Join Scott Pagano for an in-depth discussion in this video How to create basic primitive shapes, part of Up and Running with Houdini.
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- In Houdini, all of our modeling and geometry operations happen on the geometry layer. We, of course, have traditional vertex manipulation tools we can use to manipulate geometry, but we can also build networks of nodes to procedurally manipulate geometry and generate geometry which is obviously one of Houdini's strengths. I'm gonna show you some basics, how to create some basic shapes, how to do some basic manipulations, and we'll end up looking at a more procedural technique at the end to give you a glimpse of the power of modeling in Houdini. First, what we're gonna do is we're gonna create a box.
We have a create shelf here with a bunch of different basic shapes, and we literally can just click on here and click in the scene, and Boom! We've created a box. This is a super primitive shape that now is in our scene. As you can see too, we have a bunch of tabs up in here, a bunch of different windows, and there's a lot in this interface. Often what you'll want to do is simplify it down just to focus on the things you want to focus on. The first thing I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna close these panes up in this little window here. That's gonna open up this area. I'm gonna move our little slider over so we have more area for our network view over here.
While I'm in the network view, in the scene view on the right side, I'm gonna hit the P key. I can use that to toggle the parameters, open and closed. That's sometimes better than having it in a whole separate pane so we can control it a little bit better. First, I'm just gonna zero out the translates on this box. Bring it right in the center, and we're gonna dive inside of this. If I hit the P key again, you can see that we are at the scene level. Up here in this drop-down menu, you can see this is called OBJ. This is the object level which is also called the scene level.
This is sort of a top level where geometry objects that can hold all sorts of things inside live as well as this is where our cameras and lights and all sorts of other things will live. What we want to do now is we want to dive into this geometry object to learn how to manipulate geometry inside. I'm gonna hit the I key and go inside this guy. Now, you can see over here it says, "Geometry." We're in the geometry layer. Up on this top menu, we're at the object level and now we've dived into our node which was created called the box object 1. Inside of this, we have our box1 node which is our surface operator.
The nomenclature in this world is often called SOPS for surface operators. These are where all our geometry nodes are. This is our simple, basics little box. I'm gonna hit the P key, and this is gonna open up the parameters for that. This gives us just a bunch of the basic things about this, what kind of primitive is it, is it a polygon, or a polygon mesh, or a mesh, or a nerb surface, what size it is, where the center of it is, its uniform scale, different divisions we can make. Just really, really basic parameters about that box. I'm gonna go up now back to where our scene level by hitting the U key.
I'm gonna hit the P key to delete that box. Let's just make a different object so we can see a different primitive. I'm gonna click on a tube. I'm gonna bring a tube down into our scene. I'm gonna hit the I key to go inside of it, and I'm gonna hit the P key now that I'm in the geometry level to pull up its parameters. You can see again, simple object. We have the same sort of chooser. We have different primitive types we can choose, a few different parameters here because now we have a radius and a radius scale, and a height, rows, all these things we can use to change attributes about this geometry.
For example, I could change the radius. Let's do that by middle mouse-clicking where it says radius. Then we see we have this number ladder that comes up that I can go up or down to choose different scales of numbers I want to change. .1 is good, let's work in these decimal units. Now I can move to the left and to the right to change that number. This is a great Houdini interface thing. I don't think I've seen this in any other program. It's pretty cool because it just allows us to change these numbers really, really easily. This can be done within a single variable field by clicking within that field.
If I go in here, now we're gonna only change the radius on the top of the tube, or I can now affect both of them together by clicking on the actual parameter name. That is how to make some primitive shapes, and how to adjust simple parameters of those shapes.
These tutorials introduce the fundamental 3D concepts (modeling, animation, texturing, lighting, and rendering) as they apply in Houdini. Instructor Scott Pagano shows how to manipulate geometry; apply materials; add lights and cameras to a scene; render work with Houdini's internal renderer, Mantra; and even create simple particle systems. The course will start new users on a path to more advanced 3D work and show experienced users of other 3D packages how to transfer their skills to the world of Houdini.
- Setting Houdini preferences
- Modifying geometry
- Copy stamping
- Setting keyframes
- Manipulating animation channels
- Shading and texture mapping
- Lighting scenes
- Rendering with Mantra
- Creating particle emitters