A guide to what’s new in the update

Houdini Geometry Essentials 01

Components & Primitive Types

Version 2.0

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Version 2.0 - 5 hours 45 minutes 
Version 1.0 - 3 hours 43 minutes 

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Version 2.0 - 55 video tutorials
Version 1.0 - 36 video tutorials

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Version 2.0 - Houdini 19 & 18
Version 1.0 - Houdini 18 & 17.5

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New Tutorials

1 hour 55 minutes

Completely new tutorials teaching new concepts.

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Updated Tutorials

2 hours 47 minutes

Original tutorials redesigned or adjusted.

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Existing Tutorials

1 hour 3 minutes

Exactly the same tutorials as in Version 1.0.

What’s changed in Version 2.0…

Houdini’s new curve node changes everything. At least when it comes to working with bezier curves. In fact, working with any kind of curve in Houdini is now significantly different, so we’ve overhauled and expanded this course to give you the latest skills and know-how for drawing and editing curves interactively and procedurally.

This isn’t just an update; this is a course that’s been doing a LOT of work in the gym (strictly no steroids). It’s larger, meatier and more detailed than before. Not only are we teaching new theories and tools, we’ve taken the same crucial concepts we taught you in Version 1.0 and added updates, practical examples and approached things from new angles. It’s all about giving you a deeper understanding, and a better foundation, for your future in Houdini.

Need more specifics? No worries. Once you jump in you’ll find:

  • A detailed guide to drawing and editing bezier, nurbs and polygon curves using the new curve node.
  • Deeper technical explanations of bezier and nurbs curves and detailed comparisons of the two.
  • Crucial to understand differences between Houdini’s procedural vs non procedural nodes.
  • Expanded and more detailed explanations on the role of vertices in controlling connectivity.
  • Practical examples of using bezier curves in modelling workflows. 
  • Need-to-know info about rendering curves in Karma using the widths attribute.
  • Heaps more, including all the concepts and theory taught in the last version of the course often explained in a more detailed way, from a new angle, with different examples… or all of the above.

… and what’s stayed the same

It’s a big update, but not everything’s different. Just like in Version 1.0, we’ll take you through:

  • Houdini’s geometry components – points, vertices, primitives, edges and breakpoints.
  • How geometry is constructed in Houdini by connecting points.
  • The concepts, theories and practical uses of Houdini’s primitive types – meshes, polysoups and quadratic primitives (plus polygons, nurbs and beziers, as we’ve already mentioned)
  • How to easily convert from one primitive type to another – plus when and why you’d want to

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Course syllabus

Let’s talk details. But before we do, a really quick guide to how we’ve marked each of the lessons to show how they’ve changed (or haven’t):

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These are lessons which cover completely new concepts that weren’t in the previous version of the course.

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These are lessons from the original course that have changed in some way - everything from a new approach to an original concept through to a small inclusion to clarify an important detail.

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These are exactly the same lessons that were included in version 1.0. No change at all.

Section 01

Creating Primitive Objects

There are different ways you can add primitive objects – at the object or geometry level. We’ll explain what that means, and show you how. Then we’ll get a hold of Houdini’s viewport handles, to tackle positioning and sizing and how to use these in combination with a few need-to-know keyboard shortcuts.

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1. [EXISTING] Creating primitive geometry - create at object level vs create in context
2. [EXISTING] Using viewport handles to create and size primitive objects

2 Tutorials   5 Minutes

Section 02

Geometry Components

As soon as you look at Houdini’s geometry components, you realise it’s different to other applications. Points as well as vertices? What exactly are primitives and why are there so many different types? A geometry point is the same thing as a particle? Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it.

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1. [EXISTING] Geometry Components Part 01 - Points, Edges, and Primitives
2. [UPDATED] Geometry Components Part 02 - Vertices
3. [UPDATED] Component Numbers

3 Tutorials   23 Minutes

Section 03

Connecting Points

Building geometry in Houdini is all about connecting points – and vertices are the boss. But you’re the CEO (in this metaphorical company analogy), so you need to know how to get those vertices to work for you. Understanding vertices opens up a whole new world of creative flexibility, only possible in Houdini.

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1. [UPDATED] Connecting Points - Curves
2. [EXISTING] Disconnecting and Reconnecting Points
3. [UPDATED] Vertices Control Connectivity
4. [EXISTING] Connecting Points - Particles to Surfaces

5 Tutorials   31 Minutes

Section 04


Just like in other applications, but different. You see, polygons in Houdini are curves at the same time as they are surfaces. What? You heard us. Working with open and closed polygons (and converting between them) is really powerful and incredibly versatile. We’ll show you how.

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1. [UPDATED] Closed Curves are also Polygon Surfaces
2. [UPDATED] Every Polygon Face is also a Closed Curve
3. [NEW] Drawing and Editing Polygons Using the Curve SOP Part 1
4. [NEW] Drawing and Editing Polygons Using the Curve SOP Part 2
5. [NEW] Drawing and Editing Polygons Using the Curve SOP Part 3
6. [UPDATED] Open and Closed Polygons - Part 1: The Ends SOP
7. [UPDATED] Open and Closed Polygons - Part 2: The Crucial Role of Vertices
8. [UPDATED] Open and Closed Polygons - Part 3: Rendering Curves
9. [UPDATED] Open and Closed Polygons - Part 4: Rendering Wireframe Geometry
10. [UPDATED] Polymodelling Tools on Polygon Curves
11. [EXISTING] Polygon Options on Primitive Objects

11 Tutorials   1 Hour 11 Minutes

Section 05

Bezier Curves - Drawing, Editing and Modelling

Bezier curves used to be hard to draw and edit in Houdini. Not any more! The curve node introduced in Houdini 19 is a real game changer and we’re here to show you why. Drawing and editing a curve is only half the story, though. We’ll also show you how to use your bezier curves in an optimised modelling workflow.

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1. [NEW] Drawing Bezier Curves
2. [NEW] Editing Bezier Curves - Points and Tangency
3. [NEW] Editing Bezier Curves - Segments
4. [NEW] Editing Bezier Curves - Rounded Corners
5. [NEW] Working with Bezier Curves - Reference Images
6. [NEW] Working with Bezier Curves - Tracing a Profile
7. [NEW] Working with Bezier Curves - Modelling
8. [NEW] Working with Bezier Curves - Resampling Bezier Curves to Polygons
9. [NEW] Optimising Curves with the Refine SOP

9 Tutorials   45 Minutes

Section 06

The Technical Side of Bezier curves

When it comes to using bezier curves in procedural workflows, you need a deep understanding of how they work at a technical level. In Section 6, we’ll equip you with the technical concepts you need to really make the most of them. You’ll also learn when to use procedural nodes versus Houdini’s special non-procedural nodes.

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1. [UPDATED] How Bezier Curves work - Order and Degree
2. [UPDATED] How Bezier Curves work - Components
3. [NEW] Editing Bezier Curves - Curve SOP vs Edit SOP
4. [NEW] Editing Bezier Curves - Procedural Nodes vs Non-Procedural Nodes
5. [NEW] Editing Curves Procedurally
6. [NEW] Animating Curves

6 Tutorials   46 Minutes

Section 07

Nurbs Curves

Once the go-to primitive type for smooth curves, nurbs curves have been recently put in the shade by beziers. Well, we’re giving them their time in the sun… again! Why? Because for procedural work, nurbs curves can still do things that no other primitive type can. Here, we’ll teach you all you need to know about their technical complexities.

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1. [UPDATED] Comparing Nurbs Curves to Bezier Curves
2. [UPDATED] Nurbs Curves: Order - Part 1
3. [UPDATED] Nurbs Curves: Order - Part 2
4. [NEW] Drawing and Editing Nurbs Curves Using the Curve Node
5. [UPDATED] Nurbs Curves - Point Weight

5 Tutorials   30 Minutes

Section 08

Parametric Curves and Surfaces

What’s parameterisation (apart from a difficult word to say quickly)? In this section we’ll unwrap the concept while getting down and dirty with parametric curves and surfaces. Now, many people will tell you it’s all about polygons these days, but understanding this stuff comes in really handy – especially once you get into procedural modelling.

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1. [NEW] Auto Bezier Draw Mode
2. [NEW] Generating Nurbs and Bezier Curves Procedurally - The Fit Node
3. [UPDATED] Parametric Space
4. [UPDATED] Parameterisation - Part 1: Uniform vs Chord Length
5. [UPDATED] Parameterisation - Part 2: Chord Length and Centripetal
6. [UPDATED] Nurbs and Bezier Surfaces - Part 1: Cross Section Curves
7. [UPDATED] Nurbs and Bezier Surfaces - Part 2: Parametric Space

7 Tutorials    42 Minutes

Section 09

Comparing & Converting Nurbs & Polygons

What do you get if you convert a polygon mesh to a nurbs surface? No it’s not a set up for a bad joke, it’s an important question and one we’re going to answer. While we’re at it, let’s talk about Houdini’s unique ability to subdivide and interpolate polygon curves and how it suddenly makes them as flexible as nurbs curves.

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1. [UPDATED] Comparing Nurbs and Bezier Curves to Polygon Curves
2. [UPDATED] Using Polygon Curves Like Nurbs Curves - Subdivision Curves
3. [UPDATED] Interpolating Curves - Nurbs and Beziers vs Polygons
4. [EXISTING] Converting Polygon Faces to Nurbs Surfaces
5. [EXISTING] Bilinear Mesh

5 Tutorials   36 Minutes

Section 10

Primitive Types – Polysoups & Quadratic Primitives

These guys save lives. Well, not quite – but they do save memory and disk space in wildly different ways. One day to deadline, but your scene is so heavy you can barely move? Building a friendship with these fellas could set you free.

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1. [EXISTNG] Bilinear Mesh
2. [EXISTING] Polysoup
3. [UPDATED] Quadratic Primitives

3 Tutorials   20 Minutes

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Geometry Essentials 01
Version 2.0


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