March 18, 2020

Houdini Trees [RIG + DYNAMICS]

This post is a progress log of simulating and shading photo-realistic trees and plants in Houdini. Simulating vegetation has been a challenging task for me in the past since the provided asset for the simulation could have an infinite amount of variations.

All tree come with unique properties and attributes. Properties that define the base skeleton: a set of splines at the center of each trunk, branch, twig, leaves. This sets a relation method for the tree's behavior in past and in future. Some times, this base skeleton is provided with the asset and other cases the artist have to regenerate. Challenge is to build a tool that automate this process based on given artist input. The user will define the different parts of tree and the tool will output the skeleton.

Luckily, Houdini is a logic based software and has a great deal of resources to resolve and generate a solution. Using VEX and Python logic it is possible to generate the skeleton and prep the tree asset for Houdini Dynamics.

This project is also an opportunity for me to explore other unexplored tools in Houdini.

Project Mandate

  • Houdini 17.5
  • Trees to be rigged and simulated
  • Experiment Houdini Terrain Tools
  • Set Dressing using Quixel assets + textures
  • Render using Redshift + Redshift instance


Initial concept

Getting Fun stuff first!

Initial Terrain Decomposition

The Terrain is broken down into four parts.

Camera Extraction - Layout/Match-move