[Sidefx-houdini-list] About Learning Houdini

Peter Robbinson probbins at corefa.com
Mon Aug 28 08:26:59 EDT 2006

In the years I've been teaching Houdini the key element that is 
essential to have students understand is proceduralism. I focus
on getting people to understand that and once that is accomplished most 
everything else is fairly straightforward.

The essential element for why this is important has to do with the 
attitude of the new user. All come to learn with tight pre-conceptions
of what 3d digital animation is all about, and in one form or another 
are overwhelmed at discovering just how complex the job really is.
All come to class ready to build an epic and discover that it is 
impossible. Many, rather than abandoning their initial ideas for 
something more
sensible, reach for the easiest way to continue with their grand idea. 
My main objection to the Maya like interface has to with how it stunts 
creativity, how it hides possibilities behind a facade of easy use. It 
is easy to make a quick pretty picture in maya, fooling the new user 
into thinking
they've accomplished lots. Many never move beyond the end of the slider 

Proceduralism allows the student to relax and explore without undoing 
their work. The new user has a hard time starting over, they've worked so
hard to build their first models. With Houdini they don't have to, they 
can keep their first crappy models, until they gain confidence. It is 
easy for them
to see their own growth by comparing the various chains of nodes they built.

Over the years I've found those new users I've taught with Houdini are 
able to maintain their own, budding, artistic integrity far better than 
with any other
3d application. This is enormously important considering just how hard 
it is for a new artist to break into this business and how many supposed 
artists are
graduating each year.

I've never found it hard to lead new users to an understanding of Houdini.


Pablo Giménez wrote:

> On 8/26/06, Garman Herigstad <garman_lists at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>> I would like to make a statement about learning
>> Houdini.
> Yes Garman, from my experience in Aula Tematica the most challenging
> thing in learning Houdini are the begginings.
> Houdini is strange for simpler things and very good at complex stuff.
> I think that the most important is to show new users the philosphy
> behind Houdini with very simple excersises and rather than try to make
> the same things somebody can make in his/her package X, try to do
> thing "ala" Houdini.
> I my opinion, your Gnomon DVD is great, but a little hard for new users.
> It is great in the sense that anybody with a very little knowledge
> about Houdini can learn very interesting stuff; but I have found it
> little tricky for new users.
> I always recommend your DVD and Will's book to my students, and I have
> received these opinions from them. So I think that the new getting
> started videos are a better option for new users.
> Here at Aula Tematica I am preparing some tutos too, mainly to show
> Houdini to Maya, LightWave or 3D Studio users hare at the school, I
> hope that the school managers allows me to publish some of this tutos
> in the future.
>> For my Gnomon DVD, I got many nice compliments about
>> how helpful it was.   And I did get a few comments
>> like, "Wow, what a waste of money.  I thought this guy
>> was going to pull out the big guns."   Just this
>> morning I posted six (of eight) absolute beginner
>> getting-started tutorials off my website.
>> In my view, I have found the problem with learning
>> Houdini, or computer geneterated effects in general,
>> is that it is difficult for the beginner to get
>> started.  There is so much excellent material for
>> advanced users, especially on odforce.net (thank you,
>> thank you, thank you so much!)
>> But there is not much good information out there for
>> people who just want to get started.  And there are SO
>> MANY good people out there who want to start using
>> Houdini but don't know where to get started.
>> Therefore, I am in the process of trying to make it
>> VERY EASY for ALL THOSE GREAT PEOPLE to start being
>> able to use Houdini.
>> If we have a good foundation of how to use the
>> product, then it will be easier for us to grow and
>> build on that foundation.  And that's been missing not
>> only for Houdini but for visual effects in general.
>> When I make most of these tutorials I want to run at a
>> much faster level.  But with teaching, I find out that
>> I lose people because I jump over critical steps.
>> The plan is to help build up that foundation so people
>> are comfortable with the interface and method of
>> thinking.
>> Then, I hope, many people will start running for the
>> deep stuff with Houdini.
>> -Garman
>> --- Garman Herigstad <garman_lists at sbcglobal.net>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > I'm in the process of posting some new tutorials for
>> > absolute beginners.
>> >
>> > These are good for anyone wanting to learn Houdini
>> > anywhere, anytime (except for the past.)
>> >
>> >
>> http://tutorials.vizyacky.com/vizy_tutorials_houdini/vizy_tut_houdini_getting_started_A.html 
>> >
>> > If you already know Houdini "STAY AWAY FROM THESE
>> > BABIES."
>> >
>> > -Garman
>> >
>> >
>> ================================================
>> Garman Herigstad
>> If you want to contact me directly, use:
>> garman @ vizyacky.com
>> Garman's Visual Effects Academy
>> VizyAcky.com
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Peter Robbinson
robbinson at coredp.com
probbins at corefa.com

Core Digital Pictures

								"gravity is not a force, it is a boundary layer"
                                                                           "everything is coincident"
                                                                    "Love: a state of suspended anticipation"

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