Krzysztof Wolski

wolskikrzys

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A PhD Student in Human Visual Perception

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IRON HEART WINNERS | Date Changed - you may need to repost April 1, 2022, 9:40 a.m.

Soooo... that's the end...
What can I say, except it was a great event and I was honoured to compete against such talented people.
Time flies like crazy. It feels like March has just started but it's already over. I feel this weird void now without any more daily challenges

I wanted to thank all participants and SideFX staff for such amazing experience.
After this month I am even more convinced that Houdini is a great tool. I can also feel that I got much experience in using it, which I am verry happy about. Thanks again!

And here's my monthly summary:

Day 31 Image | Solaris | Material Variation March 31, 2022, 11:36 p.m.

Day 31 - Material Variation

As today's is the very last day of the competition, I decided to go nuts with amount of work that needed to be done and do something different than the projects I've done so far. Many of my recent works were very moody, sometimes even creepy. So it was time for something cute and nice.

I decided to go with a seal. The very first obstacle was modeeling. It might be not that difficult to sculpt one, but unfortunately Houdini does not have sculpting tools. So as a first step I blocked out the main shapes of a muzzle and a jaw using spheres and edit node with proportional editing. Then, I added the eyeballs and used these rather crude shapes as my reference geometry for retopology. Once retopo was done I had a basic shape of the seal's head. Low number of polygons allowed me to reshape it closer to my liking and also extract a scalp I used for grooming.
The fur was rather simple to make thanks to great grooming tools. I used guide advect tool to quickly create flow of the guides. Then with help of a few manually painted attributes I managed to generate the fur.
Whole process step by step can be seen at the very bottom of this post.

It was time for rendering. I imported everything to Karma and applied Karma Hair shader to my fur, whiskers and a few smaller hairs in the eyebrow area. To break the uniformity of the white fur I used the Material Variation node. While Karma Hair shader allows for randomization of some parameters Material Variation gives much more flexibility. I used it to modify locally melanin for some of the hair to break the color. I also modified the the thickness scale shader parameter which changes the appearance of the hair without changing the actual width of the hair. These parameter cannot be randomized by default, so Material Variation was very handy here. These two changes made the fur much more believable.

I've had a blast working on this project and was surprised how much more fluent in using Houdini I got during this month. I would never thought I could achieve it really.

These are the results of my today's endevaours:

Screenshot presenting use of Material Variation:

Seal modelling steps:

Day 30 Image | Solaris | Light Mixer March 30, 2022, 10:43 p.m.

Day 30 - Light Mixer

Light mixer is a node that I have used in most of my submissions as it is super useful.
Again, got some problems today. This time it was XPU bugging on me when I had more than 2-3 volumes in the scene, and they were not even heavy volumes. Wasted quite a bit of time on trying to solve the issue. Finally, I switched to Karma CPU.
So that's the final piece for my 'space tetraptych'. It did not turned out exactly as I wanted, but solving XPU issues took quite substential amount of time, so I didn't manage to do everything I planned.

Submission:

Screenshot: