A Few Words with Steven Knipping
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A Few Words with Steven Knipping

There is a great deal of training out there but finding high quality training is hard. Finding training that makes you feel like you have leveled up your game is even harder. Enter Senior Rigid Body Destruction / FX Technical Director at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic Steven Knipping. After watching his Applied Houdini training I had to reach out to him and learn what makes him tick. I figured being Senior FX TD at ILM, Steven would be too busy but I was stoked when he gladly agreed to answer some of my questions. Grab your coffee because Steven gives […]

Adding Motion FX Presets
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Adding Houdini Motion FX Presets to Paremeters

So this a really simplistic video I made back in Houdini 14 or 15 showing how to add Motion FX (CHOPS) presets to a parameter channel. It’s really more of a sample video than a tutorial. I even throw in some ch() and stamp() functions. Sorry about the lack of audio and playback. It was a spur of the moment type thing. It actually does not play this slow in the viewport. Hopefully I work my way up to actually doing proper videos, but we shall see.

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Houdini Bag of Tricks

Here is a Houdini bag of tricks that contains tips that were on the old site but I decided to package them up. Most are just small workflow tips or hotkeys but can be quite handy. VEX Snippets If you’re been playing with POP nodes, I’m sure you have noticed that little scary checkbox that says Use VEXpressions. Maybe you’ve dropped down one of the powerful Wrangle nodes but you decided you were not ready to tackle that little monster. Well, Side Effects has packaged up some nice VEXpression snippets to help you out. Hidden away in the top right corner is a drop down […]

Default Web Browser for The Houdini Docs
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Default Web Browser for The Houdini Docs

Is the built in Houdini help browser dragging you down? On OS X it’s a bit slow for my taste. On Windows and Linux it works well but maybe you’re like me who loads the documentation on the Side Effect server just because it’s faster in your default Web browser. Maybe not. Regardless, using your good old Web browser for the Houdini docs has a couple of advantages. Let me show you how to user your default Web browser for the Houdini docs instead of the built in Houdini browser. Built-in Web Browser Houdini has fantastic documentation and and each node gives you access to […]

VOP Output Names
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Show Full Input and Output Names on VOP Nodes

So we all know about Houdini’s dynamic duo nodes VEX and VOP. For those unfamiliar with programming, VEX nodes may be a bit intimidating. However, this is where VOP nodes come to the rescue. Think of VOPs as visual programming. If your coming at Houdini from a Cinema 4D angle, think Xpresso. Now I’m not saying working with VOPS is a walk in the park but it’s a nice entry into the world of VEX. Check out some of the great tutorials with extensive use of them over at Entagma if you want some practice. Here is a tip on how to show full […]

HScript Memory Command
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Checking Memory Usage In Houdini

This may not be the most exciting or life changing Houdini tip you will come across. I’ve been developing some scripts that need to check the Houdini memory footprint. I figured this bit of information may come in handy for someone out there. There are specialized applications and utilities at the OS level that provide this information. However, I needed something I could access programatically. As luck would have it, checking memory usage in Houdini is built right in. Memory Usage I mentioned while developing some tools, I needed to check the memory usage in Houdini for some conditional statements. My initial thoughts […]

The Geometry Object
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The Geometry Object

So you have decided to learn Houdini. You have a new scene open and you drop down a box. Now you want to change the divisions of the box. You see that there are several tabs in the parameter window for the box such as Transform, Material, Render, Misc but nowhere do you see the ability to change the subdivisions of the box. What gives? Welcome to the Geometry Object. Object Level One thing you have to remember is that in Houdini, when you drop down a Box or Sphere node at the object network level, that top level node is just a container for your actual geometry. […]

Toggle Safe Area Shelf Item
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Creating a Video Safe Area Toggle Shelf Tool

Since my work is primarily for video and interactive domains, I have a need to check my video safe areas often. Not a big deal. Almost every animation application has the ability to toggle the safe area guides on or off. Houdini is no different, however, it takes a few steps. Enough to be a bit annoying. In this post I’m going to show how I went about creating a shelf tool that toggles the safe area guides on or off. Shelf Sets, Tabs, & Tools The shelf is the strip of icons along the top of the main window and is composed […]

Drag and Drop Tools
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Drag and Drop Tools

Since I’m riding the Python boat, before I get back to some more Python in Houdini, I wanted to throw out this tip for those wanting to create custom tools and to further wet your appetite a little bit. After all, this is how it all starts. Let me show how easy it is to just drag and drop tools on to your shelves. Shelf Tools The preferred way to create reusable tools in Houdini is by creating an HDA or Houdini Digital Asset. Oooh! Fancy! But what if you just need a temporary thing. Something rough that is just meant for […]

A Few Words with Alvaro Castaneda
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A Few Words with Varomix

I remember glancing at a disintegration tutorial years back done in Houdini but at the time the application was still so foreign to me. Once I began working more with Houdini, the name varomix kept popping up when searching for Houdini training. I was impressed by the disintegration tutorial and a few others he had created at the time so I signed up for some of his training. I was pleasantly surprised at the laid back style of teaching and the cool tools he was creating whether in Houdini or Python. Needless to say, I watched a bunch of his stuff. Varomix has created a […]

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Using the Op Operator

I’m sure you’ve seen the op operator while on your Houdini tutorial journeys or rummaging through .hip files. It usually goes something like this: op:/path/to/node Cryptic stuff. I know, I was like ”WTF is that?” when I first saw it. Turns out it’s rather handy. What is cool about the op operator is that it allows you to grab live data from another node elsewhere in your scene. Let’s try to break it down with an example of sorts. Beer with A Straw Imagine you’re on a beach and there are several bars around. One bar in particular changes its selection of premium […]

Disable Primary Rays in Houdini
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How to Disable Primary Rays in Houdini

A common thing to do in 3D workflows is to make an object invisible to the render engine. Either completely invisible or invisible but still cast shadows and reflections. In geek parlance, no primary rays but secondary rays. If you are a Cinema 4D user, you can achieve this through the Seen by Camera option in a Compositing Tag. Houdini users are accustomed to the Phantom option. At least this is how I came to learn it by. So how to we disable primary rays in Houdini? Phantoms Objects In early versions of Houdini, you could disable primary rays by checking on the Phantom […]