Scripting and programming play an important role in setting up production pipelines and tools. With Houdini’s node-based workflow and Digital Asset technology many tasks normally reserved for the programming team can now be handled by artists. Beyond that there are a number of robust scripting and programming tools available in Houdini with Python playing a key role.

Integrated Python Support. Houdini includes an object-oriented Python API which provides low-level access to to everything you need to script. Easily integrate Houdini into your existing pipeline with full access to Python libraries and build custom UI widgets that work directly in Houdini.

The Power of VEX. VEX is a high performance language for processing large amounts of data. With a syntax similar to C, VEX is easy to learn for anyone with a coding background. VEX is used to write custom nodes for Houdini and to create shaders. Houdini includes a node-based interface for creating VEX code.

FREE Houdini Development Kit. The HDK is a C++ toolkit for developing plugins for Houdini and Mantra that gives you access to the same interface to Houdini that Side Effects Developers use. You can even use the HDK if you work with Houdini Apprentice.

Scripting Interface with Python Support

  • Houdini Object Model (HOM) is an application programming interface (API) that lets you get information from and control Houdini using scripting languages such as Python
  • Houdini includes 2 non-graphical interfaces; Hscript and Hython. Each of these work with 2D and 3D Assets: 2D image files, 3D geometry files (OBJ, IGES, BGEO, etc.), Houdini Digital Assets, Houdini scene files, custom facility tools, etc.
  • Use command line tools as pipeline infrastructure tool
  • Move, modify and extend assets with command line tools


  • Custom nodes can also be built using Houdini’s Vector Expression Language (VEX)
  • Use VEX to create geometry nodes, particle nodes, shading nodes, composite nodes, and channel nodes
  • VEX is fully threaded and uses the CPU’s vector engine(s) for extreme performance. In many cases VEX will out perform Houdini nodes written with C++


  • Custom nodes can be programmed using the Houdini Development Kit
  • HDK is a C++ programming interface
  • The HDK can also be used to create commands, interfaces or entirely new applications