14 of The Best Houdini Tutorials

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A reference in VFX (special effects), Houdini is a node-based 3D software specializing in 3D special effects. The program encompasses a comprehensive generalist 3D environment, including modeling, animation, shading, rendering, and compositing.

Using a node-based organization, Houdini covers the basics of 3D modeling and more. It integrates various aspects of 3D computer graphics design, compositing, systems, and special effects while also providing the ability to create custom particle tools using Python.

Houdini is extensively utilized in feature films, video games, and commercials. It enables the creation of spectacular and realistic environments or effects, such as destruction, fires, liquids, hair, and crowd management.

Due to the wide range of possibilities that Houdini offers in the world of 3D, there is much to learn. This article will present the 15 best Houdini tutorials to help you get started and delve into 3D special effects and modeling.

Your First Hour In Houdini FX

Your First Hour In Houdini FX

In this course, Raffi Bedross, with almost 17 years of experience using Houdini professionally, will take you through the basics and most important concepts and tools to get you started quickly in Houdini.

The course starts with going through the interface and how to navigate in the viewport, create objects, and, of course, the most exciting part creating your first visual effects simulation in Houdini.

Houdini Beginner Tutorial | Beautiful patterns using loops 

This video tutorial takes beginners through an excellent Houdini tutorial for beginners. The presenter promises you can follow this tutorial even if you have never used Houdini before.  

You will be able to go from level to level, like grabbing the basic knowledge of the program and then diving into more complex things like creating patterns and different shapes.  

The tutorial is presented by the Motion Designers Community, a YouTube channel with more than 84,000 subscribers.  

Houdini Beginner Tutorial | Beautiful Mograph Effects 

This is a 52-minute tutorial that has been watched more than 18,000 times on YouTube.  

You will learn how you can create abstract visuals. The tutor promises it will be a beginner-oriented tutorial. He teaches how you can start from scratch with the animation of patterns.  

The tutorial is covered directly inside of Houdini with the hidden shift. You will know the global workflow you can use in Houdini. 

SideFX Houdini For Absolute Beginners – Surface Studio  

This tutorial is created by Surface Studio, a platform with more than 422k YouTube subscribers that trains video editors, animators, and visual effects artists. This video, viewed more than 274,000 times, walks beginners into grabbing the basics of SideFX Houdini.  

The tutorial is an absolute beginner guide on how to use Houdini. It covers how to get your hands on the free version of Houdini, how to work with the interface, and create some interesting procedural geometry.

It then finishes off by going over how to set up lights and cameras in your scene and how to render out your final image.  

Houdini Tutorial Guide (30 minutes) 

This is a 2019 tutorial that attempts to guide beginners to the world of Houdini in 28 minutes. The tutor doesn’t promise to teach you, Houdini in 30 minutes but aims to teach you enough to create an introductory scene with lights and cameras.  

From there, you can move on to other videos showing you how to make more useful effects. The tutorial covers a lot in 30 minutes and starts by teaching you to download the Houdini Apprentice from the SideFX website.  

Five Steps to Learning Houdini Quickly 

Houdini is a vast and complex program for 3D effects creation; this is one reason it can be a daunting task for beginners. But still, would you like to learn Houdini quickly? Then, this video from Indie-Pixel walks you through in just five steps.  

Houdini is a constant learning process with new tools and plugins introduced regularly in new versions. But to go from zero to hero to learn Houdini may take you a year and a half to be completely proficient and start using it.

It comes down to how much time you must dedicate to learning it. Knowing the tutor’s experience, he aims to take you straight to the five steps you can follow to make it a little bit easier.  

Houdini Isn’t Scary – Part 1: Basics  

This is a tutorial series that attempts to streamline the learning process behind Houdini. As many tutorials were too advanced, long, boring, and assumed a certain level of knowledge, they didn’t help beginners that much.  

This series cuts out the excess and only gives you exactly what you need to learn Houdini. Each part will add something to your knowledge, and by the end of the series, you’ll be able to follow tutorials effortlessly and even find more efficient ways of doing things yourself.  

The tutorial is spread into a two-part series. And we advise that you start with the first and move to the second.  

Houdini Isn’t Scary – Part 2: Objects 

This is the second episode of the Houdini Isn’t Scary series created by Nine Between. This tutorial centers on objects. The first part of the tutorial touched on the topic briefly.

This goes over how to create objects, touching upon several more nodes. The tutorial is about jumping between objects and bringing one object into another to reference it with Object Merge while creating something interesting.  

The tutorial starts with creating a Torus by going to your shelf tools and clicking on Torus. It’s a 25-minute tutorial and should help you build on the knowledge gained from the first episode.  

PHYSICS For Absolute Beginners – SideFX Houdini Tutorial 

This is another video from Surfaced Studio, and this has been watched more than 60k times. Houdini is a complex program to learn, and so is physics, which, in general, can seem quite daunting. Working with physics in Houdini can seem downright scary.

But Surfaced Studio introduces you to working with physics in SideFX Houdini. Taking it nice and slow, this is a mid-level beginner tutorial. The tutorial is for those who have at least watched the SideFX Houdini For Absolute Beginners. You can follow this tutorial with the free apprentice version.  

What’s New in Houdini 18.5. Houdini Tutorial 

The Houdini 18.5.351 is the latest version of the side effects software and was released on October 17, 2020. Mark Spervick, the Head of 3D and course leader at Escape Studios, presents this tutorial.  

He talks to beginners through the Houdini 18.5 version. There are some exciting changes that they’ve made in the new version, so he uses the opportunity to walk users through it all.  

Knife Modeling Basic|Houdini Tutorial 

In this tutorial, Simon Houdini shows us some basic modeling processes in your journey to make game-ready models.

The tutorial does not necessarily focus on fully procedural modeling but just modeling in general. Using Houdini, the tutor starts with the handle, using a tube, and with polygons. 

Houdini Tutorial|Chalky Colorful Explosion 

Vladyslav Lavrenov of the Motion Designers Community created this tutorial. It shows you how to create a colored smoke explosion.

In the tutorial, Lavrenov rendered only one colored smoke and then colored it with four color gradients. In the tutorial, he shares the technique allowing you to color it in Houdini and render it.  

Houdini Tutorial – Thanos-Inspired Portal Effect 

This is another Houdini tutorial from Nine Between. In this tutorial, they recreate Solano’s portal effect from Avengers Infinity Walk. The tutorial starts by creating starter particles that shoot out from the center.  

The tutor then creates curving particles using a pop curve force that swirls around. He then creates a pop network that controls light emission, and then, using a Houdini digital asset, he creates some lightning. Finally, he turns that all into smoke and then renders it out.  

Houdini Tutorial – Procedural Donut Modeling 

Here, Konstantin Magnus shows us how to create a donut in Houdini. He starts with a geo node, creating a Torus and playing around with its radii and resolution.  

Conclusion 

Houdini is one of the most sophisticated animation packages ever to be used to create blockbuster feature film effects.

It is a compelling but pretty complex procedural 3D software package that is gaining more and more traction in the visual effects industry. And with these tutorials, you should be able to learn the basics and start something new by yourself.  

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