Learn How to Craft Game Effects using Houdini & UE4

Learn How to Craft Game Effects using Houdini & UE4

A guide for experienced film vfx artists to start their journey into real time graphics.

What You'll Learn

Take visual effects knowledge you've gained through working with Houdini in the motion picture industry, and understand the basics of how to apply it to the video game industry
Understand the importance of optimization in real time visual effects


This 45 Minute Lecture was originally given to the Vancouver Houdini User Group in August 2016. It is a talk that was designed for an audience familiar with feature film visual effects workflows, specifically those which use Houdini. The goal is to increase awareness of limitations in real-time game environments, and to help film makers take steps towards transitioning into interactive media.

Feature film effects artists are typically used to working with millions or particles, polygons, and voxels. While it's acceptable for a render farm to chew through heavy data over the course of several hours for film; current game platforms are not designed with this kind of geometry in mind. It's up to the effects artist to understand this and produce visuals that are as light-weight as they are beautiful so that game engines can spend their efforts on more than just the visuals.

This is not designed to be a step-by-step tutorial for making a "pretty" effect, but rather a general purpose guide geared at introducing a broad topic. If you are interested in transitioning from film to games, this talk may be useful as a primer as we'll introduce concepts such as: sprite sheets, power of two dimensions, texture packing, particle trimming, letting the GPU handle transformations, and vertex animation. Topics are introduced in a way that should build upon concepts that are already familiar to those with training in the motion picture discipline. All examples in this lecture are given using Houdini 15.5.523 and Unreal Engine 4.12.5.

The example files may be downloaded and examined at the student's own leisure.

Course Info.

1 hours







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Start Here
2:41 Introduction
Example Files
Real Time Visual Effects using Houdini and UE4
6:46 How do sprite sheets work in Unreal Engine?
5:35 Creating a sprite sheet in Houdini
6:42 A basic "power-up" particle in Unreal Engine
4:27 Creating Geometry and Animating in Houdini
3:27 Vector Math Basics
8:24 Exporting Vertex Animation From Houdini
5:35 Using Vertex Animation in Unreal Engine
Thank You For Watching
2:30 Outro


How It Works



Each course is like an interactive textbook with pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.
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Your Teacher

Stephen Tucker

Stephen Tucker

Visual Effects Artist for Film and Games