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Creature Grooming Techniques in Houdini

A Maya, Houdini & Nuke Workflow With Luis Cadavid


Learn how to create convincing creature grooms in Houdini with this 3-hour workshop by Groomer at Digital Domain, Luis Cadavid. A discussion of the concepts and tools that are used in this workshop takes precedence at the beginning before Luis jumps into Maya to explore his creature model. At this stage, the importance is on getting to know the volumes that will be used to create the creature groom and involves observing lots of reference materials before exporting the model to Houdini.

Once in Houdini, Luis provides an introduction to how Houdini creates hair before he prepares all of the objects and creates the various VDBs, and separates the mesh to create the groom. You’ll learn how to take advantage of the tools that Luis widely uses, including the Curve Advect Tool, Guide Process: Bend, Guide Process: Set Direction, Guide Process: Lift, Length, Curve Mask, and Noise Mask. You’ll also discover how to create your own custom shortcuts to make your workflow faster and more efficient.

With knowledge of all the tools defined, Luis then starts the process of creating the guides for the face of the werewolf, adding volume and shape to the guides using various attributes. He creates the hair and various sized clumps before moving on to creating the guides for the body, legs, ears, and tail. He also paints the attributes that he will later combine together. Once the first pass of the groom is done, Luis shares how he tests materials and HDRIs and sets up the camera so he can get an idea of how the groom is working. 

By completing this workshop, you will have covered all of the bases needed to begin creating your own grooms. This tutorial is intended for artists with a basic to medium level of understanding of grooming.

The model and textures featured in this workshop were created by Felipe Gomez.

Duration: 3h 05m

Format: HD 1920x1080
CC: English

Luis Cadavid

Groomer at Digital Domain

Luis Cadavid is a Grooming Artist at Digital Domain and has 17 years of experience in the industry. He's worked as a Groom Supervisor at Mikros and Lead Groom Artist at Mr. X. He has also worked on a highly anticipated sequel for Marvel Studios, Hellboy 3, Paw Patrol: The Movie, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, and many more. 

Luis has always had a passion for sharing his knowledge with others and regularly creates personal projects to explore new techniques and to further his growth as an artist.

  • Had the pleasure to work with Luis at Mr. X on several projects … Easy to work with and would make sure he does his best to hit the mark on the grooms that were tasked to him.

    - Cristian Camaroschi
    VFX Supervisor at Mr. X

  • I’ve worked with Luis for the last 3 years. He is a great artist with a strong eye … He is passionate about his work, always doing some side projects, learning some new ways of work. He really has easy contact with people and especially as a supervisor with his team.

    - Guillaume Dufief
    Head of CG at Superprod

  • Luis Is the man you want to have on your team for the hair department — period! Great artist, very good spirit, and team player. He is not afraid when hard work arrives. He just rolls up his sleeves with a smile and goes for it. We worked together on Stubby. It was a hard project with a very tight deadline with more than 100 characters.

    - Emmanuel Laurent
    Head of Production at Reel FX