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Houdini INK FX

Learn how to deal with extremely vast amounts of geometrical data

Length: 3 Hours 5 Minutes 40 Seconds

Price: $59.95

Houdini INK FX

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New for this season, cmiVFX brings you a brand new and improved Houdini INK FX system. The "Ink In Water" effect is a classic amongst artists and scientists alike. Usually, the definition of "Ink In Water" is pretty self explanatory, however this time we will show you the easiest way for Houdini to tackle this effect. The "truth", as we like to call a well done effect, is something that each person can master on their own personal style, yet Houdini can assist with this uniqueness due to the amount of data it can handle. Come see how awesome the power of Houdini really is while finally learning a very popular, and commercially viable effect shot. <br><br> Houdini is no stranger to rendering large amounts of geometry, there for, the ink in water effect that we are going to develop will yield about about 27 million particles without skipping a beat. Naturally, Houdini can handle even more and you will learn how to deal with such large amounts of geometry even if you do not have the best computer resources at your disposal.

Chapter Descriptions


Learn about the project and the result we are going for, this will involve Houdini and a Nuke-like compositing app. Since have 27.6 particles that make our effect, we will learn how to handle such large amount of particles with the least amount of resources.


We get a quick look at every part that makes up this effect so you can see exactly how is this done. Starting from the volume setup, the particles and the final look in Nuke.

Setup Volume Scene

Our initial volume scene setup is really important because it would determine the main look of our simulation. This is a very crucial step, so make sure you are going in the right direction right from the start.

Tweaking Volume Scene And Creating Custom Velocity

To create the effect we are going for, most of the time we need to create custom tools, in this case we create a custom velocity field to give the volume the initial push and making it look just the way we want.

Apply the Custom Velocity

Next we will learn how to apply our custom velocity to the volume simulation we already have. This is great since this allow us to take total control over the simulation.

Baking the Volume to Disk

Once we are happy with the result, we need to bake the result to disk. Since we are going to drive the particles using the velocity channels on the volume, we need to bake this so we're only simulating one time instead of many.

Particles Scene Setup

Now we can start the initial setup of the particles which will be much simpler, because now that we already spent the time to make the volume look amazing, the result we are looking for is already there.

Using Wedge To Render Our Particles

To render different variations, Houdini provides us with the amazing Wedge ROP. This tool will help us get different results by automagically tweaking the attributes you declare then rendering all the results to disk in one go.

Particles Delayed Loading Setup

To render the large amount of particles we have, we need to use a Delayed Load Procedural Shader. This shader loads the particles at render time directly to Mantra which reduces the overhead of having that geometry loaded in to RAM.

Rendering The Final Particles

Now we render the final images using Mantra. This is the final step inside Houdini. We will use very simple shaders to make this render super fast because the actual color grading gets done down streaming in Nuke or your favorite compositing app.

Creating The Final Look Using Nuke

Once we have the rendered images, we will use a clever setup in Nuke to make the particles look more like ink and remove the noisiness caused by the nature of particles. We'll use a few nodes but we'll get a great look and a few nodes means we can create several variations really quick.

About The Instructor

Varomix is a VFX Artist and Generalist TD and his love for visual effects began in 1993 when he attended a screening of Jurassic Park. He began working with 3D applications in 1998, starting with 3ds Max, then moving on to Cinema 4D, then Maya 2.0 in 1999, and he has been doing CGI for film, TV, video games, print, and web ever since. 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 has also been an on-set VFX Supervisor and DOP assistant. He has been an excellent mentor for cmiVFX.

Project Contents

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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.