From cgwiki

So you've decided to take a look at Houdini? Good for you! If you're still not sure and you're a competent Maya user, maybe skim the MayaToHoudini page, it might convince you.

This site assumes you can navigate around Houdini and know the basics. If you don't, don't worry, the core UI is very simple, and shouldn't take more than an hour to learn. If that's you, then you probably want to do these steps first:

  1. Download Houdini Apprentice. It's free, and gives you access to everything you need.
  2. Watch the 'Start Here' videos by SideFX. They're all quick videos (usually 4 minutes or less), the ordering is a bit random, but they give you the basics for moving around the software. I've used the 'categories' filters on their site to keep it to only the UI basics, when you've completed those its worth checking out the other options in the categories drop-down, there's loads!

If you like video tutorials, but want to play long, maybe watch me blather on in a webinar I recorded for sidefx. There's a download link in the description to get the same file I'm demonstrating with, gives a bit of an insight to how Houdini is used (skip to about 10 mins in if you don't want to hear my life story):


Once you can move the viewport and get into a SOP network, you can start working through this site, I suggest in this order:

  1. Houdini - lots of quick examples
  2. HoudiniTutorials - conversational, borderline rambling tutorials. Like a text based, hour long vimeo tutorial you'd play at 2x speed
  3. Houdini_Lighting_Shading - how to place lights, assign materials, create an image
  4. HoudiniVolumes
  5. JoyOfVex
  6. HoudiniDops
  7. The rest. :)