Volume Fields

A deep dive into proceduralism - A variety of visual experiments all driven by data rather than keyframes. My desire to convert temperature, density, and velocity data into animations led me to utilize dynamics, particles, grains, solvers, VEX, and surface operators to create this short piece.

So, what is this project? At first glance, it comes off as some sort of demo reel for non-branded, 3D effects. And to be completely honest, that is not too far off. This was a project that I set up for myself to utilize as many of the different systems in Houdini that I could - without setting a single keyframe. I was toying around in Houdini one day when I realized that I could transfer attributes from pyro simulations back onto geometry points. This opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me as I could now drive geometry solvers, dynamics, particle simulations, grain solvers, and more - all using data from a previous simulation. I quickly realized that the level of detailed movement that I received from a pyro simulation was far greater than I could have keyframed by hand. So here is the result, visual experiments driven by data, not by keyframes.

A big part of this project, as is the same with most of my personal projects, is learning something new and become more proficient with the tools that I use everyday. There were a lot of aspects of Houdini that I was not too comfortable with before diving in on this project - my knowledge of coding in VEX was quite rudimentary, I had never really used the grain solver for larger scale sand simulations, and I knew that I could do with more practice using SOP solvers and for-each loops. With that in mind, I tied on my proverbial blindfold and threw visual darts at the wall to come up with an array of scenes that each tested my skills in a different way. Some scenes were inspired by artists like Joan Miro and Alexander Calder - others by architecture or nature. Some relied heavily on dynamics, others on VEX. But at the end of the day, these seemingly disconnected scenes are tied together by one element - all of the movement is driven by the same 90 frame pyro simulation seen below. Either using temperature, velocity, or density to drive different types of motion, everything comes back to one single cache file - true proceduralism at work.



This project was completed using Houdini FX and rendered in Redshift.

Color correction in After Effects and edited in Premiere.

Music: Practicing - Josh Hurwitz (Whiplash Soundtrack)