Setting up Houdini on a headless linux server

I will go briefly through the process of setting up Houdini on a headless linux server.

In our project we had access to Nvidia VCA hardware which was running CentOS 7.3 and did not have a X server.

This hardware has some decent computing power in it and we wanted to offload some of our rendering on this computer. We were rendering with Redshift renderer which scaled pretty well on multiple GPUs. We also just fitted into Redshift’s limit of max 8 GPUs.

To be able to do more general-purpose jobs (simulations, caching) on the VCA and to simplify submission process we decided to setup both Houdini and Redshift on it.

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Setting up Houdini on a headless linux server

Learning resources about VFX and CG

I would like to share with you a collection of presentations, research papers and theses on various topics of VFX or CG.

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I am used to collecting good learning resources and keeping them around in case I will need them later. So it happened that my small list grew and I realized that I have quite interesting things collected from various places.

So I decided to create a repository at GitHub where I will continue to gather useful information which I come across. I am not trying to re-create a database of all recent cutting-edge research. It is more oriented on resources which are easier to understand, like presentations with notes and pictures 🙂 I have been most interested in resources about FX and volumetrics, so it is missing stuff in other areas like cloth simulation etc..

And this is also one of the motivations to host it on a git: similar-minded people can contribute with their areas of interest and hopefully we will end up with a nice pool of information which we can quickly refer to when needed.

I tried to make an easy system for adding new entries – simply add them into a json library file and the page will be automatically updated. More info about that in the repo.

I hope that you will find this resource useful 🙂

Learning resources about VFX and CG

Batch textures conversion tool

Hello,
I would like to share with you my latest tool that I developed in my spare time. It’s aim is to help you with batch pre-conversion of textures for VFX render engines.
It will batch convert your textures into formats like rat (for Mantra), tx (for PRMan or Arnold), rstexbin (for Redshift). It works within Houdini, Maya or as a standalone application. You can see screen capture of this tool in action here 🙂

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Batch textures conversion tool

Houdini tip | Render any node in background

Hello, I would like to share with you a recent small script I did for more convenient local rendering from Houdini.

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In some Houdini builds I had issues with background renders, and I also miss Background render feature on some nodes. So I created this shelf tool, which will enable you to start a background render of a selected node or nodes. Using this tool you can render nodes with dependencies, fetch nodes, merge nodes… Just select the node and press button. It will start up a background process in terminal, where you will see progress of the rendering.

Currently it works on Linux and Windows. Feel free to contribute to the repository and extend it for MacOS. Also if you encounter any issues let me know, or even better create a pull request 🙂

Here you can find script repository with set-up instructions.

Happy rendering 🙂

Houdini tip | Render any node in background