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Any way to get the cmiVFX L-System tutorials?


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I understand that these tutorials were made for an ancient version of Houdini, but I suspect the L-System node hasn't changed too much in the meanwhile.

I became a paid user of cmiVFX, but it seems the site became inoperative before I really had the chance to get too far into that course. All the courses on the site became unviewable, and any attempts to contact anyone responsible for keeping it working, failed for quite a few weeks, and so did the ones that Paypal made on my behalf, so I got a refund.

The wish to see these tutorials still remains, though. Does anyone here have an idea about how to contact someone to get access to these videos, or the DVDs. As I understand, they have been released on DVDs. Perhaps someone could sell these to me if collecting dust somewhere not being used?

Would really appreciate the advice. Any other suggestions for tutorials dealing with L-Systems, would be greatly appreciated as well. I have gone through the Pluralsight course, the Tyler Bay course, Ari Danesh First Steps video, have the digital version of the Algorithmic Beauty of Plants and am playing with the example files with L-systems (and wire solver) from the SideFX docs, and scanning this very site on this subject, but still, if there is a valuable compiled resource for learning the different methods of using this node (like the cmiVFX course seems to be), I'd be interested.

Edited by Jaanus
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> L-System node hasn't changed


You are correct. AFAIK it's never changed. Why? Because it's not useful.

In my 21 years of experience with Houdini I've only seen it used in production once. That was on the original Live Action Grinch who Store XMas with Jim Carry. Where was it used? To make the gigantic pine tree in the Whoville square. Those crazy guys at DD actually printed out some of the FF+F+FF+fFF instruction nonsense, but stopped and killed the job when they realized it would take hundreds of pages to print it out. And since then there's been a renaissance of tree building techniques and companies that will sell you pre-built trees for almost any popular species.

Look, I love L-systems. They're a fun idea and a good introduction to fractals. But IMHO they're useless.

Oh, no, wait, I think I remember they were used in Frozen maybe?

Still, you can do way more with particles and a SOP Solver.

Edited by kleer001
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Thank You for the replies!

@matEvil: Thanks for the suggestion. Have seen it a couple of times, but it was some time ago, might watch again.

@kleer001: The notes of it not being used in actual production often, definitely useful. If anyone knows about what was used on the Dr. Strange movie, where in an hallucinatory scene Dr. Strange's hands were turning into fractals (new hands were grown out of his fingers), that would also be great. I thought it should have had something to do with L-Systems at first, but of course it could also be a combination of other methods or some in-house tools, L-System definitely is not the last word on fractal systems. Unfortunately though, for me learning doesn't necessarily go with what is useful, what is interesting and intriguing seems more often to be a path to learning something, and I do like to learn about different ways of doing things and what benefits each brings, or even perhaps, how different tools give slightly new ideas. Am not interested in L-Systems as a single method for doing something, but an option among others. In fact, am quite fond of using SpeedTree myself and am currently going through Hossam Aldin Alaliwi's informative course on getting the most control over the models in Houdini ( https://www.sidefx.com/tutorials/tree-rigging-for-feature-film-tutorial_houdinifx/ ), yet even watching that course I come to feel I should know L-Systems and how they interact with wire-solvers, or how they form shapes, better, and if perhaps some L-Systems+Wire Solvers solution might not give better or quicker results in some cases. Of course I can build and actually am building tools to make the handling of SpeedTree trees in Houdini faster, and the benefits of the L-Systems built-in attributes and possibly imaginative and powerful ways of interaction with wire-solvers and polywire-setups (that are perhaps built in, but I don't yet know about them) might not end up amounting to much productivity-wise, but I usually do benefit from going through different ways of thinking about a problem, even slightly as if a technology historian, stitching together a timeline of what tools some people for some time somewhere were using to solve a problem, before perhaps a better (or an arguably better) tool was devised. In productivity-sense, I might perhaps end up using L-Systems for something else other than trees, some tentacle-growths, or geometric patterns, though, although I do not know yet. Rohan Dalvi has a course on this tool in pattern creation, and it does seem like a niche this node might be good in even productivity-wise. The CmiVFX course though does seem like perhaps the most in-depth course on the tool and it's possible uses ever made. Thank you for the advice on particles and a SOP solver as well, have ended up using them in combination with l-systems on a few occasions, and will definitely not shy away from using these tools if seemingly more appropriate at a given time, by my own evaluation though, not of a production house's who chose a way at some time and couldn't perhaps remember anyway why a method was chosen over another a long way back.

@Librarian: If making me only interested in useful stuff were this easy, someone would have done it much earlier, myself probably included. :) So, no worries, my interest in L-Systems was never based on it necessarily being the best tool for doing something other people think people should be doing with a tool. My own aims for using this tool need not perfectly align with what some productivity-oriented institutions see as the most important aim, in fact the aims better not, or I was doing something less than what I by my own criteria should be doing. Anyway, as they say, often best new ideas come from forgotten old ones. I am not necessarily interested in L-Systems because they seem forgotten, but that might very well be a way I find them useful - to see possibilities other people persuaded out of using them might have become incapable of seeing.

A big thanks for the links also! I will be diving into them, as well as other posts dealing with this node here on odforce, if I don't get too side-tracked by some other less-than-mainstream use for the program - the COPs, making sound simulations in CHOPs or hopefully not the using of Houdini as a tool for making vector graphics compatible with Illustrator, as the Entagma guys gave me an idea for using this program as.

Anyway, a big thank You!


Edited by Jaanus
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