Houdini 16.5 Nodes Dynamics nodes

Ripple Object dynamics node

Creates an object from existing geometry that will be deformed with the ripple solver.

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This node takes existing geometry, usually from a Geometry container object, and configures it (using an internal Ripple Configure Object node) with the data needed by the Ripple Solver. This lets the ripple solver deform the surface by simulating the propagation of waves across it.

See the Ripple Solver help for general information on ripple simulations.

A Ripple Object consists of two surfaces:

  • The rest surface. This is the "normal" shape of the surface without any waves on it. Waves deform the surface up and down away from this rest shape.

  • The initial surface. This is the starting state of the surface. The difference between this surface and the rest surface causes the first set of waves across the surface.

The current ripple state and the rest geometry must have the same topology (number of points and connectivity) to get reasonable results. The surface will blow up into an interesting random wavy shape if the initial and rest surfaces don’t have the same topology.

(When you create a Ripple Object node using the tab menu in a dynamics network, it starts pre-configured with a pair of internal "demo" surfaces. Just change Initial SOP Path and Rest SOP Path to point to your geometry.)

The easiest way to set up a ripple object is to create surface geometry, deform it using surface nodes (for example, using Edit surface nodes), and then point this node’s Rest SOP Path parameter to the surface containing the original surface, and Initial SOP Path to the downstream node with the deformed surface.

You can also specify the rest state by…

If you specify more than one rest surface in different ways, Ripple Object will prefer attached rest data because it provides greater flexibility.


The Ripple Object and Ripple Solver have no relation to the Ripple surface node.


You can create/paint attributes on the Ripple Object’s initial geometry to influence its behavior. Most of these attributes allow fine-tuning of the Ripple Solver by overriding this node’s parameters.

You can paint "islands" of zero wave speed. Waves will bounce off these areas and the surface within the area will remain at rest.

Name Class Type Description
v Point Vector

The current velocity of the point. Momentum is passed from frame to frame through this.

conservation Point Float

Overrides the conservation parameter of the Wave Solver in a per-point manner.

wavespeed Point Float

Overrides the wavespeed parameter of the Wave Solver in a per-point manner.


Adaptive substepping does not take overridden wavespeeds into account. Therefore, the value on the Wave Solver node should be the maximum of the values on the points.

springk Point Float

Overrides the rest spring parameter of the Wave Solver on a per-point manner.


Creation Frame Specifies Simulation Frame

Determines if the creation frame refers to global Houdini frames ($F) or to simulation specific frames ($SF). The latter is affected by the offset time and scale time at the DOP network level.

Creation Frame

The frame number on which the object will be created. The object is created only when the current frame number is equal to this parameter value. This means the DOP Network must evaluate a timestep at the specified frame, or the object will not be created.

For example, if this value is set to 3.5, the Timestep parameter of the DOP Network must be changed to 1/(2*$FPS) to ensure the DOP Network has a timestep at frame 3.5.

Number of Objects

Instead of making a single object, you can create a number of identical objects. You can set each object’s parameters individually by using the $OBJID expression.

Object Name

The name for the created object. This is the name that shows up in the details view and is used to reference this particular object externally.


While it is possible to have many objects with the same name, this complicates writing references, so it is recommended to use something like $OBJID in the name.

Solve On Creation Frame

For the newly created objects, this parameter controls whether or not the solver for that object should solve for the object on the timestep in which it was created.

Usually this parameter will be turned on if this node is creating objects in the middle of a simulation rather than creating objects for the initial state of the simulation.

Allow Caching

By preventing a large object from being cached, you can ensure there is enough room in the cache for the previous frames of its collision geometry.

This option should only be set when you are working with a very large sim. It is much better just to use a larger memory cache if possible.

Initial SOP Path

The path to a SOP (or an Object, in which case the display SOP is used) which will be the initial ripple geometry.

Rest SOP Path

The path to a SOP which will be the rest state of the wave equation.

Rest springs will pull the ripple geometry towards this state, and the solver uses it to determine the curvature for propagating ripples from point to point.

Use Deforming Rest

Reloads the rest geometry every timestep. By animating the rest geometry, you can add new bumps to the system without directly editing the current state.

Use Object Transform

The transform of the object containing the chosen SOP is applied to the geometry. This is useful if the initial location of the geometry is defined by an object transform.

If you want to transfer an object whose movement is defined at the object level, you should use the Object Position DOP instead.


Position in world space of the object. This can be animated.


Initial orientation of the object. This is in RX/RY/RZ format. You can animate this.


Pivot in world space of the object. You can animate this.



The Ripple object created by this node.



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 like object_$SNOBJ.


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", 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).


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.


The following examples include this node.

RippleGrid Example for Ripple Solver dynamics node

This example demonstrates how to use the Ripple Solver and Ripple Object nodes. Bulge SOPs are used to deform a grid to create initial geometry and rest geometry for the Ripple Object which is then piped into the Ripple Solver.

Dynamics nodes