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Pragmatic VEX series is aimed to increase the technical capacity of the artists and TDs which will allow them to tackle more complex production shots with complete control and ease by acquiring a deeper technical understanding of how things work in Houdini at the lowest level with a strong applied focus on high-end feature film visual effects production.

Created by Yunus "animatrix" Balcioglu, Senior FX Technical Director with experience from studios such as Industrial Light & Magic and MPC. Feature film credits include Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Aquaman, Alien: Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and many more.

Pragmatic VEX is a carefully structured course where every single topic, concept and idea is planned in advance with no idle moments, dead space, gratuitous talking or unplanned debugging for what should have been done offline. Everything is presented in a clear and concise manner, rather than impromptu recording with little to no editing, bloating the total runtime. Every topic is clearly explained through live concept drawings before showing how to implement it inside Houdini.

Provided in this course are more than 11 hours of high-density practical video content spanning more than 130 videos. Almost all cook times and idle moments are edited out, and some parts are sped up (2-5x) like concept drawing, code writing, viewport/network navigation, and node layout, etc. The focus is on quality rather than total running time, and as such the course length is not the best way to estimate the actual value.

That's why I don't spend 1 hour explaining what a string is, or how to call a function as there are so many resources online covering those to exhaustion. They will be assumed knowledge.

If you feel that, at any point, you are lacking some prerequisites, I would highly recommend referring to Houdini documentation, as well as watching Entagma videos ( These guys set the bar really high for all Houdini training.

I tried to cover as many areas that have relevant areas to have a solid volume with a similar theme and flow, that not only progressively scales up on complexity and intricacy, but is also filled with countless practical production-proven tips and tricks from beginning to end.

Topics covered: Point Clouds, Smooth Point Cloud Filtering, Grid Based Point Cloud Lookup (pgfind), Camera Based Occlusion with Variable Pscale, Point Relaxation, Uniform Point Distribution Over Polygonal Surfaces, Unique Pair Matching, Operator Decoupling, Convolution Kernels, K-Depth Neighbours Using Edges & Primitives, Cubic Hermite Interpolation (smoothstep), Shaping Functions, Blurring Attributes, Sharpening Attributes, Kernel Code Generalization, Generic VEX Kernels, Gradient, Gradient Ascent/Descent & Contour Lines on Planar/Arbitrary Geometry & Heightfields, Geometric Advection, Orthogonalization, Flowlines, Clustering, Quadtrees, Subdivision Limit Surface, Limit Surface Sampling, Half-Edges, Hashing, Adaptive Subdivision, Improved OpenSubdiv Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces Algorithm, Custom Fusing in VEX, Splitting Edges, Edge Divide, Bilinear Subdivision, Catmull-Clark Subdivision, Boundary Rules, Attribute Preservation & Interpolation, Group Preservation, Sea Caustics, Pool Caustics, Generic HDA Design, Performance Profiling & Aggressive Performance Optimizations

Software: Houdini 18

Special thanks to Jeff Lait and Mark Elendt.

Korean translation (WIP) by Seona Hwang.

Overlay Network Editor feature is part of Supercharged extension