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best online traning :) June 12, 2010, 8:30 p.m.

The book “The Magic of Houdini” is really good, starts you out from nothing and explains everything. It uses version 8 of Houdini, but you can still download that here under support.

I dont recommend either Garman's Gnomon DVD or the Digital Tutors Houini DVDs, both are for advanced users who already understand how to do expressions in an app like Maya.

how to make the Houdini UI look decent May 25, 2010, 3:24 p.m.

I think one of the major mistakes that SideFX has made in Houdini is choosing grey as the default color for both viewport background and UI color and also making it so difficult to change these colors. Im going to lay out the steps that need to be taken to make the UI more comfortable and useable:

1) Now lets get rid off that awful OpenGL highlight you have in viewport rendering. First create a sphere in your scene. Then put the cursor over the viewport and press D, go to the misc tab in the window that pops up and uncheck specular highlights (be sure to click save to defaults). The sphere looks a lot nicer now doesnt it.

2) The grey UI color is awful, most 3D apps have an option for dark UI as does Houdini. Go to edit>color settings and in the user interface tab of the window that pops up change from houdini light to houdini dark. Looks a lot better now right?

3) The grey background color in the viewport is awful, I dont understand how anyone can work with it. But you can change it. Go to:
C:\Program Files\Side Effects Software\Houdini 10.0.595\houdini\config
and right click on the file and select properties in the right click menu and uncheck read only. Open in a text editor and the very first configuration setting is BackgroundColor, change it to whatever you want, I like 20 25 30 which is a dark blue with lots of depth.
(If the new viewport background color doesnt show up you may have to switch to black background by pressing D over the viewport and then clicking the background tab in the window and changing color scheme from light to dark)

Heres a pic of what this new UI looks like on my netbook. Notice that light grey gizmo halo that surrounds the sphere, you cant see that with the default background.

Its just crazy how the most powerful 3D package on earth would have grey 3D objects over a grey background in the viewports. Ive attached a pic of this insanity, grey over grey, how can anyone stand it??

tutorials with example files March 22, 2010, 9:07 p.m.

I recall before I came across example files that go along with project based tutorials, Im pretty sure this is integrated in houdini itself and not online content. But now I cant find it, does anyone know what Im referring to? I recall for example one of the files was a cartoon character, like a rigged for animation character of a skateboard kid or something. I hope someone knows what Im talking about.