Many years ago I created these pages to document the work I was doing, with Houdini and RenderMan. Intially I was spending roughly equal time on each package, but in the last few years the RenderMan work has taken of, and I don't use Houdini as much as I used to.

However I still believe its a great package, and totally recomend it. I still use it for any kind of scene generation work - I simply don't keep up with the latest features and versions as much as I used to. Some of the information may therefore be a little out of date. I hope you still find it usefull.

Starting up Houdini

It may sound trivial, but if you're a Bourne shell user, starting Houdini is not so easy. Even for a C-Shell user, simply sourcing houdini_setup in your .cshrc doesn't solve all your problems (prman seems to hate this!). Throw prman, bmrt, alfred and a few other apps into the mix, and things can get messy. Here's an outline of how I setup my Houdini startup to allow peacefull co-existance, and co-operation with other packages.

Invoking RenderMan with Houdini

Mantra is a perfectly adequate renderer, but for real rendering power Pixar's Photorealisic RenderMan totally rocks. Integration between Houdini, and RenderMan is actually far better than the integration found in many other packages (such as Pixar's own MTOR plugin for Maya), but like much in Houdini, there's a little more bare metal work to be done before you can start to benefit. I've therefore written a kickstart guide to using prman from Houdini.

Invoking Houdini with RenderMan

Yup... Not only can you use RenderMan from inside Houdini, but you can persuede RenderMan to start up Houdini mid-render to create new proceduraly generated objects as they're required. Objects that aren't needed are never generated. The basic concept of this is demonstrated by HaRM.

Replaying Images Syncronised to CHOP's

Houdini's CHOPs are an excellent framework for creating interactive work. However while they provide good realtime control over the 3D parts of Houdini, there is no simple way to control the replay of pre-rendered sequences. Risch addresses this by allowing CHOPS to act as a jog wheel for an image replayer running on a remote machine.

A Couple of Demo Scenes

Explosion is based on a number of examples from the Houdini manuals combined with a neat RenderMan shader which provides all the surface detail seen in the image.

Ian Stephenson.
DCT Systems
NCCA,Bournemouth University