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  • Chunny Baker

Burning Laptop Experiments

Today I have been playing around in Houdini trying to put stuff together that I have learnt and mixing it with some experimentation.'

The first part of the day I watched some basics of Houdini tutorials to try and learn how the rendering works.

I learnt that Houdini has a render region that is similar to the Arnold render view in Maya where it updates with real time changes.

One of the experiments I tried to play with was simply trying to mix two color nodes or to create a ramp type shader. I think i may be jumping ahead a little. Thought I could use concepts i have learnt in Nuke to try and make Houdini work.

Some of the nodes I tried to explore to achieve this effect Include

Material Layer



Attribute Blur

Most of these nodes seem not to have the required input slot allocations. Using the Merge Node could be modified to have multiple inputs but it didn't have the layer effects that i was looking for from Photoshop or Nuke.

I ended up creating a dual color effect through using lights having different colored lights in the scene. Not quite the effect I was after but I wanted to create a scene that I could try and test the rendering of the program.

For this render I created a Cube that I applied a Mountain node to which randomizes points adding in peaks and rises to the mesh.

From here I Applied a something called a Cloud node this transforms the mesh into a volume based grey blob. From her is where I experimented with color nodes.

I wanted to try and render out some kind of animation so I went back up the node chain to the Mountain node and animated the frequency and scale of the mountain This in turn morphed the final output.

Adding in the lights to the scene, the view port looks pretty cool I prefer this view to the the render output view.

I rendered for about a hour before canceling. I didn't set the output format of the renders the default is exrs. I tried importing this sequence into Nuke For some reason was getting a read error in Nuke stating that the file path didn't exist. I could still see the footage appearing in Nuke just a bit of a frame stutter.

I got to a stage where i couldn't render out in nuke in the format that i am familiar with mp4 h64.

This format isnt supported on the Non- commercial version of nuke. Each other format was either large file sizes or strange formats that my system couldn't play.

I tried playing around in composting the sequence together in Premier, but premier couldn't recognize the file format. In the end I opened in Photoshop as a image sequence then used media encoder to press it into a Mp4 format.

For how long I played with this project, with added troubles and rendering times it is almost not worth it for the result. But it has been a learning experience.

Here is the rendered footage.

The next experiment I played with today was importing a fbx file to be used as the driving shape for physics based simulations.

I started with a generic character that I modeled yesterday. I had trouble importing the fbx where the import screen wouldn't allow me to click accept. I tried importing manually by creating a FILE node then pointing the file node to the source location. Missing something because Houdini could read the file doing it this way.

In the end I just dragged the file directly into the view port this opened the file. Once I had the fbx in the scene I linked the character up to a node tree including copypoint , which copies a object to another objects points or vertices locations. Jitter this node adds a slight randomness or turbulence look to the points so not so uniform.

After the points were created tot eh shape of my mesh I used 3 Attribute randomize the first to randomize color, the next to randomize velocity and the last to randomize rotation though since i was instancing spheres this last made no real change.

Once I built this network I fed it into a physics solver converting each copy of the sphere into a a shape that can be affected by gravity, this caused the shape to melt. Modifying the bounce friction and velocity of the objects achieved a result where the body dissipates with spheres going in all directions.

From here i created a duplicate node system so i could experiment with creating emitters from these shapes. I tried one of the Pyro in the beginning but this turned the shape into a cloud of smoke, which was kind of cool but wanted to do something different.

Succeeding in using these spheres as emitters I tried experimenting setting up ways for the particles to be drawn towards a location.

Wanted to see if i could mix the falling melting balls with some dissipating upwards and being drawn towards a point.

I experiment with some fields such as Magnet, Gravity. setting up node connections that i thought make sense and would work. It didn't.

Anyway This is the view of the the veiwport.

compared to the final render output.

For the final render output I experimented with making the whole particle shape a volume light, and adding a couple of different point lights that had different colors.

The volume light takes the dominance and renders everything in that color.

I still need to figure out the differences in rendering compared to veiwport. I also need to figure out a workflow that can still look nice but be achievable on the laptop to produce.

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