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Procedural generation of a mussel bed


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Hey OdForce,

For a while I’ve been working on a short video that shows some of the results from a recent ecological study on the importance of mussel beds in the Wadden sea in the Netherlands.

(Sorry but the narration is also in dutch, hopefully we will eventually create an english version too)


The movie was shown at a conference to a broad audience of scientists, policy makers and some people from the fishing industry.


This was an interesting subject for procedural generation because I could use some ecological models that described the pattern formation of mussel beds.

The large scale band patterns are described by a partial differential equation which creates a texture map with densities that are used for displacement and as input for another model.

The small scale mussel patterns (which look really cool) are described by an individual based model that I recreated in Houdini with popdops.

This little simulation is wrapped up in an asset that I’ve included here and can be used to generate these patterns on all kinds of surfaces.


I hope you like the video and the asset.


P.S the asset is very scale sensitive so try it with small sizes first to see if you don't end up with a lot of points.





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Geweldig om te zien dat het gebruik van Houdini steeds breder wordt!

(Great to see, that the use of Houdini gets broader and broader!)


For context, I like to follow where Houdini people from Igad end up, great to see you have found your outlet!

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Thanks for your comments.

It is very cool indeed that Houdini can be used for so many applications.

Completely understanding some of these ecological models is a bit too difficult for now, let alone integrating them in Houdini, but using their output in the form of texture maps is very doable.

A professor at our institute always complains about the procedural vegetation in games such as Skyrim or Far Cry so it would be cool if more ecologically correct approaches are used in the future ;)

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Hey Robert,


That last part is totally doable,

but it does require a significant amount of time in terms of research and is probably also relatively lengthy to calculate that way.

Especially if you also want to maintain other requirements in games and pipelines, such as specific object counts, editing certain areas without affecting others etc. :P


But I'm sure we will eventually get to it, don't ask me when though, I have no idea ;)

Edited by acey195
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