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Welcome to Houdini. In this lesson you will start from scratch to model, render, animate, and simulate a soccer ball, also known as a football in many parts of the world. You will create a classic bouncing ball animation using the principles of squash and stretch, apply textures and materials, add lights and cameras, and explore the use of dynamics to simulate a group of soccer balls.

These tasks will introduce you to many different parts of Houdini as you create your first Houdini scene, explore the interface and discover some of its most important tools. You will learn how to work interactively in the Scene View and how to use the Network View to manage your nodes as you refine your model and build your animation rig. You will also set up materials and textures on the Solaris Stage then you will render using Houdini’s built-in renderer Karma, and finally create a Rigid Body Simulation.



Robert Magee is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at SideFX who has been working with Houdini for 20 years. He has created lots of learning material and demos designed to help artists understand how going procedural with Houdini can benefit their work.

More from Robert Magee


  • ozzy561 5 ヶ月, 4 週間 前  | 

    Just started learning Houdini. Fantastic tutorials Robert, thank you.

  • Mike_A 4 ヶ月, 1 週間 前  | 

    How would you adjust the animation of the soccer ball while viewing the scene from the camera created in Solaris?

    • rmagee 4 ヶ月, 1 週間 前  | 

      If you want to keep a close camera/animation relationship then I would have set up the camera at the object level then used Scene Import to get that camera into LOPS. Then you can go back to the object level and animate knowing that the camera will be the same in LOPS - You could also use a Scene Import to bring in the animated soccerball but then you would need a cache lop to get motion blur.

    • rmagee 4 ヶ月, 1 週間 前  | 

      There is also a LOP import Camera node at the object level where you can take the camera from the stage back to the object level. That wouldn't work in this case though because the bouncing ball was rotated after the USD file was imported into LOPS - you could apply those transforms to the object and then you would have the camera properly aligned with the bouncing ball for tweaking.

  • MarkHawk 4 ヶ月 前  | 

    On Lesson 09, around 0:55, we export the animation using the USD Export node. When I export it, mine never exports as .usd. Instead, it exports as .usdnc. (extensions, naming, and save location match yours.) When I get to about the 02:39 of lesson 09, I can't import the .usd animation. It can't see the file. When I try and force it or change the extension to .usd, it gives me a flag error. When I try and bring in the .usdnc it flags an error. Both errors say, "Unable to find layer file: Animate (then my path) " I'm using the Houdini Apprentice Non-Commercial 19.5.368. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • nogoodgofer 3 ヶ月 前  | 

      I looked the extension up, and .usdnc is the non-commercial version (it can't be opened by software other than Houdini). I was able to make the file visible by clicking in the bottom right of the import window (it lists extensions) and switching it to the *.

  • MarkHawk 4 ヶ月 前  | 

    Reached out to another Houdini artist, who explained It's because I am using the non-commercial Houdini. NC = non com. Just like all my scene files are .hipnc.

    • MarkHawk 4 ヶ月 前  | 

      Bought the indie version and restarted the project. I was able to export a .USD and reimport it to finish lesson 9. Not ideal but I can at least continue moving forward.

      • nogoodgofer 3 ヶ月 前  | 

        At least you have the pro version, this is cool. To get .usdnc file visibility you switch the readable files (lower right corner in the import window) to the *.

  • SpeLL 4 ヶ月 前  | 

    Robert, thank you so much for a great tutorials.
    For a beginner it was very useful and interesting.
    In the last episode, we created a simulation in object context, and the backdrop was previously created in Solaris so that it can be reused in several shots.
    So the question is how to reconfigure the scene so that when rendering the simulation in Solaris, the balls do not penetrate through the backdrop?

  • thracekelsick 2 ヶ月, 3 週間 前  | 

    Thanks for this tutorial Robert! I'm fairly new to Houdini, (coming from Maya), and this was helpful. I will say it would have been great if project management had been addressed more at the beginning tho. I had to lookup a separate video to try and understand the $HIP & $JOB environment variables, and how to use them

  • Smedina2 1 ヶ月, 4 週間 前  | 

    Hi really like the tutorials. I am learning about Houdini, but the soccer ball's UVs did not want to show or download in the parameter panel. What can I do? Thank you

  • Ritika_jn 1 ヶ月 前  | 

    When we export USD, I am getting a .usdnc file instead of the normal .usd file. Why's that ?
    And how can I resolve it?

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