Overview

Online FX course taught by film and game industry artists

Enter the dynamic world of FX for film, TV, and video games. Learn how to navigate SideFX Houdini - software used in studios worldwide - and harness the power of procedural, node-based workflow techniques to create destruction, explosions, and water simulations.

Why study Houdini FX at CG Spectrum:

  • Learn from FX artists who have worked on big films & games
  • Train on industry software at a Houdini Certified School 
  • Get the latest skills studios are hiring for
  • Private 1-on-1 or small group classes (max. 4 students)

Guided by a professional FX artist, you'll practice simulations for cloth, hair, and grains. You will also gain insights into how to optimize your render times to create more impressive and complex scenes that you can use in your portfolio.

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Qualification

Industry Certificate

Duration

9 months

Commitment

20 hrs weekly

Skill level

Beginner to
Intermediate

Start date

August 5th, 2024
September 9th, 2024
October 7th, 2024

Tuition

Group Class: $9,999 USD
Private Class: $13,999 USD
Ask about our payment plans

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Why study with us

Learn FX from film and game industry professionals who are experts in Houdini

Whether you’re straight out of high school, changing careers, or upgrading skills, our expert-led FX courses help you build practical job skills that prepare you for the industry.

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Flexible Scheduling

Plan your studies around your work and family commitments

Industry Mentors

Learn from industry experts who have worked on major films and games

Job-Ready Skills

Build practical and relevant job skills that studios are looking for

Payment Plans

Pursue your passion and start working sooner with flexible payments

Curriculum

Industry-focused online course to help launch your career as an FX artist

Term 1: 12 weeks

Foundations 1: Essentials of Effects

Start with the fundamentals of FX and simulations with Houdini software. Learn scripting with VEX and see how scripts can help create more complex VFX shots. Learn all about particles in Houdini and the concepts behind what drives them. Dive into advanced geometry concepts which will help you build assets for your VFX shots and ultimately destroy them! Apply rendering techniques used in VFX production and start building your first fully rendered shots.

  • How to navigate the Houdini user interface
  • Build geometry for your simulations
  • Understand and apply particle concepts
  • Light and render your shots
  1. Introduction to Houdini Networks
  2. Creating Motion in Houdini
  3. Particle FX Project
  4. Transforming Attributes
  5. Intro to RBD FX
  6. RBD FX Project
  7. Intro to Smoke & Pyro
  8. Pyro FX Project
  9. Intro to FLIP
  10. Flip FX project
  11. FX Project Introduction
  12. FX Project Presentation
Term 2: 12 weeks

Foundations 2: Core Effects Principles

Explore procedural modeling and create a believable destruction shot using Rigid Body Dynamics (RBD). You’ll play with geometry fracturing and a range of FX solvers and constraints (Pin, String, and Glue Constraints) to dictate your simulation’s physical behavior. No FX artist’s skill set is complete without knowing how to blow stuff up! During this semester you’ll also discover how to create feature film quality smoke, fire, and explosions using the Pyro Solver and create impressive destruction shots.

  • How to use Rigid Body Dynamics & constraints
  • Add complexity with data driven particles
  • Create realistic smoke, dust, fire, liquid
  • Produce complex explosion simulations
  1. Working with Production Assets
  2. Visual Operators and Noise
  3. Practical Vex
  4. Advanced Copying
  5. Geometry Fracturing Techniques
  6.  Constraint Techniques
  7. Production Shot Part 01
  8. Production Shot Part 02
  9. Volume Simulations Expanded
  10. Pyro Fire FX
  11. Pyro - Production Shot 01
  12. Pyro - Production Shot 02
Term 3: 12 weeks

Foundations 3: Professional Dynamic Effects

In this term of Houdini training, you’ll get your feet wet with liquid simulations. Practice creating everything from a splash in a pond to a raging ocean, and efficient ways to speed up your render times. You’ll learn how to create simulations for cloth, hair, and grains using the new Vellum solver. By the end of this term, you will have a deep understanding and hands-on experience creating realistic simulations for feature film and TV, along with impressive VFX shots for your portfolio.

  • How to create advanced liquid simulations
  • Generate realistic ocean scenes
  • Use the Vellum solver for cloth & hair
  • Render production shots for your portfolio
  1. Introduction: Liquid Simulations
  2. Intermediate Liquid Effects
  3. Advanced Liquid Effects
  4. Introduction: Houdini Ocean Tools
  5. Flip Solver: Ocean Simulation Part 01
  6. Flip Solver: Ocean Simulation Part 02
  7. Introduction to Vellum
  8. Velum Shelf Tools
  9. Vellum Hair
  10. Vellum Grains
  11. Final FX Project Part 01
  12. Final FX Project Part 02
Course structure

Your pathway to the film and games industry

The 9-month Foundations Course is the first half of our Career Track, helping you pave your pathway into the creative industries. Gain foundational skills and knowledge that will prepare you for advanced industry training.

Pathway illustration for Foundations 9 Month Course

 

Want to Take Your Education Higher?

Did you know that the subjects you complete in the career track courses can be used to apply for credit toward our accredited degrees and diplomas in the same discipline? 

The skills and knowledge you build in any industry-certificate course can be transferred into academic credits through our Advanced Standing and Credit Transfer process. So, if you decide to take your studies to the next level, know that your prior learning will be recognized.

Compare your options and find out which course is right for you.

FIND OUT MORE

Mentors

Get direct access to Houdini FX artists and learn from the best

All Houdini FX classes are taught by industry mentors with years of experience working on films and video games.

Student Showcase

Our students create work that makes a splash

With a focus on industry tools and techniques, we help students build their competitive edge with high-quality work they can add to their portfolios. See what they are creating.

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Studios that hire our students

Our commitment to job outcomes and a focus on career development has helped graduates find work at studios all over the world.
Frequently asked questions

Houdini FX Course FAQs

Age Minimum
The general minimum age to be able to enroll in our career track courses is 16. We require parent or guardian consent during the enrollment process for applicants under 18.

Students under 16 will require a further assessment before they can officially enrol. This may include an interview with a course advisor and the creation of a study plan to ensure they have considered how they will manage a college-level workload.

English Proficiency
We expect our students to have a good understanding of written and spoken English. There’s no specific ’level'; however, you must be able to understand video tutorials in English (no subtitles) and speak with your mentor in English during your live Q&A session.

Computer Literacy
To be successful in this program, you will need basic computer skills and a computer that meets the minimum specifications (see next question).
Some previous knowledge of 3D software would also be beneficial.

Software:

You will need to purchase an education license of Houdini from SideFX and download a non-commercial license of Nuke, which is free.

Hardware:

You will need a dedicated graphics card and a computer that meets the minimum requirements for Houdini and Nuke. A minimum of 32GB RAM is ideal.

This course gives you an excellent understanding of FX fundamentals. Depending on your level of commitment, skills, and portfolio pieces, you may be ready to start applying for entry-level artist positions.

To further hone your skills and increase your hiring potential, the FX Artist Specialization course (available early 2025) is recommended. It covers more complex techniques and includes an entire term dedicated to career development and building your portfolio to prepare you for junior FX jobs such as:

Students also get access to additional career services to support them in their job hunt. The CG Spectrum community is another great resource—you can network and find out about game development job vacancies through graduates and mentors already working in the industry. 

Discover more VFX jobs, tips, and salary expectations on our careers page:

To skip any terms in this course, you must show that you have a fundamental understanding of how Houdini works. Your portfolio must demonstrate an understanding of the topics taught in the course. These include:

  • Geometry creation
  • Particle simulations
  • Rigid body simulations
  • Smoke and pyro simulations
  • Flip fluid simulations
  • Lighting and rendering
  • Demonstration of compositing skills and complex shot production.

It’s important that you understand how Houdini works because in this course, the pace is faster, the lessons more complex, and we don’t want you to be confused or fall behind. 

A large component of our course is about how to present your effects in the best way possible, so if you have a portfolio but your presentation skills need work then we may still encourage you to start from the beginning to make sure you become the best artist you can be!