Over the past five months, I've had the amazing opportunity to take time off to immerse myself in learning Houdini at Lost Boys Studios, Montreal. This training, and especially the opportunity to surround myself by fellow peers who live and breath FX, has been a great experience. This is not a form of endorsement for the school, and if you, the reader, feel that you can better self-teach yourself FX in Houdini, then you should definitely follow what works best for you. I simply would like to share some of my personal thoughts on what made this program feel specifically successful for myself during these past five months.
First and foremost, my fellow Lost Boys/Girls were the biggest reason I enjoyed the program. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by CG artists and enthusiasts. The skill levels of my peers varied widely from those taking their first steps in CG to veterans of the industry trying to make the switch from Maya to Houdini or from Environment to FX. Overall, being pushed by the work my peers were creating was a major force in crafting my projects, and the support we gave each other from basic “how did you do that?” questions to spitballing ideas on how to approach a problem was a brilliant experience.
Secondly, our instructor, Sean Lewkiw, was an excellent asset to us as students. He was one of the best problem solvers and was also willing to learn just as much as we were when it came to subjects he didn’t have as much experience in. Also, his decades of experience in CG and numerous industry war stories from old projects such as “LoTR” and newer pursuits like “Lost in Space” were just as eye opening as much as they were entertaining.
Finally, time was on my side. Being able to fully dedicate myself to learning Houdini for five months was extraordinary. In university, I always had to balance my degree work with my compositing / simple 3D hobby projects, but at Lost Boys I was free to work 24/7 on FX. This allowed me to really explore Houdini, watching tutorials in my personal time, creating R&D projects, and working “overtime” most days allowed me to craft a work that I was proud to put on my first FX reel. Overall, Lost Boys has been a positive experience for myself, and I can’t wait for what comes next
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