Houdini 16.5

Shelf tools shelf tool

How to use and customize the icons on the shelf at the top of the main window.

On this page

Overview

The shelf gives you quick access to commonly used functions in Houdini.

  • Most tools create new nodes for you in the background.

  • Some items on the shelf and in the toolbox are more "actions" than "tools" – they do something immediately when you click them, and don’t enter into a "tool state" or show options on the operation controls toolbar.

  • Most tools will use the current selection if possible. Some tools will prompt you for one or more selections if the current selection is not relevant, or if it needs more information. For example, the Parent tool on the Modify shelf tab prompts you to select the child and then the parent.

    After you make a prompted selection, press Enter to finish the selection. (You can also press ⇧ Shift + or right-click and choose Accept selection).

  • Some tools have alternate action-like behavior when you hold ⌃ Ctrl and click them.

    You can usually quick-place the object created by a tool at the origin by ⌃ Ctrl-clicking the tool. For example, when you ctrl-click the Sphere tool, it immediately creates a sphere at the origin instead of asking you to place the sphere in the viewer.

    If you ⌃ Ctrl-click the light or camera tools, they create a light/camera from the current view, instead of asking you to place the new object.

  • Hold the mouse over an item on the shelf to see its label and a brief description of what it does. While the tooltip is open, press F1 to see the full help page for the item.

  • See how to customize the shelf.

Subtopics

Using the shelf

  • Customize the shelf

    How to change the look of the shelf, change and rearrange its contents, and create your own shelf tools.

Shelf tabs

  • Create tab

    Tools on the Create tab let you create and place primitives, curves, and null objects in the scene view.

  • Modify tab

    Tools on the Modify tab let you easily customize objects in the scene view.

  • Model tab

    Tools on the Model tab let you edit objects in the scene view.

  • Polygon tab

    Tools on the Polygon tab let you modify polygons in the scene view.

  • Deform tab

    Tools on the Deform tab let you deform objects in the scene view.

  • Texture tab

    Tools on the Texture tab let you texture objects in the scene view.

  • Rigging tab

    The Rigging tab contains tools for creating premade rigs.

  • Muscles tab

    The Muscles tab contains tools for creating muscles.

  • Characters tab

    Tools on the Character tab let you create characters in the scene view.

  • Constraints tab

    Tools on the Constraints tab create a constraint network where you can constrain objects to each other in the scene view.

  • Hair Utils tab

    Tools on the Hair Utils tab let you quickly set up hair and fur on objects.

  • Guide Process tab

    Tools on the Guide Process tab let you influence the placement and orientation of guide hairs by painting skin attributes.

  • Guide Brushes tab

    Tools on the Grooming tab let you add and directly manipulate hair.

  • Terrain FX shelf tab

  • Cloud FX tab

    The Cloud FX tab contains tools for creating cloud effects.

  • Volume tab

    The Volume tab contains tools for creating volume effects.

  • Lights and Cameras tab

    Tools on the Lights and Cameras tab let you create and place lights and cameras in the scene view.

  • Collisions tab

    Tools on the Collisions tab let you create collision objects in the scene view.

  • Particles tab

    Tools on the Particles tab let you create dynamic particle simulations.

  • Grains tab

    The Grains tab contains tools for simulate grains of sand and other granular matter.

  • Rigid Bodies tab

    Tools on the Rigid Bodies tab let you create dynamic RBD objects in the scene view.

  • Particle Fluids tab

    Tools on the Particle Fluids tab let you create particle based liquids in the scene view.

  • Viscous Fluids tab

    Viscous fluids are FLIP simulations that use a temperature attribute to drive viscosity.

  • Oceans tab

    The Oceans tab contains tools for creating ocean simulations.

  • Fluid Containers tab

    The Fluid Containers tab contains tools for creating pyro, smoke, and liquid containers.

  • Populate Containers tab

    The Populate Containers tab contains tools for creating and removing fire, smoke, and liquid.

  • Container Tools tab

    The Container Tools tab contains tools for manipulating fire, smoke, and liquid.

  • Pyro FX tab

    Tools on the Pryo FX tab let you create simulated smoke and fire effects.

  • Cloth tab

    Tools on the Cloth tab let you create and constrain cloth objects in the scene view.

  • Solid tab

    Tools on the Solid tab let you create and modify solid objects.

  • Wires tab

    Tools on the Wires tab let you create flexible dynamic objects in the scene view.

  • Crowds tab

    The Crowds tab contains tools for creating crowds, crowd behaviors, as well as examples.

  • Drive Simulation tab

    Tools on the Drive Simulation tab let you manipulate dynamic objects in the scene view.

Technical

See also

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.

Dynamics

  • 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.

Nodes

  • 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.

Reference

  • 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.