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The FEM Solver DOP sets objects to use the FEM solver.
If an object has this DOP as its
Solver subdata, it will evolve
itself as a cloth object.
This solver recognizes the following special subdata, if present:
Shell Mass Properties data with the name `ShellMassProperties
Solid Mass Properties data with the name `SolidMassProperties
Soft Body Material Behavior data with the names
Solid Aniso Properties with the name
Seam Properties with the name
Soft Body Rest Properties with the name
Soft Body Target Properties with the name
Soft Body Collision Properties data with the name
Soft Body Drag Properties data with the name
It also recognizes most standard subdata:
Geometry data with the name
Before each solve, the finite element solver reads the simulation state of each object from the attributes on the simulation geometry
Geometry to get the previous state.
After the solve, the new state is written to attributes the
In addition, the solver may maintain an
EmbeddedGeometry. This would typically be a more higher-resolution geometry that moves and fractures along with
Geometry. The embedded geometry can consists of polygons or tetrahedrons (or a mix of these two).
The finite element solver approximates the physics of continuous materials by splitting them up into a finite number of elements. In the case of the Solid object, the elements are determined by the tetrahedrons. In the case of the Cloth Object, the elements are determined by triangles and quadrangles. The resolution of the tetrahedrons and the orientations of the individual tetrahedrons have little influence over the overall movement; as long as the overall solid shape is the same the behavior is roughly the same (except for very coarse meshes). The finite element method (FEM) treats the elements an approximation of a continuous material. This property makes the results very predictable when you simulate the same shape using a lower-res and a higher-res mesh.
This is the number of substeps per frame. The higher this value, the better the quality and the accuracy of your simulation will be. However, the solve time per frame may increase. When you're having trouble with a simulation’s quality or stability, the first thing to try is increasing the Substeps. One particular case where this may be needed is when you have fast moving objects that collide. When the relative velocity is large compared with the feature size, you may need to manually increase the Substeps to get better looking results.
When this is disabled, no collisions will happen in the simulation, regardless of any other collision settings on the solver or on any of the objects that are solved. This is a convenient toggle that allows you to quickly see how an object behaves without collisions.
Absolute Tolerance Implicit Solve
The absolute tolerance that is used to decide when the finite element solver has found a good enough approximate solution for the implicit integration step. This roughly indicates the amount of error allowed in the acceleration that is computed in each integration step. It is not recommended to increase this tolerance too much from its default.
Relative Tolerance Implicit Solve
The relative tolerance that is used to decide when the finite element solver has found a good enough approximate solution for implicit integration step. In contrast with the absolute tolerance, this parameter has no units. It is not recommended to increase this tolerance from its default, because this may produce results that are unstable or poor quality. In some types of simulations, it may be necessary to reduce the Relative Tolerance Implicit Solve to a lower value, say 0.0001 or even smaller. For example, the tolerance may need to be lowered in fracturing simulations with very stiff objects.
Max Collision Passes
This is the maximum number of times, within a single substep, that the solver is allowed to detect and resolve new collisions. The collision resolution step in each pass may introduce new, secondary collisions that must be resolved in later passes.
Create Quality Attributes
This creates float-valued primitive attribute
quality on the simulation geometry. This attribute allows you to find primitives that have a bad effect on the simulation. The closer the value is to 1, the better. Bad tetrahedrons have a value close to 0 and should be removed or improved.
Create Energy Attributes
This creates float-valued vertex attributes on the simulation geometry. These attributes
kineticdensity show the potential energy density, the density of energy dissipation, and the kinetic energy, respectively.
Create Fracture Attributes
This allows the
fracturecount point attribute to be created. Any point that was fractured at any time in the simulation will have a
fracturecount of 1 or higher ever after.
This determines the floating point precision that is used internally by the finite element solver. Float 32 bit uses less memory and is generally faster than Float 64 bit. However, the extra accuracy of 64-bit floating point numbers may be needed when you are simulating object with very high overall stiffness or when your geometry is positioned very far away from the origin.
This determines the type of integration that is used. The default is
Implicit, which is the most stable option for simulations that have fracturing stiff objects. The
Implicit Order 2 allows more lively looking simulations of higher quality for about the same solve time. This is best used when doing finite element simulation of flesh on characters.
Max Fully Implicit Passes
For highly nonlinear finite element simulations, increasing this parameter may result in better quality without having to increase the sub-steps. This may be needed for simulations in which the deformations of the tetrahedrons are relatively large.
The finite element solver will recognize and use attributes on the simulated geometry. In the DOP network, this simulation geometry is attached to the simulated object as a sim-data with name
Geometry. When an object is created, then the geometry and all the corresponding attributes are read from the Initial Geometry. This includes the standard position and velocity point attributes
The finite element solve supports input attributes and output attributes. Some attributes, such as the simulation state, are both input and output attributes. The input attributes include multiplier attributes for material properties, fracture attributes, and attributes for controlling target positions and corresponding hard/soft constraints. The output attributes include optional attributes for tet quality, energy densities, FEM node forces, collision info attributes and fracture info attributes.
Material Property Multiplier Attributes
Each of the material properties of a simulated object can be locally modified using multiplier point attributes. As a rule, each of the material properties in the Model tab of an object can be affected by a multiplier attribute. As a rule, the name of the parameter is the name of the attribute. The name of the attribute is the name that is displayed after "Parameter:" when you hover over a parameter with your mouse cursor.
You can locally change the material properties of the object using point attributes. For example, you can make some polygons resists stretching and bending more than other polygons. These attributes work as multipliers for the parameters in the Model tab: The stiffness multiplier is a convenient way to modify the local stiffness for all object types that are recognized by the finite element solver:
||Point||Float||Multiplier for all types of stiffnesses.|
||Point||Float||Multiplier for all damping ratios.|
||Point||Float||Multiplier for all mass densities.|
For solid objects, the following multiplier point attributes can be used to modify the local behavior:
||Point||Float||Multiplier for both the shape stiffness and the volume stiffness of a Solid Object.|
||Point||Float||Multiplier for the shape stiffness of a Solid Object.|
||Point||Float||Multiplier for the volume stiffness of a Solid Object.|
||Point||Float||Multiplier for the mass density of a Solid Object.|
Material Space Attributes
materialP can be thought of as the positions of the simulated object in the material space.
materialP is the undeformed configuration relative to which the current position
P determines the deformation of a simulated object.
materialP must stay the same throughout the entire simulation.
The finite element solver relies on assumption that the materialP` attribute remains unchanged from frame to frame; it should never be modified externally (e.g., through a SOP solver) otherwise bad simulation results will be produced.
In the case where no Rest Shape is specified and nor
restP attribute is provided,
materialP can be thought of as a permanent rest position.
If no animation of the rest position is required in a sim, only
materialP should be specified (no
At any stage in the simulation, it is the mapping from
materialP to the current
P that determines the deformation of tets in simulated objects.
The deformation in turn defines the energy stored inside the object.
materialuvw can be used to specify a UVW parametrization of the material space.
The U, V and W directions that are implied by
materialuvw matter if the anisotropic controls are used or when the fiber controls are used on a simulated object.
For the FEM muscle simulation use case, the fiber controls are an important tool for controlling muscle contraction.
materialuv attribute can be used to specify UV directions for cloth. This attribute is essential for triangle meshes, in particular, to define the warped and weft directions for cloth.
||Point||Vector||Material position of each point.|
||Point or Vertex||Vector||Local material uvw coordinates for each point or vertex of a tet.|
||Point or Vertex||Vector||Local material uvw coordinates for each point or vertex of a polygon or polysoup.|
Fracturing Control Attributes
When you create a simulation with fracturing, it is recommended to specify chunks of tetrahedrons that you want to stay together. Otherwise, the fracturing process may create a very large amount of separate pieces, many of which may consist of single tetrahedrons. For this purpose, you can assign a nonnegative integer to each chunk using the
fracturepart attribute. In areas where you don’t want to specify parts, you can set
fracturepart to -1, which means that each primitive in that region will become its own part. Real-life materials tend not to be equally strong everywhere. For realistic results, it is recommended to vary the Fracture Threshold locally using the vertex attribute
||Primitive||Integer||Partitions the object into unbreakable parts. Must be either -1 (no part) or a nonnegative number that indicates a part.|
||Point/Vertex||Integer||Locally enable/disable fracturing for points or vertices.|
||Point/Vertex||Float||Multiplier for the object’s Fracture Threshold.|
Drag Force Control Attributes
The behavior of the drag force can be modified locally using the following attributes:
||Primitive||Float||Multiplier for the object’s Normal Drag.|
||Primitive||Float||Multiplier for the object’s Tangent Drag.|
baseP can be used to specify a generic base position for all the object points. This attribute’s values must not be changed during a simulation. When the user does not specify
baseP, the solver creates this point attribute based on the point positions on the creation frame. This attribute is used as a fallback; whenever the user does not specify
materialP, the attribute
baseP is read instead. In the same way,
baseP is used as a fallback for when no
targetP attributes are provided. Finally,
baseP is used to bind the simulated and the embedded geometry, in the embedded workflow (e.g., a T-pose). This embedded binding looks at the
baseP position attribute on both the simulated geometry and the embedded geometry. If no
baseP attribute is provided by the user on the embedded geometry, the solver creates the
baseP attribute on the embedded geometry based on the position
P at the creation frame.
restP can be used to specify an animated rest position for all the object points. For example, at each frame
restP may be modified in a SOP Solver before the finite element solver. Among other things this makes it possible to create plastic deformation kinds of effects. When the rest should stay the same during an entire simulation the attribute
restP should not be used. In that case, it is sufficient to specify only an attribute
materialP, which would act as a permanent, unchanged rest position. If no attribute
materialP is specified, the solver falls back to the
baseP attribute that gets automatically created at the creation frame.
initialpid stores the initial point index for each point. This is the point index at the creation time of the object. This attribute is created only when fracturing is enabled on both the object and the solver. The finite element solver uses this attribute for the options Import Rest Geometry and Import Target Geometry to transfer animated positions and velocities in SOPs to the current fractured topology in the simulated object.
||Point||Integer||Initial point index for each point.|
Target attributes can be used to make a simulated object partially follow a target animation. The attribute
targetP can be used to specify a target position for each object point. When you use the Import Target Geometry option on the simulated object, the
targetP will be set automatically every frame. Alternatively, you can create and modify these attributes yourself, using a Multi Solver and a SOP Solver. The target positions and velocities allow the user to mix animation and simulation in a very stable way (assuming the Target Strength and Target Damping parameters have been set on the object). You can set the Target Strength and Target Damping parameters on the object to express how strongly the object should match the target position and velocity, respectively. This is a way to create soft constraints. You can use the
pintoanimation to create hard constraints that make the simulated points follow
||Point or Vertex||Vector||Target position of each point.|
||Point||Float||Multiplier for the object’s Target Strength. If this attribute is missing, a multiplier of 1 is used at all points.|
||Point||Float||Multiplier for the object’s Target Damping. If this attribute is missing, a multiplier of 1 is used at all points.|
When 1, the point is hard constrained to the target animation (e.g.,
fiberscale point attribute acts as a multiplier for the rest strain in the fiber direction.
Among other things, this is useful for FEM muscle simulations.
fiberscale is changed from 1 to 0.5, then the muscle wants to be half as long as before in the direction of the fiber.
If you animate the
fiberscale in a SOP Solver such that it decreases from 1 to a smaller value, you will cause a muscle contraction in the sim.
fiberstiffness point attribute acts as a multiplier for the stiffness along the fiber direction.
The fiber direction of the material is determined by the W axis of the materialuvw coordinates.
fiberstiffness works as a multiplier on top of all the other material property multipliers, including the anisotropic multipliers.
fiberstiffness changed from 1 to 10, then the stiffness along the fiber direction becomes 10 stronger than before.
This can be used to control how strong and how quick the effect of muscle flexing using the fiberscale attribute takes effect.
For fiberscale/fiberstiffness to have the desired effect, it is important that UVW directions are specified.
A material-space UVWs for FEM muscles can be specified using the
materialuvw point/vertex attribute.
materialuvw as a vertex attribute, you are able to provide a local UVW space for each individual tet, which gives you to option of providing a separate UVW frame to each tet.
Multiplier for stiffness along the fiber direction, the W direction implied by
Multiplier for the rest strain along the fiber direction, the W direction implied by
Below is a list of attributes that are maintained internally by the solver. Each of these attributes is written to at the end of each solve and read from at the start of the next solve. You should not modify any of these attributes yourself. When you do, the solver is likely to become unstable and you will get bad results. However, you can inspect the values in these attributes in your network for visualization or for the creation of secondary effects.
At each frame, the finite element solver computes a new physical state for each simulated object. The physical state of the object is represented by the point attributes
v, representing the position and velocity, respectively. The solver’s integration scheme maintains additional attributes
a for acceleration and
j for jerk.
The point attributes
j store the current integration state of the object. These attributes should not be modified during the simulation because the finite element solver will become unstable and produce low-quality results.
||Point||Vector||Do not modify! Current position of each object point.|
||Point||Vector||Do not modify! Current velocity of each object point.|
||Point||Vector||Do not modify! Current acceleration of each object point.|
||Point||Vector||Do not modify! Current jerk of each object point.|
Embedded Geometry Attributes
These attributes are created on the Embedded Geometry of the Solid Object.
parent attribute is maintained by the embedding code itself, and
should not be modified.
baseP point attribute can be provided on the Embedded Geometry by the user to control the binding between the simulated geometry and the embedded geometry.
baseP is provided, it will be copied from the point positions stored in
P at the creation frame.
The alignment happens relative to the
baseP point attribute on the simulated geometry. If the simulated geometry has a
materialP vertex or point attribute, then this attribute takes precedence, allowing control per vertex, rather than per point, if necessary.
When you want to ensure that embedded geometry ends up on the desired side of a fracture between simulated geometry, you can use the combination of vertex attributes
baseP on the embedded geometry and
restP on the simulated geometry.
This allows you to line up the embedded geometry with the separate parts in the simulated geometry, for example using the Exploded View SOP.
fracturepart attribute allows you to make sure that the embedded geometry follows the right parts when it gets fractured. When both the simulated and the embedded geometry have the
fracturepart attribute, the finite element solver will parent embedded geometry to simulated geometry that has the same fracture part.
||Primitive||Float||The index of a parent primitive in the simulated geometry.|
||Point||Float||Base positions used for alignment with simulated mesh.|
||Point or Vertex||Float||Optional user-specified fracture part ID.|
||Point||Float||Positions that correspond to the deformed state.|
||Point||Float||Velocities that correspond to the deformed state.|
||Point or Vertex||Float||Normals that correspond to the deformed state.|
Optional Output Attributes
These are attributes that are optionally generated by the solver, when the generation is enabled on the simulated object. These attributes can be useful for visualization, for example, using the Finite Element Visualization SOP. Additionally, these attributes may be used to create secondary effects, for example, particles flying off in regions where fracturing occurs. The optional output attributes are also expected by the Finite Element Visualization SOP.
The following attribute is generated when Create Quality Attributes is turned on:
||Primitive||Float||A quality metric between 0 (worst) and 1 (best)|
Finite element simulation tends to be sensitive to the quality of the incoming primitives. Low quality primitives may slow down, destabilize or lock a finite element simulation. Low quality primitives are best avoided by using the Solid Embed as a tool to create your tet mesh. Although various quality metrics exist for tetrahedra, the one that’s generated by the solver in this attribute is the one that best matches Houdini’s finite element solution.
The solver generates energy-density attributes for each object that has Create Energy Attributes turned on. The material property settings in the Model tab and the corresponding multiplier attributes result in potential energy, energy dissipation and kinetic energy. For each of these three contributions, local densities are computed within the solver. These densities and quantities derived from them are used to determine the motion and behavior of the objects that are solved by the finite element solver.
||Point||Float||The local density of deformation energy|
||Point||Float||The local density of the rate of energy loss|
||Point||Float||The local density of the kinetic energy|
potentialdensity attribute is directly affected by the stiffness parameters in the Model tab. The
kineticdensity is proportional to the mass density that is specified for the object. The
dissipationdensity is related to the damping settings.
If Create Fracture Attributes is enabled on the simulated object, then the
fracturecount point attribute is created.
The point attribute
fracturecount maintains for each point, the number of times that the point has been involved in a fracture. So any point with a nonzero value of
fracturecount has been involved fracturing.
||Point||Integer||The number of times a point was fractured during the simulation|
In most situations where you want to influence a finite-element simulation, you will want to use soft constraints to achieve this, for example, target constraints, region constraints, or the target strength/damping settings on the object. These are first-class solver features that work in a stable way with the solver and should produce high quality results when used correctly. Purely for backwards compability, a force force attribute is still supported. Because the force force attribute lacks essential information that the solver needs, this attribute cannot be relied on when stability and quality are important. When setting up a new sim, alternatives such as soft targeting, region constraints and animated rest positions should be considered instead of the force force attribute.
||Force||Vector||External force density|
||Force||Vector||Another name for external force density|
This optional input can be used to control which simulation objects are modified by this node. Any objects connected through this input and which match the Group parameter field will be modified.
If this input is not connected, this node can be used in conjunction with an Apply Data node, or can be used as an input to another data node.
All Other Inputs
If this node has more input connectors, other data nodes can be attached to act as modifiers for the data created by this node.
The specific types of subdata that are meaningful vary from node to node. Click an input connector to see a list of available data nodes that can be meaningfully attached.
The operation of this output depends on what inputs are connected to this node. If an object stream is input to this node, the output is also an object stream containing the same objects as the input (but with the data from this node attached).
If no object stream is connected to this node, the output is a data output. This data output can be connected to an Apply Data DOP, or connected directly to a data input of another data node, to attach the data from this node to an object or another piece of data.
This value is the simulation time for which the node is being evaluated.
This value may not be equal to the current Houdini time represented by the variable T, depending on the settings of the DOP Network Offset Time and Time Scale parameters.
This value is guaranteed to have a value of zero at the
start of a simulation, so when testing for the first timestep of a
simulation, it is best to use a test like
$ST == 0 rather than
$T == 0 or
$FF == 1.
This value is the simulation frame (or more accurately, the simulation time step number) for which the node is being evaluated.
This value may not be equal to the current Houdini frame number represented by the variable F, depending on the settings of the DOP Network parameters. Instead, this value is equal to the simulation time (ST) divided by the simulation timestep size (TIMESTEP).
This value is the size of a simulation timestep. This value is useful to scale values that are expressed in units per second, but are applied on each timestep.
This value is the inverse of the TIMESTEP value. It is the number of timesteps per second of simulation time.
This is the number of objects in the simulation. For nodes that create objects such as the Empty Object node, this value will increase for each object that is evaluated.
A good way to guarantee unique object names is to use an expression
This value is the number of objects that will be evaluated by the current node during this timestep. This value will often be different from SNOBJ, as many nodes do not process all the objects in a simulation.
This value may return 0 if the node does not process each object sequentially (such as the Group DOP).
This value is the index of the specific object being processed by the node. This value will always run from zero to NOBJ-1 in a given timestep. This value does not identify the current object within the simulation like OBJID or OBJNAME, just the object’s position in the current order of processing.
This value is useful for generating a random number for each object, or simply splitting the objects into two or more groups to be processed in different ways. This value will be -1 if the node does not process objects sequentially (such as the Group DOP).
This is the unique object identifier for the object being processed. Every object is assigned an integer value that is unique among all objects in the simulation for all time. Even if an object is deleted, its identifier is never reused.
The object identifier can always be used to uniquely identify a given object. This makes this variable very useful in situations where each object needs to be treated differently. It can be used to produce a unique random number for each object, for example.
This value is also the best way to look up information on an object using the dopfield expression function. This value will be -1 if the node does not process objects sequentially (such as the Group DOP).
This string contains a space separated list of the unique object identifiers for every object being processed by the current node.
This string contains a space separated list of the names of every object being processed by the current node.
This value is the simulation time (see variable ST) at which the current object was created.
Therefore, to check if an object was created
on the current timestep, the expression
$ST == $OBJCT should
always be used. This value will be zero if the node does not process
objects sequentially (such as the Group DOP).
This value is the simulation frame (see variable SF) at which the current object was created.
This value is equivalent to using the dopsttoframe expression on the OBJCT variable. This value will be zero if the node does not process objects sequentially (such as the Group DOP).
This is a string value containing the name of the object being processed.
Object names are not guaranteed to be unique within a simulation. However, if you name your objects carefully so that they are unique, the object name can be a much easier way to identify an object than the unique object identifier, OBJID.
The object name can
also be used to treat a number of similar objects (with the same
name) as a virtual group. If there are 20 objects named "myobject",
strcmp($OBJNAME, "myobject") == 0 in the activation field
of a DOP will cause that DOP to operate only on those 20 objects. This
value will be the empty string if the node does not process objects
sequentially (such as the Group DOP).
This is a string value containing the full path of the current DOP Network. This value is most useful in DOP subnet digital assets where you want to know the path to the DOP Network that contains the node.
Most dynamics nodes have local variables with the same names as the node’s parameters. For example, in a Position node, you could write the expression:
$tx + 0.1
…to make the object move 0.1 units along the X axis at each timestep.