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How important is scripting for an TD FX artist?

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It definitely opens up a lot of possibilities. I'm still learning it myself, but here are some resources I'm using.

I've been learning python from:

There is also this Python Humble Bundle currently going on

from what I understand Python is used for automation/management and Vex is more commonly used for geo/point manipulation.

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scripting/programming come into play in a number of different areas and to differing degrees.

the most basic kind of scripting would be something like a channel expression - in the TX parameter of an object > sin($F) or a reference to another channel "ch("/obj/someOtherObject/tx")"

these kinds of scripts can be simple or very complex and written in hscript or python

VEX ( http://www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini/vex/_index ) would be used to write 'custom nodes', a wrangle is just a container for vex script that does stuff, which makes the wrangle act like a custom node.

vex is super powerful and can do lots of things that would be hard or impossible with Houdini's default nodes alone.

Houdini has HOM (Houdini Object Model) and this exposes most of Houdini in a python interface - so you can write custom nodes, tools with UIs etc and just generally interact with Houdini using python.

so it really depends on what you're doing, what your end goal is at any particular time.

having a good foundation in scripting/programming means you're better able to take advantage of these things to get work done.


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Depends what direction you want to go, you can script as much or as little as you want. Vex and houdini expressions usually come with the territory when learning and working with houdini. It might be worth looking into that a bit more if you are interested. 

Although python can be powerful, it is very rarely that I wish I knew it. Maybe once every few months I go "damn this would be easy in python". But I'd rather spend my time elsewhere because I dont particularily like coding. 

If all you know/want to know is some expressions and vops - you dont really need more if you feel comfortable. A few of the best FX artists I know are more artistic in nature and dont know much scripting at all. But the opposite is true as well, of course. 

Do you like coding? By all means go ahead, it will be fun. If you dont, dont worry and go make cool stuff all the same. It all comes down to doing what you like and giving it your best.

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In a typical production Python is everywhere. Not everyone has to know Python but someone has to know Python. As scenes become more complex the likelihood of them needing Python (or at least benefiting from Python) grows exponentially. It could be simple stuff like changing hundreds of parameters with a few lines of Python or it could be something much more complex like automation of processes and adding intelligence to artist tools. If you find yourself waiting on things or have downtime I'd start learning Python.

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