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Houdini Smoke And Dust

This is a feature length , project based solution for those of you looking to build block buster smoke and dust effects for high end projects. Shot on location at our New Mexico facility, we brought the desert to you in this exciting video release for Houdini TD's.

Length: 3 Hours 50 Minutes 16 Seconds

Price: $39.95


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cmiVFX launches its latest full feature training video on SideFX's Houdini, premiere Visual Effects Animation Package called "Smoke and Dust Simulations". This video covers topics in producing large scale simulations within Houdini using the latest tools and custom techniques in the industry. The learning structure used in this video, gears all users up to be able to follow its contents from start to beginning. This is one of the few videos made that allow a novice or experienced Houdini user the ability to learn on the same level. The degree of quality, of the produced results only vary by a few settings in the software, so we created this entire video with the learning addition of Houdini, called "Apprentice", so that even the Master Magician himself could learn this technique if he were still alive today! We leave no man, woman, or child behind! With cmiVFX nearby, EVERYONE can learn the answers to the most complicated problems in the visual effects universe.

Chapter Descriptions

Layout - Preparing Collisions and Emission Objects


The Pyro material's interface may appear intimidating at first, so we will help reduce it down to its basic components,  smoke, fire, and scattering. The first chapter will explain of the preparation of emitters and collisions objects before plugging them to the dynamic world. It will cover key points that needs the attention before starting your simulation.

Basic Smoke Simulation Set-up

In this section of the video, we insert a dynamic smoke solver simulation, tweaking the different elements for the desire chimney smoke effect. Adding Custom forces and overview the key aspects of the simulation. This will allow for the artist to start visualizing what our system will look like. Its important to run these systems in a lower resolution to get the basic fluid moment working in the way that is desired from you or your supervisor.

Basic Up Res Simulation

To "Up Res", is a technique used to increase the detail of a low resolution simulation. This is where you take a basic smoke design fluid motion and start adding the detail in order for it to look more like a smoke cloud and less like the hot steamy shower you might have taken this morning. This chapter covers each step from a low-res behavior to an Up-Res Smoke Volume cached to disk.

Auto Resize Fluid container

This section of the video will discuss the technique of Auto Resizing the boundaries of your simulation based on density of it self. This method will optimize any simulation to its quickest simulation time and will set you free with no need of simulation boundaries container. The Smoke will only occupy as much space as needed to help reduce overall calculation of a formerly larger dynamic field.

Large Scale Pyro Simulation in depth

Up until now, we have been working with a smaller scale, atypical "enhancement scene" in which the hero of the shot would not be the smoke.However in this Blockbuster Film style, large scale hero smoke effect shot, we take what you have learned so far to the next level by increasing everything! Below is a simple breakdown of the steps used in the project. For more information, you will need to watch the video itself! 

PROJECT: New Mexico Dust Storm Project

The shot for this project was taken at our New Mexico Studio Lot location in Albuquerque. This particular plate was acquired during the production of "Book Of Eli" during our LIDAR scanning collection for the movie. 

  • Layout - Creating a layout HIP file based on the image of our New Mexico facility background, matching the ground and camera as well as adjusting scene scale for simulation a large scale dust storm effect.
  • DustStorm Driving Simulation Setup - Setting up the initial pry simulation and implementing the AutoResize technique to it.
  • DustStorm Pyro Tweaks - Tweaking the initial simulation Turbulence forces, Custom Forces and movement behaviors.
  • DustStorm Advect to Particles - Advecting the movement of the initial dust simulation on to a particle network, copying velocity attributes on to points and prepare them to be imported back to DOP's
  • DustStorm Driven Simulation Pyro Setup  - This chapter will show you how to lay down a secondary pry objects and solvers, as well as importing the advected particles as a custom velocity field onto this driven secondary simulation.
  • DustStorm Driven Pyro Tweaking - Adjusting the methods of affecting the driven simulation, using micro solvers, turbulence and custom forces in order to increase the detail level of the Driven Low-Res Pyro Object.
  • DustStorm Driven Pyro Caching To_Disk - Firing the driven by particles Pyro Low Res simulation to disk.
  • DustStorm Driven Pyro UP-Res - Tweaking Up-Res Turbulence forces and voxel resolution to achieve the desire level of detail movement in the Up-Res stage, as well as matching boundaries to the Low Res method object and caching to Disk the final high resolution volume for rendering.
  • DustStorm Shading And Rendering - Lighting, Shadow Map Generation, assigning volume shaders and rendering of the final Up-Res Volumes on disk, also covering quick compositing overview in Houdini and IPR shader tweaking workflows. 


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.