Learning Houdini Journal 04: Setback

Nov 22, 2015 at 12:15 am by -gToon

This is the fourth entry of what will be a year-long journal on learning the 3D application Houdini, created bySide Effects Software. Houdini is a sophisticated application that is widely used in the production of visual effects for Hollywood films such as Big Hero 6, Mad Max: Fury Road and many others.

In my previous Learning Houdini Journal, I discussed my research on learning methods and went over some of the resources I'm using to get started with Houdini.


One of the problems with self-directed learning is that you have to make a habit out of it. And habit comes from daily practice. If you are a professional, you are strongly motivated to develop that habit because it's your job. Plus, you have a structured situation that helps you with the commitment. A pro learning a new software application usually has a training situation set up for them at work with an instructor (or multiple instructors) helping you every day to get your learning focused and habitual.

I don't have that kind of structure and so I have to do it myself. A year is a long time and it's easy to say, "Oh, well, I'll skip these four days and make it up later". But learning is cumulative and requires daily effort even if it's only a half hour or so. And while I was offered a formal training process through the excellent cmiVFX.com website, I declined because I wanted my experience to be like what a typical Renderosity artist would go through. I don't plan on becoming a professional Houdini artist, but I do plan to take a professional attitude towards my learning.

This week because of a major product launch for Renderosity, I skipped my Houndini learning for four days. When I came back to where I had stopped, which was modeling an imported .obj asset, I realized that I had completely lost what I had learned before. Of course, I had notes to refer to, but it wasn't enough. And, really, I was just making excuses. Learning an application as deep as Houdini is hard and I need to be up to the challenge. I could have made SOME time each of those four days to just check in with the modeling process, but I didn't.

Time to re-commit.

Houdini 15 Importing geometry

Back to the Houdini 15 modeling intro
I was warned that modeling in Houdini might not give me the full modeling experience that other software applications like Maya or Modo would give me. But I don't really believe that. I've worked with both of those software applications and though Modo is very unique, I think Houdini 15 will be a great modeling program for me. Time will tell if I am right in my judgement.

So, I've had to go back and start the modeling section in the pluralsight.com training course, "Introduction to Houdini 15" all over again. This leaves me with little to comment on here, but next week I will post on completing the modeling section of the course and note my thoughts on what modeling in Houdini 15 is like.

Next: Modeling and Importing Geometry in Houdini 15.

Sections: Tips + Tutorials

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