For game artists learning Houdini for the first time, it is important to get a good understanding of how a procedural node-based approach works. In these quickstart tutorials, you will learn how to create geometry using both interactive and procedural techniques. You will learn about the importance of groups and attributes and how to wrap up your node networks into Houdini Digital Assets. These lessons covers important workflows needed to create procedural game art.
Some of these lessons use the SideFX Labs
tools. Make sure the latest release (non production build) is installed when doing this lesson.
1 | INTERFACE OVERVIEW
The Houdini workspace is a great place to start. Find out where the main interface elements can be found and how they work together. You will also learn about the object vs geometry levels and how to navigate between them.
2 | GEOMETRY NODES
At the geometry level, you can create different shapes using a variety of different geometry types. Learn how to work with these nodes in the viewport and explore key parameters available to modify them.
3 | MODELING NODES
Using poly modeling tools such as polyextrude and polybevel, learn how you can model in the viewport while generating a network of nodes where each node represents a tool you used along the way. Learn how to select different types of geometry and how to edit points on your model.
4 | INTRODUCTION TO GROUPS
To allow for procedural modeling where the "system" selects geometry instead of you doing it by hand, groups play an important role. Learn how to set up a group node to select based on a bounding box or a normal direction to achieve this procedural approach to selection.
5 | WORKING WITH GROUPS
Learn how to group based on patterns and how to combine different groups to create the specific selection that you need every time. These techniques will give you a lot of flexibility when working procedurally in Houdini which is critical for building assets down the line.
6 | MAKE GAME-READY ASSETS
Learn how to use Houdini to convert a high-res model into a low-res model with baked out masks. This lesson uses one of the SideFX Labs tools. This workflow is important for making highly detailed models ready for gameplay.
7 | DIGITAL ASSET CREATION
Networks in Houdini can be collapsed into a single node called a Houdini Digital Asset [HDA] and parameters can be promoted to this new node to create a new custom tool. Learn how to create Digital Assets which can be used in Houdini or loaded other apps such as Unity and Unreal using the Houdini Engine plug-ins.
8 | CURVES AND POINTS
Curves play a bit role in modeling and there are a number of ways to draw and create curves in Houdini. Learn how to refine the curve after it is drawn and use it for instancing geometry. You will also learn how to copy geometry to points.
9 | INTRODUCTION TO ATTRIBUTES
Another key concept in Houdini is the use of Attributes. From color, to UVs, to scale or rotate, you can set up attributes that flow down the node network. These attributes can then be used down the line by other nodes. You can also randomize or add noise to create interesting results.
10 | WORKING WITH ATTRIBUTES
Take a look at some examples where attributes can help you achieve creative results. Learn how to promote attributes of one type to another and how to get the attributes recognized by other nodes in your network. Learn how to create rough-looking bevels on geometry using these techniques.
LEARN MORE | Now that you know the basics, you are ready to explore further . There are lots of tutorials to learn from covering a wide range of topics. You can access them using these Learning Paths which take you through important tools and techniques.