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Large-Scale Cinematic Destruction in Houdini

Procedural Houdini FX Workflow with David Silberbauer


Discover how to build a fully scalable cinematic destruction shot in Houdini using professional procedural techniques. Recommended for intermediate-level Houdini artists, this 8-hour workshop by David Silberbauer guides you through how to manipulate attributes in Houdini, covers terrains and height field basics, and details how to compile blocks. You’ll see how to randomize attributes, how to set up a fracturing system and build custom constraints. You’ll also learn how to set up a DOP Network to handle RBD destruction setup and review the important TBD basics in SOPs. From there, David guides you through customizing velocities for use in POP networks and then using POPs for debris, as well as how to manipulate debris to use it as a volume source.

This workshop details how to build from a volume source to create dust with the Pyro Solver, moving on to handling a large-scale simulation. You’ll learn how to not only work in a procedural way but also how to think procedurally, helping all artists feel empowered to build their own large-scale scenes. While this workshop is intended for intermediate users, it also offers an interesting insight for anyone with basic Houdini knowledge looking to learn more about professional industry workflows.

A Houdini apprentice file with a basic cinematic destruction setup is provided with this workshop.

Special thanks to SideFX and Dell Technologies for supporting this workshop.

Duration: 7h 18m

Format: HD 1920x1080

David Silberbauer

VFX Artist at Sunrise Animation Studio

David Silberbauer is, by nature, a procedural artist. He loves building systems in Houdini that can be manipulated and played with to achieve different and seemingly endless results. He currently works at Sunrise Animation Studio as a VFX Artist, and in his spare time, he likes to get lost in the massive world of Houdini. He is deeply inspired by nature and enjoys trying to replicate natural patterns and textures in his art and using Houdini.

Follow David on Instagram @d_silberbauer and follow his career on LinkedIn

  • I had the great pleasure of working with David on a short film for the Star Wars: Visions anthology, where he served as the Set Dressing lead. David is a true Houdini wizard. Using elegant procedural setups, themselves a thing of beauty, he has created the most stunningly gorgeous environments at scales that are truly staggering. David has forever changed the way I work.

    - Jan Schoeman
    Senior Environment Generalist Houdini at Skydance Animation

  • David has a strong eye for detail and a very good understanding of the Production Process. He [is] always willing to accommodate other departments with FX and Set requirements as well as assist his fellow Artists where needed … David is a brilliant and accomplished artist who I would highly recommend for any 3D animated project.

    - Callum Verster
    Production Manager at Triggerfish Animation Studios

  • What a champ! No matter the task, [David] always nailed the work. Across the projects, [he] played an incredible roll and [was] responsible for developing some of the most complicated tasks.

    - Kyle S Maier
    VFX Supervisor at Triggerfish