Houdini – Procedural Text Animation Tutorial

This tutorial shows a technique for doing procedural text animation in Houdini, which I covered in my Motion Graphics class at SideFX software in October. Thanks to Peter Claes who provided guidance on the letter attribute problem.

7 thoughts on “Houdini – Procedural Text Animation Tutorial

  1. Another great tutorial, thanks Adam

    The dampening of the spring you do in the VOPSOP, doesn’t it seem like you could do something like that within CHOPS directly with some kind of ramp?
    Just curious if there is a more simple of way of doing it than bringing in each channel and mixing it in VOPS.

    Another comment is that it does feel like Houdini gets overkill for this kind of text animation, compared to a tool like C4d with Mograph.
    I am really grateful that you went through the effort of showing this mostly because I wonder what the advantages would be of using Houdini in this case?
    Of course there is the fact that you can make a digital asset and share it easily with other Houdini users, but the amount of operations needed to achieve the result are pretty daunting….

    Thanks again, I hope this comment does not come across as negative, it is really more to know your thoughts on the matter


    • Yeah, I agree with what you are saying. Much easier to do text in C4D – especially with all the workarounds involved. I did submit a RFE to SideFX asking for a letter attribute to be assigned to each primitive of the font sop – that would help immensely (and speed up the calculation of the network). There may be other (better) ways of doing this – and if so, I would love to know about them. And yes, this is the type of thing you would just make an asset for. Would not want to rebuild it every time I needed it.

      In terms of why you would want to do this in Houdini vs. Cinema – the answer is definitely not speed, but being able to combine all the other parts of houdini with your effect. Imagine procedurally being able to type whatever you wanted, create some effect and have the type turn into water, for example, or emit smoke from them as they animate…

      About CHOPS – I really am not too knowledgeable there. So, this was just a basic example. If you can improve on that portion of I would be happy to hear about it. My understanding of CHOPS is fairly rudimentary.

  2. Awesome vids! Thanks for sharing them!

    You should totally do an FXPhd course aimed at mograph artists! I think Houdini has great potential in that area.

    C4D does a great job but sometimes you need a bit more and I think Houdini provides it.

    Thanks again!

  3. Great tutorial, but I spent four days trying to replicate it and for one reason or another WENT MAD. I’m not the brightest, I have trouble understanding what all the brackets and quotes are for! I did it this way – font, delete unselected, animate that letter about it’s pivot, merge into next letter, copy and paste the transform SOP, grab the animated channels and shift’em’a’bit. Clumsy I admit, but it took 20 minutes.
    What I’d like to figure now is how to use one xform SOP and ‘offset’ the animation values by NFRAMES.
    Thanks anyway, picked up some new tricks.

  4. Hi Adam, I read somewhere that you where involved in the creation of the CGI for TRON and I’d just like to share this piece that we just finished that was heavily inspired by that movie. Furthermore it is because of the stuff here on this blog that we’ve started exploring Houdini so many thanks!

    • Thanks for sharing that! Was that Houdini or C4D?

      Yeah, I did quite a bit of work on Tron for the Quorra DNA sequence (all using Houdini). I wish I had the render passes that were used so I could share them with everyone. So much subtlety in there and lots of complexity. Like your movie, each shot was around 20-30 render passes.

      Good luck on Houdini! I use it now for almost everything these days. SideFX should be announcing V12 in July. Really excited to see what they add/improve in the next version!

      • The cloud was made in Houdini 11 and the rest is C4D + After Effects.
        The Quorra sequence is among my personal favourites. I enjoy the entire film an incredible amount.

        Thanks man, I look forward to delving deeper into it this summer. Already purchased a Fundamentals video from cmivfx.

        Cool, I’ll keep myself updated in July then.
        I’m really excited to see what your next tutorial might be.

        Also, any tips on where to find additional learning material on Houdini? Already got on 3Dbuzz and Cmivfx but I figured since you’ve been in the game longer you probably have stumbled upon your fair share of awesome videos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s