Managing Operator dependencies is one of those important skills that a Houdini user should become familiar with. As you build complex networks in Houdini, it is handy to find out what a particular node is dependent on and what operators are dependent on that node.
In Houdini, this becomes a relatively simple task now that we have the View Dependencies tool available for every node in a Hip file. There are a couple other tools that I also use to find out specific dependencies: Network Display Dependency links and the Performance Monitor but it is the View Dependencies tool that is my first port of call.
View Dependencies Tool
The first time I used the View Dependencies tool I was able to solve a critical issue related to recursion and problems with a early character rig I had built. With this tool, you can now debug those mysterious slowdowns, warnings or error flags. The View Dependencies tool is found on the Right Mouse Button menu on any node in Houdini. Here's a snapshot of the View Dependencies dialog on the critical body_ctrl node in my character rig file.
The View Dependencies tool is a floating window that shows you all the dependent nodes along with parameters that may contain references to this node. It also highlights those parameters with one of four colors to help you determine the state of the node. Middle-Mouse hold on any of the entries to bring up more information.
Here are the four colors you will encounter in the Dependency view:
The View Dependencies tool can be used in two modes: Dependents or References. Dependents mode shows you all the nodes that have references to this node. The References option shows what this node depends on.
I have found the View Dependencies tool to be indispensable in my day to day work in support. I hope it will become a part of your workflow as well.