Houdini (Evening - 20 weeks)

Course details


Live online

Start date

24th September 2024


20 weeks

Mode of study

Part time (Tuesday and Thursday evenings: 7pm-10pm)



Thirs place Rookies award icon for production excellence in visual effectsTop 10 Rookies award for creative schools in the UKTransparent orange and black Houdini certified school logo

Course overview

Do you want to become a master in this in-demand latest VFX software? 

This part-time evening course will demystify Houdini and teach you how to make the most of it for VFX, by setting up style effects and rendering them, basically the safest way to blow stuff up! 

You will design and create Houdini digital assets, learn VFX and be able to use and create many interesting effects like smoke, fire and dust. You will understand the uses of Houdini Engine plugin for making tools for Maya and Unreal Engine, so this can be applied across all areas of the pipeline and enhance workflows. This course is ideal for those who are familiar with the basic concepts of 3D and computer graphics. 

The brains behind Houdini, SideFX, are one of our favourite software industry partners. As well as hosting their 2016 software launch at our place, they've contributed to the development of this course, championing their own software and engine for industry use. Escape Studios is a Houdini Certified School, and Houdini certified trainer, Mark Spevick, teaches the course, with over ten years of industry experience. There's simply no better place to learn what the professionals do. 

See also Advanced 3D VFX

See more student work

Why choose this course

  • Ranked 3rd in the UK – and 10th in the world for Production Excellence in Visual Effects by The Rookies   

  • Be taught by a certified SideFX Houdini trainer at a Houdini Certified School, meaning the content is relevant and up to date  

  • Studying the Houdini software will ensure you stand out amongst creative professionals - as it is a very popular tool in the film and games markets, those with training are desired. Houdini has been described in the market as a ‘dream’ software, giving artists fine control when creating sophisticated visual effects and tools

  • Professional input – our advisory board of experts, from the likes of DNEG (Avengers: Endgame and Oscar-winning Dune) and MPC (The Lion King and 1917), help keep this course relevant

  • Successful alumni – join our community of thousands of Escapees, many of whom have gone on to work at some of the world’s top studios. 47 Escapees worked on Avengers: Endgame, 36 on No Time to Die and 16 on Stranger Things

  • Aftercare package - we'll help you polish your portfolio and find the right job, with access to our studios and showreel clinics for 12 months

  • Industry-standard facilities – study in a studio environment that mirrors current industry practice, using professional software 

  • Fast-track learning – studying a short course allows you to learn new skills quickly, in a fast-paced environment, so you can start applying for jobs as soon as you’ve completed the programme 

  • Intensive training – we pack a lot into a few evening classes, and we recommend that you work outside of classes for an extra few hours per week to complete your assignments 

  • Flexibility – study live online and in the evening to fit the course around your professional and personal life and other commitments 

  • Strong portfolio – along with an Escape Studios Certificate of Completion, you'll leave with strong creative and technical skills and great pieces for your portfolio 

  • Small class sizes – a convivial environment allows students to assist and inspire one another and benefit from personalised feedback from tutors.

Course modules

  • Interface 

  • Procedural workflow

  • Introduction to procedural modelling in SOPs

  • Advanced SOP techniques 

  • Copy stamp, attributes, solver node

  • Introduction to writing code and VOPS and tips

  • VOPS and tips

  • Introduction to VEX wrangles and tips

  • Introduction to DOPS and Houdini's particle system

  • Introduction to Bullet RBDs

  • Advanced RBD control with constraints

  • Introduction to pyro tools and basic control

  • Advanced custom velocity controls

  • Rendering

  • Understanding pyro shading

  • Complete personal project

  • Introduction to Vellum cloth

  • Cloth tips and tricks

  • Introduction to texturing, material assignment and principle shader

  • Introduction to Mantra rendering 

  • Custom materials 

  • AOVs

  • Making digital assets for Houdini, Maya and Unreal Engine

  • Complete personal project

More information

  • Houdini

To apply, complete the relevant online application form linked below:

Our Admissions Team will get in touch to take you through the next steps.

If you have any questions about your application or our entry requirements, get in touch!

As part of the application process, you will need to agree to our terms and conditions for your place on the course to be secured.

Minimum requirements

We welcome and encourage applications from students with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

To study this short course, you must:

  • Have a basic knowledge of 3D and a creative portfolio that demonstrates your 3D skills

  • Be over 18

  • Have a good understanding of written and spoken English

  • Feel comfortable using a computer.

If you’d like to discuss your circumstances before applying, contact us!

Non-UK students

We accept international students for our short courses, with no difference in course fees or administration costs. 

The Standard Visitor visa allows students to come to the UK to study for a course of up to six months at an accredited institution. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a standard visitor visa prior to departure from your home country. For more information visit:  

Contact us on courses@escapestudios.ac.uk or +44 (0)203 441 1303 for any questions.

We can provide remote access to our workstations during teaching time. Due to availability restrictions, we highly advise you to have your own set up at home to study in your own time.

More things you’ll need:

  • A strong internet connection

  • An external hard drive (minimum 2TB) to back up your work during the course

  • A three-button mouse (or optionally graphics tablet)

  • A computer microphone (and optionally a webcam)

  • Note-taking materials

If you have any questions about learning online or if you need help with what to buy, get in touch at hello@escapestudios.ac.uk.


Live online: £3,250

Payment plans

We offer a range of payment plan options for all courses. Following an initial deposit at registration stage, your chosen payment plan will break down your remaining fees into up to six equal instalments, to be paid over the course length.

Contact us or visit our admissions page for any questions about fees, funding and payment plans.

“Consumers who are increasingly looking for high-definition (HD) VFX experiences will have huge business opportunities in the VFX market in the next few years.” (source Expert Market Research)

You’ll leave with an Escape Studios Certificate of Achievement, along with strong creative and technical skills and some great pieces of work for your portfolio, which you can add to with help from our Aftercare programme. Ready to apply for jobs in the industry!

Houdini is used in 3D VFX, those with an understanding of the tool can work as a freelance specialist or in 3D roles such as: 

  • Technical Artist  

  • VFX Artist  

  • FX Artist 

3D Artists often start out in junior roles to then rise to mid-level and senior roles such as Technical Directors, opening the path to becoming a VFX Supervisor.   

Our students have gone to work as both specialist and generalist artists in creative studios, across TV shows, films and commercials, at companies including Framestore, DNEG, MPC and Jellyfish Pictures. Read some of our VFX Escapee success stories.

Check out our Careers Guide for more information about career opportunities and progression routes.

Profile picture of Mark Spevick

Meet our industry-experienced tutors

Houdini certified trainer, Mark Spevick has over ten years of industry experience. He got his big break at Peerless Camera, working on every Gilliam film from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. He also worked on Zorro and Mask of Zorro, before supervising on the set of Casino Royale, and more recently on Marvel’s series Moon Knight for Framestore.

Meet your tutors

Student work

Not only was the standard of work excellent but the students themselves were incredibly articulate, self-assured and mature. It is testament to the course leaders that these students have already secured employment and will no doubt have successful careers.

Harry Jones
Operations Director at Time Based Arts