Transitory Pivots in Houdini
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Transitory Pivots in Houdini

Having worked with Toon Boom’s Harmony software, one feature I really like is the ability to move the pivot of an object to scale or rotate without permanently moving the pivot point. We are in luck because Houdini gives you this ability. Transitory pivots allow you to just move the handles of an object to scale or rotate relative to that point and still have the original pivot in place. Basic but useful. Detaching Handles Moving the pivot in this way is very different than actually moving the pivot. In this scenario, we are just moving the pivot for a transitory period while […]

Select Scripts in Houdini
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Select Scripts in Houdini

Here is a nifty little nugget that came in handy while I was working on a scene with tons of geometry. The problem I had was constantly toggling the display of some geometry on and off to work on sections of the scene. Having to look through the network to find the node, turning off the display to do a few modifications, rinse and repeat. That got old rather quick. There are different ways to deal with this in Houdini but Select Scripts in Houdini object nodes offer a quick way to create some custom controls rather easily. Select Scripts Houdini object nodes, […]

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Houdini Light Contributions

So there you are ready to put out your sphere #everyday but one thing that would really kick that image out of the park is removing the specular reflection of the area lights on your spheres. In other words, you want the diffuse component of the lights but don’t want them to contribute to reflectance. If you are coming from a program like Cinema 4D, it’s just a matter of unchecking Specular. Maybe you want the light reflectance but not the diffuse. It’s a common thing to do in most 3D applications. In Houdini, this is handled through Light Contributions. Light Contributions […]

Adding Motion FX Presets
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Adding Houdini Motion FX Presets to Paremeters

So this a really simplistic video I made back in Houdini 14 or 15 showing how to add Motion FX (CHOPS) presets to a parameter channel. It’s really more of a sample video than a tutorial. I even throw in some ch() and stamp() functions. Sorry about the lack of audio and playback. It was a spur of the moment type thing. It actually does not play this slow in the viewport. Hopefully I work my way up to actually doing proper videos, but we shall see.

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Houdini Bag of Tricks

Here is a Houdini bag of tricks that contains tips that were on the old site but I decided to package them up. Most are just small workflow tips or hotkeys but can be quite handy. VEX Snippets If you’re been playing with POP nodes, I’m sure you have noticed that little scary checkbox that says Use VEXpressions. Maybe you’ve dropped down one of the powerful Wrangle nodes but you decided you were not ready to tackle that little monster. Well, Side Effects has packaged up some nice VEXpression snippets to help you out. Hidden away in the top right corner is a drop down […]

Default Web Browser for The Houdini Docs
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Default Web Browser for The Houdini Docs

Is the built in Houdini help browser dragging you down? On OS X it’s a bit slow for my taste. On Windows and Linux it works well but maybe you’re like me who loads the documentation on the Side Effect server just because it’s faster in your default Web browser. Maybe not. Regardless, using your good old Web browser for the Houdini docs has a couple of advantages. Let me show you how to user your default Web browser for the Houdini docs instead of the built in Houdini browser. Built-in Web Browser Houdini has fantastic documentation and and each node gives you access to […]

VOP Output Names
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Show Full Input and Output Names on VOP Nodes

So we all know about Houdini’s dynamic duo nodes VEX and VOP. For those unfamiliar with programming, VEX nodes may be a bit intimidating. However, this is where VOP nodes come to the rescue. Think of VOPs as visual programming. If your coming at Houdini from a Cinema 4D angle, think Xpresso. Now I’m not saying working with VOPS is a walk in the park but it’s a nice entry into the world of VEX. Check out some of the great tutorials with extensive use of them over at Entagma if you want some practice. Here is a tip on how to show full […]

HScript Memory Command
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Checking Memory Usage In Houdini

This may not be the most exciting or life changing Houdini tip you will come across. I’ve been developing some scripts that need to check the Houdini memory footprint. I figured this bit of information may come in handy for someone out there. There are specialized applications and utilities at the OS level that provide this information. However, I needed something I could access programatically. As luck would have it, checking memory usage in Houdini is built right in. Memory Usage I mentioned while developing some tools, I needed to check the memory usage in Houdini for some conditional statements. My initial thoughts […]

The Geometry Object
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The Geometry Object

So you have decided to learn Houdini. You have a new scene open and you drop down a box. Now you want to change the divisions of the box. You see that there are several tabs in the parameter window for the box such as Transform, Material, Render, Misc but nowhere do you see the ability to change the subdivisions of the box. What gives? Welcome to the Geometry Object. Object Level One thing you have to remember is that in Houdini, when you drop down a Box or Sphere node at the object network level, that top level node is just a container for your actual geometry. […]

Toggle Safe Area Shelf Item
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Creating a Video Safe Area Toggle Shelf Tool

Since my work is primarily for video and interactive domains, I have a need to check my video safe areas often. Not a big deal. Almost every animation application has the ability to toggle the safe area guides on or off. Houdini is no different, however, it takes a few steps. Enough to be a bit annoying. In this post I’m going to show how I went about creating a shelf tool that toggles the safe area guides on or off. Shelf Sets, Tabs, & Tools The shelf is the strip of icons along the top of the main window and is composed […]