Posted on 2013-07-01
I wrapped up HOU102 class 10 on Sunday evening, and wondered if I should post something up about it. A mini-review of sorts for anyone else thinking of joining FXPHD for a term and going through it. Here's some of my thoughts and opinions on the course... I thoroughly enjoyed working through the 10 lessons, as someone who has wanted to give Houdini the time and effort required to learn it I felt it has put me on the right starting path. I now feel more comfortable in its UI, have an idea of where to click to do what I'd like to and I'm seeing where I can draw parallels with 3ds max.
The lessons were spaced out well, clear to follow and enjoyable for the most part, some were over the one hour mark and they did test my concentration a bit. I found the best way for me to learn was to take notes through the lesson then use those to recreate what was done; this was usually the next evening so it was a good test to see if the information had stuck!
With the lessons, the provided files were great to reference when stuck and the extra notes inside were a really useful addition. Sometimes there was extra information inside too that hadn't been included in the lesson due to time.
What I didn't like was the lack of a project that continued through the course. I'm a big fan of project based learning, I would have loved to see the whole thing be one big project over 10 weeks that ended with awesome outcome.
The course touched on many topics, but didn't delve too deep into any specifics which I found a little frustrating. At times I wanted to know more but the classes kept going forward and didn't do more than scratch the surface. I found this the case especially with Mantra; by the end of the course you still won't know know how to produce a physically accurate render with basic GI. You will however be able to modify fire and smoke, as well as create FLIP sins.
I think in general it's brilliant to get you comfortable in Houdini, to get you feeling familiar with the UI. It'll show and explain how houdini operates and expose you to all the need to know areas as well as the shelf tools. What it's not going to do IMO is give you any clear knowledge of an area to produce an output. .. I think the next step after this is to go through the videos on the sidefx website, as well as begin a project to actually learn to use the software.
That's my little mini review of the course, overall I really enjoyed it as well as the FXPHD vibe!