Get Ready for 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 year's MARDINI, the daily prompts are specific Houdini nodes. As shown below, each week has a category, and each day has a node which needs to be used in the artwork that you submit.  

The focus of this contest is the aesthetics of your submitted artwork – while the nodes give you a chance to explore different parts of Houdini you may not have encountered before, the focus should still be on the final artwork.


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, Education and Apprentice, and render using Karma 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 the network that includes the daily node. 

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. 

Sponsored by Greyscalegorilla+

Recently, Greyscalegorilla, the makers of premium assets and tools for 3D artists, announced the availability of their photoreal 3D asset library, Greyscalegorilla Plus, for Houdini. They have a collection of free assets and texture maps that you can access using their Houdini plug-in.

You can then use these assets in your entries, label your entry as Made with Greyscalegorilla+ and you will be eligible to win a one year subscription to Greyscalegorilla+ in a side contest.


Node Videos

We are very lucky to have Moeen Sayed of Nine Between as your guide for Mardini 2024. Every day he will create a fun video focused on the daily node to inspire you on your journey.

Moeen has a long history of delivering excellent Houdini learning material including Houdini is HIP, Solaris is Sweet and VEX isn't Scary. He also has experience with these contests. He won several categories in the HOULY contest from 2020.


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 as a contact sheet to the Iron Heart forum by April 5, 2024 at Midnight EST/EDT wins the Iron Heart. 


First Place: 1 YR Houdini FX [SideFX] | 1 YR GREYSCALEGORILLA+ Subscription
Second Place: 1 YR Houdini CORE [SideFX]
Third Place: 1 YR Houdini CORE [SideFX] 

First Place: 1 YR Houdini FX [SideFX] | 1 YR GREYSCALEGORILLA+ Subscription
Second Place: 1 YR Houdini CORE [SideFX]
Third Place: 1 YR Houdini CORE [SideFX] 

1 YR Houdini FX [SideFX] | 1 YR GREYSCALEGORILLA+ Subscription


Houdini Swag

Houdini Swag

Note: T-shirts have been difficult to deliver in the right size to so many winners. 
We have some cool SWAG ideas that will be easier to deliver in a timely manner. Details to follow.


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 Houdini products. 
  • Include a screengrab that shows your artwork in the viewport and the network that includes the daily node.
  • Winners may 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 now Houdini nodes that you need to incorporate into your work. In addition to submitting your image or animation each day, you need to include a screen grab showing the node in action. There is also a new Greyscalegorilla prize.

Q. Is the Deadline midnight EST or EDT? 
A. Since March will see daylight savings time arrive, the deadline will be just before midnight EST or EDT depending on the time change.

Q. Can third party render engines such as 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. SideFX Labs will be required for week 3.

Q. Are multiple submissions allowed?
A. Only one submission per day per artist is allowed.

Q. Do I have to choose between images and animations 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. Note that renderings are generally judged more favourably.

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

Q. Do I need to enter every day to win?
A. Not necessarily. There are several different 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.