Substance in Houdini

Posted May 27, 2016

With its Houdini procedural modeler, SideFX is a key player in animation and VFX. For years, Houdini has been used in the most impressive productions of films, TV series, animated movies, and video game development. Today, Allegorithmic is happy to present a Substance plugin for Houdini.

With this integration, Houdini can read Substances in the form of .sbsar files, and Houdini users can tap into the power of procedural textures created with Substance Designer. Using the plugin is simple: after installing it, instance the Substance shader in a SHOP network.


It is now possible to load a Substance with all parameters exposed in Substance Designer. 

It is also possible to reload the file if the .sbsar has been modified. 

The Substance shader communicates directly with the Principled Shader, and the Mantra Surface shader is available on an experimental basis. In the same way, it is possible to describe the interfacing with any other shader via a description file. You can set the shader choice in the plugin options.  

Next, add a material node in a SOP network and point to the Substance shader. The result is directly visible in the 3D viewport. 

The links between the Substance maps and the Mantra shader are automatic. These are referenced in a description file, SubstanceToMantra.cfg and SubstanceToPrincipled.cfg, present in the following path: My Documents/houdini15.5/dso/substance/.

We have made sure to take Houdini workflows into account, including treatment of expressions and dynamic links. This allows a perfect integration in a Houdini Digital Asset, for example. 

We hope that many of you will take advantage of this new bridge between SideFX and Allegorithmic. The plugin is free for download on our website. Have fun with it!

We presented the Substance integration during FMX in April. Here is the video of the presentation, with our thanks to SideFX for the production.


  • j.king 3 years, 7 months ago  | 

    Hi where is this 'Free Plugin?'....

  • cglard 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    Is the plugin broken in 17? Or Is it not functioning because I am on apprentice? I am very excited to use designer and Houdini but no luck yet.

  • kenobi 3 years, 4 months ago  | 

    will this work for indie versions? As i gt a error missing version information.

  • mattmoyes 3 years, 4 months ago  | 

    Broken with master license (FX) too. Seems to be compiled with an older HDK

  • Michaelgdrs 3 years, 4 months ago  | 

    Issues with 17.5


    Missing version information

    <UT/UT_DSOVersion.h. to define the required version information.

  • Calx 2 years, 11 months ago  | 

    Any news on a fix for this?

  • dzigakaiser 2 years, 11 months ago  | 

    +1 Not sure if the missing version info in the substance_linker.dll is causing noticeable issues but I'd prefer to not get this error pop up everytime:)

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