This is the tenth entry of what will be a year-long journal on learning the 3D application Houdini, created by Side 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 09, I went over the two basic ways I'm learning to animated in Houdini 15: straight keyframe and dynamic animation. This journal entry goes into a bit more detail and relates how the "idea" of a computer process is important to understand
The Idea of Using Simulated Natural Forces to Animate
I'm not sure why I didn't make the jump to using Dynamics for animation. Houdini is widely known as having one of the best Dynamic systems in the industry. It makes so much sense to use real-time simulation of gravity, friction and velocity to create a crash scene and shattering glass.
Starting Over and Re-learning
I became so engrossed in learning more about Dynamics in Houdini, that I dropped the tutorial and spent time reading the Houdini 15 manual and running through mini-videos at the Sidefx.com website and on Vimeo.com. Once I had a reasonably good understanding of the kinds of things I could do using Dynamics, I went back to the beginning of the Animation section in the Intro to Houdini 15 tutorial and started over.
This actually was very helpful and is an advantage I think to self-directed learning as opposed to class-room or guided learning online: you can stop and go on a tangent any time you want. For me, this process helped to cement some of the procedures and concepts in using Dynamics inside of Houdini.
One tutorial that was particularly helpful was at Houdini's Go Procedural site at Vimeo.com. The M03 | Next Steps | Procedural Animation | Intro to Dynamics. This hour-long tutorial really helped supplement my learning.