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Houdini Python Weather Widget

Learn how to take real live data and drive graphics in Houdini! Take this concept further to replicate real weather events from live or past data!

Length: 2 Hours 52 Minutes 32 Seconds

Price: $59.95


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cmiVFX has been leading the forefront of Visual Effects Methodology And Training for the last decade by creating unique video titles that can't be found anywhere else. Our videos are an extension of heavy research and development as well as experience. Recently, we suffered a major weather event that destroyed our town as well as cut our power for days leaving us in the cold as fires and flood waters ran rampant all around. We are still recovering from this devastation, and are thankful to all the supporters out there. We appreciate your loyalty and demeanor during these hard times. One of our mentors living on the west coast sought out an opportunity to potentially help others seeking weather information by creating a brilliant Houdini Python tool that lets you have live weather graphics for Motion Graphics work. With a little imagination, you could potentially turn this into a way to reconstruct weather events based on data given by government and satellite agencies. This is a full feature video with a personal touch. Varomix keeps his video live in a window while he records so that everyone can meet him on a more personal level. We would like to extend this new type of service as a way to better see what you as the consumer might want from us in the future. We are really proud to be able to produce this entire video during the Hurricane Conditions and aftermath with extremely limited technology. It's actually quite amazing, an testament to how efficient the cmiVFX production workflow really is.

Short Description

Having Python inside of Houdini gives us the ability to connect it to anything. Python being so amazingly versatile allows a whole world of possibilities. A world in which you can at least detect weather patterns and build new data and animations from that. Imagine reconstructing real events from recorded data.  The future is here, "¦now!

Chapter Descriptions


In this video we'll take external API's and represent that data in a great visual way to create a weather widget all inside Houdini.

Yahoo Weather API

We'll start to explore Yahoo's Weather API and see how we can bring that live data into Houdini using the power of Python. We'll see how to parse RSS data and get the chunks we need. This is a very important step since this is the data that will control all the visual elements in our widget.

Getting Parameters From The Weather API

We'll start using the data from Yahoo Weather API and use it in Houdini to start building shaders, we'll use the same textures Yahoo uses right from the web, even the image files can be loaded directly from a web URL.


In this section we'll build all the 3D elements that will represent our weather data, we need to take advantage of the 3D space or it makes no sense to do it in Houdini, so we'll make use of the high-end lighting, shading and rendering features of Houdini to make our widget look really interesting.

Final Touches

Since this could be used all around the world we need to make this work for different systems. This will also affect the kind of textures we will get by finding if the location is either at night or day comparing data from the RSS response. We'll also add a few presets and animate the city name procedurally so it works in any case, no matter the length of the name.

We'll also prepare the Mantra node for final render, and you're ready to be the life of the party! Bring Houdini to your next party and show everyone your new Weather widget.

About Varomix

Alvaro Castaneda, best known as "Varomix" is a 33 years old 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. 

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!

Special Note From Editor

This video is a pretty special video for us. We were knocked out by Hurricane Sandy, and still managed to get a video out with limited power and resources all while feeding and helping out other guests with our gas generator back up. It was a cold couple of nights, but we all came together united as one. There were no savages, no thefts, no murders, instead.... just great people rising to the challenge of survival despite politcal agenda from our leaders. The people controlled the government, like it should, and things got done fast. This video is a memorium to the victims of Hurricane Sandy and the victims around the world suffering from global climate change in general.


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.