Houdini (6 weeks)

Course details


Live online

Start date

Coming soon


6 weeks

Mode of study

Full time



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

Become a master in this in-demand VFX software at a Houdini Certified School! 

Learn how to make the most of Houdini for visual effects with our certified Houdini trainers, who will teach you what you need to know to move to the next level with Houdini and Houdini Engine asset creation. 

In this course, you will learn 3D VFX and create Houdini digital assets and simulations. You will also understand the uses of Houdini Engine plugin for making tools for Maya and Unreal Engine, and how to apply that across a variety of pipelines in visual effects and video game art to enhance your workflow. 

This course is ideal for those who are familiar with the basic concepts of 3D and computer graphics. We'll give you the skills to start creating a killer VFX showreel which you can finesse with the help from our AfterCare programme for 12 months after the course. 

SideFX, the brains behind Houdini, are one of our favourite software industry partners whom we work very closely with as a Houdini Certified School. As well as hosting their 2016 software launch at our campus, they've contributed to the development of this course, championing their own software and engine for industry use. There's simply no better place to learn what the professionals do. 

See also 

Houdini (Evening - 20 weeks)

See more student work

Why choose this course

  • Ranked 2nd in the UK - and 10th in the world for Visual Effects Excellence by The Rookies  

  • Based in London - home to some of the best post-production studios in the world   

  • 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 showreel 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 

  • The course is taught live online, meaning you’ll be able to upskill from your own home  

  • 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 

  • Strong portfolio - along with an Escape Studios Certificate of Achievement, 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

Introduction to interface and 3D pipeline 

  • Modelling a simple project 


  • Traditional modelling 

  • Procedural modelling 

Procedural modelling and VEX/VOPS 

  • Procedural tool making 

  • Modelling techniques 

  • Intro to coding in Houdini with VEX and VOPS 

Procedural asset creation (HDA’s) and intro to Houdini engine 

  • Intro to digital asset creation pipeline 

Texturing and materials 

  • UVs 

  • Materials 

  • Shaders 

Lighting and rendering 

  • Lighting techniques for photo-realism 

  • Rendering engines and optimisation

Introduction to DOPs, POPs and RBDs 

  • DOP network  

  • Particle simulations with POPs 

  • RBD simulation with colliders 

Fracturing and constraints 

  • Pre-fracturing techniques 

  • RBD constraints 

  • SOP solver 

RBD SOP techniques and rendering RBD 

  • SOP-only simulation workflow and setup 

  • Pros and cons 

Secondary simulations to add debris and dust from the main RBD simulation 

Project work

Introduction to pyro in DOPs 

  • Mist  

  • Smoke  

  • Fire effects  

  • Collisions 

  • Controls  

  • Caching  

  • Sparse solver 

Using custom micro-solvers and fields 

  • Creating custom micro-solvers and fields to control the fire/smoke simulation 

PYRO SOP techniques 

  • SOP-only simulation workflow and setup for pyro 

  • Pros and cons 

Rendering smoke and fire simulations 

  • Secondary simulations to add debris and dust from the main RBD simulation 

Project work

Introduction to FLIP in DOPs 

  • Intro to FLIP  

  • Water effects 

Flat tank introduction 

  • Creating a flat tank and interacting with colliders 

  • Intro to optimisation with narrow band 

Intro to ocean tools and other custom forces 

  • Creating large bodies of water 

  • Ocean spectrum 

  • Adding custom forces to drive the waves 

Adding white-water effects and rendering 

  • Secondary simulations for white-water effects such as bubbles, spray and foam 

  • Caching and surfacing fluids 

  • Rendering water, foam, etc 

Project work 

Introduction to Vellum 

  • Introduction to Vellum 

  • Cloth simulations 

Vellum SOP setup and drape workflow 

  • Vellum SOP tools 

  • Drape workflow for making clothing for characters 

Other uses for Vellum (hair, balloons, tearing, etc) 

  • Hair for dynamic curves

  • Pressure and fracture settings 

Vellum soft bodies for creature FX and organic character flesh workflows 

Project work

Introduction to height field 

  • Creating terrains 

Populating terrains with geometry 

  • Masking and scatter tools to populate environment with trees, rocks, etc 

Applying textures and lighting to terrains 

  • Rendering and lighting height fields in Houdini 

  • Applying materials using tri-planar mapping 

Project work, delivery and feedback

More information

  • Houdini

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:

  • 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 on courses@escapestudios.ac.uk or +44 (0) 203 441 1303.

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 courses@escapestudios.ac.uk.

“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.


Live online: £4,520

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 our Admissions Team on courses@escapestudios.ac.uk or +44 (0)203 441 1303 or visit our admissions page for any questions about fees, funding and payment plans.

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 showcase

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