A quick, basic introduction to using Houdini.
This is a quick introduction to essential Houdini functionality. Use the links to go to more in-depth descriptions of the various topics on this page.
|Space + , or||Dolly|
|Space + Ctrl +||Tilt the camera|
|Space + Alt +||Zoom the camera lens|
|Space + Ctrl +||Box zoom|
Drag the box from left to right to zoom in on the area inside the rectangle. Drag the box from right to left to zoom out (so the current view fits inside the rectangle).
|Space + Z||Center view tumbling on the point under the cursor.|
Hold ⇧ Shift while tumbling, dollying, tracking, or tilting for more precision.
|Space + H||Home: center the view to show all objects/geometry.|
|Space + G||Center the view on all selected objects/geometry.|
|Space + B||Switch single/quad viewports|
|Space + D||Show display options|
|Space + O||Switch orthographic/perspective|
|Space + E||Switch view one/view all|
|Space + 1||Switch current viewport to Perspective|
|Space + 2||Top|
|Space + 3||Front|
|Space + 4||Side|
|Space + 5||UV editor|
In object mode, the selection arrow is black. In component mode, the arrow is white.
Right click this icon for a menu of selection options.
|Ctrl + ⇧ Shift +||Add to selection|
|Ctrl +||Remove from selection|
|⇧ Shift +||Toggle selection|
If you want to lock the select tool to add, remove, or toggle mode, right click the Select tool and choose Add, Remove, or Toggle from the menu. Choose Replace to return to the default behavior.
The selection mode controls
What you can select in the view.
What node appears in the parameter editor
What handles appear when you click the Handles tool.
When you select in object mode, the parameter editor will show the parameters for the object (e.g. a light, a geometry container, camera, bone, etc.). When you select in component mode, the parameter editor will show the parameters for the surface node with the display flag.
When you click geometry in this mode, the object is selected.
Right click this icon for a menu of object types where you can choose which types of objects are selectable.
Right click this icon for a menu of component types.
When you click geometry in this mode, any components of the chosen type (faces, edges, points, breakpoints, point groups, or face groups) will be selected.
|F8||Switch between object and component selection|
Right click this icon for a menu where you can choose selecting particle nodes vs. individual particles. See particle systems.
Right click this icon for a menu where you can choose whether to select dynamics objects and/or dynamics modifiers (e.g. forces). See dynamics.
|Select the next edge|
|Select edge loops|
|Change the edge direction|
The toolbox is located along the left side of the 3D view.
Use this tool to select objects or geometry before applying one of the shelf tools.
Use this tool to access handles and operator controls specific to the selected object.
Right click this icon for a list of available handles.
This is a convenience tool: it provides the viewing controls ( tumbles, tracks, dollies) without having to hold down the space bar.
This tool lets you drag out a rectangle in the 3D view to test render part of the scene.
Hover over items on the shelf to see a short description of what they do and how to use them. Press F1 while hovering over a tool to open detailed help on the item.
Many tools require some interaction in the viewer. For modifier tools, select the geometry you want to work on and then click the shelf item. For creation tools, click the shelf item, then click in the viewer to place the new geometry.
While you are using a tool, options for the tool are available in the operation control bar across the top of the viewer.
Most shelf items will create a new node or nodes somewhere in the network.
The parameter editor pane shows the parameters of the selected node. Parameters are the “options” of the node. They control how the node works.
In the parameter editor
Pin this parameter editor so it stays on this node. Unpinned parameter editors follow the selection.
Drag this icon to another pane to sync that pane’s network location with this one's.
Press on a parameter name or component to change the value interactively using a value ladder. With pressed, move up or down the ladder to change the scale of change. Move left or right to change the value.
Alt-click a parameter to key it. Alt-click in a component box to key that component; alt-click the parameter name to key the entire parameter.
|⇧ Shift +|
Shift-click a parameter to open it in the graph editor.
In the viewer
Key the commonly animated parameters on the selected node.
|PgUp||Select previous node in the network chain.|
|PgDn||Select next node in the network chain.|
|T||Show a mini node tree inside the network pane.|
|P||Show a mini parameter editor inside the network pane.|
|C||Show the color palette for coloring nodes.|
Connect object nodes to create parent/child relationships. The “output” object is the parent of the “input” object.
The blue “visible” flag controls which objects are visible in the scene and renders.
The green “selectable” flag controls which objects can be selected in the view. This lets you protect certain objects (such as bones or lights) from being selected accidentally.
Connect surface nodes flow geometry from generator nodes that create geometry (such as the Sphere node) through filter nodes that modify or combine geometry from input nodes.
The display/render flag marks which node represents the geometry of the object. The node with the display flag is marked with a large ring in the network editor.
You can choose separate nodes to (a) represent the object in the viewer and (b) render. To set a node as the render node, Ctrl-click its display/render flag. The node with the render flag is marked with a large colored circle in the network editor, while the node with the display flag has a large ring.