Free Tutorial: Procedural Asset Development for Environments in Houdini

By: Saber Jlassi

In this video tutorial, I'll show you how to create procedural rock textures for environment design inside Houdini for Arnold and Unreal Engine.

Creating realistic environments is all about developing systems and processes for replicating real-world geometry in a procedural way. Instead of meticulously creating each rock, bump, and tree by hand, VFX artists have developed processes to speed up the process of developing realistic environments.

If that sort of thing tickles your fancy, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re looking to design environments for games or VFX, the following Houdini video tutorial on procedural rock formations will teach you how to create impressive procedural landscapes from scratch.

Unlike our Environment Creation in Houdini course, this tutorial will focus on a smaller subsection of environment design and analyze how to create realistic rocks, textures, and cracks in a procedural manner.

Video Tutorial: Creating Rock Formations in Houdini

Below is our video tutorial on developing rock formations in a procedural way. This tutorial was repurposed from our Advanced Asset Creation in Houdini course that is now no longer offered at Rebelway. In fact, this is week 1 and week 2 content, compiled into a single video.

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing all of the content from that course for free on our tutorial page. We hope you enjoy these lessons. Also, stick around towards the end to learn a few updated techniques.

Video Tutorial: Timecode Breakdown

  1. Introduction (0:00)
  2. VFX Pipelines (11:16)
  3. Pipeline Requirements (23:14)
  4. Arnold Introduction & Features (42:27)
  5. Importing Assets (57:19)
  6. Installing Scripts (1:17:32)
  7. High-Res Geometry vs Subdivisions (1:26:57)
  8. A Closer Look at Arnold 5 (1:33:02)
  9. Introduction to Unreal Engine (1:44:12)
  10. Wrapping Up (1:48:05)
  11. Updates (1:52:04)
  12. Pipelines & Challenges (1:55:29)
  13. New Pipeline Updates (2:01:04)
  14. Cleaning Up Assets (2:06:52)
  15. Introduction to Textures (2:11:01)
  16. What is COPS? (2:12:11)
  17. Intro to COPS (2:23:10)
  18. Procedural Textures Part 1 (2:40:57)
  19. Procedural Textures Part 2 (3:05:01)
  20. Procedural Textures Part 3 (3:20:47)
  21. Procedural Textures Part 4 (3:44:21)
  22. Tiling Part 1 (4:12:11)
  23. Tiling Part 2 (4:27:40)
  24. Exporting Files (4:36:25)
  25. Assignments (4:50:16)
  26. Updates (4:55:15)
  27. Q&A (5:12:23)

Learn More about Developing Procedural Rocks

Want to learn more about developing procedural rocks for games or VFX? Here are a few of our favorite links from around the web:

  1. Procedural Rock Formations in Houdini for VFX & Games – Rebelway
  2. Breakdown: Procedural Rock Generation in Houdini – 80.lv
  3. Houdini Rock Breakdown || Houly2020 – Simon Houdini

We also frequently post about procedural environment creation processes on our tutorials page.

Create Realistic Landscapes & Environments

Are you serious about wanting to create realistic landscapes and environments for VFX and games? If so, you should check out Environment Creation in Houdini here at Rebelway. The course is an in-depth look at how professional FX studios develop large-scale environments. By the end of the course, you’ll create realistic environments that rival that of your favorite films and games. Here’s a quick preview of the course.

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