January 18, 2008
– Online Video Training Movies (VTMs) released by 3D Buzz have been one of the most popular choices for CG artists learning Houdini for the first time. Now with the release of Houdini 9, the crew at 3D Buzz is using a new innovative approach to incorporate the knowledge of the community into the development of their content.
"Houdini is by far my favorite application for any technical problem, and I love coming up with new ways to make use of its power," says Jason Busby, founder of 3D Buzz. "With Houdini Apprentice, I know that my students have access to all of the tools currently in use by the most prestigious studios, giving me the freedom to teach today's latest techniques to the effects artists of tomorrow."
The Houdini Online Classroom
is 3D Buzz's centralized location for all Houdini training. It provides access to video tutorials, contests, group discussions, and all things pertaining to the Houdini community. The classroom itself is geared toward those looking for a solid foundation in Houdini and who need a focused place to get started.
The classroom forums were opened in 2007 around the time the Houdini 9 beta launched. The classroom itself was still in development, but was made available to provide a single place for students to go and learn more about Houdini.
Houdini Classroom Contest
At the same time, 3D Buzz launched their first Houdini Classroom Contest. The contest provides a fun, challenging, and unique way for students - both experienced and new - to expand their Houdini knowledge. The goal is to tackle a specific technical problem and the submission that solves the problem in the most elegant and creative way is the winner.
Best of all, the winner's submission is then deconstructed and provided to the community in the form of video tutorials. This unique approach to learning allows for a wide variety of possible solutions to any individual problem, and gives students a chance to learn by doing as they each strive to come up with their own personal approach. Plus, when all is said and done, everyone benefits from the knowledge of the winner.
"The 3D Buzz contests add a lot of fun into the equation," says Robert Magee, Product Marketing Manager, Side Effects Software. "It will be interesting to see how some students benefit from the self-discovery aspect of the contest while others benefit from the resulting tutorial videos."
The first contest challenged users to create a Houdini Digital Asset for a suspension bridge, allowing customizable controls for width, height, length, number of levels, number of suspension cables, overall arc, and more. The winning asset, provided by skilled technical artist Peter Claes, was then reverse engineered and the entire process of its creation is now available as video tutorials from within the classroom.
Technical Director DVDs
For the past year, while 3D Buzz has been planning and designing the free online classroom, they’ve alos been developing a Technical Director's series of DVDs. This Houdini-specific series will focus on acute problem solving techniques for a wide variety of technical applications. This series will be geared towards intermediate to experienced Houdini users, and will cover technical solutions for much more complicated problems. This project is being headed by Steve Twist, our Director of Houdini Education.
"At 3D Buzz, we are very excited about the things they have in store for the Houdini community in 2008," says Busby. "We look forward to providing Houdini users from around the world with a wide base of knowledge - both introductory and advanced. We encourage artists to come over to the classroom and take part in this revolutionary approach to learning the most powerful 3D application on the planet."