New to Houdini (Nth time)

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Hello,
I am a 3ds Max user.I mostly do Fx stuffs. Been trying to learn Houdini on and off, couldn't continue the learning process because of the frustrations and doubts. I know a lot of people like me had similar queries, So my apologies for one more…

I tried a fair amount of tutorials in the past,the roadblocks were the “scripts/expressions”,from one liners to a string of those. I don't have any sort of “scripts/expressions” knowledge, so when it comes to the aspects of applying those without knowing is not so satisfying, I mean copying the given expressions from those tutorials and applying just to get past the tutorial without knowing what I am doing has been the issue.

So my request to you Houdini Jedis is to give me a nudge in the right direction. As I said before I have no programming knowledge at all, So what kind of programming languages do I need to look in to, just to even to get a basic knowledge required to understand application of expressions in Houdini. Links to such tutorials would be great.

This time I really don't want to stumble and stop learning. Any tips and advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
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I'd claim that - at their core “logic” - almost all programming languages are “the same”. Air quotes, because there are layers upon layers that make “programming languages” look differently, feel differently, work differently. But at the end of the day, a programming language is there to convert more or less “human-readable instructions” into “computer usable commands”. And THAT fundamental thing is, pun intended, quite binary.

One of the unfortunate things about Houdini is that there are three or four different programming languages that you may have to learn (to some small degree), as there is neither consistency nor “global logic” about where you would use what or why. There's “HScript”, which I consider more an extended set of expressions, there's “Vex”, which looks and feels a lot like C/Javascript etc, there's “Python” (about which a lot should be said but you may get burned at the stake if you do), there's C/C++. And that's just a quick glance. If you “only” want to use expressions (to drive actions based on some events), HScript will still take you quite far, which you should be able to “learn” within one or two hours. If you want to write your own helper-nodes, you probably want to use Vex. If you want to interact with the user or pipe in/pipe out data, you most likely need to add Python.

From my perspective - I have written a book about “how do I learn the fundamental ideas of programming languages”, you can find shameless advertising in this forum - the *language* doesn't really matter that much, since most usable programming languages really only differ in the way they force their users to layout and paint the wording. It's more about “looking good”, not that much about getting a job done.
What you need to learn is basic logic: What is the difference between “and” and “or”? What is the difference between inclusive-or and exclusive-or? What is the difference between 1 and 0 (no joking) and what is the difference between almost-or-actually-as-good-as-0 and 0? Why should a developer raise at least an eyebrow when she sees floating-point values being used in logic statements? If you can get a grasp on these ideas, the “language” really is just the dressing.

My suggestion for a learning path is: Find a problem you want to solve (or in other words: Create a project you want to finish, define what it really is about, what features/functions/visuals you want to have and break it down into steps). Then solve one bit after the other, learning only what you really need for that specific (small enough) task. I think it's completely OK to copy and paste code as long as you know what the code block you are using DOES (not line by line but: What input does it take and what output does it provide). You will get there, you will learn to break huge chunks of code down into digestable portions over time.

Marc
---
Out of here. Being called a dick after having supported Houdini users for years is over my paygrade.
I will work for money, but NOT for "you have to provide people with free products" Indie-artists.
Good bye.
https://www.marc-albrecht.de [www.marc-albrecht.de]
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p5 is a graphics programming language library in JavaScript that gives you all the tools and tutorials to code. Tons of tutorials etc
https://p5js.org/ [p5js.org]

Considered one of the best teachers out there at the Coding Train:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvjgXvBlbQiydffZU7m1_aw [www.youtube.com]

P.S pro tip. don't emulate this teacher's personality when working in the industry haha!
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Hey maxster,

I had the same thoughts, when coming from softimage a while back. Now, as I‘m quite comfortable with using houdini and still not with scripting too much, I can tell you that you don‘t have to use too much scripting for most tasks.
If you can tell us which scripts from which tutorials you refer to, maybe we can give you some extra advice on that. In my learning process beginnings I was often confused by the ones to reference something into a solver for example but now I know, that I don‘t have to write them but I can also just copy the node, I‘d like to reference and paste it into the line, where it reads that. In most scenarios you can use scripting but than there‘s also another way to do the same thing. I think you can get quite far without it and learn bits and pieces of it on the way. You definitely don‘t need it to get started. I encourage you to try, because in my opinion houdini is really a joy to use, because it‘s always like, if you can think of something, it is possible. And after you understand some of the core concepts, it‘s becoming more and more fun to dive deeper into the rabbit hole and you understand, that it‘s just a rabbit hole after all and not rocket science - though I‘m pretty sure you could use houdini for rocket science as well

Cheers, Lukas
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Thank you all for taking time to explain and share your thoughts on my doubt.
I really appreciate it.
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