Today’s VFX artists need to have a deep arsenal of technical knowledge and creativity. Our online VFX courses focus on Houdini, the industry standard software used for visual effects in films like The Avengers: Infinity War, Spider Man Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy. Houdini’s powerful industry presence has also been growing in the realms of games and virtual reality.
In just 10 months, we will teach you skills that will put you multiple steps ahead of the competition for junior VFX artist jobs.
At CG Spectrum, you will learn Houdini from award winning mentors who have worked on blockbuster films. Your personal mentor will show you how to harness the true power of procedural, node-based workflow techniques to create destruction, explosions, water simulations and everything in between.
Each week, your mentor will review your project files live while you watch, providing feedback and knowledge gained from the field. Online Houdini tutorials are a good start, but nothing beats learning from the people who are actually creating the mind-blowing VFX you have seen invading films and games in recent years.
Our goal is to ensure that you learn what it takes to work within a studio production pipeline and by the end of this course you will have your own portfolio and a strong relationship with a mentor who will be able to speak to your skills as you apply to jobs. Additionally, we’ll teach you the best ways to network in the industry and how to get noticed. CG Spectrum is a visual effects school designed to help students become impressive working professionals.
November 5th, 2018
20 hrs/ week
Intermediate - Advanced
Study Period 01
Introduction to Houdini FX
Learning Houdini can seem like a daunting process. From its complicated interface to its amazing array of capabilities, knowing where to start can be difficult. During this study period, you will learn the fundamentals of FX and simulations for film and TV and get familiar with Houdini FX, the user interface dedicated to FX and gain a solid understanding of core concepts.
Once students are comfortable with the common tools and practices used in a studio pipeline you’ll get an introduction to basic scripting with VEXspressions in order to help speed up your workflow and understand how the power of scripting can be used to create more complex VFX shots.
From there you’ll build FX knowledge by learning all about particles in Houdini and the concepts behind what drives them. Students will also get a good handle on advanced geometry concepts in order to build assets for their VFX shots and ultimately destroy them!
Students will also learn about rendering techniques used in VFX production and build their first VFX shot from the ground up to be used in their portfolio.
- Get familiar with the industry standard software Houdini FX and learn important tools used for FX and simulation
- Work through simple FX exercises to build strong foundations and techniques
- Learn 3D modeling in Houdini and how to create geometry for your simulations
- Get an introduction to particles and understand important concepts about how they work
- Learn important lighting and rendering techniques to add realism to your shots
- Bring it all together and start building shots for your portfolio
- Houdini Core Concepts
- Introduction to Geometry Tools
- VOP’s Geo Attributes and Noise
- VEXspressions – Intro to scripting
- Advanced Copy and Instancing
- Introduction to Particles in Houdini
- Intermediate Particle Concepts
- Advanced Geometry Concepts
- Introduction to Rendering
- Building an FX shot
- Refining your FX shot
- Polish and Presentation
*Curriculum subject to change based on industry input
Study Period 02
Materials & Rigid Body Dynamics
Students continue to dive deeper during this study period into the procedural modeling toolset and how to create destruction using Rigid Body Dynamics (RBD).
To help create a believable shot student will learn how to apply custom materials and texture their models as well as how to properly render them.
The real fun begins in this study period as students get familiar with Rigid Body simulations and how to create destruction using geometry fracturing and a wide variety of FX solvers and constraints (Pin, String and Glue Constraints) that help dictate your simulations physical behavior.
FX simulation is very taxing on your CPU. In order to help speed things up students will learn professional workflow and optimization techniques to create data-driven particles and debris for larger simulations.
Students will finish up the study period by creating their own VFX destruction shot using the techniques they’ve learned.
- Understand UV theory, texturing and custom materials
- Learn multipass rendering with EXR’s to gain more control from your renderings
- Discover the power of Rigid Body Dynamics and geometry fracturing in order to create complex destruction scenes
- Learn the fundamentals Rigid Body Dynamic constraints including the Pin, Strings, and Glue constraints
- Learn optimization techniques to get the most out of your CPU and push the limits of your VFX shot
- Introduce more complexity into your scene with data driven particles and debris
- Model, texture, simulate and render a complete VFX shot from scratch to use in your portfolio
- Matrix Attributes and Advanced Transform
- Each ops and Point Cloud function
- UV’s and Texturing
- Multi-Pass Rendering with EXR’s
- Custom Materials and Displacement
- Introduction to Rigid Body Simulation
- Geometry Fracturing
- RBD: Pin, Strings and Glue Constraints
- RBD Optimization techniques
- RBD Data-driven Particles and Debris
- RBD Rigid-body Dynamics Project 01
- RBD Rigid-body Dynamics Project 02
*Curriculum subject to changed based on industry input
Study Period 03
Pyro FX & Liquid Simulations
During this study period students will learn how to use the incredibly powerful Pyro Solver, Houdini’s Flip Solver and Ocean Tools. Students will master smoke, fire and liquid simulations and take their FX skills to the next level.
It’s hard to think of an action film or tv show that doesn’t feature an awesome explosion these days. Whether it’s a hero character calmly walking away from an explosion or the complete destruction of entire planets no FX artist’s arsenal is complete without knowing how to blow stuff up! In this section of the study period, students will focus on creating feature film quality smoke, fire and explosions all from the safety of their desk.
Another very common effect in film and tv is water simulation. From raging rivers to flooding cities you’ll learn how to create advanced simulations using Houdini Flip Solver and Ocean Tools.
By the end of this course, students will have a deep understanding of how to create realistic simulations for film and TV along with some very cool VFX shots for their portfolio.
- Get introduced to Houdini’s Pyro FX toolset and learn how to simulate dust and smoke
- Learn the process of creating realistic fire effects
- Produce complex explosion simulations and add realism by applying material shaders
- Take your FX to the next level and learn industry tips and tricks to help you push your work further
- Find out how to create liquid simulations using Houdini’s Flip Solver and generate everything from puddles to rivers and turbulent ocean waves
- Light and render your amazing FX simulations and build your portfolio showcasing the skills you’ve learned
- Pyro: Introduction Smoke FX
- Pyro: Intermediate Smoke FX
- Pyro: Introduction to Fire FX
- Pyro: Explosion FX
- Pyro: Clustering
- Pyro FX Assessment
- Flip Solver: Intro to Liquid simulations
- Flip Solver: Collisions and State Changes
- Flip Solver: Intermediate Liquid FX
- Introduction to Houdini Ocean Tools
- Flip Solver: Ocean Simulation
- Flip Solver: Foam Spray and Rendering
*Curriculum subject to changed based on industry input
Houdini FX Diploma
What you get
Access to world-class mentors
Live weekly classes
Weekly recorded critiques
Custom built curriculum
Original video content
Adobe Photoshop student software license
Access to online learning portal
Meet Your Mentors
“I was blown away by the level of personal interaction the 1-on-1 mentorship provides. Having a direct line to an industry veteran as my mentor has been an invaluable resource and has taken my rate of learning to the next level. I couldn't have imagined I would go from knowing nothing about FX, to receiving job offers within 6 months of study with CG Spectrum!”
“I started CG Spectrum with no experience in visual effects. Initially, the thought was quite daunting as I hadn't done much in the field prior. In my opinion, the education with CG Spectrum is the closest to giving me actual industry experience since I’m working alongside an industry vet whilst being taught the fundamentals of my trade.”
“This course is simply amazing! Houdini is a complex and powerful software and learning it by yourself takes a lot of time and can be overwhelming. CG Spectrum has a brilliant educational program, which leads you step-by-step guided by industry pros.”
“Prior to enrolling at CG Spectrum's Advanced VFX Course, I had no experience in creating VFX at all or using Houdini. By the end of the 3rd semester, I was quite comfortable in using Houdini for most simulations, using VEX in place of regular nodes and creating procedural assets. The mentors are extremely helpful and knowledgeable and apart from our regular sessions they responded to my questions all the time.”
At CG Spectrum you’re never just a number. We cap our concept art class sizes at 5 students so you get the most attention possible at a more affordable price.
By choosing the 1-on-1 option you will get more individual attention from your mentor while having the flexibility to work within your busy schedule.