Houdini Fundamentals, Collection 2

Taught by Andrew Lowell

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
February 2020 
2 hours 18 minutes 
This course, taught by Andrew Lowell, introduces rigid body dynamics in Houdini. Houdini's entry into realistic physics started with rigid body dynamics, and it has remained one of the most aggressive growth areas both in the software as well as VFX as a whole. While seemingly straightforward, having the right combination of animation, simulation, modelling as well as a ready technical knowledge is essential to getting realistic destruction shot to work. This quick start will introduce foundations in those concepts to get up and running quickly, whether embarking on learning or transferring knowledge from other packages.

For many years Andrew has been recognized by the industry as an FX TD and trainer. Movie credits/studios include Mummy 3, Aliens in the Attic, Invictus, Thor, Sucker Punch, Transformers 3, Jack the Giant Slayer, Ender's Game at studios Digital Domain, Rhythm and Hues, and Animal Logic. He's conducted many seminars around the world and written articles, authored a Houdini book, also conducts formal training at dedicated institutions such as Animation Workshop and FXPHD.
Houdini Fundamentals, Collection 2
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1: Simulation Workflow Overview

As opposed to a plugin or side area of a package, dynamics in Houdini is a very expansive and open FX development environment. To do a tough destruction shot, it's important to know what's going on upfront. This short overview will introduce how a dynamics simulation is constructed from the ground up, and talk through important points of understanding and focus.

Class 2: Essential Fracturing and Packing

This tutorial goes through key optimizations which can drastically increase the efficiency of a rigid body dynamics simulation. Essential treatments and considerations for incoming fractures and geometry are applied and discussed to ensure fast and stable simulations.

Class 3: The Anatomy of a Constraint

This short overview will cover a constraint in its essence without premade setups. Using this set of core workflows constraints of any configuration or type can be created and applied to more advanced simulations.

Class 4: Working with Constraint Types

Building on the creation of constraints, this tutorial will act as an introduction to the most common constraint types within Houdini rigid body dynamics, also the most common applications for each constraint type will be explored and applied.

Class 5: Thinking Like an Animator in Dynamics

Real dynamics don't happen in isolation. They need to interact with characters and events. They need to tell a story and follow a script. They need final tweaks to make it into the movie. This course will cover how to interact with a dynamics simulation both with controlled (animated) objects, as well as during a simulation.

Class 6: Thinking Like an Animator in Dynamics

One determining mark of any professional simulation is fast, controllable iteration time as well as high quality surface output. Being able to use proxy geometry for a simulation can greatly aid in efficiency and stability. Having a reliable high resolution output without long processing times is also essential to finaling a shot. This tutorial will address both areas, using both low res proxy geometry as well as high res geometric output throughout the rigid body dynamics process.

Class 7: Dynamic Constraint Adjustment

This short tutorial will touch on the extensive intermediate to advanced possibilities within the powerful DOPs platform. One of the most common uses for custom solver operations is the dynamic manipulation of constraints during the simulation. This will provide a greater dimension of control over breaking in the rigid body simulation process.