Just starting out - Is Houdini right for me?

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Hi, I just learned about the Houdini tools and they look really interesting. I'm an indie game designer with a coding background but no art skills. I'm looking to explore 3D modeling/effects for the first time and was wondering if this is the right tool to start with. I've heard the learning curve can be high compared to other tools but I haven't used any others so thought I'd ask for some perspective here.

Is this the right tool for someone starting out wanting to learn 3D modeling for the first time? Would it be better to start with another tool such as Blender, etc.? I am attracted to the concept of procedural tools coming from a coding background which is why I ended up here.

If I dive into Houdini it would probably be the apprentice version to see how it goes and then maybe get the indie version. I'm using Unity for my own projects so that would be where the output of any work would go.

Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!
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Yes , I think Houdini is great choice for who has programming background and working in the Game industry.

Specially Procedural Modeling is a very useful tool for games.
Also you can use too many Houdini tools and Assets in the Unity with Houdini Engine.

Just working with Houdini only for static models (not procedural) is a little hard and complex , But it's just for first .

Also you can use Houdini Apprentice for learning and buy another commercial and limited commercial licences later.
You have access to all of the tools in the Houdini with Apprentice version , Just you can't render HD and rendered images has Water Mark !
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I downloaded Houdini Apprentice to try it out and figure I'll go through some of the introductory videos to start learning.

A question I have regarding your comment on modeling:

Joker386
Just working with Houdini only for static models (not procedural) is a little hard and complex , But it's just for first .

Besides the tutorials here, what would you recommend for learning static modeling with Houdini? As I mentioned I haven't really modeled with any other tool so I don't know the basics and it looks like some of the tutorials here will be more advanced. I don't mind a steeper learning curve but the right guidance will be helpful as a tackle this.

By the way, nice portfolio and thanks!
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I strongly recommend cmiVFX tutirials .
You can find too many tutorials about different parts (Modeling - Animation - Rendering - Dynamic and etc) on cmiVFX.com .
Also you can find great tutorials that created with people and Houdini users on the Vimeo . :idea:
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Great, thanks for the links! It looks like their fundamentals video is a good place to start.
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Great, thanks for the links! It looks like their fundamentals video is a good place to start.

I learned too many tips and tricks with cmiVFX tutorials , specially some tutorials that made by Varomix !
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Houdini is excellent for someone with a programming background. By my limited use the only major flaw for me is that the traditional modeling tools in Houdini lag behind the competition. Unless I want to model something procedurally I do it in Blender and I am happy with everything else.
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Houdini is right choice for those who want to direct software in their direction rather then being used to software's limitations.
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Houdini is excellent for someone with a programming background. By my limited use the only major flaw for me is that the traditional modeling tools in Houdini lag behind the competition. Unless I want to model something procedurally I do it in Blender and I am happy with everything else.
I don't agree with this one. Most Houdini users do not write a stitch of code to do the actual shots. Most code is required to knit Houdini in to existing medium and large studio pipelines, not the case for small shops or personal work.

Yes I agree that if you have an analytical mind, Houdini is a great package. Many artists have a technical side but have never contemplated writing code and Houdini embraces and empowers these users with it's constant linear learning curve. No huge jumps to learn a complex programming language with Houdini. Just a nice, continuous and familiar build-up of skills as you progress with this tool.

If you want to understand what goes in to making a shot, it is your package. If you want to control your own destiny without writing a stitch of code to handle complex shots these days, Houdini's your tool. Have a killer idea that will make life simpler for everyone and fits in to Houdini, submit the request for enhancement and let's see if it can be churned and implemented. Again no need to write code. That is why we have daily builds and aggressively pro-active support: So that you shouldn't have to write code as a TD/Artist to do your daily work.

I'd argue that you can go way further in Houdini without resorting to writing complex expressions or writing code than any other application.

If you just want to be a naive user, you can still use Houdini to a certain degree. Take a look at Fur tools as an example where you can tromp through the shelf tools and end up with a great result. More of these set-ups are winding up in Houdini these days such as the flip water workflows.

Barring that, then perhaps another application is preferred.
There's at least one school like the old school!
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Alberto Fonseca
Great, thanks for the links! It looks like their fundamentals video is a good place to start.

I learned too many tips and tricks with cmiVFX tutorials , specially some tutorials that made by Varomix !

Glad to hear my work was helpful to you, thank you
varomix FX TD | Founder | Educator
MIX Training || www.mix-training.com
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Joker386
Alberto Fonseca
Great, thanks for the links! It looks like their fundamentals video is a good place to start.

I learned too many tips and tricks with cmiVFX tutorials , specially some tutorials that made by Varomix !

Glad to hear my work was helpful to you, thank you

:wink:
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I was scared as i don't have code background, and Houdini seems
so empowered by that, expecially Python.
However , if the learning curve is a litlle stiff, I am, on a decent pace
, benefiting from the tutorials and I recomend the Carlos parmentier for continuous waves for flip fluids ,to mention an example.
Like many softwares , few vital features, without any explanation are not covered enough for the free less advanced tuorials.
For example the Flat tank tutorial ,is the best ever, but no explanation for the process of rendering decent whitewater was given , so far, and it was promissed long ago,nevertheless digging enough I saw how easy it is to render foam, splashes as points and give them a bit of a decent shader for Mantra.
Only ,i am not sure of anything , because the lack of tutorials, I stick with rhe techniques I learn from experimenting.
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