• Chunny Baker

Houdini Crowds


I started building a sculpt in Houdini trying to mix and experiment with the Copy node. Starting with a sphere node then adding copy and playing around with mixing different nodes started creating a abstract sculpture that I was going to animate in some form. Had a loose plan to animate the spheres growing and morphing creating a ripple effect.

i go as far as creating the start sculpture before exploring with some preset nodes in houdini.


I found a node called a crowd, so i thought yea it could be nice to crowd the sphere blob in some way to try and funnel into the spiral. No Idea if this was what or how the crow worked I decided to have a look.

So crowd generated a automatic Zombie simulation made with bipedal rigs, and a boxy city scene with roads that have traffic lights and multiple streets. This was quite surprising but pretty cool.


This system according to the notes supplied creates two crowd systems the zombies and the humans. The zombies are stuck to a path with which is the street. The humans can move off the path and have a modifier on them that when there are no zombies around the humans use the walk animation.

When zombies get within a determined range the humans switch to a run animation.

All of this is calculated on the fly which is pretty impressive.

Truth be told I understand the principal of how it works the humans would have some kind of boundary box to search for Zombie object If zombie object is true then switch to run animation travel in opposite direction. But looking at the node structure i have no idea how i would set this up if i was asked to.

This is the top level of the node system for the crowd. Looking at this seems straight forward there apears to be a node for each walk cycle, and geomerty used.


But looking at the next level down on one of the nodes it starts become a bit complicated, especially when each node has a similar net within


I will have to look futher into crowd systems.

My intial sculpt is in the scene still which adds a nice touch to the city scene


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