Side Effects Software is making its animation software more accessible to users with the launch of the Houdini Apprentice Program. This program includes the Houdini Apprentice Edition, a non-commercial version of the latest Houdini family of products. Apprentice users can run the complete family of products which includes Houdini Master, a full-featured animation and effects package, Houdini Select, an entry-level 3D module, and Houdini Halo, a stand-alone compositor. Houdini Apprentice Edition is a 2-CD set that includes training resources to help artists get up to speed with Houdini, and will be distributed for free at the SIGGRAPH Houdini Annual Meeting, and subsequently also by request through the Side Effects Software Website. The meeting will take place on July 21, 2002 at 4:00 pm. Event details and required registration are available on-line at www.sidefx.com/events/sig02/sig02.html. To coincide with the release of Houdini Apprentice Edition, Side Effects Software will also launch a new Houdini community section on its Website at http://www.sidefx.com/community. "We have a long legacy of encouraging a sense of community among our existing user base. With the launch of Houdini Apprentice, we are excited to nurture a new group of 3D artists, whether they are training for a new job opportunity, designing 3D for contest entries or simply designing 3D renderings for personal use," commented Paul Salvini, CTO, Side Effects Software. "We developed the Houdini Apprentice Edition to allow people to get their hands on the software, take it home, play with it and experience what Hollywood uses for professional 3D and effects." Houdini has been used to create digital animation in many high-profile feature films including, SPIDER-MAN, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, X-MEN and THE MATRIX, among many others.