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Houdini Hip Tricks Volume 5

Varomix shows you how to take advantage of Houdini's internal compositor, a great tool that can make your shots look amazing really quick and without leaving the app, get the best results and experiment in a true 3D plus compositing application, if you add the power of VOPs into the mix you are virtually unstoppable.

Length: 3 Hours

Price: $59.95


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For years, cmiVFX has been the LEADER in compositing training. We were the first to do Shake, Fusion, Flame, Nuke, Toxik, Scratch, Clarisse and so many more. The reason we are always first, is because we cater to a unique market of people. While our training has an extraordinarily long shelf life, the first people to see it are usually at the intermediate or expert level of their craft and need valuable information on migrating or honing in on new software. Today, we change up our policy a bit and bring you the power of compositing that has been around for a very long time, and is extremely powerful. Many people hear a lot of the buzz words out there and go chase out what everyone else is doing. (For the most part, that will get you by temporarily) Here at cmiVFX we take the road less traveled, not to be antagonistic, but to see what everyone else might have missed. It has been 6 years that we have been wanting to do a Houdini compositing video. Some of you old school customers will remember the glow tool for COPs from back in the day. The fact still remains, that Houdini has a lot of tools for compositing and has advanced areas of research that were WAY ahead of its time. Now some of you are going to moan and groan and scoff about this methodology. (Believe it or not, that was our goal) We need the users to speak up and show the world that you would like world class compositing and potentially editing right in Houdini. This has been our secret dream for years. Varomix, kindly made this video for all of you, knowing how much i have been wanting to do it for so long. Now, it is our pleasure to tease you with the possibilities of completing your work in a smaller chain of apps. (It can't hurt to try a free demo right?) cmiVFX is determined to find a solution that works, and promote it to the world so that you can help make it world class. We here at cmiVFX consider ourselves one of you, and you one of us. Our new website is the beginning of us all merging together while learning, and helping, and giving each other opportunities that don't come easily for most people. Don't be fooled by temptation and what "others" are working on. Let us help you focus on you and your career, no matter what you expect from it. Today, I'm proud to announce Houdini training that stands alone, second to none. Welcome to Houdini Hip Tricks Volume 5! The clock is ticking, and your not getting any younger.. do you think that your competition is idling by not learning anything? Rest assured it is up to YOU to push that buy now button and make a difference in this world. If you have any questions, you know how to contact us. ;)

Chapter Descriptions


A little bit of history of the Hip Tricks Series and an overview of everything that will learn in this title, get ready to be blown away with information.

Simple compositing

We start by setting the basics straight, we all need to be on the same channel before we dive into hard into compositing, so if you know little about the subject, this will prepare you for everything else that's coming.

How To Integrate 3D Into COPs Directly ( Workflow )

We will learn the basic workflow of getting the 3D and 2D compositing parts of Houdini to play together, they love each other and play really nice wit each other, once you learn the basics you can see lots of opportunities to enhance and take advantage of the power that Houdini puts at your hands and how easy is to get to the creative part an artist.

Creating The Death Ray

Taking this 3D to 2D workflow we'll create an amazing Death ray effect, focusing more on enhancing simple 3D geometry, taking that and making it look 100 times better by applying a few clever effects. This is a key lesson that helps you realize the power of COPs, a must see.

Green Screen Using The Keyer COP

Of course we had to do green screen and Houdini is actually no stranger here, it has a really nice Keyer for the job, we'll use production footage from the movie Tears of Steel from ( CC ) Blender Foundation. This lesson will helps us see how to make production footage and extract a matte, will do a simple composite and apply a few effects to better integrate the composite.

Color Correction

Now we need to get the plates to match in color, cause plates can come from so different sources, different cameras, light setups, etc, so we need to match them color wise so it looks like one cohesive composite and the audience never notices that the different elements were separate.

Custom Passes

A composite is made by different elements, foreground, mid ground, background, etc, but also each of those parts almost always have different subparts on them, we call them passes, layers etc, this are basically elements broken down into more elements like diffuse, specular, reflection, object mattes, etc, this low level elements are use to have better control of the final image and to better address the changes that might come from the supervisor, director or client.
We'll see how to make Houdini give us extra image planes, object passes and custom passes exported from Shaders, this is a great lesson and the info just in this chapter justifies the price of the whole title.

Custom COPs

Now that we played with the out-of-the-box Houdini toys is time to BUILD OUR OWN, yeah, that's right, we'll build our tools, why?, well in production you often build custom tools, because you need to do something your way, because the tool doesn't exist, something you do a lot and don't want to build from scratch every time and because is freaking fun.
In this lesson we'll build from simple to complex to get ready, we'll start with a Drop Shadow tool, something that Houdini is missing and is really easy to build, then a Glow Tool, again simple basics put into a bundle to recreate a classic effect, stuff starts getting clever here by building a pixelator effect, the tool is easy to do but is clever stuff, then we'll build our own Chroma Keyer, yeah our OWN, will get the formula, yeah Math, and translate that into Houdini, if that's not enough we'll build our own Spill Removal tool, this tool is so freaking efficient, I don't think I've seen something as effective as this even in commercial plugins.

About Varomix

Alvaro Castaneda, best known as "Varomix" is a CG Generalist TD. He lost a little of his self back in 1993 at a Jurassic Park screening, and that totally changed his life. Toy Story finished the job in 1995 - there was no turning back!. He started his way in 3D back in 1998, first using 3ds Max, then Cinema4D and finally in 1999 I met Maya 2.0. Since then I've done CGI for print, web, TV, Film, DVD, I guess anything that has pixels in it!. He started using Houdini in 2002 shortly after Side Effects launched the Houdini Apprentice Program. He had also done on-set VFX Supervision and DOP Assisting. Varomix is also assisting in the future development of the cmiVFX website and features there in.

Special Thanks

SideFX Software Staff
Robert Magee
Bill Self
Monika Janek

Blender Foundation

This training title uses elements from Tears of Steel, go see the movie is awesome.( CC ) Blender Foundation |

Project Contents

All cmiVFX videos come with all the training materials you can need right from our website. No matter what time of day, your location, or how your feeling, cmiVFX will be there waiting for you!


Video-on-demand streaming is available through the website to subscribers. In addition, video files are available for download for those who directly purchase individual titles from their cart.

About varomix

Varomix is a Freelance VFX Artist, Generalist TD, Game Developer, Musician and Founder of MIXStudio. Shortly after Side Effects launched the Houdini Apprentice Program in 2002, Varomix became an ardent Houdini user. Since then it has become his main tool for creation. Varomix is also a father and husband that enjoy doing lots of crazy stuff with his family.