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CGWorkshops - Shawn Lipowski - VEX In Houdini

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CGWorkshops - Shawn Lipowski - VEX In Houdini

CGWorkshops - Shawn Lipowski - VEX In Houdini | 4.1 GB

Shawn Lipowski currently works for Psyop in New York as a FX Artist having just completed a seven year term working through the ranks at Look Effects in New York to become a Senior TD. So spend eight weeks exploring the fastest, most powerful programming language to ever be embedded in 3D software: VEX. Its the multi-threaded code at the core of Houdinis unparalleled procedural visual effects workflow and, much like XSIs brilliant ICE workflow, the code can be generated visually via a node graph.
So why write code, when you can plug and play? Well answer that with examples expressed more succinctly and beautifully in pure code, says Shawn.But more than just teaching you the library of functions in some exhaustive exercise of rote memorization, I want to walk you through the implementation of real algorithms culled from papers and vfx projects alike.

The first week is an intro to VEX, followed by two weeks of broad strokes coverage, then we will launch into actual projects, one per week.

Some of what youll Learn:
Querying data via point clouds & volume functions
Inline vops, wrangles, VEX otls, and external code
Volume advection in Sops and Mantra
Hydraulic terrain erosion
Reaction diffusion
Delayed load magic
Rapid geometry creation in CVEX
Space colonization algorithms for organic effects
Flocking and fuzzy boid brains
Troubleshooting: Y u no compile?
Shawns personal workflow for coding VEX, useful tools.

Week by week outline
WEEK ONE: VEXing Questions Answered
Well kick off by talking about how VEX is different than your mom/dads C-based language.Well look at how VOPs compile into VEX code, examine VEXs strengths and weaknesses, and well untangle the mess that is inline vops, wrangles, otls, and external vex. There will be a quick overview of useful VEX functions, types, casting, macros, and pragmas (again, if youre comfortable with c-like syntax, this will be a breeze). If your head isnt spinning too much, well finish with a some simple examples.
Bonus video: VEX coding with SublimeText, vcc compilation checking and vexexec for simple testing. Its not required that you use SublimeText, but if you already do use ST or would like to try it out, Ill walk you through the very painless setup I use.

WEEK TWO: Sop-land VEX: TRONing day begins
This week were pushing points in parallel, querying point clouds for all our spatial needs, and creating geometry in the CVEX context. Noise functions are covered in detail, including how VOPs like Anti-Aliased Noise generate their code. Well start to get heavy into iteration and branching: tasks that could be done visually in VOPS, but which will be expressed more succinctly in code. Well take this knowledge and craft some impressive generative art and yes, well explore the visual style of interfaces in movies like Tron.

WEEK THREE: Shop-land VEX: That good ol render-time magic
Shaders, volumes, and procedurals, oh my! We leverage mantra and CVEX to generate rendertime detail. Well use these techniques again, especially in week seven. This is the last week we do broad coverage and in week four well move to a project-per-week model.

WEEK FOUR: Reaction-Diffusion: Emergent complexity visualized with VEX
Reaction-diffusion is a stunningly simple two-step chemical reaction model where one substance affects another, the result of which is diffused (blurred). With a few modifications we can have our own laboratory in VEX using the work of Jonathan McCabe: Cyclic Symmetric Multi-Scale Turing Patterns.

WEEK FIVE: Fuzzy Flocking: A new twist on Craig Reynolds boids
Boids, the most common flocking system model, have been around since the 80s and are now a built in feature of many 3d packages. Houdini even comes with built in particle forces which emulate the most important behaviors between flocking particles: alignment and attraction. The way most packages implement this is, however, very precise, mathematical, and in no way like what a bird or other flocking animal thinks when its part of a swarm. Well explore another way of doing this quickly in VEX based on the paper Boids with a Fuzzy Way of Thinking.

WEEK SIX: Space Colonization Algorithms: VEX geometry creation for realistic growth
A unique approach to growing geometry which leverages what VEX is best at: fast point cloud queries. Well generate our points and branches with the new attribute wrangle sop. Well explore this technique as it relates to natural phenomena like plants, coral, lightning and other fractal structures. Well compare this with a traditional procedural model. Examples based on the work Modeling Trees with a Space Colonization Algorithm.

WEEK SEVEN: Gridless Advection: Cloudy with a chance of VEX
Upres-ed volume sims are now an indispensable part of visual effects. Well take a look at how this is done in SOPs and at render time for both static (clouds) and dynamic volumes (smoke sims). Based on the work by Rythm & Hues Studio I Love It When A Cloud Comes Together

WEEK 8: Hydraulic and Thermal Erosion: Uncanny-valleys become natural-valleys
Well use VEX to turn those uncanny-valleys into natural looking valleys. Eroding almost any terrain gives an immediate improvement in realism- even geometric height maps become interesting after a small custom VEX sim. Adopted from Fast Hydraulic and Thermal Erosion on the GPU.


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Tags: CGWorkshops, Lipowski, Houdini

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