Houdini WIP


Post any projects you have been working on in Houdini and Houdini Apprentice. Above is a sea dragon image created for one of our Houdini Apprentice Challenges by Sergio Caires.

Once you have finished work then you can submit it to the Houdini Gallery :


Working on animation projects and I want to demonstrate WIP-Rig ‘russian soldier’. Current image this

I want to hear criticism


This is my first Houdini render, still very much WIP. It’s a project I’m using to learn Houdini and it’s always changing :).
Right now I’m in the middle of changing style that’s way some objects have another style then others…
I’ll open an WIP thread here on the Houdini forum later today.

fullsize here


nice work! :thumbsup:
I think, you just need some Brightness-Contrast and Color Correction work with photoshop.
keep it up!



This takes me way back to the still lifes I used to do when trying to learn new packages… And this one is FAR better than mine :slight_smile: Nice job Adrian!


Ive been working a lot with the SSS settings on the Mantra Surface Material.

note this is an old version of this particular model but it was there on a drive quickly to access. Works really really well with PBR.

Working on getting some decent eyes going and then trying out some hair.


Very nice. For some reason the grain helps selling it. Would love to see what you get to do with the eyes.


Thank Coen.

Ive been watching some of the SESI masterclasses recently to get more acquainted with the pyro tools (characters with smoke swirling around them seems really cool). Thanks for the presentation.

As for the eyes. Yeah i had alot of trouble with them early on.

Drove me nuts.

But i got it worked out, i would have to check but shadow and reflection masks needed to be assigned because m thats what messed up the SSS on Sclera (white of the eye).

But ive also been playing alot with the fur tools and a cool shader Sergey Shlyaev wrote.

This time using the low samples with the Micropoly renderer and some facial hair.

Stubble, 5 o’ clock shadow

Unshaven, gruff

George Clooney (Syriana :p)

The eyes still have a way to go. Havent even textured them yet but i think im in the right area.


hey Phrenzy,

The sss shading is looking realy nice, its maybe a little bit too much though.
sss is usually better felt than seen, if you know what i mean.

i don’t know what your sss attenuation is set too but you could probably increase it a bit more, to get rid of the new born baby look (very thin skin).
you can try using only single scatter, this might help with the look you are going for, multi scatter is mostly used for waxy substances. Im not saying you shouldn’t multi scatter, but it generally produces a more skin like appearance.

Some areas of the face have a very shallow sss( cheek bones, eye brows, chin) , so you would probably not see it scatter all the way through.
you can get a very good result painting a attenuation map for the sss, it will give the face the varying density that it needs to read as real.

you can also significantly increase the render times by diving into the surface shader and setting the sss node within to optimize secondary rays. i dont know why this is not on by default because in my opinion it should be.

hope this helps:)


hey there Will. :slight_smile:

Yeah the whole thing is all wrong :). Those pics are the efforts of trying to understand Sergeys hair shader. As for the new mantra surface material i think ive got a much better grasp of what i need to do to get decent results.

One thing i tried that really helped out is using Lee Perry’s scanned model and texture to test with. I should post some of my results but its pretty much a digital double. Decent, yet subtle scattering and very good diffuse and not a lot of blurriness which can happen when dealing with SSS.

But the optimized rays thing is something i definitely promoted :). I also need to play more with the “Global/Local Limits” on the Physical SSS vop.

You talk about multi-scattering yielding more waxy effects. If feel its the only way to go and its pretty easy to control, especially with good attenuation settings/map. For single scattering i haven’t found a single instance where it works without giving off glowing pixels. Its really weird, am I right in thinking it doesn’t utilize a point cloud? That could be the reason?

I should post some tests though of Lee’s head because i know for sure what types of maps i need to create to really get cool results. Take a look here if you wanna try it out, there are normal, displacement and colour map to play with along with the obj.



ha ha, cool. thanks for the link.

we im using mostly PBR at the moment for everything, so Sergeys hair shader’s not working
for me:) it is a awesome shader and you can get awesome results using it with micropolly rendering and even raytracing. please correct me if im wrong?

i did however manage to get quite a good result rendering the hair, using the surface shader for the reflectance and translucency and adding sss single scatter node for a soft diffuse
(i know it sounds strange to use sss for diffuse, but it works. i didnt even have to really give it to a point cloud. and it is super fast in PBR).

as for the sss, single sss looks like its ray traced, a lot like translucency. i found that if you use the correct density (attenuation) for the single scatter you can get can get rid of the white artefacts. it usually happens where the model is too thin. you can also try increasing the density in those areas.

i suppose its anyones choice, they are both good and bad in certain scenarios.

oh and thanks for the link, im downloading it now:)


Good day to everybody!

Really great stuff here. Nice to see people using mantra not only for VFX.
By the way, willh22 and Phrenzy84 - have you tried standart presets for skin in PhysicalSSS vop[b]?



hey Phrenzy,

i downloaded that model and its freakin awesome. i did a little render of it using
only the displacement map and colour map.

i varied the sss attenuation density painting a Cd attrib on the model, cheap and nasty.
only using single scatter sss.

to solve the sss on the very thin bits of the model causing problems, i unplugged the fresnel index out of the Physical sss node doesnt seem to make a difference look wise.

thought i would post it here because of the discussion we had earlier:) hope thats cool.


hatlex: Indeed sir. From the Mantra surface Shader perspective the Physical SSS with multi works straight out of the box but just reading will’s comment i think i might try unplugging the fresnel index and just play a bit more with single scattering.

It has to be faster and for simple objects like translucent plastics, candles, grapes i dont want to always dedicate resources to multiscattering if its gonna take longer.

will: Yeah its pretty good eh :). Im gonna work my old dude to the same level of detail and i really think mantra right now will have no problem with it.

Hardly nasty :), that Houdini-ness. Obviously it helps if the model has a mid to high poly count.

Really like the render, has a nice feel to it.

I find the more subtle the sss is the more realistic and more detail in the maps can be shown. Its depends on the model what style is required i guess.

This is a Houdini WIP thread, i say why not continue to post results :slight_smile: i think i had a few test renders around of this guy with a semi-decent SSS going. If i cant find them i will do some more tests and post them when i get the chance :).


@Phrenzy84 : That’s a really cool stuffs. I hope you continue this guy and I want to see final result looks like.

@AdrianLazar : The render’s looks great. But maybe you want to tweak the placement of your wood texture for the table and add more shadows into the scene because the scene a bit lack of contrast and depth.



Will do neonbulbs :slight_smile:

I couldnd find the renders i did of lee, so i just cranked out a few. Its really a great tool for learning SSS especially with maps and displacement.

This is using both multi and single scattering. Intensity is a little strong in certain parts, think you need a map to really control it. All low samples… standard :stuck_out_tongue:

I gotta try that paint attenuation or maybe just it as a multiplier for the scattering so the eyebrows dont glow. :stuck_out_tongue:


Very impressive



Thank you sir :), but i merely standing on the shoulders of giants (great users of Houdini).

I think most people who think of Houdini don’t put it in that lineup of other decent renderers like Renderman, Mental Ray, Vray. Maybe because it has a big reputation of being the saving grace in tricky VFX situations but i think mantra is an untapped tool that i am happy to take advantage of :).


I think most people who think of Houdini don’t put it in that lineup of other decent renderers like Renderman, Mental Ray, Vray. Maybe because it has a big reputation of being the saving grace in tricky VFX situations but i think mantra is an untapped tool that i am happy to take advantage of

Mantra kicks ass I use it all the time on shows.



i agree,

we use mantra PBR as our primary renderer at Black Ginger cape town.


this is a ad i worked on, i wrote the shaders for the ladybug and the spider and lighting for the shots where you see the ladybug and spider together. we also rendered the fur in pbr:)

i think its the freedom of how the shaders and the renderer work together that makes it awesome. and how you can use any attrib on the geo to affect your render.

the backgrounds are miniatures shot with a canon 5d. we also did the ad in 3d so if you have the good old red and blue stereo glasses it will be more fun.