About the Course

Houdini is a powerful Digital Content Creation tool which boasts a flexible, procedural, node-based paradigm. While it has become popular due in no small part to it’s fantastic pre-made work-flows for pyrotechnics and other visual effects, a large part of it’s strength comes from it’s sheer flexibility. A user who knows the ins and outs of Houdini’s networks can harness it to do almost anything they can think of. It should therefore come as no surprise that it sees use in not only the artistic / entertainment industries but also in the technical / scientific industries.

While there are many tutorials out there that do an excellent job of showcasing the flashier aspects of Houdini, a common shortfall of these lessons is that they spend more time focusing on how to make things pretty without taking the time to explore how things actually work. This series instead aims to fill the niche of exploring technical direction for those who may not have a technical background and wish to become more acquainted with how scripting (specifically HScript) works in Houdini.

We’ll take the time to discuss major topics such as working procedurally, ways to access and manipulate data in Houdini, and work to build a foundation that will be relevant to all future aspects of your Houdini work. This course is in-depth and should be useful artists seeking to break into scripting.

Total duration: 7 hours and 6 minutes

This is a premium course which may be purchased at mixtrn.com.

Who is the target audience?

This course was developed with the artist in mind. While the course doesn't seek to create any pretty pictures, it attempts to explain technical concepts at a basic level to those who may not have a programming background. After a decade of answering questions to co-workers in the film and games industry, the author seeks to clear up common questions that those who are new to Houdini (but not necessarily new to 3D Graphics) often have concerning how Houdini works.

What am I going to get from this course?

Completion of this course should fill in many gaps including an understanding of:

  • procedural workflows
  • the difference between HScript Commands and HScript Expressions
  • the anatomy of a function
  • the various types of variables
  • how to create and manipulate various data types
  • a variety of the most commonly used functions used in a production environment
  • how to self-learn functions
  • how to work with a for-each loop

What are the course requirements?

  • While those who already have some foundation in a Digital Content Creation Package such as Maya, 3D Studio Max, etc will likely gain the most from this series, the subjects are kept at a level that should also be be beneficial to rookies who are just starting out. 
  • It is recommended that students at a bare minimum, have already completed the Getting Started tutorials available from Side Effects in order to avoid confusion with network navigation and keyboard shortcuts.
  • This course was recorded on Windows. There may be some subtle differences between how things such as the command line and environment works in other operating systems that Houdini runs on.

About the Author

Stephen G. Tucker has worked with Houdini since 2005. He began working for Side Effects Software Inc. after obtaining both a certificate in Art Fundamentals and a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Animation from Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. In his time at Side Effects, Stephen helped to create training material and would frequently work to help troubleshoot customer files. Over the years, Stephen has grown his technical prowess and is often seen as a mentor. Stephen has taught both online and at the post-secondary level at places such as fxphd.com, Lost Boys, and VanArts.

He later moved on to the film industry where he worked as both an effects artist and effects technical director at studios including Starz Animation in Toronto, Dr. D in Sydney, and Digital Domain in Vancouver.

A gamer at heart, Stephen eventually transitioned into the video games industry and has worked as a visual effects artist in AAA games at The Coalition in Vancouver and presently at EA Motive in Montréal.



After attaining a BAA in Animation from Sheridan College, Stephen G. Tucker went on to work as a Product Specialist at Side Effects Software Inc, before beginning his career in film and games. He has worked as a visual effects artist and technical director in both fully animated and live action films at Starz Animation, Dr. D, and Digital Domain. He has also worked as a visual effects artist in the game industry and has worked on titles including: Gears of War 4, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Star Wars Battlefront II, Shape of The World, and Battlefield V. He currently works as Senior Visual Effects Artist at Scavengers Studio in Montréal.

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