Speakers: Girish Balakrishnan and Judith Crow, Side Effects Software
Time: Wednesday, February 19 , 4-5:50pm
Location: USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media Building (SCI), Room 108
Title: Rapid Prototyping with Houdini Engine: Introducing a Procedural Workflow for Game Development
This presentation will explore two case studies using Houdini Engine together with Unity to quickly prototype and make changes to digital environments. Side Effects Software’s Houdini, with its broad procedural tool set, has been a mainstay of digital effects pipelines for more than a decade. More recently a team at Side Effects has been developing ways to put these same powerful tools in the hands of artists working in a variety of host applications, including Unity.
In the first case study the presenters will show how bringing procedural approaches to the level creation process contributes to a highly efficient and iterative workflow — essential components in making ever more detailed and complex worlds. The second case study applies similar tools to the process of previsualization and virtual cinematography and will conclude with a demonstration of the SmartVCS platform.
Girish Balakrishnan is a researcher in the field of virtual production working at Side Effects Software with the Houdini Engine team to develop procedural previsualization tools for cinematic pipelines. As part of his work with the SmartVCS, a new mobile virtual camera capture platform, Girish is researching possibilities for reshaping virtual production techniques. His cinematography research work has recently been awarded the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Randy Pausch Award and the Unity Awards at Unite 2013 and was presented at SIGGRAPH 2013′s Studio Exhibition.
Judith Crow has meandered happily through her working life by adroitly seeking out the next difficult problem that interests her and attempting to work with the most talented people available in order to play a part in finding a solution. Currently she leads a fantastic ninja team at Side Effects Software in the effort to bring Houdini’s procedural tools, long depended on by film visual effects artists, to the wider game development community. Prior to her decade at Side Effects Judith has over fifteen years of experience in digital production, many of them supervising digital effects at facilities including Digital Domain and Disney’s The Secret Lab where she worked on ground-breaking effects projects for films including “Fight Club”, “Titanic” and “Apollo 13”, to name a few.