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Houdini Animation Principles

Become one of the top animators in the VFX industry by unlocking the secrets of Houdini's node-driven system. Some of the most useful and flexible tools available to the character animator will be revealed in this video.

Length: 4 Hours

Price: $59.95

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Watching this video will help you become one of the top animators in the VFX industry by unlocking the secrets of Houdini's node-driven system. The node-driven system at the core of Houdini represents the most powerful set of animation and effects tools in the market today. It's no wonder that so many animation and VFX houses have made Houdini a core of their visual effects pipelines. However, Houdini's node system is often overlooked for character animation because of its perceived complexity. We will peel the layers away and reveal some of the most useful and flexible tools available to the character animator. This video is geared to train everyone and anyone in the Computer Graphics and Visual Effects industries. The principles of animation are well established, and have worked since the early days of animation. If you doubt that you have mastered these principles completely, then this video is for you, even if you do not use Houdini as your tool of choice. This video is extremely agnostic to any particular features, but makes great use of the node-based tools that made Houdini famous.

Chapter Descriptions

Strong Poses

From superhero poses to subtle elegant moments frozen in time, understanding the human form in space is one of the cornerstones of animation. With a special thanks to the explorations by Keith Lango, we will explore these poses using some very powerful rigging systems in Houdini. The user will see how easy it is to examine the subtle and powerful aspects of the human form and learn to compose it in 3D space.

Timing

Strong poses with great timing are what makes up 90 percent of all great animations. We will be using the technique of pose-to-pose animation while getting familiar with the Channel Editor and Dope Sheet. Follow along as we set our poses, then move the keys to adjust the timing, blocking out the action quickly and efficiently.

Anticipation

Here's the windup, and there's the pitch! We'll talk about the windup, or anticipation in this chapter. Before the action can start there is a moment of preparation. This serves to create a realistic feeling of power, and as a storytelling device, it prepares the audience for the action itself.

Arcs and Line of Action

We will begin working in layers, tweaking and refining the motion we have created, and using Houdini's ghosting tool to analyze motion paths through space. We will make sure the arcs are strong and natural and that they show the proper speed and acceleration.

Ease In/Ease Out

We will look more deeply into the Animation Editor and use it to illustrate the concept of acceleration and deceleration or "Ease-In" and "Ease-Out" the interpolation of motion between the keys.

Mass and Scale

No discussion about animation would be complete without talking about mass and scale. We will use our principles of timing and poses to create the illusion of light and heavy, youth and age, and gender differences. We will also go through some techniques to show how to lift heavy and light objects and we will see the differences it has on the body.

Breaking Joints

The keys we create in pose-to-pose animation seem very mechanical and robotic without some much needed attention. We will offset some of the motion keys to add some naturalism. Human motions and movements in nature have a certain flow, delaying a little bit from the center of the body through the limbs, or the tip of the tail end.

Secondary Motion and Overshoot

The final principle is generally handled at the end of the animation process, but it is no less important. "Overshoot and Secondary Motion" is a principle that says that nothing in nature comes to a dead stop. There is almost always a slight "bounce" at the end of a motion. We will also cover some of the cloth systems in Houdini.

Christopher Tedin

Born in Sitka, Alaska, Chris started his career as a painter and sculptor. He has been working as an illustrator, graphic designer, and most recently as an art director in Chicago, Illinois. He has been teaching game design and animation for over 17 years. His students now work as animators and professional game designers at Blue Sky Studios, Digital Domain, Aardman/Sony, Microsoft, and as freelance independent artists. Many of his students are now college teachers themselves. He started in the early days with Strata StudioPro, then 3ds Max version 1.0, Maya 2.0, Softimage XSI, and Houdini. Chris still sculpts and paints and teaches full time at Tribeca/Flashpoint Academy in Chicago.

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About Christopher Tedin

Christopher Tedin

Born in Sitka, Alaska, Chris started his career as a painter and sculptor. He has been working as an illustrator, graphic designer, and most recently as an college instructor in Chicago, Illinois. He has been teaching game design and animation for over 20 years. His students now work as animators and professional game designers at Blue Sky Studios, Digital Domain, Aardman/Sony, Microsoft, and as freelance independent artists. Many of his students are now college teachers themselves. He started in the early days with Strata StudioPro, then 3ds Max version 1.0, Maya 2.0, and Softimage 3.8. He currently uses Maya, 3ds Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D, Clarisse and Fusion. Chris still sculpts and paints and is the Academic Chair at Tribeca Flashpoint College in Chicago.