Brendan Dawes
The Aesthetics of Form and Code

That Was The Week That Was – 26th July 2020

This week I had a call with a dear friend of mine, who's asked for my assistance on a very exciting project, involving making potentially thousands of unique procedural images. I can't say more than that right now, but I'm really looking forward to working on this one.

As always when I get something like this, I start to wander how it might be done, and so a period of research begins. I pondered how it's possible to make thousands of unique images in Houdini in a considered way? Was there a system to do this?

Well I found the answer in Houdini's Procedural Dependency Graph. Essentially you can create a series of tasks that will procedurally change as many parameters as you like, in exactly the manner you want, and then chain these together and then render out geometry, a full render or a 2D composition using the Image Comp networks in Houdini. It will work through these tasks so that 10 tasks coupled with another 10 tasks would output 100 things. You can see where my head was taking me. Here was the answer to creating thousands of unique images.

Before I get into the actual work though, I needed to create a little test project. So I cooked something up in the form of posters featuring a generative Voronoi fracture, and added some type to form a tribute to Georgy Voronoy. All this was done inside Houdini using the Comp network,resulting in 1000 unique posters.

1000 images

To find out more about PDG, this is a great overview of how PDG works in Houdini from Entagma for Sidefx.