Houdini 17.0 Shelf tools

Source from Surface shelf tool

Continuously generates smoke, fire, or liquid from the surface of an object.

This tool continuously generates fluid from the surface of an object and is similar to Source from Points and Source from Volumes. Sourcing is done in a thin shell around the surface of the selected geometry. If sourcing into a pyro or smoke simulation, thickness of the shell can be controlled by adjusting Particle Separation on the Pyro Source node. With liquid simulations, the created FLIP Source SOP has a Shell Thickness parameter that directly controls its namesake.

The tool will create a setup tailored towards the simulation it is applied to. In case of a smoke simulation, it will import density and temperature, causing smoke to rise from the selected object. If applied to a pyro simulation, the shelf tool will inject fuel and temperature, turning the surface into a flame source. Finally, the tool will add the necessary nodes to continuously emit liquid into a FLIP simulation, similar to Emit Particle Fluid.


If you want the sourced smoke to inherit the object’s motion, you can use the Point Velocity SOP to calculate its velocity. The velocity attribute will then be transferred to the scattered points by the Pyro Source node and converted into a VDB by the Volume Rasterize Attributes SOP.

Using Source from Surface

  1. Create an open geometry object within a container.

    For more information on containers see: Smoke Container or Pyro Container.

  2. Select the geometry object to generate the source.

  3. Click the Source from Surface tool on the Populate Containers tab.

  4. Select the container to put the source into and press Enter to confirm your selection.


To turn off the continuous flow of fluid, set the Activation to 0 on the Volume Source node in your DOP network. You can keyframe this parameter to control when the fluid is emitted.


If the object is only partially in the container, only the portion of the object that is within the container’s boundaries will be simulated.

See also

Shelf tools

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.

  • Vellum tab

    The Vellum tab contains tools for creating different types of vellum effects.

  • 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.

  • 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.