Jump to content
timfagan

Moving into Special Effects

Recommended Posts

Hi, this might be off topic, please forgive me!

 

I'm looking for some general advice and thought I'd open this up.  :)  I'm currently doing a PhD in mechanical engineering but I'm trying to transition from numerical simulations of engineering problems to simulation for special effects. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my recent work has been visualizing my numerical results in Houdini and Maya, and this has led me to consider moving into this field.

 

In theory I feel like it should be possible, as I have a good understanding of physics and programming, but I'm not sure how useful these skills are, or if a transition is doable without a great deal of further study. Although I have a good grasp of modelling from a research and engineering sense, my understanding of special effects and the special effects industry is pretty shallow. I really enjoy creating physically based simulations, and making things look real. Using Houdini or Maya to create a great visual is extremely rewarding. From what I've gathered, an FX TD possibly with some R&D is something I could really enjoy.

 

Does anyone have a background at all similar to myself? I currently feel like my only option would be to do further study... 

 

 

Not quite a demoreel  ;) but I recently made a simple animation of jello being hit by an arrow with MPM (similar to the FLIP solver in Houdini) and rendered it with Maya:

Edited by timfagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Tim, you would have all your chance as an FX TD or R&D Engineer in VFX.

- great C/C++ coder

- with a strong background in math and physics

- a certain artistic eyes

Have all their chance

 

You have a lot of people who have start as junior R&D in big company and who have evolve into FX TD position.

I would train myself into Houdini and for this i would not hesitate to invest some bucks in CG society training the teachers are very skilled guys working in the industry.

It would cost you some bucks , but not as much as a shitty school that will charge you 20.000$ per years.

http://training.cgsociety.org/course/introduction-to-fx-using-houdini

http://training.cgsociety.org/course/destruction-in-houdini

http://training.cgsociety.org/course/fluids-fx-using-houdini

http://training.cgsociety.org/course/vex-in-houdini

http://training.cgsociety.org/course/houdini-pyrofx-in-film-production

 

Focus only on Houdini forget about Maya for FX.

If you know Houdini and are rock star in code you will have all your chance in VFX.

 

but VFX is not a ride to the park ! i hope you will not follow this career for Money / Glory / Girl ... your best friend in VFX is Overtime / Short Deadline.

Edited by sebkaine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest mantragora

Man, why didn't I meet you couple years ago. I would save ton of money and couple years of my life and not give up on Houdini because of some 3dsmax bullshiter I meet.

 

Focus only on Houdini forget about Maya for FX.

If you know Houdini and are rock star in code you will have all your chance in VFX.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Emmanuel, TD with great coding skills and solid maths BG are always appreciated.

An artistic eye is definitely a plus since sometimes, the brief is not to have a photo-realistic thing but something that is believable enough. In fact, no one has ever seen the explosion of a rocket on a real alien force shield popping out of sand dunes under heavy rain...

And if you are a bit concerned, don't worry, everything will be blurred in comp anyway :)

 

If you are not over confident on the artistic side, just make sure you are able to provide artists enough control to play with your asset so they can get the best of it. Just keep in mind to have an UI still being manageable by a at least a mid level artist. No one is really keen to delve into thousand of sliders and tabs for just single asset.

 

 

but VFX is not a ride to the park ! i hope you will not follow this career for Money / Glory / Girl ... your best friend in VFX is Overtime / Short Deadline.

 

Excerpt taster of what it looks like from inside :

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
haha thanks for the comments everyone.  :)

 

In terms of getting a job, is it mainly about demonstrating an ability to use the tools (Houdini?)

 

The courses you posted look great and very practical, but one thing I've been noticing in job requirements is an understanding of the whole process pipeline, which is something I imagine a school or college would be much better at? But I'm definitely a fan of avoiding a $20-30,000 course.

 

It seems there's quite a few training options around and it's hard to tell what's good and what's not. I live in Australia, which probably makes online training a much cheaper option, but I'd worry that with limited contact it would be difficult to find a job afterwards.

Edited by timfagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that you should keep your money and train yourself , because the button pushing can be learn in tutorials.

 

http://www.cinefex.com/

https://www.fxphd.com/

http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/

Has all the knowledge you need.

 

Just try to build yourself a nice demo reel with a mix of

- FX done in Houdini

- Tool develop in Houdini

 

Take exemple on some cool vimeo demo reel and try to copy what other has done.

Ask question here when you are stuck.

 

and try to find a job / internship in australia

there are great company there

- http://rsp.com.au/home/ rising sun pictures has a very strong reputation in houdini

- http://www.animallogic.com/ is also great

- http://iloura.com.au/ is also seeking houdini guys

Edited by sebkaine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are endless possibilities for someone who can code and understand the maths involved. I would hire (and have done so) someone with this knowledge and zero experience in vfx. The caveat, of course, is that you're not looking to move away from this too much. ie. If you're willing to code tools for other fx artists to use, and occasionally run shots then there is great demand for that kind of skillset. So to change what you said a little: An R&D TD with some FX. 

 

If you have an eye for what looks good, then you'll do even better. 

 

If you're determined to come prepared, then learning a bit of Houdini and demonstrating an ability with the HDK would set you apart from 90% of other applicants.

 

M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tim you are late......

 

there where some events from sesi in australia you have missted: :-/

https://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3063&Itemid=226

 

Book about Rendering: http://pbrt.org/

 

Subscriptions:

http://www.cmivfx.com (a lot of tutorials for houdini)

http://www.digitaltutors.com/ (not many tutorials for houdini but you have access for vfx and IT/Programming tutorials http://www.pluralsight.com/ inclusiv )

http://www.3dbuzz.com/ (not many tutorials for houdini)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest tar

I would be taking that MPM solver on an tablet computer and showing it at any and all places you can get a foot in the door. If you get in, great, you're in. If not take the feedback on they want and study up on those areas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone have a background at all similar to myself? I currently feel like my only option would be to do further study... 

 

 

SideFX Houdini is the way to go.
 
Houdini Help Documents have almost everything to learn. If any question you can ask OdForce and SESI Forums for free.
 
 
but VFX is not a ride to the park ! i hope you will not follow this career for Money / Glory / Girl ... your best friend in VFX is Overtime / Short Deadline.

 

 

+1

Edited by Pradeep Barua

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Emmanuel, I'll put together a demoreel with Houdini and some simple tools built with the HDK.

 

There are endless possibilities for someone who can code and understand the maths involved. I would hire (and have done so) someone with this knowledge and zero experience in vfx. The caveat, of course, is that you're not looking to move away from this too much. ie. If you're willing to code tools for other fx artists to use, and occasionally run shots then there is great demand for that kind of skillset. So to change what you said a little: An R&D TD with some FX. 

 

okay thanks Marc. Are the tools generally built with just the HDK?

 

tim you are late......

 

there where some events from sesi in australia you have missted: :-/

https://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3063&Itemid=226

 

haha yeah I saw that advertised a few days after the event in Melbourne.

 

 

Thanks for the comments and advice everyone!

Edited by timfagan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're coding for Houdini then the HDK is a must. If you have the ability to translate Siggraph papers into usable tools then you'll be indispensable :).

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

×