houdini tutorial database

3D Galaxy Creation Effects

3D Galaxy Creation Effects

This is a full start-to-finish project, building a spiral galaxy in Houdini from scratch. We cover simulation, shaders, rendering, and compositing. We are going for an aesthetic and art-directed attempt here, rather than a scientifically accurate representation of a galaxy. The great thing about this tutorial is that you will be able to produce a high quality result at the end of it. This isn't just a technique tutorial, where you have to where you learn some abstract technique and have to fill in the blanks to reach a good-looking end product. We discuss creative decisions, make adjustments on-the-fly, and work toward a stunning result. This is an intermediate level tutorial. Familiarity with Houdini is assumed, and you should have some experience in all the Houdini contexts before attempting this tutorial.

Short Description
Learn how to create the ultimate 3d galaxy graphics in Houdini for all sorts of Film Quality Post Production Shots.

We show you the finished render from the tutorial and discuss, in general, the elements we will be creating: The vortex stars, the vortex gas, and the background stars.

Vortex Stars
Starting with a disc, we show how to birth particles in an initial configuration which will lead to interesting simulation shapes. We move into pops, we we explore two methods for creating a vortex force. We show how to use the orbit pop to achieve this, as well as writing our own vop pop to get this effect. We settle on the vop pop, and customize it to add levels of detail and interest to the simulation. We then shade and render the stars, building out own shader from scratch, and touch on a simple compositing network to bring the render to life.

Vortex Gas
We take our star simulation and use that as a basis for a fluid sim. We go into DOPS, foregoing the shelf tools and building our own DOP network from scratch. We learn how to use our stars' velocities to add interest to the fluid sim, creating a really interesting shape for the gas, which will work in harmony with the star layer. We discuss rendering issues, and show how to get sharper volume rendering by adjusting the volume filter on our geometry. At the end of the chapter, we incorporate the gas into our compositing network.

Background Stars
We take our knowledge from chapter one and put that to use here, creating a spherical star field to surround out galaxy. We use a vop sop to add complexity and interest to the stars, so they are not just a random cluster. We then render this later and incorporate it into our comp.