This week I started a deep dive into Houdini and how the ocean simulations work. Since I currently have limited experience in Houdini I have used resources such as books and tutorials to help me. The Magic of Houdini by Will Cunningham, Peter Bowmar, Jason Iversen and Dave Johnson has been an extremely valuable resource as it goes into extreme detail about every aspect of the program and is still understandable by an extreme novice to the program.
After looking at and doing some of the exercises, I moved to playing around with a lot of the different ocean tools that Houdini offers. The primary one that I explored was the ocean waves tool. This tool allows the user to simulate well you guessed it an ocean and the waves that you would normally find there.
Houdini uses a node based system which a lot of visual effect artists are finding more efficient and very user friendly. Especially when compared to programs such as After Effects, where you have to deal with layers and changing one thing can cause problems down the track which could be hard to fix.
An example of a node based workflow can be seen below.
In the above photo the area is split into two parts, the options for the selected node and the actual node interface/workflow.
Below is a video of one of the many water tests I have done in Houdini.
From this test you might have noticed some areas that were a blueish green colour, this is caused by waves crashing on themselves or in more technical terms the choppiness (chop) was set too high and caused the geometry to run into itself causing problems with the algorithm that is meant to be smoothly creating the waves.
Unfortunately after a lot of emails and asking people in the industry that use Houdini on a regular basis making a maelstrom is just not possible in the time frame I have before the assignment is due. So without scrapping the entire idea I have gone for a different approach, I have decided to create a stormy sea which will cause the waves to hit the side of the ship, and will include thunder and lightning.
A screenshot of the ship that I’ll be using can be seen below.
I have chosen a green background as the backdrop in the above photo because by default Maya renders out with a black background and you wouldn’t be able to see the entire model against a black background.
Cunningham, W, Bownar, P, Iversen, J & Johnson, D 2006, The Magic of Houdini, Thomson Course Technology, United States.
Zerouni, C, 2007, Houdini on the spot: Power user tips and techniques, Focus Press, United Kingdom.