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Houdini Presentation

April 9, 2021 @ 2:00 PM3:30 PM

On Friday, April 9 at 2:00pm PICS will host a presentation on Houdini presented by Kalina Borkiewicz.

Cinematic scientific visualization makes three dimensional scientific phenomena approachable for mass audiences by using the artistic language of film including elements like camera choreography, lighting design, comprehensive scenic environments, and more. Cinematic scientific visualizations are an engaging way for domain experts to communicate niche information with the public, to refute widely held misconceptions, and to inspire the scientists of the future. Science films that feature these visualizations are screened at science centers to millions of viewers over the span of 10+ years and bridge different languages and cultures. They are shared widely on social media, featured regularly in television programs, and contribute to the success of public lectures.

If you are a domain expert looking to share your data more widely, or a visualization designer who has focused on more analytical tools, what better way is there to get started with a Hollywood style than by using Hollywood tools? This workshop will introduce participants to Houdini, a visual effects software package that can generate cinematic-quality data visualizations with ease and efficiency. It is used and appreciated by most major animation and visual effects film studios for its procedural architecture, its modular design, and out-of-the-box rendering algorithms, all important features for ease-of-use in the field of data visualization. Houdini is a general-purpose image-making software that differs from most traditional scientific visualization tools in that it is optimized for look development and design functionality.

This session will consist of a presentation about using scientific data in Houdini, and a demonstration breakdown of a working Houdini scene file.
Kalina Borkiewicz is a senior research programmer for the Advanced Visualization Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kalina develops software, scripts, and plugins to analyze, process, and cinematically visualize various types of massive scientific datasets for broad public outreach via films, museums, television, and streaming services. She has been using and extending the visual effects software Houdini to accomplish these tasks since 2014. Kalina contributed to the creation of such films as “A Beautiful Planet” (IMAX), “Birth of Planet Earth” (fulldome), and “Seeing the Beginning of Time” (Amazon Prime).
There is no need to register for this course, everyone who wants to attend is welcome. Check your emails, or join our mailing list, to get the Zoom details.



April 9, 2021
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
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Katherine Thompson