Houdini 16.5

Copying and instancing

How to use copies (real geometry) and instances (loaded or created at render time).

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Copying vs. instancing

The copy node creates copies of the source geometry on each point of the destination geometry. It creates actual geometry in the scene you can then model with, but it increases the amount of processing Houdini has to do to cook and display the scene.

See the Copy to Points shelf tool and the Copy node help for more information on copying.

Point instancing copies the geometry at render time, so each copy only exists momentarily as its area of the image is rendered. The geometry only appears in the render, not in the viewer.


Houdini 16.5

Getting started

Using Houdini

  • Geometry

    How Houdini represents geometry and how to create and edit it.

  • Copying and instancing

    How to use copies (real geometry) and instances (loaded or created at render time).

  • Animation

    How to create and keyframe animation in Houdini.

  • Character

    How to rig and animate characters in Houdini.

  • Rendering

    How to render images and animation from the 3D scene.

  • Materials

    How to assign materials and create custom materials for shading.

  • Compositing

    Houdini’s compositing networks let you create and manipulate images such as renders.

  • Digital assets

    Digital assets let you create reusable nodes and tools from existing networks.

  • Import and export

    How to get scene, object, and other data in and out of Houdini.

  • MPlay viewer

    Using Houdini’s stand-alone image viewer.


  • Particles

    How to create particle simulations.

  • Dynamics

    How to use Houdini’s dynamics networks to create simulations.

  • Pyro

    How to simulate smoke, fire, and explosions.

  • Fluids

    How to set up fluid and ocean simulations.

  • Grains

    How to simulate grainy materials (such as sand).

  • Crowd simulations

    How to create and simulate crowds of characters in Houdini.

  • Hair and Fur

    How to create, style, and add dynamics to hair and fur.

  • Finite Elements

    How to create and simulate deformable objects

  • Cloth

    How to create and simulate cloth and other flexible materials.


  • Object nodes

    Object nodes represent objects in the scene, such as character parts, geometry objects, lights, cameras, and so on.

  • Geometry nodes

    Geometry nodes live inside Geo objects and generate geometry.

  • Dynamics nodes

    Dynamics nodes set up the conditions and rules for dynamics simulations.

  • VOP nodes

  • Render nodes

    Render nodes either render the scene or set up render dependency networks.

  • Channel nodes

    Channel nodes create, filter, and manipulate channel data.

  • Compositing nodes

    Composite nodes create, filter, and manipulate image data.


  • Menus

    Explains each of the items in the main menus.

  • Viewers

    Viewer pane types.

  • Panes

    Documents the options in various panes.

  • Windows

    Documents the options in various user interface windows.

  • Stand-alone utilities

    Houdini includes a large number of useful command-line utility programs.

  • Python Scripting

    How to script Houdini using Python and the Houdini Object Model.

  • Expression functions

    Expression functions let you compute the value of parameters.

  • HScript commands

    HScript is Houdini’s legacy scripting language.

  • VEX

    VEX is a high-performance expression language used in many places in Houdini, such as writing shaders.

  • Properties

    Properties let you set up flexible and powerful hierarchies of rendering, shading, lighting, and camera parameters.

  • Python Panels

    You can script custom pane types using Python to create your own UIs.

  • Galleries

    Pre-made materials included with Houdini.