Featured Artist: Florian Bard "Flooz", France
Hi! I'm Florian BARD. I have been working in the Vfx industry for 5 years as a Houdini FX artist. I live in France at the moment, but I would like to work in Canada or the US soon!
I began my career at a small company in the South of France called "Forge Animation”, where I worked for 4 years. During that time my projects included an adaptation of the novel "La horde du contrevent", an adaptation of the book "Abyme" and Fx for commercial spots like Nissan, Tedx and NRJ. Sadly, this wonderful company collapsed a year ago. Since then I have been working as a freelancer. My latest freelance job was at Unit Image in France, working on a famous video game. It was great to collaborate with their talented team.
I discovered Houdini 4 years ago, and it was a real surprise. The 3D world that Houdini opened up for me was so different from what I had learned in school! I realized that 3D is essentially built from vector calculations. This understanding allowed me to start creating beautiful moving images. I found the possibilities in Houdini so intriguing that I decided to concentrate on expanding my mastery of this tool.
Most of the time my Houdini videos begin with a question, an image, a desire, and I go from there.
The question for the project I am about to show you was "How does a flock of birds fly in the sky?" The first part of the answer is some rules exist!
Each bird flies and adapts its flight depending on its field of vision, other birds’ positions, velocities and accelerations.
If the leader of the group turns left, the bird just behind it will turn left too, but with a latency period, and it's the same for the other birds.
Each bird tries to maintain a suitable and safe distance from its peers, a "security distance", to avoid collision.
So I started with the idea of showing various birds in flight based on those rules. In order to show their flight, I decided to add some magic effects with particles.
I also decided to show a T-Rex at the end of the video, to introduce something more interesting and a little more crazy.
All effects were done using Houdini.
The first step in the project was to download the bird cycle animation and the T-Rex cycle animation.
Then, I copied instancing geometry birds on particle animation, driven by the flocking system. Because I wanted the animation to look more realistic I added a decay when birds turn on their flight. In order to do this, I used a method based on Quaternions slerp in order to update the orient vector. I also added a rotation based on the roll axis when birds turn (see below).
Once the animation finished, I added 3 Fx passes for the birds.
For The T-Rex there are 5 passes. The first pass is a basic emit with a pop wind, while the second pass is a basic trail. The third pass is a trail from an electron orbiting around the T-Rex, which is similar to the third effect used on the birds. For the fourth pass I added some particles sliding on the surface with some variation in the velocity. ( Those variations use random and noise functions to add more details)
After the four passes I still felt something was missing, so I added a fifth pass consisting in a particle interaction between the T-Rex and the floor. Specifically, I used particles advected by a smoke simulation with random forces, a curl noise and drag forces.
I hope you find my brief tutorial useful.
You can download the scene hip and the rotation bird setup hip file here:
Don’t hesitate to contact me at if you have any questions.
Florian Bard 2016
By: Patricia Cornet