Houdini Engine lets you load Houdini Digital Assets into other digital content creation apps such as Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D or the Unity Game Editor. You can also use the Houdini Engine API to create your own plug-ins for proprietary applications.

Houdini Engine can also be used on the farm when you distribute key tasks such as rendering, simulation, motion and geometry caching.

Houdini Engine gives you command-line access to Houdini's powerful node-based architecture. You can use the Houdini Engine in batch mode to feed the render farm and process distributed dynamic simulations.

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While studios can use the Houdini Engine API to develop their own custom plug-ins, SideFX along with partners such as Maxon are creating plug-ins that are ready for artists to use right away. Here are the plug-ins that are either available today or in the works. The plug-ins developed by SideFX can be found in the Houdini installer.


In Houdini, networks of nodes can be easily wrapped up into Houdini Digital Assets then shared with other artists. With the Houdini Engine, these assets can be loaded into Autodesk® Maya® with procedural controls available to artists.

Create procedural game art using Houdini Digital Assets loaded into the Unity game editor. Create environments and props that can be modified using parameters on the assets. Author your own assets or use existing assets.

Open the door to powerful procedural workflows with Houdini Engine for UE4.


Houdini Engine for Cinema 4D brings high-end VFX tools to this popular 3D tool. Artists will be able to load assets into Cinema 4D and integrate the results with their existing scenes.

Bring Houdini Digital Assets into this popular Windows-based 3D modelling and animation package.



Distributed Rendering
Houdini’s Mantra renderer works by processing scene description [.ifd] files created by Houdini at render time. To free up your workstation from this task, you can utilize Houdini Batch to create these .ifd files then send them to the unlimited Mantra tokens which come free with each license of Houdini. Houdini Batch can also output scene files for other renderers such as .rib files for RenderMan.

PYRO FX | Distributed Sims
To create smoke and fire, VFX artists can turn to Houdini’s Pyro FX tools to simulate and render volumetric fluids. Just like FLIP fluids, you can partition these fluids and distribute the parts to your farm using Houdini Batch. The speed and memory advantages make this a great way to meet key deadlines. You can also break Pyro FX simulations into unique clusters to more efficiently distrubute the parts.

FLUIDS | Distributed Sims
In Houdini, FLIP fluids provide a unique combination of particle and fluid dynamics to create realistic simulations of flowing and splashing liquids. In Houdini, these processor-heavy calculations can be sliced into smaller simulations that are distributed to the farm. These slices not only speed up your overall simulation time but also allow for bigger overall sims because the total memory used is split into smaller, more manageable chunks.

To quickly explore multiple iterations in Houdini, you can turn the Wedge tool to re-render or re-simulate a shot multiple times, using different parameter settings. This approach lets you easily compare results with different values. Houdini Batch can be used to rapidly generate different wedges and can add text to the output file name or stamp a settings watermark on the resulting images to identify the impact of each wedge on the result.

As an animation or VFX is passed from the creation stage to final output, it is often useful to cache out geometry to disk using either .bgeo or Alembic files to lock down motion and deformation and make the rendering process more secure. Houdini Batch can be used to manage this output as changes are made to your scenes and assets. This geometry could be a deforming character, points from a particle sim or a surfaced fluid simulation.


Python can be used to launch and drive Houdini Batch from within your existing pipeline. You can use scripting to make Houdini Batch a part of your wider pipeline and to integrate it fully into your workflow. You can also use scripting inside your Houdini scene files to customize your solution using either Python or Houdini's hscript.

Studios can integrate Houdini Batch into their existing queuing solution or use HQueue, a free Python-based job manager to distribute simulations, renderings and other Houdini processes. The same HQueue technology is used by Houdini to connect artists to the Amazon EC2 Compute Cloud which provides access to render nodes for a reasonable hourly rate.

With Houdini’s Digital Asset technology it is possible to encapsulate and store scene components into easily updatable parts, then manage the scene layout using an external asset management system. With Houdini Batch, asset-based scenes can be easily built on the farm. This approach ensures that the latest assets are in place and makes it easy to re-process shots using updated assets down the line.