Masterclass F.A.Q.

When creating content for a project manually, it takes a lot of effort and time. This can be costly in both time, effort and money when you have to create large volumes of content or need to re-iterate over previous work.

Procedural tools help solve this problem for artists by automating tasks and outputting fully functional assets in just a matter of seconds.

Tedious and repetitive tasks can be automated, providing an artist with more time for design and iteration.

Houdini by SideFX Software is the industry leading software package that allows you to design these tools.

Houdini Technical Artists and their particular type of skill set is in high demand in today’s market. Knowing how to use Houdini (the leading procedural tools development package in the industry), is becoming a much sought-after skill set by studios and independent developers alike.

Thanks to the Houdini Engine plugin, people that follow this course can develop their tools for their game engine or 3D software package of choice, including the Unreal Engine and Unity. This allows any project to harness the power of Houdini’s tool sets.

 

Houdini Digital Assets ( HDA for short ) are self-contained tools packages created with Houdini that can be loaded into your game engine of choice using the Houdini Engine plug-in (such as the Unreal Engine and Unity).

By following this masterclass, you will learn from me, a professional Technical Artist with 8 years of high-end procedural video game tools development, how to create your own Procedural tools.

You will learn how to design efficient, flexible and user-friendly procedural assets, as well as how to use them together to create a procedural tools pipeline for larger design and world building projects.

By the end of this Masterclass, you will have the same thorough understanding of Procedural tools development for games and Arch-viz that I have obtained over my career of using Houdini professionally.

Through learning how to use Houdini, you can harness this new skill set to further your goals, be it to build a career as a technical artist or improve your own world building or architecture visualization projects.

The Procedural Asset Production Masterclass is aimed at people who want to learn Houdini as 3D artists, World builders or for Architecture visualization.

 

It is also suitable for people who want to learn how to develop user friendly tools or develop procedural tool pipelines.

The course can be followed by both people who want to learn Houdini as a hobby, people with professional aspirations or those who want to further their skills as a Houdini Technical Artist for their careers.

I have 8 years of professional experience as a Technical Artist in the video game industry, officially starting my career in the game industry in 2013. However, I’ve been using Houdini for more than a decade.

 

As a Houdini Teacher, I have over 5 years of experience, and I developed my first Masterclass in 2017, internally for Ubisoft.

I have developed my lecture doctrine based on the many courses from 3DBuzz I used to follow when I was developing my own skills back in the early 2000s.

This means that the lecture doctrine I employ involves detailed and clear explanation of subjects, in a step-by-step manner.

I do this with a connection to the student community and a clear approach to mentoring using the Patreon program.

My teaching style aims to provide students with a launching point from which they can then further their own goals.

My abilities and experience as both a Technical Artist for world building tool sets and as a general Houdini Artist and teacher has proven to be in demand.

 

As you can see from several Interviews I have held with SideFX and other ventures over the last few years. As well as the workshops I hosted at MIGS 2018 and Houdini HIVE 2021.

 

Students that have followed my past masterclasses and lectures have provided me with ample proof of my teaching style and ability to convey knowledge in a clear and detailed manner.

 

Over the course of my Houdini teaching career, I have helped over 400 people develop their Houdini skills through both in person and shared video lecture through my previous “Houdini Core” Masterclass.

 

Several have gone on to pursue their own careers as Technical Artists, while others have used it to supplement their already existing skill sets as project managers and leads.

This is the first “public” masterclass I am creating. 

I created a previous masterclass within the game company I work for. And thus, I cannot release that one as I can only host it in approved settings such as when I hosted a Masterclass lecture at MIGS 2018.

My previous “Houdini Core” Masterclass was focused on teaching artists the core skills and knowledge required to bring anyone up to Intermediate Houdini artist skill level. Such as scattering vegetation, road building, and how to create a smart distribution system for building towns.

This new masterclass is focused on core skills as well, but will go a lot further.


It will support beginners, however will quickly ramp up into advanced territory as we progress through the lecture modules.

The masterclass is designed to be a step-by-step project simulation for larger professional scope development of world building tool sets. The goal being to teach you how to develop user friendly tools for a virtual end user or artist.

The main project of this Masterclass is to teach how to construct a fully featured production scale tool set for drawing and procedurally decorating office buildings and high-rises.
This will include both exterior facade work and interior layout, with a focus on the end-user and interactivity.

Throughout the Masterclass, I'm going to cover various skills and Houdini techniques I developed over the course of my time working with Houdini, ranging from geometry generation and tile based assembly to professional tool architecture and end-user focused interface design.

Based on my experience, I believe this course will be larger in scope and size compared to my previous Masterclass. As I have yet to finish recording all the content, I cannot give exact numbers right now.

 

The “Procedural Asset Production” masterclass will consist of 6 defined modules, with multiple lectures each.

Given my previous “Houdini Core” Masterclass was 37 hours in length and consisted out of 5 modules, I believe the Procedural Asset Production Masterclass will easily go over 80-100 hours of total content and spawn dozens of different lecture topics.

Yes, the masterclass will start with a “Foundation” module for complete beginners to Houdini.

 

  • The “Houdini 101 Lecture” covers the basics of Houdini and its interface.
  • The “Foundation Lecture” will explain the basics of Houdini’s nodal language. It will also teach procedural modelling, texturing, and instancing for tools that can be loaded into game engines like the Unreal Engine.

 

The Foundation module allows anyone to get started with the program, regardless of prior knowledge.

Subsequent modules will increase the difficulty in steps, allowing students to accumulate knowledge as they progress through the masterclass and get comfortable with each lecture before moving on to the next level.

Yes, but the version you use will have an effect on how you can follow the course and what project files you will be able to create.

 

Houdini comes in 3 license versions: 

 

  • Apprentice - which is non-commercial and any files produced or saved with this version will be in a non-commercial file format (.hipnc  and .hdanc). You can not load these files into the Houdini engine for Unreal.
  • Indie - This is the prefered version of Houdini for the masterclass at this time.
    It is a limited commercial license and the most affordable option for following along with the course. It also comes with the Houdini engine indie plugin for unreal, so you can run the tools you make, or the tools I provide with the course as example files in the unreal engine. Files written with this version are (.hiplc  and .hdalc) files.
  • Commercial - This is a full license file which is for studios and companies. With this version you can make tools and load the indie files I provide with the course. And the format this version of Houdini saves are (.hip and .hda) files.


If you use my indie example files however and load them into a commercial license version of Houdini, your Houdini session will automatically change to the indie license state, and any files you save in this state will be limited commercial files as well !

Also, the commercial Houdini engine for unreal cannot use my Houdini Indie assets.

You will have to either follow the course completely without my example files and build everything yourself as you follow the course. OR install a houdini indie license for the houdini engine.

 

Optimally, I recommend you use Houdini Indie limited commercial license to follow along with this course.

 

For more information about the licenses available for Houdini, feel free to visit the SideFx website: https://www.sidefx.com/download/

Modules contain Lectures and are aimed at a specific skill level of student. These lectures are sets of training videos that together tackle a particular topic.

Modules will come with their required models and textures as well as Unreal Engine assets.

For example: The second module in the masterclass, the “Ascension” Module, will cover 2 main lectures: The Elevator and the Staircase assembly assets, and will also cover several of the utility assets required to make them work.

These lectures will focus on a single topic or specific asset, each with their own usage. However, all the modules in the masterclass are serialized, focusing on the different aspects of constructing the larger building assembly tool in a step-by-step fashion. 

 

The building assembly tool will make use of the smaller assets from the stand-alone lecture modules to integrate features such as the elevators, stairs and wall-tiles from the tile assembler. In this sense, the modules of the masterclass are accumulative.


As the course progresses, we will slowly build a larger tool set consisting of tools and sub-components for the main project. Because of this, subsequent lecture modules will require that you have followed, or at least acquired the previous lecture modules to be able to continue.

 

Each module will cover one or more topics that each produce a powerful stand-alone tool or that further expand upon the main project.

They will contain packed knowledge such as how to generate geometry with UV layouts, how to assemble an asset using tile instancing, or how to create a smart distribution of objects such as furniture in a defined space. Other lectures will focus on the main project.

 

These building assembly focused lectures will tackle specific topics required for building the main assembly tool, such as installing the building's outer façade using tile-sets or how to procedurally subdivide and analyse the floor layout of the building to create properly accessible rooms and corridors.

 

Lectures will also focus on topics vital for creating user friendly and efficient tool sets, such as:

  • How to set up an editor style tool, using selection brushes and edit layers.
  • How to design a fitting end-user focused interface so the asset is easy to use for artists with little Houdini experience.
  • How to make even large tool sets CPU efficient so they are as fast and as agile as possible.

 

I also will cover best practices and useful knowledge that will help you deal with some of Houdini's quirks and issues, like how to recover your files if you Houdini crashes and the methods I use to hunt down bugs or how to safely migrate data in and between assets.

The later modules in the class will go quite deep and as you follow along with the course the tool set will become more complex.

This will require a good understanding of the basics of Houdini. I aim to ease into the complexity as modules progress. Over the trajectory of the masterclass, we will construct the main building assembly project asset piece by piece.

I structure my lectures in such a way that every topic's how's and why’s are properly explained, so even complete beginners will be able to follow along and reach the end of the course.

 

For established Houdini artists, the modular nature of the class will allow them to skip some of the earlier topics they already understand or choose a topic of their interest.

 

However, I do aim to make each module produce a significant part of the course, and everything will eventually combine into the larger building assembly tool set.

Due to the interconnected nature of the course, modules will be sold as subsequent packages, with a clear progression from start to finish.

 

Subsequent modules in the course will require earlier modules to be at least acquired by the student to be followed. 

Each module will come with full example files, so these can be used as a starting point for those deciding to start on a topic later in the masterclass.

The masterclass will be sold on an online video lecture hosting platform.
I'm still working on the exact platform.

 

Each module of the class will be released and sold as I finish their production and video material over the course of 2021 and 2022.

 

Subscribe on Patreon, sign up for the email updates, keep an eye on the Twitter page, or join the Discord chat to find out when a module is released.

I will release modules as they are completed over the course of 2021 and 2022.
My current projection for completion of the full course material and recording is somewhere in 2022.

 

The first module of the Masterclass, the “Foundation” module will be available for free, starting from the 8th of July 2021. It will be released on the E-HOUDINI ACADEMY YouTube page.

 

Each subsequent module is slated for release between 2 to 4 month intervals, depending on its complexity.

 

The development of the course is taking this long, partly because ensuring all the components of the tool set are fully developed and work together takes time.

 

Some of the time will be spent creating the models and assets I use for the course. This and data management has so far proven to be the biggest time sink.

By supporting me on Patreon you can help me develop the masterclass as I will use the Patreon donations to:

  • Pay for my software licenses.
  • Buy better hardware for recording the course. 
  • Hire someone to manage the website and file hosting for the course.
  • Hire freelance artists to share the workload of resource construction for the course material and video lectures.
  • Hire a data manager for the course to help me optimize and process the prefab models, textures and other files I need to wrangle for the main masterclass assignment.
  • Buy resources to Improve the quality of the video lectures.

Yes there is!


As a thank you bonus for long term Patrons, for every 48 euros donated I will attribute you module discount credits. These can be requested from me once the first paid masterclass module is released.

This can be done through erwin@ehoudiniacademy.com or through the Patron discord channel.

Module credits are based on your Patreon history, so you'll have to be an active Patreon subscriber to be eligible to receive them!

Your module credits will equate to a gift code from me that acts as discount tokens for the complete masterclass.

Each discount credit will equate to a 24 euros discount token on the masterclass.

For example: a Patreon backer that has donated 100 euros and is active on Patreon, will be eligible for 2 discount credits and thus a total, one-time 48 euros discount on any released module of the masterclass.