Introduction to Fluid Dynamics in Houdini

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Hey everyone,

Chris Maynard here at cmiVFX. Just wanted to let you know that we used the SideFX fluids videos as a jumping off point to get into fluids in more detail.

For our 4 hour feature video, read below. (Thanks to everyone at SideFX)

cmiVFX Launches New Video Houdini Fluid FX Integration For TD's
Watch High Definition Training Videos For The Visual Effects Industry Instantly From Anywhere In The World.

Princeton, NJ., July 28, 2008 — cmiVFX | cmiStudios launches yet another Houdini Software Training Video for FX TD's migrating from other Fluid Simulation software packages. With the assistance of Side FX Software and Brian Goodwin (Currently working at Framestore), we bring to you the first volume in the Fluids For Houdini Series. Viewers of this video should have a good understanding of how Houdini operates. New users of Houdini should refer to the Houdini Fundamentals Video located at the following webpage. (Video is about 4 hours in length)

This video is available today at the cmiVFX store. []

Product Announcements — Houdini Fluid FX For TD's []

Fluids are often thought of as just being a surface that is rendered and effects that are applied to this surface, and often these can be treated as independent effects however in this video, I focus on exposing that what makes Houdini unique, that being the ability to create complex scalable particle simulations like splashes and bubbles, where these effects rely on the fluid simulation to introduce complex customizable behavior.

Applying Concepts
When trying to generate fluids, there are a number of secondary effects that are normally added to create the sense of realism. Relying on canned effects can only take you as far as prebuilt methods normally do. However being a Technical Director, one normally needs to push things further and have an underlying insight into how the technology behind the tools we use work in order to create effects that are realistic but controllable. This video focuses on exposing how to generate these effects from the ground up by using unconventional methods of taking simulated data out of any fluid simulation and using this in your own custom VOP networks.

Starting At The Beginning
I don't aim to cover all the concepts behind generating fluids, however there needs to be a chapter that gives you enough to get you started, specifically starting with generating the data we need for the effects we want to create. So I cover a couple of problems you will run into when generating fluids for the first time. Since it is focused on getting underneath the hood, I refrain from using to many prebuilt techniques and try to reveal how things actually work when sourcing from object within your scene while handling collisions between liquids and other rigid body objects through to tips on handling larger simulations and finally on how to write data out.

Integrate Your Fluid Simulations Into Other Simulations
Having the ability to allow your fluid simulation to effect other simulations, and having them interact with each other help generate really realistic effects. Not only do your fluid simulations have the ability to advect other objects but others can effect your fluid simulation simultaneously, both through forces and through collisions.

Dealing With Sign Distance Fields
The heart of the lectures are about working with that data that fluids simulations produce but is often unknown. That being the volume data that fluid store attributes like density, velocity and various others that can be customized. We look into how this data is added and how this data is extracted and most importantly, how we can generate custom VOPs that sample this data and use it in other places.

Integrating Volume Data Into Custom Particle Effects
Finally we take this data from fluids and build up custom particle effects that tightly rely on the fluid simulation.
Solving problems that range from birthing particles inside a volume, faking collisions and attractions through to creating custom pop networks that extract data from the fluid object and behave as is the two elements co-existed and were simulated simultaneously, giving the user the ability to craft effects in layers and ultimately creating believable particle effects.

The Author
Brian Goodwin is 26 years old and is a FX TD working at Framestore in London where he jumps between using massive for crowds and Houdini for effects. He has worked on numerous commercial projects and has just finished working on a The Chronicles of Narnia - Price Caspian and is busy working on Baz Luhrmann's new movie, Australia. He began his career in South Africa working in various commercial houses namely, Masters and Savant, Refinery and Blackginger where he was the lead FX TD. Aside from commercial and film projects, He enjoys working on music videos through Lung Animations in South Africa which allow him to try new techniques in the field.

About cmiVFX
cmiVFX is the leader in High Definition Video Training for the Visual Effects Community. To test drive the new cmiVFX TVOD © system, visit [] For additional information about cmiVFX, visit
© 2008 cmiVFX | cmiStudios.  All rights reserved.
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Joined: June 2017
I only get a 404 error when I try to open the link to the liquid/fluid course. Seems that this is the correct link? []
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696 posts
Joined: March 2006
You're… replying to a 9 year old thread. All I can say, is that the original videos are no longer available (or relevant).

I would think that the digital tutors one you referenced is also out of date since it's for Houdini 14.
Stephen Tucker
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460 posts
Joined: July 2005
Yeah is really old
some stuff might be useful but not something you want to follow step by step

also, is a cmivfx training not digital tutors

this is the correct video []'s
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