As an FX artist, what type of programming/scripting language(s) should I learn?

I was recently thinking about getting into HLSL for FX, but after doing more research I’m not so sure.

Should I go with something like MEL or Python instead?

What would you suggest to make me a better job candidate?

Python for sure is useful for anyone to know.

Learn Houdini- will open up doors in the AAA games industry and in film industry

Do you mean Houdini in general? How about Houdini scripting, would you suggest VEX or Python?

Our guys tend to use Python, some advantages are the fact that if you learn Python, you can apply it in other environments; i.e. Python can be used in other apps, like Maya, etc.

And yes, as an FX artist you want to know Houdini in general as well. It’s a pretty amazing VFX package; there’s a good reason that it’s an industry standard in the film industry, and starting to get a stronger foothold in the AAA games industry now.

Thank you sir for your great answer. I have coded a few game projects in Python so I have a small head start on that. Thank you again I really appreciate your answer.

I also see you’re from Austin TX, how do you like living there? My friend has an indie game company there and he’s practically begging me to move there to work with him haha.

I moved to Austin from L.A. a couple of years ago after my studio out there shut down and laid everyone off. Austin is great; took me a while to get used to it, but once I got to know this place I loved it. It has a really low cost of living, everything is cheaper than California. Things that are MUCH cheaper here than Cali are gas, beer, and rent. For what I was paying in rent for a 1bed/1bath apt in Sherman Oaks, I can rent an entire 3bed/2bath house with 2 car garage. Plus there’s no state income tax here, so you get to keep more of your salary.
Maybe you should visit your friend if you can and check out Austin for yourself.
I know a few people that run their own indie game startups; who’s your friend? I may know him, the game dev community in Austin is pretty small; but strong.

Sweet merciful Jesus. Austin sounds like a dream considering what I’m paying in Culver City. I actually visited Austin, TX when my girlfriend and I did a cross country motorcycle tour December 2014. Lovely city from a visitor’s standpoint.

Anyway, I’m a Technical Artist at SideFX working with the games team. Python is a fantastic language and I can vouch for learning it. VEX…it’s worthwhile to learn if you know you’ll only be working in Houdini. It’s much faster than Python when it comes computation and a variety of other tasks, but Python is something you can take with you to other packages. Not only that, but if any folks need to look at your code, there’s a higher chance they’ll know python and can make effective comments.

On the topic of DCC software, I’m also a bit biased, but Houdini is fantastic for producing a wide variety of FX. I use it for everything from explosions, fire, splashes, to destruction, smoke, electricity, cloth, and more. No need to use other packages and wrangle third-party plugins. Once you get a basic grasp of how Houdini works, then making python tools that do really useful things is fairly straight forward.

Feel free to PM me if you need any help or need some direction with Houdini! If you want to see some examples of Python working in Houdini, I do run one of the SideFX Github repo’s: The Houdini15.0 branch only has one tool that’s close to completion, but the experimental branch has a bunch of other things you can explore and learn from. Be warned, the experimental branch has very few comments. As for workflow examples (textures, rigged animations, etc), keep an eye out during GDC. I might have a little something in the works :wink:

That’s awesome man, I’m sure you guys know about our company, Certain Affinity? We use Houdini in our pipeline, our TA’s love it, and I can’t blame them. You wouldn’t happen to know one of our TA’s, Luiz Kruel would ya?

P.S. Next time you’re in Austin, hit me up, I can take you to some BBQ places that will blow your mind lol

Yeah! You guys are awesome over there! I don’t know him personally, but I do know who he is through some emailing. I actually did a little lunch time demo for a few folks over there :slight_smile:

I most definitely will! We went through a few towns trekking through Texas and definitely had some of the best eating through our trip.

Python bruh, i believe its a standard in the 3d art world

I doubt you know my friend, his name is and his company is called I’m currently the level designer, fx artist, and often times programmer there

No sorry, don’t know him. I sometimes go to local game dev drinkups, but haven’t run into him.