Our new Houdini course, taught by Jeronimo Maggi, builds on the fundamentals taught in Introduction to Houdini VEX & Python (HOU217), focusing on creating a tool using mostly Python and some VEX. We start from scratch and slowly add one feature on top of the other as the needs come along, ending up learning how to debug and test our code. Throughout the course we take a look at tracking our versions with Git, using header files in VEX, creating and loading our own Python module in Houdini and creating our own digital asset to work alongside the Python module.
The project itself involves creating a digital asset to manage the animation of Alembic files. The first functionality we add is the ability to extract the animation from the Alembic file into the object level so it can be used as a very efficient collision geometry in DOPs using the object transforms. For that, we go over the logic of creating a digital asset that will be able to procedurally detect what parts are being transformed exactly the same so their transformations are extracted together.
Finally, we add the functionality of importing the extracted animation as a collision geometry inside DOPs with all the parameters configured and ready to use. By the end of the course, we will have a tool that will be able to create very efficient collision geometry for any deforming rigid object in just two clicks.