This Houdini course covers a feature film approach to procedural city generation. It takes you from start to finish, building your knowledge of Python from the ground up, from elementary to advanced examples, and many other techniques along the way.
With expectations in VFX ever increasing, everything needs to be bigger, better, and faster than ever before. Huge environments are no exception to this trend. In this course, Procedural Cities with Houdini and Python, you will learn how to tackle the problem of generating vast CG cities, making use of Python and various Houdini techniques, while maintaining artist control every step of the way. First, you will be introduced to Python itself, and where and how it can be used in Houdini. Next, you will learn how to populate a city plan with buildings of various types, block by block, and how to automate this using Python. Finally, Python is again used to do the heavy lifting on the skyline, building a tool that ensures artist control over the height of buildings. You will use Python to import files from disk, read from and write to files, keep track of what the set-up is doing, build node networks automatically and to develop the technology required to make this city generator work internally. By the end of this course, you will output a vast, automatically generated CG city, instanced upon a point cloud containing all the necessary attributes. With this knowledge, you can go big while keeping your memory footprint as small as possible.
What is procedural city generation?
Procedural city generation is the practice of creating 3d models of a city through a combination of human-generated assets and algorithms, combined with computer-generated randomness and processing power. We will be using small modular 3d buildings, perlin noise, and grid-based spawning.
What are the benefits of procedural generation in computer graphics?
The main advantage of using procedural generation techniques is that it allows the creation of 3d assets algorithmically as opposed to manually. This saves a lot of time and energy.
What will I learn in this course?
In this course you will learn a feature film approach to procedural city generation through:
An introduction to Python for Houdini
How to populate and automate a city plan
Using Python for a skyline
Building node networks automatically
Developing the technology required for the city generator
Who is this course for?
This course is for anyone who wants to learn how to do procedural city generation, whether for games, films, or other projects. It will be especially useful for VFX specialists.
Are there prerequisites to this course?
If you have prior knowledge of or experience with Python or Houdini, that will be helpful, but is not necessarily required.
Timothy is currently an FX TD at Framestore, having worked as such before at MPC, Electric Theatre Collective, and as a TD at Double Negative. Before transferring to VFX he worked as an environment artist. Timothy studied digital effects at Bournemouth University and game art at the Utrecht School of Art and Technology.
Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts
Course Overview Hi everyone. My name is Timothy Stam, and I'd like to welcome you to my course on Procedural Cities with Python and Houdini. I am an effects technical director at Framestore, London. CG cities are a huge part of feature film and advertising projects, whether it is in the Star Trek film series or a UEFA ad that requires an urban backdrop. Every franchise uses them in one way or another. Being able to generate them efficiently and quickly means having an edge over the competition. Houdini is one of the most important VFX tools out there. And the skills to work with Houdini are very sought after by VFX houses, big and small. Equally sought after is the ability to script with Python. A major component of this course is using Python to drive your Houdini setup. Python is one of the most widely used scripting languages globally, and Houdini has an outstanding Python API, affording you the ability to create amazing CG imagery and allowing you to couple it with any VFX pipeline. Some of the major topics covered in this course include using python to import files from disk, read from and write two files outside of Houdini, work with Python modules, building node networks automatically in Houdini, and to develop the technology required to automate the city generator system. The final result will be a vast, automatically generated CG city. And having completed the course, you will have the skills and confidence needed to develop your own Python driven Houdini setups. Preexisting knowledge of Houdini or Python would be helpful but not required before beginning the course. You will be taken through every step along the way and all key concepts and techniques will be thoroughly explained. I hope you'll join me on this journey to learn about Python and Houdini, with the procedural cities with Python and Houdini course here at Pluralsight.