Jump to content
Eagle66

Any realistic Tutorial for the VFX Pipeline out there

Recommended Posts

Is there any realistic Tutorial for Houdini using in the VFX Pipeline out there? It's unbelievable for all other 3D App there are hundreds of Lessons on the Web, for HD are only theoretical peaces or Lessons with unsuitable render results.

There is NOT any complete advanced Tutorial or more hour Lessons from start to end for the whole Pipeline Integration including tracking, environment Lightning and realistic render Passes outputs for use(!) in VFX projects with Houdini related Stuff like Fire, Smoke, Water Fluid or particles.

Don't post Links to digitaltutors, Peter Quint's Houdini videos or Sidefx Masterclasses - always nice - but nothing VFX related pipeline. The new Side Effects "GO Procedural" user guide "Quickstarts" is also nice, but with the same terrible render results - unrealistic.

I need the next level - how to get this realistic looking for real Footage integration.

I don't expect a complete Feature Films, only a simple complete HD Workflow with including AE, NUKE or Fusion for Compositing.

So I still waiting for on any Houdini VFX Online Class for free or payed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the fact is that some (most maybe?) of the VFX companies DO NOT use Houdini to produce final renders.

They use Houdini as a tool to produce awesome fx of various kind, but then they export the result in their already rock-steady rendering and lighting pipeline (which is usually Maya with some PRman pipeline).

There are few examples of Houdini being used from mid to finish for a shot, rendering included.

You should ask some of the people involved in The Hulk VFX from Rythm&Hues...in that case If i remember correctly some of the test renders from Mantra were used as finals, so probably they developed some kind of on-the-fly pass system or something similar.

Sorry for not being of so much help :(

Cheers,

Emanuele

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tutorials can only take you so far, you're basically asking artists to teach you how to do their job. i'm thankful there's the amount of content online at all :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ask for workflow using Houdini in the VFX Pipeline - there is not any of this realistic content results online, always superficial basics or mathematically theory, but not any practical Lesson.

And if i look at the Gallery here, i think its necessary, the most of the results i see are not super pretty stuff ;)

@Emanuele: Thats not right at all, Troll Hunter for example use Houdini's environment light and Mantra.

http://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1851&Itemid=68

And if so, they are also not any HD Tutorial how to export complex results like tracked water simulation to other 3D App. I counted for example over 12 long detailed Videotutorials how to export Data and environment from Realflow to Maya....

I don't know why only for Houdini this kind of advanced VFX tutorial no exists...?

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why don't you make one yourself? You bring this topic up every few months and it seems to me like you should look at doing it yourself. You should be able to piece together bits and pieces from tutorials, Houdini or other software, from forum posts, industry professionals or even customer stories and whatnot. Then you could ask for feedback from people to correct things you may have gotten wrong. In the end you will have learned far more than just following a complete series of videos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Eagle: Well, I was talking with my experience in mind obviously. That is what I saw. That's also why i said "some" and then "most" with a question mark.

Anyway, asking for a tutorial which covers everything in a complete houdini pipeline (and, more importantly, in a "realistic" way) is mostly unlikely to happen right now.

It takes years of experience in any specific field (modeling, texturing, lighting, fx, rendering etc..) to get something that in the end will be "realistic".

You just can't go there and continue asking for the same thing, when you're given the same answers.

And anyway, videotutorials just teach you THAT thing.

As Graham said, it's far more valuable to ask people in the industry, doing researchs and so on about the thoughts and concepts behind a specific effect or whatever...it will teach you so much more things against a simple videotutorial.

Thing is, that most of the concepts you find in tutorials for other packages can be easily re-adopted for houdini.

So just work yourself out and think about things, instead of having someone telling you exactly how to do it step-by-step.

Cheers,

Emanuele

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you wont find a "complete pipeline" in houdini, because...

the big vfx companies are using many programs in the process, and some of them are using their own render engine.

all is very situational, the question is what you need to do? if your project only needs particle effects, you may be using only houdini, but for modeling and such, maya is most likely, ect.

i remember an explanation from a tecnical director from sony image works, they explained that for example, venom effect in spiderman 3, they used maya and houdini, but they have a special "exchange softare" that is used for jumping files from an aplication to another.

so you wont find a pipeline just for houdini in a serious project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thing is, that most of the concepts you find in tutorials for other packages can be easily re-adopted for houdini.

This is the typical Houdini-User Answer: Search and buy VFX-Tutorial for Maya, MAX, XSI or Lightwave an adapt it to Houdini. HD don't have this kind of Lessons because it's not possible ..... :huh:

IMHO: i wont find a "complete pipeline" in houdini, because...

1) HD seems to complex to show realistic result output in a Tutorial

2) no one outside the big Studios use HD for VFX projects because 1)

3) HD is unsuitable for low budget independent films because 1)

4) VFX-Projects and Houdini are not component of any Houdini Userforum because 1)

frustrated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the main reason that there are more tutorials for other software is that there are more people using other software = larger market = $$$

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Case studies, student theses (find the websites of the MADE students from Bournemouth and read their theses), cinefex are good sources of information.

I find that software changes very quickly, the interfaces to the softwares changes as well and users/companies will always be writing IO plugins. Part of being a TD is getting your stuff integrated in the pipeline. You'll often be looking for solutions to go between software. But as I said, new version comes out, requires a new compile, requires a tweak to a script or a new script altogether... Whatever, that is part of production... often there is a dedicated team for that called pipeline. If not it's either up to yourself or you buy a colleague a beer and he might do it for you :).

I think the reason why there are so many theoretical examples is because a lot of people on this forum are more geared towards learning about the core elements of a technique or algorithm. Tweaking lighting parameters and finding out what works better/more efficient is a more a lighters and compers job. As fx td you need to know about lighting, shading, tracking(?), but it should not fill up the majority of your time... of course it is perfectly fine to ask for tutorials about lighting and shading, but the majority on this forum are probably fx tds.

I do think you have a point though. Therefore when I next make a tutorial I will see if I can use models and assets that are closer to production assets instead of the all-time favorites "Teapot" and "Sphere" :). And light them a bit better, maybe comp them, maybe track them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO: i wont find a "complete pipeline" in houdini, because...

1) HD seems to complex to show realistic result output in a Tutorial

2) no one outside the big Studios use HD for VFX projects because 1)

3) HD is unsuitable for low budget independent films because 1)

4) VFX-Projects and Houdini are not component of any Houdini Userforum because 1)

Points 2) and 3) are completely false.

Edward's suggestion is good, I own the book and it's great even if it shows Houdini 8.

Dragos

Edited by digitallysane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) HD seems to complex to show realistic result output in a Tutorial

is also false IMHO.

Houdini files utilize persistent node networks to do your work for everything. No need to "delete history" or bake out geo from the stack.

This is unique in the industry at this time for 3D software.

Because of this, the actual scene files become the lessons. No one can hide anything from you. No blind script that is run that needs to be taught/documented. No set of complicated steps that need to be documented in a lengthy tutorial. Just nodes. Quite simple actually. Just like Nuke or Shake.

Ever noticed why we share Houdini scene files or assets and not scripts or programs on other app's forums? There's a reason for that. The scene file "is" the tutorial! Best one I know. You can copy-paste parts of the scene file in to your own and move forward or use that scene file and build up on it. Nodes that blindly process input data are awesome!

Houdini nodes have always supported comments on nodes. Recently we added network boxes and network notes to make comments in networks even more in-your-face.

Houdini scene files are self-documenting. Over the many years I've been at Side Effects, I can read a Houdini scene file in very short order. Yes I said "read". With some old school users, I can actually tell the author by just looking at how the network is laid out and the approach taken. It's nice that we don't re-lay out the DAG every time you open it. ;)

The networks document how someone solved an issue. There are a great many tools that you can use to help dissect a scene file and glean a great deal of insight in to the approach. I purposely use very simple geometry such as spheres, tubes, cubes and teapots because the whole intent is for the user to copy/paste the nodes in to their scene and not have the networks polluted with complex settings. Fyi HDA's are a spin on this. Just a simple encapsulation of nodes with a customizable interface.

Once you give in to that way of seeing Houdini, there are thousands of example scene files for most of the nodes in Houdini that show you how to use the nodes in different contexts. The easiest way to get to a node's example files is to pop up the help for that operator and scroll to the bottom of the help. This is where the references to example files live. This is required as many nodes can take on different behaviours. Copy SOP is an iconic example of this. This is to be expected. Side Effects has been adapting SOP networks for over 20+ years. It stands to reason that there are a lot of time honored ways of using the operators to do various tasks. This permeates itself in to "Houdini Speak" which seems to just happen once you start seriously using Houdini. These example files are found in the documentation. Oh and there are an infinite number of ways to use nodes. We're not just dealing with a single context compositing node network.

Here are some tips to help you read Houdini scene files:


  • Use the Technical Desktop instead of the default Build Desktop. The Technical Desktop is a hot rodded Build desktop with a full Tree View on the left hand side plus a details view/spreadhseet and python/hscript panes below the main viewer. Given that Houdini is an actual file system internally with folders and files (houdini scripts that build the operators), you can quickly traverse the scene file using the Tree View without having to navigate in the networks blindly. You won't get lost using the Technical Desktop. This begs the question: Why do we still ship with Build as default? You can set the Technical Desktop as the default in the Houdini Edit > Preferences > General User Interface dialog tab.
    Turn on Dependency Links. In any node network, hit the "d" key or press the eye icon. From the Network Display Dialog, go to the Dependency folder and enable all the options but the very last one. Now you will see any dependencies between the various operators. This chases all dependencies including those buried in expressions. Now you can see which operators have dependencies on others. These dependency links are a cool feature that few know about and IMHO should be enabled all the time for new users, especially those coming from Maya who are used to seeing this in their DAG.
    Operators with comments on them have the name highlighted in a dark blue. Learn to spot these operators. To read the comments, use the MMB (MiddleMouseButton) on the tile icon to see the operator information. The comment shows up near the bottom of the pop-up information.
    For more hard-core scene evaluation, turn to the Performance Monitor found in the Windows main menu option. You can enable updates and see which operators evaluated when you change a parameter. If there are time-based operators, pressing forward will tell you what nodes evaluated in order based on their dependencies.

There are many more tips I have for tearing scene files apart in short order but these are a few key methods you can employ to investigate and learn from any Houdini scene file. Then ask lots and lots of questions.

It really helps to actually do something that "you" want to do and plow ahead and ask lots of questions.

Houdini couldn't be easier to learn. Once you are familiar with navigating the scene (Technical Desktop please and turn on dependency links in netowrks), it's all about the operator nodes. Nothing more. Nothing less. No myriad of thousands of cascading menus to weed through. Just nodes.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

Houdini files utilize persistent node networks to do your work for everything. No need to "delete history" or bake out geo from the stack.

This is unique in the industry at this time for 3D software.

Because of this, the actual scene files become the lessons. No one can hide anything from you. No blind script that is run that needs to be taught/documented. No set of complicated steps that need to be documented in a lengthy tutorial. Just nodes. Quite simple actually. Just like Nuke or Shake.

...

absolutely true and that ' s why i like more Houdini on each day that i use it and that's why i have ripped every *.hip or *.hipnc which ever came in front of eyes . =)

so that should be numbered as point 0) ! ( an absolute and unique value which only Houdini holds ).

nice post by the way and learned a few ' new things ' from it . thanks !

--

hi , this is my first post here , so i think is better to introduce myself now. =)

i have been flirting with Apprentice Edition from some time and lately decided to invest my time with Houdini . Lately i got the Escape version and i have started to use it in production ( to gradually replace my actual main 3D-app ) .

it simply is amazing ! i never thought that i could do so easily 'some' things or 'do at all' anywhere else .

the easiness of building , tweaking and 'recycling' parts of projects ; seems healthy to my brain and inspires creativity by removing many barriers .

enough with luster and now back on topic :

--

agreeing with what you said above , what i'd suggest to this forum ( or better what i need to easily find here at least ) are these points :

- relatively short posts which describe in steps ' how to do ... (ex. setup render farm in your network )

- a sticky thread with a-hell-of-a-lot-of-EXPRESSIONS for anything ( ex. select prims wich have a defined number of points ) and possibly in two flavours ; Hscript and Python .

- another more sticky with a collection of tiny tricks and small hips ( from users ) divided in categories would help a lot of people .

- possibly ( why not ?! ) integrated inside Houdini docs .

i believe that the community is the best learning source with a huge variety of problems and solutions . i do not believe in DVDs ( even if i have all the Houdini set of CMIVFX ).

yep ! , i know i can search and ( maybe ) find any solution but in some cases not . maybe the thread related to that problem was resolved without leaving its solution or the person who asked simple ' gave up '.

a compact and well organized place to relatively quickly find solutions is a good chance for many new-users or anyone who wants to 'try' Houdini and to not go back by saying " hYyuuuu ! ... it is complicated ! " . IMHO , it is not ! ... and it is powerful .

p.s.:please , excuse my english . it is not my native language .

.cheers

Edited by zarti

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love Houdini! It is truly an "Alien Technology" compared to the Automatic Desktop products! And by "Alien", I mean: Proper, clever, advanced aliens :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the hints - but i don't need a TD Book or MSc Case studies : I asked for practical Workflows with Houdini and Live Action Footage. How to created realistic Outputs for compositing is not learning by reading the *.hip or *.hipnc Files or the "Thesis Controlling Fluid Simulations with Custom Fields in Houdini"...

:)

@exu:

YES - that are the Lessons i asking for!! It was unfortunately OCT 10 Term and it's closed now. I hope more of this come back in jan 2011.

http://www.fxphd.com/courseInfo.php#HOU201

-> ...dives into a sample vfx project !!

This will include traditional and procedural modeling techniques with instancing, techniques and tricks for DOPs, POPs, includes shading, rendering and compositing to get everything layered seamless together.

Read Class 1: to 10 and you understand my question.

NO complex theoretical TD - this kind of realistic Lessons!

:huh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@exu:

YES - that are the Lessons i asking for!! It was unfortunately OCT 10 Term and it's closed now. I hope more of this come back in jan 2011.

http://www.fxphd.com/courseInfo.php#HOU201

Hi Eagle66

Even on this FXPHD lessons, you will be pointed to do expressions, and TD things only ...

It's Houdini Nature of things, and sure, at some point you will agree, that .hip from another user it's a most valuable asset that you can have it, just wait until get in, and once you there, you will be asking for hip file for study particular technic right here, on Odforce! ;)

and love it!

And you will 100% agree with OldSchool!

Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×