Building a Procedural Structure in Houdini
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by Laurent BIAL
12 hours ago

Super taf! ;)

Ted Bundy's car? :D

Daaaaamn Son!

Building a Procedural Structure in Houdini
21 August, 2019
Interview

Beatriz Maicas gave a little talk about the procedural building she crafted in Houdini.

Introduction

My name is Beatriz Maicas, and I currently live in Madrid, Spain. Once I finalized Audiovisual Communication, Advertising and PR grade, I decided to start a 3D training at Trazos School in Madrid.

Discovering Houdini

It was then that I discovered the potential Houdini SideFx software had. I started my training last year, in October and even though I have been using Houdini for less than a year and there are many things to learn, from the first day, I’ve loved Houdini’s workflow. It’s a program that allows you to completely configure and reproduce data.

A few months ago, I finished my training and decided to use all my knowledge to create this procedural building. It’s based on Mahabat Maqbara in Junagadh, India.

Changeable Parameters

Before I started to work with Houdini, I looked for references – it wasn’t an easy job because there is not so much information on the internet about the building. Then, I planned what characteristics I wanted to change like adding floors and small modifications but carefully as I didn’t want to lose the essence of the real building.

When a procedural model is going to be generated, the order is very important, as we have to consider which components of our model we want to modify and which parameters we want to create. 

The next task was to create a simple model with planes which had to work correctly. Afterward, all those planes were replaced by modules of windows and doors with all the details.

At the same time, I worked on the domes and towers so that they could take a new position with respect to the building when the latter changed the shape.

Modeling

Once all this was ready, I started to model the modules, domes, towers, and ledges in the procedural mode. And finally, I included all the little details, about 17 elements in total. Some elements were made in ZBrush and others in Houdini. As I had different duplicate elements in several positions around the building, I had to package each of these elements to avoid RAM memory troubles and slow viewport.

With Houdini, it is relatively simple to create a prototype for positioning purpose, and when it works, to add all the needed details. This method is very modular and allows you to work in different building sections at different moments or distribute the modules among different people in a team. This can be very useful when you need to make entire cities, either for movies or video games. In my case, the building is not optimized for video games, as it wasn’t the initial focus.

Afterword

In video games, the workflow between the game engine and Houdini is more fluent and easier. It allows to execute a quick test of the models and props and introduce procedural method inside the game engine, saving a lot of time and making repetitive tasks easy.

I think that SideFx has done a great job introducing their fantastic software to the video game development pipeline. I believe, in a short period of time, Houdini and procedural workflows will be the solution for many tasks in game dev.

Beatriz Maicas, 3D Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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