If you’ve been in the 3D animation and FX realm for any amount of time, then chances are, you’ve heard of Houdini. If you’re looking for an in-depth overview of the software and the tools to help you learn it quickly, then you’re in the right place. Here is a complete guide to Houdini FX software. 

Houdini FX Software Overview 

Houdini is a 3D animation and special effects software program that was created by Side FX Software, a Toronto-based company. It is known for its node-based design that creates seamless passing of information in the form of attributes. It’s an interactive way to create 3D animations. 

Side FX Software adapted this system from the PRISMS suite of procedural generation software tools. The procedural tools produce different effects: complex reflections, animations, and even particle systems. It is commonly used by the major VFX companies like Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and more. 


Who is Houdini for? 

Houdini was specifically designed for artists that are working in 3D animation and VFX for film, TV, video games, and virtual reality. You can think of this as an “all-in-one” system that brings these different aspects together in one platform. 

The software is particularly suited for artists in visual effects with a technical background. Having a technical background (or an excellent instructor) is crucial because Houdini has a steep learning curve. If you’re really looking to have success with the software, then having a thorough understanding of mathematics and algorithms is helpful. 


What Can You Do with Houdini? 

As mentioned, Houdini offers a wide variety of features for many of your team members. It allows the creation of Assets through the connecting nodes. This helps users to create detailed particles in less time. 

The system also provides a flexible workflow due to the node-based lighting system. This allows smooth development of shaders and CG effects. Along with these perks, Houdini also allows internal scripting for the creation of tools and plugins within the software. 

The Flexible Workflow

The procedural nature of this software helps to improve the speed of production and the efficiency of the workflow. Here are some features that can be addressed within the software: 

  • Animation
  • Modeling
  • Lighting
  • Dynamics
  • Rendering 
  • Composting 
  • Plugin Development
  • Scripting 



As a more experienced artist, you’ll find that there are many advantages to using such a software. Houdini is one of the most widely used programs in the VFX industry, so if you have knowledge on how to utilize it to its fullest potential, then it can be crucial in your career. 

The software also doesn’t require any plugins and it has a great inbuilt renderer (called Mantra). Another advantage is that a free version of the application is available, so you can test it and become familiar with it without cost! 

Overall, the primary advantages to Houdini are the fact that it is a complete package for artists and the procedural workflow. The customizability and flexibility of the toolset results in a high quality production in a faster time. 


Required Skills 

As with learning any new software, of course there is a learning curve and some required skills. Houdini is a 3D animation program, but it is drastically different from the other most common programs such as Maya, Max, and Blender. Some great skills to have before attempting to learn Houdini are programming, coding, and a basic knowledge of keyframe animation methods. 

The learning curve for this program can be steep, especially for newer artists. One of the best things that you can do to improve your total time of learning the software and your overall experience is to have a thorough education on it. 


Houdini Bootcamp: Everything You Need 

Having a professional in the industry walk you through step-by-step how to utilize Houdini to its maximum potential will truly make the learning process a breeze. It can save you months of time that would otherwise be dedicated to figuring out basic use of the software. Houdini Bootcamp is just that: everything you need to walk you through the ins and outs of it! 

The Bootcamp is a Houdini FX course that is designed to be an introduction to all things FX. You’ll learn how to create all of the main types of simulation effects that are commonly used in VFX. You will also build all setups node by node, and you’ll get an in-depth explanation for each one. 

What You’ll Focus On: 

  • Creative problem solving 
  • Thinking like a VFX professional
  • Utilizing 3rd party renders
  • Mastering the vital types of Houdini effects 


Why Choose a Houdini Online Course

Choosing an online course allows you to access some of the world’s best professional FX artists from anywhere without the limitation of traveling and finances. The Bootcamp allows you to join from any location and access the course at your time preference. The course formatting is pre-recorded video lessons, so you can also take the videos at your own pace. 

Along with the benefit of having no time or location limits, you will also have access to our Teaching Assistants. Vertex School has some of the best in the industry helping the students learn along the way. 

Course Overview

Divided up into nine easy-to-understand modules, you’ll find that this course makes even the most complicated aspects of Houdini simple. Here is an overview of each module: 

  • Module 1: Procedural Modeling/Animation
  • Module 2: Redshift Rendering 
  • Module 3: Particles, Grains, Infection, & Disintegration 
  • Module 4: Vellum Deformable Simulation 
  • Module 5: Fracturing & RBD simulation 
  • Module 6: Volumes – Dust & Shockwave
  • Module 7: Volumes – Explosion & Fire
  • Module 8: FLIP Liquid Simulation
  • Module 9: FLIP Whitewater Simulation 

Having experts walk you step-by-step through the most crucial aspects of Houdini will save you time in the long run. Not only will you uplevel your animation skills, but you will find the process simple and efficient. 


Learn more about Houdini FX Bootcamp today