As a VFX artist you are constantly challenged to achieve the director’s artistic vision while creating highly realistic results. Houdini supports through both the development stage where you explore the science behind the phenomena and the artistic stage where you focus on the design and look of the shot. Houdini’s high-end particle and dynamic simulation tools let you explore and create using a friendly node-based workflow and you will be able to consistently produce multiple iterations and respond quickly to changes made by the director.

Houdini lets you bring together geometry, animation, simulation, and rendering to achieve the most realistic VFX possible. As VFX becomes a key component of all areas of production, Houdini’s procedural workflow offers an out-of-box set of tools that work effectively with your existing software solutions through interchange formats such as FBX. You can also insert Houdini deeper into your pipeline using the Houdini developer’s kit and extensive Python support. Whether you are working on feature films, television VFX or high-end commercials, Houdini helps you control the flow of data in ways you never thought possible.

Rules-based Particles

VFX generally exhibit the natural, organic motion found in particle simulations. Houdini’s rules-based particles provide a reliable feedback loop as you tweak parameters and add expressions to your procedural nodes. This makes it easier to achieve directable results throughout the creative process.

As you build up your particle effects, Houdini manages the underlying transform matrices. You can focus on the quality of the motion then use procedural controls to help you choreograph the effect. After a simulation is complete, you can further control the points to add secondary effects or to tweak the results in response to last-minute feedback from the director.

Make a Big Bang

With video games and television going HD and feature films battling it out at the box office, there will always be room for bigger, more explosive visual effects. Clients expect you to make an impact on audiences which means you are faced with more shots and tighter deadlines. Houdini’s procedural approach offers a VFX pipeline designed to help you meet those expectations with time to spare.

From accurate rigid body tools to the new Pyro FX fire and smoke tools, Houdini’s node-based workflow lets you work at insanely high levels of detail to create unique photorealistic simulations. With an impressive degree of connectivity and control, Houdini lets you go well beyond the push-button controls found in other VFX apps. It won’t take long for you to achieve unique effects that help you stand out against your competition.

Dust and Debris

Many of the VFX shots you create involve secondary effects designed to add an extra level of realism. This dust and debris is often tied very closely to the primary or hero effect and it is critical that there is a synergy between all the parts. Houdini makes it easy to create working prototypes of these systems early in production then scale the solution up until it is ready to be applied to multiple shots.

With Houdini’s procedural workflow, it is easy to make sure the secondary effects take advantage of the forces and impact data generated by the hero effect. This way you can tweak and refine your hero effect up until the last minute and the secondary effects will be automatically generated.

Dive Under the Hood

With Houdini’s animation and simulation tools there are no black boxes. The procedural node network allows you to modify all aspects of your dynamic sim. Imagine being able to take any Rigid body object and substitute it with something completely different. With Houdini, all the necessary adjustments to complete the sim are figured out for you including sticky issues such as object interpenetration.

While Houdini makes it easy for your artists and TD’s to accomplish a lot interactively, it also provides a great home base for proprietary solutions and custom code. You can use the developers kit to add your own solution into Houdini while taking advantage of Houdini’s user interface for integrating your solution. Right away your code will work procedurally within Houdini’s node-based system and can interact with other Houdini nodes.

Grow Your Library of Effects

Visual effects are often repeated in multiple shots or even multiple projects. This makes the nodes and networks in Houdini very useful because they can be re-purposed in different situations while yielding unique results. By simply tweaking parameters or rewiring the nodes, you can create a completely new look that builds off the existing effect.

You can then turn these networks into Houdini Digital Assets which fit perfectly into any production. These assets contain all the nodes used in the original solution and make it easy to dive down and tweak the network to meet any new requirements. Scenes can reference assets from a central location and can be set up to update automatically if the asset definition is altered.

Learn how you can create stunning VFX with Houdini:

To try out Houdini and experience the advantages of going procedural with your VFX, you can use the Houdini personal tools to evaluate, learn and develop real projects or contact Side Effects at to talk about your needs and to arrange for a webinar demonstration. There are many ways that Houdini can help you in your work and we look forward to helping you find new levels of productivity in your day-to-day work.


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