View Full Version : Modeling in houdini...

11 November 2010, 12:38 PM it worth anything, or just plain stupid?

Besides, how's Houdini different from other packages like max or maya. Why is Houdini so 'secret' / 'occult' in 3d world. It's like 'the software we never mention the name of'.

Why should I learn that software? Or should I just run away, screaming 'bloody murder'.



See?! Even this Houdini thread is so hidden, like underground meth lab. I wonder if I get any replies, and how long will it takes.

12 December 2010, 12:23 PM
Modelling in Houdini is pretty easy. Once you learn the workflow, it's pretty fast. On the downside when you get pretty detailed on the model, the network view can clutter pretty quickly. However you can just collapse nodes into a network box and close it down to make things neat again.

Houdini is very different to Max or Maya. Houdini is procedural paradigm, which is very powerful indeed. This enables you to do simple things like, go back into earlier sections of your scene and make changes that will flow back down the nodes and re-cook at the end, making director changes a very easy thing to implement, without having to re-do everything.

Houdini isn't cult or "meth lab" status, infact its getting more and more notice than ever before.

Learning Houdini cannot do you any harm, and if you are interesting in effects, then it would be rude to not give it a go. ;)

Ive been using Houdini since late 2005, and I love it. Im certainly no experts, but even the experts of Houdini are not experts.

8 days since your post!

12 December 2010, 11:52 AM
Thank you for your answer ragupasta.

Do you know any sources / tutorials / DVDs on modeling in Houdini? I'm searching the net with no results. If Side Effects invested in Houdini education there would be more people ready to try or convert to Houdini.

12 December 2010, 01:08 PM
I'm not a salesman for Side Effects Software, Inc., so I shouldn't have to care whether you'd want to or not. Personally, I'd say, it can be very convenient, especially for later use with procedural animation and particle or particle-driven effects. Having parametric relations available can be extremely powerful in a crafty animator's hands, especially if you knew your way around with HScripting (complemented with Python and others, since Houdini 9 or 10), [vector] expressions, channel operators and so forth.

This is also available in other software, to some degree, but usually involves recreating things which are already there in Houdini (namely the attributes in [preserved/non-destructed] operator networks), then even require devising some kind of hard-coded plug-in; which can be very tedious, especially for smaller shots.

02 February 2011, 03:53 PM
Modeling tutorials can be found on the Gnomon Workshop website or Digital Tutors website. They both have some good tutorials about how to create objects and scenes in Houdini. The SideFX site has some great tutorials as well. If want to spend some money check out ******.com. Their tutorials are really good an in depth. 3DBuzz has some really good tutorials about Houdini and how it applies to procedural modeling. It may deter you from using Houdini if you are looking a modeler.

Modeling in Houdini is not as in depth as other programs but it has its advantages. I use Houdini to create roads, rail road tracks, highways. Since its procedural you can set up the parameters to create a highway that is one lane to as many lanes as you want. It is Node based, similar to Nuke compositing and Shake compositing programs.

Creating models in other packages and bringing them into Houdini is very easy. Houdini can export out RIB files for Renderman. There is advantages and disadvantages it is just what you want to do with it. IF you are looking for VFX then Houdini is good to know. If you are looking for character animation and Organic Modeling you may want to look somewhere else.

SideFX offers an apprentice program for $99 which can help you decide if you really want it. Good luck. Any questions just ask. Also check out SideFX forums. That is where most of the chatter happens.

03 March 2011, 02:09 AM
There is also the excellent growing set of tutorials by Peter Quint which covers a wide range of topics on Houdini that can be referenced by all, beginners to experienced users.

Peter Quint's vimeo page:

Tutorial site:

Please remember to make a donation to Peter if you find these videos useful to encourage him to continue doing these great videos for the Houdini community to learn and grow :beer:


03 March 2011, 02:15 AM
For me it comes to this. In Houdini, I have yet to delete a model and start over. Because the node tree is always persistent, you can copy-paste off part of the node tree and keep on working on various parts.

It's real nice having what seems like deep infinite history in Houdini with very little penalty in performance if any at all.

Robert Magee
03 March 2011, 04:10 AM
This is a fun modeling lesson:

Right now I am focusing on lighting and rendering but I do have a character modeling lesson coming down the pipe. I will let everyone know when it is ready.


PS - Being able to use Houdini's node network while working is something that is easy to get addicted to. I remember working on a model of a plane (DC-3) and while working on the nose I noticed that somewhere along the way I had fused points on the windows and ruined the back of the plane. Because of the nodes I could step back to where the windows were OK, select the back of the plane and branch off a transform node. I then went to the end of the chain and did the same with the nose then fused the model back together. I saved hours of work because I could go back without having to go back to old files.

03 March 2011, 06:48 PM
Hey there,

Houdini is really great for modeling anything AS LONG as you can figure out a procedural way of representing it. I love the infinite history as well, and I find myself wishing some of houdini's flexibility in other software packages. But I still find it terribly messy for poly-modeling. Since each operation is a note, the network gets quite full quite fast. For that I still prefer Maya.


03 March 2011, 07:42 PM
I find Houdini especially useful when dealing with both nurb surfaces and polygon meshes. There are many nodes available to do operations on both.

It's just not destructive and therefore more forgiving.

03 March 2011, 08:13 AM

rafaelfs, you're right for the size of a network after few minutes of modeling, but in fact, you can easily clean the network with subnet for instance... But I have to admit that a "collapse" button should be very useful sometime :)

I thinks Houdini is just perfect for some modeling tasks which involve nurbs, curves, or procedural stuff. That's just great to see ( when you come from max or maya ) to see how you can change your mind at every steps of your job without begin again from scratch !

Robert Magee
03 March 2011, 03:03 PM
One option is to just not display the network view. The nodes are not causing any slowdown and the network is often not needed for straight-ahead modeling tasks. Seeing all those nodes makes things seem more complicated then they really are.

You can also RMB-click on any node and select "Hide Inputs" to clean up your view quickly without actually getting rid of the nodes.


You can also from time to time, save out a bgeo file and work from there if you want to simplify the nodes. You can even RMB-click on your model and select Delete history but both these steps are not really needed in Houdini.

03 March 2011, 03:39 PM
Thank you for these tips !

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