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In this lesson, you will smash a wine glass then slow down time to hold onto the big splash. This effect involves both an RBD simulation for the shattered glass and a fluid simulation for the wine. You will learn how to set up the dynamic network and output the simulations. Visual effect shots often involve a combination of different kinds of dynamic solvers and Houdini’s dynamic network is designed to achieve a unified result with these different solvers.

You will also use a retime node to slow down the simulation when it is at its most explosive then reverse time to return to the starting point. You will then move the simulations into Solaris/LOPS, set up lights and a camera, then render the shot using the Karma renderer.

Research for this lesson by Michael Buckley



Robert Magee is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at SideFX who has been working with Houdini for over 15 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


  • Manuel Kotulla 4 months, 1 week ago  | 

    Straight to the point and helpfull, thank you!

  • SerjKirchano 4 months, 1 week ago  | 

    awesome course, thanks!

  • johnchen 4 months, 1 week ago  | 

    Hi Robert, thank you for recording,
    could you reupload the project files? they are empty.

  • rmagee 4 months, 1 week ago  | 

    The only file is in the TEX folder - otherwise you will build the project from scratch

  • WalkBoat 4 months, 1 week ago  | 

    Hi!Thanks for the tutorial. I have a question.
    Is the scene unit in meters? So the glass is about six meters high? Does it need to be made in real actual size, and does size and proportion matter?

  • rmagee 4 months, 1 week ago  | 

    Yes it would be more accurate if built to scale. Since this effect is designed to be a bit exaggerated, we could tweak parameters to get the look we wanted without worrying about scale.

  • sICFX 4 months ago  | 

    Hey loved it, made it, check out my version

    • sICFX 4 months ago  | 

      No links eh sidefx? check this out, dribbble-DOT-com-SLASH-shots-SLASH-15118866

  • JordiFernandez 3 months, 4 weeks ago  | 

    Hi Robert,

    I enjoyed very much the tutorial, thanks so much, ideal for a newbie as me.

    What I don't get is the bullet in the render, I redid the tutorial from scratch but I don't find the issue. I thought could be a problem with the position information being in the geo node so I tried with a transform node but the same result. It's frustrating as the result of the render is fantastic but the bullet missing is hurting me as I can't see what I'm doing wrong.

    Thanks and kind regards,

  • rmagee 3 months, 4 weeks ago  | 

    The bullet must have been there for the sim - did you set up the retime node properly on it? It should only be visible for a few frames then it is out of frame then based on the lesson we remove the return of the bullet in the retime node so it is a one way trip for the bullet - if you want the bullet to come back then don't delete the end keyframes.

  • JordiFernandez 3 months, 4 weeks ago  | 

    Thanks Robert,

    Yes, the retime is correct. In the solaris stage I can see the bullet on the floor for the 5 first frames and then it disappears, it should be visible on frame 6 at Y5 just an instant but it's not there. And it's there in the Houdini sim.

    In case you are so kind and I'm not enjoying you I can enclose the hip for your check?

    Thanks so much!

  • JordiFernandez 3 months, 4 weeks ago  | 

    In fact in the example of sCIFX you can see the bullet also is not correct

  • VnhHiu 3 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

    Sir, can you reupload the project files as they're all empty? btw thank you so much for the knowledge.

    • VnhHiu 3 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

      sorry for the inconvenience. I've just found a file...

  • jfcdr41695 3 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

    where are the project files..can someone guide me??

  • rmagee 3 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

    There is a project files button near the top - there is only one file in the tex directory which you use for tracing - the other directories just comprise a typical project directory structure - you will learn how to "set" this directory as the project directory in the lesson.

  • jfcdr41695 3 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

    Im sorry Robert... I am not able to find the button..Please help me

  • jfcdr41695 3 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

    Ive got them Robert.. Thank you!

  • rmagee 3 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

    Glad you found them.

  • Ferdose01 3 months, 2 weeks ago  | 

    Thank's Robert. awesome tutorial.
    I'd like to ask something. Is there a way to modify the collision that comes from the RBD into the Flip solver? I can't find the way to call the RBDs inside a sopsolver to add a peak so the liquid doesn't drip throw the cracks.

    Thanks Again

  • thatjmax 2 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

    Has anyone else had issues where the bullet seems to collide with something before it actually reaches the glass?

    • thatjmax 2 months, 3 weeks ago  | 

      I think I got it resolved. A reddit member had me lower the substeps on the RBD solver within AutoDopNetwork and it looks like it's working now.

  • matt-k3 1 week, 3 days ago  | 

    Failed at the first hurdle which doesn't inspire confidence for the tutorial: changing the viewport. Is this tutorial for an older version? It looks like it was posted Feb 2021.

    Follwoing the tutorial, I should press V to get to quad view and then, with mouse over the front view, press spacebar and B to get to front view.

    On my version (Houdini FX version 18.5.563), I enter QUAD view by pressing B (toggles QUAD/SINGLE view then hover mouse over FRONT VIEW and press B to change.

    I will continue with the tutorial of course, but this can be frustrating for a new user.

    • matt-k3 1 week, 3 days ago  | 

      Ah - OK - SPACEBAR toggles something else (like view and obj). So it's SPACEBAR then B not SPACEBAR and B.

      • rmagee 1 week, 2 days ago  | 

        Glad that you have it working - it is true - if you are already in the view tool then b will toggle quad to single but if you are using another tool then spacebar invokes the view tool and then b can be used to toggle. Usually I just teach spacebar - b even if the view tool is active to get into the habit of using the spacebar when using other tools.

  • Arnaud_Houdini 1 week, 2 days ago  | 

    Hello Robert,

    Great tutorial, but there is something i can not fix : When I launch the simulation after the video number 4, everything work except the bullet don't go through the glass and bounce on it. What did I miss ? is it the density of the glass which is too much (2000 as you say in the video) ? Thanks very much for your help

    • rmagee 1 week, 2 days ago  | 

      What is the density of the bullet in your simulation? It should be 11340 which should push it past the glass.

      • Arnaud_Houdini 1 week, 1 day ago  | 

        Thanks for your answer Robert. Yes i put exactly this density on the bullet, and 2000 on the glass. Is the problem the size of the glass (I follow the tutorial and if on the grid 1 square is 1 meter, the glass is 3 meters high or something like this, or something else ? Please help :)))

  • Arnaud_Houdini 1 week, 1 day ago  | 

    Thanks for your answer Robert. Yes i put exactly this density on the bullet, and 2000 on the glass. Is the problem the size of the glass (I follow the tutorial and if on the grid 1 square is 1 meter, the glass is 3 meters high or something like this, or something else ? Please help :)

    • rmagee 1 week, 1 day ago  | 

      The size is the same as the tutorial was set up as - that shouldn't be the issue. It is hard to determine without seeing your setup - you are saying that the glass is not breaking at all?

      • Arnaud_Houdini 1 week ago  | 

        No, the glass is breaking, but the bullet dont go through, she kind of bounce on it and go on the top

  • kaufmans-curse 6 days, 7 hours ago  | 

    Hi Robert,

    Great tutorial. Brand new to this, so it feels like this tutorial is a great way to learn lots very quickly.

    I've gone through it twice now and much faster second time. But I'm having a problem with the final render out of the Karma node.... Output filename is right. Range is right, Camera is right etc, just nothing produced.... really quick to render (zips through the 50 frames in around a minute) and no file in the render folder to bring into Mplay. Zilch.

    I'm on a Mac Mini M1 with 18.5.563 installed.

    What am I doing wrong (apart from owning a mac - haha) Very frustrating. Is Karma buggy on Mac? Help!

    • rmagee 6 days, 6 hours ago  | 

      Not sure why the Mac wouldn't be working. Is it a new M1 chip Mac mini? Are you using the denoiser? What graphics card do you have? Did Karma render fine to the Scene view?

      • kaufmans-curse 5 days, 19 hours ago  | 

        Many thanks for your reply Robert,

        Yes it is new M1 chip mac mini. I've tried with and without denoiser. The gfx card is just the integrated gpu of the M1 - nothing additional. And, yes Karma renders perfectly in scene view - with and without denoiser. I can create/export gallery stills etc. Anecdotally I've read M1 chip seems to render the denoiser fine and that karma renders out fine too. So, at a lose at the moment...???

      • kaufmans-curse 5 days, 18 hours ago  | 

        It's taking about 3 mins a frame to render in the Scene View... so the actual render to disk should be an hour or two, I guess? It's taking *1 min*, so it's not even attempting to write anything...

      • kaufmans-curse 5 days, 10 hours ago  | 

        And i've just tried the same file on my Macbook pro (not M1) and it does the same - zips through the render dialogue box in a minute and produces nothing... so frustrating!

        • rmagee 5 days, 6 hours ago  | 

          Is it just this scene or any Karma rendering? If you can get the same issue with a sphere/light/camera then submit a bug and include the scene that isn't working and specs for your computer - it will have to be looked at by the dev team.

          • kaufmans-curse 4 days, 16 hours ago  | 

            OK, yes, great idea... will try some simple tests and see how i get on with some other renders. Thanks for your help!

      • kaufmans-curse 2 days, 12 hours ago  | 

        I got it all working - it was a bug in the production build - the latest nightly build works fine. Nice to see the render at last!

  • ManuN3 5 days, 23 hours ago  | 

    Hi Robert. Loving this collection so far.
    I'm running into the exact same issue as @Arnaud_Houdini where the bullet hits the glass, the glass breaks but the bullet, instead of going through it, just bounces back (imagine a rubber ball hitting a concrete wall). Any idea of what could be causing it? I tried rising the density for the bullet to 100k and it gets kinda better but still doesn't go fully through (besides the fact that it's probably a very unrealistic value).
    Thanks you!

  • rmagee 5 days, 6 hours ago  | 

    Not sure what is the issue - if you can send your Scene file to me (not the caches) - then I will try it out and see if there is an easy fix - rmagee@sidefx.comz

    in the meantime just hide the bullet and render without it - it is on screen for so little time that it isn't needed to watch the glass smash

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