This introductory level offering aims to get you started with a solid base of the foundations of tool building, showing how to create a complex Houdini file so that it can be run in dozens or even hundreds of shots with minimal effort in a pipeline. The course is primarily focused on a Houdini concept called OTLs, which is a way to build our own nodes out of other nodes. To that end, the course starts by making an object-level node that automatically generates emission geo from any arbitrary camera.
We’ll show how to provide hooks to users so that they can customize parts of the setup, how to create custom viewport handles, and how to improve the setup by finding inefficiencies and fixing them. We’ll use Python to control Houdini on a deep level with the OTL’s HDAModule, as well as looking at how to leverage various specially named scripts to further customize how Houdini treats our new node types.
There’s nothing quite like being given several dozen shots to do and watching your lead’s eyes widen when you have a compelling first version ready for each of them by the next morning. By the end of this course, you’ll be well on your way to creating the kinds of setups that let you do just that.
Robert Thomas studied visual effects at the University of Texas, Dallas, where he took two semesters of Houdini and fell in love. His passion for Houdini and effects work blossomed during an internship with Side Effects, and 6 months later he landed his dream job at Digital Domain working on the Roland Emmerich film 2012. During his 10+ years at Digital Domain, Robby was attracted to tasks where he could build Houdini setups for other artists, and support those artists, solving any technical issues along the way.