[Sidefx-houdini-list] Teaching Houdini

Peter Robbinson probbins at sympatico.ca
Fri Nov 30 09:18:44 EST 2007

Andras Ikladi wrote:
> This is a bit of a controversial topic though. I had the chance to look from
> both sides...as someone looking for work and also as someone responsible for
> recruiting/evaluating candidates.
> It looks like to me that Houdini users can be divided to three large groups:
> - Seniors: no problem finding work not just because of Houdini but also
> because all the experience accumulated during the (tens of) years. I don't
> think it would be a problem with other software either but maybe the smaller
> community helps.
For senior talent it's about managing others not so much about what 
software they are best in.
By this time they shouldn't care so much, they will likely be able to 
take best advantage of the software they
know the best.
> - Newbies: straight out of school. Houdini can be a big help landing a job
> and this kinda annoys me. Personally I would much rather hire someone
> slightly more experienced with other software than a completely green guy
> with mention of Houdini on his CV. At least we had quite good experience
> with cross training from other software.
The newbie is generally being hired for a very specific task and is not 
seen as a long-term hire, for the most part.
> - Medium level TDs: grown up and gained quite a bit of experience on another
> software (maybe one starting with M) and been using Houdini for some time.
The experienced artist is much more complicated. They have finally 
gotten to a level where they can
think about making long-range plans for their own lives. They don't 
necessarily have to scramble for the next contract
and choose the settle down.
They've paid their dues with whatever software they have focused on and 
can finally feel confident of their own abilities.
It can be very tempting to become complacent and just to the job. Having 
to learn another software package, particularly one that requires a new 
way of thinking is particularly hard for people at this stage of their 

Yet, they are going to have to. My main thesis is that the cg production 
industry has entered a stage of maturity where senior management is 
looking at the production pipelines they've been relying on and seeing 
that they are very old. Most large companies, and this includes both 
film and games companies, can see they need to rebuild their pipelines. 
They are looking at Houdini because it is currently the best positioned 
to help them.

> Still, these people seem to find it a lot harder to land a Houdini job as
> the other two categories.
> Why? I just find it weird but this is a common experience shared by several
> people I know.
> These people are representing the everyday production capacity that most
> companies want (and that holds some of them back from using Houdini)
> Maybe it's due to location constraints as well to a certain extent but I
> think at least part of these people would be willing to move and also
> qualify for work permit in most countries.
> cheers,
> Andras
> On Nov 30, 2007 9:05 AM, Andrew D Lyons <tstexture at gmail.com> wrote:
>> It's the best kept secret for people looking to get a break in the
>> high end animation and VFX industries. Most big film studios hunt down
>> Houdini people, and hire people straight out of school if they have
>> some Houdini experience. Many studios hire Houdini people even though
>> they don't use Houdini much - just because if people can use it - then
>> they understand computer graphics enough to be useful in other
>> packages. Without Houdini experience new comers get to wait in line
>> with the hoards of Maya, Lightwave and Max users, for whatever jobs
>> Maya, Lightwave and Max users get offered...
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