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About jonmoore

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  • Name Jonathan
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  1. Something which will help join the dots between math theory (and a little physics too) and 3d in Houdini is this book: Clear language, a steady pace and none of the denseness that usually afflicts textbooks. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1568817231/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_fXqHyb06VP256 And even though this 3rd edition dates back more then ten years, it's the daddy tome on proceduralism. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1558608486/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_I7qHybFZEQAV7
  2. Shiz, as I mentioned before, I think it's very valuable to apply your new knowledge learnt from video tutorials to projects of your own before moving on to your next tutorial. In doing this you'll probably learn new nodes too as seemingly simple things will take further exploration before you work out your approach (well approaches is more accurate as there's always a multitude of ways to skin the proverbial cat in Houdini!). My own take on first principles is to be fully up to speed on all the subjects in the Basics section of the integrated help system. It wasn't always this way but the help system in Houdini is a shining example of how to do technical documentation the right way. It's very well written and the integrated search enables you to instantly see VEX, HScript and Python functions from the search field itself (no need to click through to the actual page in many cases). I personally run a two monitor system and have the documentation permanently open on my second monitor (great for on the fly checking a node's local variables or a VEX function). Don't worry about going through all the examples in the basics section, although as I previously mentioned it is valuable to go through all the SOP examples (even if you don't fully understand them). What some may consider to be an advanced subject I consider a 'first principle', and thats the ability to write VEX expressions. At first this may seem a little scary (seeing as VEX is very C++ like) but you really don't need to be a programmer to get the most out of VEX expressions. However I've always believed that getting the best out of Houdini requires an ability to thing programmatically, and in my book that's not the same as being a programmer. The best places to start learning VEX expressions are the Wrangle Workshop (another Ari Danesh tutorial) and Matt Estella's VEX page on Tokeru. And whilst on Matt's site his VOP's page is ace too (and obviously related to VEX). The reason I see VEX as a first principle is that you'll be limited when working in DOP's (especially with Particles) if you don't understand how to write some simple VEX Expressions. Overall though, doing is always going to be a better long term learning methodology. Far better than passively watching or watching whilst simultaneously attempting to follow along in Houdini. With video tutorials, I think it's a three step process. 1.) Watch without following along so you don't miss any important details. 2.) Watch again whilst pausing where apt to follow along. If any of the process isn't fully explained look it up in the documentation before unpausing. 3.) Create a few new projects on your own using your new knowledge. And just to show my age, I also think it's a good idea to keep a notebook. Something like OneNote is perfect, or something Markdown based if you're more of a plain text militant type! Keeping a notebook when learning Houdini is especially useful as it can be confusing to know when to use HScript expressions, when to use VEX and when to use Python. Writing down the expressions you find useful as you go along is good start. In older tutorials Hscript is used in places where VEX/VOP's would be a better option (don't worry about this too much at first, you'll soon get a feel for it over time). If you don't come from a programming background it's especially useful to have a notebook full of useful expressions when first starting out.
  3. I think it's a little simplistic to say 'death to all video tutorials". But I agree that experimentation with your new knowledge is the best way to to ensure retention of those new tricks. A good habit with Houdini tutorials is to create 2 or 3 of your own projects based on that freshly learnt knowledge. The thing that helps things stick is that you have to solve your own problems as you go along. Another benefit of this approach is that you get to read up on current recommended techniques (here on OdForce, on the SideFX forums and in the official documentation amongst a wealth of other sources). Houdini has gone through some major changes since H12 and many of the tutorials you find scattered about the web are out of date. A classic case is the use of the Point SOP, this was a tried a tested node that crops up in a very high proportion of old tutorials. You should generally be using Point Wrangles in its place these days because the Point SOP is single threaded and it will slow your network down considerably. There are some fantastic video tutorials out there. Just be careful not to consume them in the same manner as a frenzied Netflix binge session.
  4. David, H16 is launched on Feb 6th and I suspect that there's a strong likelihood that many of these workflow issues around more traditional animation workflows are going to be addressed. There were a lot of clues given in the Roadmap presentation at Siggraph.
  5. Agreed ref Rohan Dalvi's Vimeo content. I especially enjoyed his free series on recreating C4D Mograph functionality in Houdini. http://www.rohandalvi.net/mograph/ The biggest resource, especially for SOP's is the huge collection of example scenes that ship with Houdini. With Houdini's procedural nature it's really easy to dive into the networks and get a good understanding of how the nodes build together towards the end goal. Everything is well annotated but I'd advise checking the help pages for at least the core nodes of each example. Apart from learning the specifics of the Houdini UI's interaction model, going through the bundled SOP examples is probably the most rewarding route to learning the core of Houdini when starting out on your learning path. Much as Houdini has a wonderful collection of simulation technologies, there's a huge amount that can be achieved via SOP's alone and most ofthe time it's the most CPU friendly way of achieving those goals.
  6. The content below from Gianvito Serra is also ace. I'd recommend going through all 29 videos, beginning to end as they're really well structured and provide some great insights into the design strategy of the Houdini user experience and how it's built with proceduralism at it's heart. Even though some of the intro content in the first 4 videos is stuff you probably already know there's other nuggets of wisdom that will come in handy later down the line. John Moncrief's content on Pluralsight is great as a broad overview of the 'hows' of proceduralism in Houdini but a little sketchy on the 'why's' (and it's the 'whys' that are covered so well by Gianvito Serra). At the other end of the learning path spectrum, there's some great FXPHD, CGSociety and CMIVFX content available, however most of this automatically assumes middleweight knowledge. The problem here is that even though you may be able to follow along with the course, the missing context can make retention and deeper learning problematic. As David recommends (Hi David), the Tokeru content is ace (and free) and the quality remains consistently high across all content areas (I especially enjoyed the VEX section). The thing that's great about Matt's content is that it's kinda written as a diary of his own learning path having been a Maya practitioner for a good many years before. The content is very much written for artists and doesn't assume a computer programming/engineering background. Most of all I'd recommend getting a good sound knowledge of SOP's before attempting to learn DOP's. The temptation is to spend your early months in Houdini blowing stuff up, cause' who doesn't enjoy some virtual destruction antics! But without a solid grounding in SOP's it's hard to get the best out of DOPs. Once your down with SOP's there's some killer content at CGCircuit by Steven Knipping, (currently a Senior Rigid Body Destruction/FX Technical Director at Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic). His courses aren't the cheapest out there but they're certainly some of the best. - https://www.cgcircuit.com/browsepage.php - He published the first part of his Rigid Bodies course for free on his Vimeo page and that's a good indecator to his approch to teaching (second embedded link below). The complete volumetrics bundle is reasonable value for the quality and breadth of the content.
  7. There are huge bargains to be had if you're looking for something as an auxiliary network box (or workstation for that matter) and many of them come from corporate backgrounds where they've not been fried 24/7 on sim/rendering duties. Here in the UK I recently picked up a pair of HP Z620's for £650 a box (with 1TB drives 32Gb Memory and a pair of Xeon E5-2670's in each). These chips are still near the top of the Cinebench charts and for that kind of money with the high quality component parts you get in the HP Z series I don't think you can go wrong. The only downside is that the fans run hard all the time which seems a little odd seeing as the E5-2670's are famed for their low power consumption and low temperatures. I have a feeling their BIOS was tweaked in a former life. We picked them up to use with Redshift (coming to Houdini very soon). Probably stick a pair of GTX 980 TI's in each box as the forthcoming 1080/1070 means there's a lot of vendors wanting to shift their 980's sharpish at near half their original price. 32 Xeon cores mixed with all those Cuda cores for a shade over £1k, you'd find it hard to bespoke build units with decent components for much less. The trick in all this is to find a vendor you trust and that provides you with a warranty (even if it's only six months).