Well, I’m now a proud holder of a BFA in visual effects. My post graduation plan was to travel a bit and then get a job, but that isn’t happening, which leaves plenty of time for existing in Houdini-land. VEX is a C-based language, so most of these won’t be a surprise if you’re used to working with C-based languages.

Onto the fun stuff!

One Line If Statements

Instead of doing:


You can condense it into a one line if statement. This only works if you have one line of code inside the curly brackets:

if(@P.y>0)  @P.z=0;

Ternary Operator

(aka one line if-else…

Path Attribute in the ROP Alembic Output node.

When you export a model from Houdini using the ROP Alembic Output node, it comes into Maya as one mesh — no subfolders or anything. The brute force method of separating the Maya mesh and piecing it back together can be used, but that’s too time-consuming and Houdini has already created a better way of doing it — the path attribute.

When you put down a ROP Alembic Output Node, there’s a checkbox labeled “Build Hierarchy From Attribute” in the Hierarchy tab. Turn it on. This enables the ROP to read the path attribute.

Now let’s build the path attribute.

Before building the path attribute, figure out what the structure of your mesh in the Maya Outliner will be. …

When I was eight, my mom brought home a math book from the library. This wasn’t any old math book; it told of the weird side of math— the side that contained fractals and mobius strips. Mobius strips were easy to make: take a strip of paper, twist it once, and tape it together. Cut it down the middle, and boom, you have a longer loop. Fractals, however, were a lot harder to replicate, and drawing infinite triangles soon became boring.

This is where the power of Houdini comes in. You don’t have to draw the triangles; Houdini does it for you. This is going to be a multi-part exploration of various fractals in 2d and 3d forms. It is also an exercise in for-each loops, since it is the best way to recreate the recursive nature of fractals. The Cantor Set is relatively straightforward, so let’s start here. Its 2D and 3D counterparts, Cantor dust, aren’t quite as straightforward, but we’re tackling them here anyways. …

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