challenges they win.