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 top right corner of the viewport and checking on Memory Toolbar.

Houdini Memory Toolbar
Houdini Memory Toolbar

You will then see the toolbar appear at the bottom of the viewport. See, it doesn’t look that bad. A bit unintuitive yes.

Houdini Memory Toolbar Active
Houdini Memory Toolbar Active

On the left hand-side of the toolbar you have the option to select View, C-Plane or Snapshot. The first option allows you to bookmark nine camera views. The way it works is when you have a view setup ready to be bookmarked, you click on the eyeball icon, which will turn into a camera icon, then you click on one of the grey bars. The text field will indicate what slot number is currently active. You can recall a bookmark by either clicking on one of the grey bars or using the dropdown menu on the far right. The arrow to the left of the bars allows you to toggle back and forth between the current bookmark view and the previous bookmark selected.

View Bookmarks
View Bookmarks

View Snapshots

The next option you have available is snapshots. Think After Effects snapshots without the annoying shutter sound effect. View snapshots can be useful to compare the before and after of a parameter change you are tweaking. The main difference between this option and view bookmarks is that snapshots are just a freeze frame of a specific frame, view, and parameters values.

View snapshots provide a few extra options such as capturing the frame number the snapshot was taken at. You can access the settings by opening the options window on the far right hand side of the slots. You can also blend between the last and previous snapshots using the Blend Factor in the options windows. You can hide the frame number, exclude the handles from the snapshot and use wildcards to show which objects are visible to the snapshot.

Creating the snapshot is the same as bookmarking a view. Just click on the eyeball and select a slot. Activate the snapshot by clicking on the slot and click on it again to go back to the scene view. The x icon deletes all the snapshots currently stored.

Houdini Snapshots
Houdini Snapshots

CPlane Bookmarks

Last but not least is the ability to save and restore different construction planes. No explanation needed for this one. It works identical to the view bookmarks except you are saving a construction plane layout.

Houdini CPlane Bookmarks
Houdini CPlane Bookmarks

I think it’s a great little tool. Sure you can create multiple cameras with different views but this is an alternative way if you want to avoid going that route. Just lock your camera before selecting your bookmark and your camera will be set to that new view. Happy bookmarking!

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990adjustments

990adjustments

I am a motion designer & developer based out of South Florida. When not designing or animating pixels, I wrangle some code. If all else fails, I watch Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, or Three's Company reruns.