Houdini Engine for Maya
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Session

In order to use Houdini Engine, a Houdini Engine session needs to be created. Creating the session will load the necessary Houdini libraries and plug-ins, and setup Houdini Engine according to various preferences, and environment variables.

Maya_Session.png

Within Maya Process

Before thin client was added to Houdini Engine, creating a Houdini Engine session within the Maya process is how Houdini Engine is initialized. All the Houdini libraries and necessary files are loaded directly within Maya's process. This requires the libraries of Houdini, its plug-ins, and their library dependencies to be compatible with the libraries of Maya and its plug-ins. Otherwise, there could be dynamic library conflicts, library symbol conflicts, or even obscure crashes. Since the introduction of Houdini Engine, a lot of effort have gone into resolving and working around these issues and conflicts, so it should work in most cases. However, in some rare situations, there may still be issues that have yet been discovered.

Socket

Socket session was added when thin client was introduced in Houdini Engine. In short, thin client allows the main Houdini Engine processing to happen in a separate process, outside of the Maya process. For socket sessions, TCP socket is used to communicate between the Maya process and the Houdini Engine process.

In order to use socket sessions, the Houdini Engine server must be manually started with a known port on a known machine. Then, the host and port information is entered into the plug-in.

Named Pipe

Named pipe session was added when thin client was introduced in Houdini Engine. In short, thin client allows the main Houdini Engine processing to happen in a separate process, outside of the Maya process. For named pipe sessions, named pipe is used to communicate between the Maya process and the Houdini Engine process. This is the recommended method when using thin client in the same local machine.

The named pipe session support auto-starting the Houdini Engine server. When the plug-in initializes, the Houdini Engine server will be automatically started, and a named pipe is automatically chosen.

The Houdini Engine server can also be manually started with a known named pipe. Then, the named pipe information is entered into the plug-in.