VEX in Houdini: Diffusion Limited Aggregation (Plus Rendering in Mantra & Redshift)

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Free Tutorials

When we saw Andy Lomas’ “Aggregation” series a few years back we were struck. How could you generate those intricate particle sculptures? The series’ title hinted at one possible solution: Diffusion limited aggregation or DLA. In this tutorial we’ll build a basic DLA setup using VEX and volumes. Also we’ll talk a bit about rendering our result in Mantra and Redshift.

DLA simulated particles wandering freely in a solution until they stick to a seed and grow into bigger branching structures. One real life example can be seen in this image from Wikipedia:

A DLA cluster grown from a copper sulfate solution in an electrodeposition cell. Photo yy Kevin R Johnson

A DLA cluster. Copper aggregate formed from a copper sulfate solution in an electrode position cell.
Photo By Kevin R Johnson. (Wikimedia Commons)

While the algorithm’s speed is reasonable in 2D, it can get quite slow in 3D. If anyone has hints on how to speed up the whole simulation – please let us know!

Paul Bourke has a more detailed introduction to the principles behind DLA and the actual algorithm.

Have fun with it!

Download Project Files (.hipnc)

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