Entagma’s Moritz Schwind offers up a little primer on using Volumes in Houdini. The tutorial covers creating a dented surface on another object. This is something that Houdini really excels at. Creating dents in a surface would be difficult with any other 3D application, and certainly not as flexible as this setup.

sculpting and posemorphing would be a bit too unflexible

While looking at other tutorials for C4D specifically, Moritz found the process to be not very flexible for his needs. He also didn’t want to sculpt dents in geometry. Moritz finally found his solution within Houdini VDB’s.

VDB’s are a fast representation of volumes or voxels. the process starts by interesting objects, then applying an expansion on both objects. You can then perform boolean operations on the objects, subtracting them, and merging them together. Once that is all done, you can convert the Volumes back to Polygons. The result is incredibly fast and flexible, being completely procedural within Houdini.

Creating the same thing in Maya

Of course, creating dents like this ins’t exclusive to Houdini. Using SOuP in Maya, which adds extended procedural abilities, a similar result can be achieved. VFX Artist Ruchit Bhatt shows this in Maya using an openVDB boolean operation that was inspired by Entagma’s Moritz Schwind.