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The usefulness of VEX


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Hello All,

I've been tasked to do a presentation to the Masters students and staff at the NCCA Bournemouth University on VEX/VOPS.

There are three Masters courses, with Houdini as a tool featuring predominantly in two of the courses, and I'd quite like to introduce others to the world of vector expressions.

I basically will be presenting the use of vex, how and when its applied as part of a tool or an effect, what VEX be used to create, and why do we need it.

I've made a few demos, but I'm sure many of you have used it often in your jobs, so I was wondering if you could shed some light on that. This will hopefully encourage others to explore VEX further, and use it within their own tools and effects.

The main points I'd like to explore are:-

  • When is VEX used?
  • When is it not used?
  • Why do we need VEX?
  • What can be made with VEX?
  • Examples of VEX in production.
  • Stumbling blocks, what VEX cannot do!

Any comments much appreciated. I've recently used VEX to create several aspects of the lightning system, giving me the ability to implement algorithms that generate the lightning curves(sort of an fBm noise), their movement, their branches, the selection of points to branch from that are then dynamically killed and re-targeted, to control the amount of movement within lightning curves etc...

I also use point-clouds often, for example in one project I needed to find the "highest point" on a wave to then generate "white water" for waves in a shader, and used point-clouds in VEX to sample all surrounding normals and find the degree of change (if high, its a peak, color point white). Etc...

Thanks in advance:)

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