Python Parameter Expressions II: Custom Functions
4

Python Parameter Expressions II: Custom Functions

Did you know Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad fame once appeared on the game show The Price is Right? No joke. It just goes to show anything is possible. I wish I could be on The Price is Right. You know what else is possible? Using your own custom Python functions in Houdini parameter fields. How might this be handy? Well, imagine you created a custom random or noise algorithm or maybe you developed a set of custom utility functions. Sounds helpful doesn’t it? Let’s see how we can go about creating them. You can find the other parts here: Part I – Python Parameter Expressions […]

Reverse Node Connection
2

Reorder Node Input Connections

Sometimes, the most glaringly obvious things elude you. It practically sits right in front of your eyes and you totally miss it. So this is one of those basic keyboard shortcuts you should know right from the beginning. I knew it was possible but for some crazy reason I didn’t know the keyboard command to reorder node input connections in Houdini. Switcheroo I reverse node connections in Nuke all the time so I don’t know if it was sheer laziness or somehow I expected the answer to seep into my brain through osmosis. Anyways, if you want to reverse the input connections […]

qLib – Asset Library for Houdini
5

Procedural Asset Library for Houdini: qLib

So now that you have become nice and cozy with Houdini, it’s time to step it up a notch and at the same time make your life easier. Don’t you wish some of Houdini’s operators had that one extra parameter to do certain things? Maybe a weight option or better yet, how about having certain operators for commonly created objects as opposed to creating them from scratch. For example, certain predefined curve shapes such as rounded squares or a cat shape. Ever wish you could just drop down a camera rig operator? Well, you are in luck because the folks over at […]

Houdini Python Parameter Expressions
7

Python Parameter Expressions I: Basics

Expressions, expression, expressions. They are everywhere in Houdini. It’s one of the many things that makes the software so powerful and sooner or later you’re going to have to face the music and get your hands dirty with them. More specifically, I’m talking about Python parameter expressions. If you’re just starting out, most likely you will encounter HScript expressions but let’s say you have some Python knowledge and you would like to leverage that. Well, you are in luck! Houdini allows you to use Python expressions in its parameter fields just like you would HScript. Of course, it’s not a […]

Inspecting The Houdini hou Module
3

Inspecting The Houdini hou Module

Lately, I’ve been playing more and more with the Houdini Python API. One of the things I like to do when learning a new Python module is inspect the module itself to see what it has to offer. I can access the Houdini documentation for this but I usually end up using the Houdini shell for inspecting the Houdini hou module1. The dir() Built-In A nice way of inspecting Python modules is by using the built-in convenience function dir([object]). The dir() function takes in an optional object and spits out a list of names in the current scope. This function behaves differently depending […]

Houdini hconfig utility
4

The Houdini hconfig Utility

Michael Knight was a smooth dude with his fluffy hair and fancy talking car. At the flick of his wrist, he would summon his car KITT and it would do his bidding. However, when Michael needed KITT to do something special, he had to pull into the “Semi” Mobile Unit to have something added or customized. Basically, it was like sending the car back to the manufacturer and waiting in the lounge area having cold coffee and not having a remote to change the channel on the TV. If you pretend for a moment you’re Michael Knight, or Garth Knight […]

Multiple Houdini Instances
3

Multiple Houdini Instances on OS X

If you’re a Cinema 4D user, one overlooked feature is its ability to quickly copy and paste objects between several open documents or scenes. Believe me, it’s gold. When you’re designing and ideas are flowing, the last thing you want is having to shut down and reopen applications. You can sort of do the same in Houdini. On Linux and Windows, you just open multiple instances of Houdini by using the icon1. However, on OS X, it’s not the case. It may not be as sexy but here is how to open multiple Houdini instances on OS X and have several scenes […]

Houdini Memory Toolbar
4

Houdini Memory Toolbar

Here is a little gem tucked away that I just came across and it’s already proving to be invaluable. If you wished you could bookmark scene views, wish no more. If you’re familiar with the After Effects snapshots, then this is similar but with a few extra tricks thrown in. I’m talking about the Houdini Memory Toolbar. Scene View Bookmarks By default, the Memory Toolbar is hidden. Side Effects admits it is tucked away because the interface is a bit dated. Personally, it doesn’t bother me one bit. The way you make it available is by clicking on the view menu in the […]

Motion Blur in Houdini
6

Motion Blur in Houdini

So I just finished a project with the use of heavy motion blur. A stylistic piece, sort of like a Picasso but not really. Actually, not even close. Anyways, a change came down the pipe. I know, shocking. One of the animated objects in the scene had way too much motion blur and another object should not have motion blur at all.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I figured, well, I’ll just turn down the shutter time on that one object and turn off the motion blur for that other object… Motion Blur in Houdini 101 Enabling motion blur in Houdini is as simple […]

Custom Hotkeys in Houdini
4

Custom Hotkeys in Houdini

In Cinema 4D, one feature that I make great use of is the Render Region tool. Unfortunately, it does not come with its own hotkey. This is not a problem since C4D allows you to map custom hotkeys to commands via the Customize Commands Editor. Well, Houdini also lacks a default assigned hotkey for the use of its own Render Region tool but this is not a problem either, because just like C4D, you also have the ability to add or change hotkeys in the application. I mean come on, it’s not 2001 anymore. In this #QuickTip, I’ll show you how to create […]

Houdini Event Scripts
5

Configure Houdini Operators with Event Scripts

Ah yes, the good old Geometry node in Houdini. What would we do without it? By default, when we place down a Geometry node, our little friend creates a File operator at the Geometry level. At first it’s cute. Sort of like when your cats knock crap off the shelves. So funny! However, after a while it gets quite annoying. Drop a geo node, dive inside, delete File operator. Rinse and repeat. I appreciate the gesture but I can drop my own File node when I need it, thank you very much! Fortunately, in typical Houdini fashion, we are able […]