Houdini 16.5 Nodes Dynamics nodes

POP Lookat dynamics node

A POP node makes a particle look at a point.

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The POP Lookat node reorients a particle to look at a given point or direction.

This operator modifies the orient, torque, targetw, and spinresist attributes.

Parameters

Activation

Turns this node on and off. The node is only active if this value is greater than 0. This is useful to control the effect of this node with an expression.

Note

This is activation of the node as a whole. You can’t use this parameter to deactivate the node for certain particles.

Group

Only affect a group of points (created with, for example, a Group POP or Collision Detection POP) out of all the points in the current stream.

Target

Mode

The target can be either specified as a position in space to look at or a direction to look in. In both cases, the z-axis of the particle will be reoriented to face that point or direction.

Target

The goal for the particle to look in.

Reference Direction

The particle axis which will be aligned to the look at direction. For example, setting this to 1,0,0 will align the particle’s X-axis to the look at target.

Reference Object

The object that determines the space of the target position. If your target position is 0,0,0, the particle will look at the center of this object.

Use Up Vector

Allows you to disable use of the up vector. This allows the particle to rotate in a shorter direction to the target facing, but it might not maintain the same sense of up.

Up

The up vector with which the particle should align. Will be overridden by an up attribute.

Reference Up

The original up vector of the particle. This parameter can be used with Reference Direction to set an alternate reference frame for the particle before it is aligned to the look at target.

Method

How to re-orient:

Immediate

Instantaneously face the desired orientation. Useful for initializing orientations, but jerky if applied in animation.

Turn

Re-orient the particle but cap the total it can spin to a maximum number of degrees per second. Useful for spinning a particle to an orientation precisely without worrying about overshoot.

Spin

Applies a torque on the particle for it to spin into the desired direction. You will likely want to add a Spin Drag POP to compensate.

Degrees Per Second

How fast, in degrees per second, that the particle should reorient.

Note

There is no physics in this reorientation, so there is no overshoot or acceleration.

Torque Scale

A scalar for how quickly to accelerate when spinning into the desired orientation. This will use physics, so will overshoot. You will want to add a Spin Drag POP to avoid oscillating forever if Treat as Wind is disabled.

Treat as Wind

Rather than treating the computed torque as an amount of torque to add to the particle’s angular velocity, treat it as a wind speed to be matched by the particle. This causes the particle to spin up to the goal speed, avoiding overshoot.

Spin Resistance

How strong of an influence to have on the spin of the particle. Higher values will cause it to match the goal angular velocity faster. This is also used to do a weighted average when competing winds are applied to the same particle.

Bindings

Geometry

The name of the simulation data to apply the POP node to. This commonly is Geometry, but POP Networks can be designed to apply to different geometry if desired.

Evaluation Node Path

For nodes with local expressions, this controls where ch() style expressions in VEX are evaluated with respect to. By making this ., you can ensure relative references work. It is important to promote this if you are embedding a node inside an HDA you are also exporting the local expressions.

Inputs

First Input

This optional input has two purposes.

First, if it is wired to other POP nodes, they will be executed prior to this node executing. The chain of nodes will be processed in a top-down manner.

Second, if the input chain has a stream generator (such as POP Location, POP Source, or POP Stream), this node will only operate on the particles in that stream.

Outputs

First Output

The output of this node should be wired into a solver chain.

Merge nodes can be used to combine multiple solver chains.

The final wiring should go into one of the purple inputs of a full-solver, such as POP Solver or FLIP Solver.

Locals

channelname

This DOP node defines a local variable for each channel and parameter on the Data Options page, with the same name as the channel. So for example, the node may have channels for Position (positionx, positiony, positionz) and a parameter for an object name (objectname).

Then there will also be local variables with the names positionx, positiony, positionz, and objectname. These variables will evaluate to the previous value for that parameter.

This previous value is always stored as part of the data attached to the object being processed. This is essentially a shortcut for a dopfield expression like:

dopfield($DOPNET, $OBJID, dataName, "Options", 0, channelname)

If the data does not already exist, then a value of zero or an empty string will be returned.

DATACT

This value is the simulation time (see variable ST) at which the current data was created. This value may not be the same as the current simulation time if this node is modifying existing data, rather than creating new data.

DATACF

This value is the simulation frame (see variable SF) at which the current data was created. This value may not be the same as the current simulation frame if this node is modifying existing data, rather than creating new data.

RELNAME

This value will be set only when data is being attached to a relationship (such as when Constraint Anchor DOP is connected to the second, third, of fourth inputs of a Constraint DOP).

In this case, this value is set to the name of the relationship the data to which the data is being attached.

RELOBJIDS

This value will be set only when data is being attached to a relationship (such as when Constraint Anchor DOP is connected to the second, third, of fourth inputs of a Constraint DOP).

In this case, this value is set to a string that is a space separated list of the object identifiers for all the Affected Objects of the relationship to which the data is being attached.

RELOBJNAMES

This value will be set only when data is being attached to a relationship (such as when Constraint Anchor DOP is connected to the second, third, of fourth inputs of a Constraint DOP).

In this case, this value is set to a string that is a space separated list of the names of all the Affected Objects of the relationship to which the data is being attached.

RELAFFOBJIDS

This value will be set only when data is being attached to a relationship (such as when Constraint Anchor DOP is connected to the second, third, of fourth inputs of a Constraint DOP).

In this case, this value is set to a string that is a space separated list of the object identifiers for all the Affector Objects of the relationship to which the data is being attached.

RELAFFOBJNAMES

This value will be set only when data is being attached to a relationship (such as when Constraint Anchor DOP is connected to the second, third, of fourth inputs of a Constraint DOP).

In this case, this value is set to a string that is a space separated list of the names of all the Affector Objects of the relationship to which the data is being attached.

ST

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.

SF

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).

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.

SFPS

This value is the inverse of the TIMESTEP value. It is the number of timesteps per second of simulation time.

SNOBJ

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 like object_$SNOBJ.

NOBJ

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).

OBJ

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).

OBJID

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).

ALLOBJIDS

This string contains a space separated list of the unique object identifiers for every object being processed by the current node.

ALLOBJNAMES

This string contains a space separated list of the names of every object being processed by the current node.

OBJCT

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).

OBJCF

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).

OBJNAME

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", specifying 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).

DOPNET

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.

Note

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.

Examples

LookatTarget Example for POP Lookat dynamics node

This interactive example demonstrates the use of the POP Lookat node. Hit play and move the green target handle around in the viewport. The cone particles will orient themselves towards the target as you move it around.

The following examples include this node.

LookatTarget Example for POP Lookat dynamics node

This interactive example demonstrates the use of the POP Lookat node. Hit play and move the green target handle around in the viewport. The cone particles will orient themselves towards the target as you move it around.

DragCenter Example for POP Property dynamics node

This example shows how you can use the Drag Center parameter of the POP Property node to apply an off-center drag to falling objects.

See also

Dynamics nodes