Intro to Procedural Modeling with Houdini
Houdini is a very powerful 3D software application that has the ability to create procedural assets for Movies and games. It is more widely known in the movie industry but it is becoming more and more integrated into the game development pipeline. Throughout this course we will cover the crucial information to make anyone successful in their procedural modeling adventures, using Houdini.
With each lesson we will take you from beginner to a Houdini modeling expert by covering some of the basic nodes that every procedural modeling graph begins with. The course will begin by walking through each of the basic primitives available so that you have a good understanding of the types of geometry you can start with. As we move towards the middle of the course, we will take a look and learn how to set up common procedural algorithms, that produce the procedural models you see in games and movies today!
Finally we will close out this course by performing a small procedural modeling project. We will create a procedural staircase, that allows you to change the number of stairs, the height, width, and depth of the stairs, as well as the colors of the stairs. By creating this proceudural project, you will get practical training in a procedural modeling pipeline.
Introduction to Proceduralism
Lets take a look at what we will be learning and making through out this course. We will walk through the main project for this course and demonstrate exactly what we will be covering.
To start off our procedural modeling session, let's learn a bit more about what types of primitives we can start with and learn how to create them in the Houdini interface. This will get us more familiar with the Houdini interface as well as the various tools available to use for manipulating geometry.
Houdini allows one to move objects around in a scene, just like any other 3D package. You can use gizmos or a property inspector to type in values. But, the real power of Houdini is in the fact that we can create procedural relationships between objects, such that when one object moves, another object will place itself procedurally. This lesson will reveal the techniques needed to perform just that type of procedural transformation.
Procedural workflows make use of copying objects over and over again, so you don't have to do it manually. This power technique allows one to make stairs from a single stair step model, or the trusses on a bridge. This lesson will walk you through the process of using the copy node inside of Houdini.
Because we are using Houdini and procedural workflows, we can actually start to encode data into points and use that data down the procedural graph to perform other operations. We will take a look at some basic applications of this procedural technique in this lesson.
When starting to adopt a procedural workflow, grouping objects and components becomes a very useful tool to allow one to isolate out elements to work on. This lesson will introduce you to the Group node and how it is used from the ground up.
When modeling in any 3D software package, one always has to delete different components on a piece of geometry to acquire the correct shape. In Houdini we can do this procedurally to give us yet another way to isolate out components we want to work with. This lesson will explore the delete node and its uses in a procedural workflow.
Utilizing curves and sweeps allows us to procedurally create surfaces from user created curves. This technique gives you the power to create roads, paths, organic surfaces, etc. We will explore the curve node and the sweep node throughout this lesson.
Now that we have covered some of the key procedural techniques inside of Houdini, let's apply our new knowledge and make a procedural staircase. With this procedural asset we will have the ability to change the amount of stairs, the height of the stairs, the slope, and the depth. This will start to solidify the procedural workflow and you will start to see its power and how it can be used in other situations.
In this final part we will complete the procedural staircase asset, and clean up the graph a bit for optimization.