Houdini 17.5 Python Scripting

Node search

You can programmatically find nodes using the same code as the Find dialog in the network editor.

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The code that implements node search in the network editor’s Find window is available for scripting in the nodesearch package.

The package uses "Matcher" objects to find matching nodes. A matcher has the following methods:

Matcher.nodes(network, ignore_case=False, recursive=False, recurse_in_locked_nodes=True)list of hou.Node

Starting at the given network, returns a list of hou.Node instances representing the matching nodes.


A hou.Node object representing the network to search inside.


If this is True, any string-comparing the matcher does will be case- insensitive. The default is False.


If this is True, recursively search inside container nodes as well. The default is False.


If recursive is True and this is True, the matcher will search inside locked assets. The default is False.

Matcher.matches(node, ignore_case=False)bool

Returns True if the given node matches, or False if the node does not match.

Parsing queries

You can parse a query string (like in the freeform text box at the top of the find window) into a matcher using this function:

import hou
from nodesearch import parser

# Create a matcher that finds nodes whose name starts with time_
# and whose X translation is > 1
matcher = parser.parse_query("time_* tx:>1")

network = hou.node("/obj/")
for node in matcher.nodes(network, recursive=True):

The select() high-level function automatically parses the query string for you and selects the nodes in the network editor.

from nodesearch import parser

# You can optionally supply which network editor pane to use; otherwise
# the function will just find one
editor = hou.ui.paneTabOfType(hou.paneTabType.NetworkEditor)
# If you don't supply a network, the function will use the current network
# of the editor
network = hou.node("/obj/geo1")

# frame=True pans and zooms the editor to center on the selected nodes
parser.select("time_* tx:>1", editor=editor, network=network, frame=True)

Constructing Matcher objects

You can also manually construct a matcher (this is like using the "Add condition" controls in the find window):

import hou
import nodesearch

# Create a matcher that finds nodes whose name starts with time_
name_matcher = nodesearch.Name("time_*")

# Create a matcher that finds nodes whose Translation X value is greater
#    than 10
parm_matcher = nodesearch.Parm("tx", ">", 1.0)

# A matcher that must match both sub-conditions
both_matcher = nodesearch.Group([name_matcher, parm_matcher])

# A matcher that can match either sub-condition
either_matcher = nodesearch.Group([name_mater, parm_matcher], intersect=False)

parser.select() also works with a constructed Matcher object using the query= keyword argument:

parser.select(query=both_matcher, editor=editor, network=network, frame=False)

Matcher classes

You can use the following Matcher subclasses to construct a matcher:


Matches all nodes.

Query string equivalent: *


Never matches any node.

nodesearch.Name(name, exact=False)

Matches nodes by their individual names in the network editor (for example, sphere1).

matcher = nodesearch.Name("foo")


The name string to match. If exact=True, only matches nodes with this exact name. If exact=False, matches nodes whose names contain this substring.


Whether to match the exact name. The default is False, which matches a substring within the name.

Query string equivalent: foo

nodesearch.Parm(name, op, value)

Matches nodes where a given parameter value compares true with a target value.

For example, to match nodes whose translate Y is greater than or equal to 10:

matcher = nodesearch.Parm("ty", ">=", 10)


The internal name of the parameter to match. You can view the internal name of a parameter by hovering over its label in the parameter editor.


A string specifying how to compare the target value to the parameter value. For numeric parameters, this should be one of "<", ">", "<=", "=<", ">=", "=>", "=", "==", or "!=".

For string parameters, you can use "="/"==" or the special operators "|=" or "~=". "|=" checks if the target value is a substring of the parameter value. "~=" treats the target string as a pattern and try to match it with the parameter value.


The "target" value to compare with the each node’s parameter value.

Query string equivalent: ty:>=10

nodesearch.RawParm(name, value, is_pattern=False, exact=False)

Matches nodes where the raw string contents of a parameter match a target string. The "raw" value of a parameter does expand variables or evaluate expressions.

Use this, for example, if you want to find usages of a certain expression function:

matcher = nodesearch.RawParm("ch(")


If this is True, the matcher treats the target string as a pattern, instead of looking for it as a substring.


If this is True, the parameter contents must match the target string exactly. The default is False, meaning the target matches if it is a substring of the parameter contents. (Ignored if is_pattern=True.)

Query string equivalent: group~="ch("

nodesearch.State(name, boolean)

Matches nodes that have or don’t have a certain flag/status.

For example:

# To match bypassed nodes:
matcher = nodesearch.State("bypass", True)
# To find nodes that have errors:
matcher = nodesearch.State("error", True)
# To find nodes that have descriptive parameter display turned off:
matcher = nodesearch.State("displaydescriptivename", False)


A string representing the flag/status to check for.

This can be the internal name of a node flag: audio, bypass, colordefault, compress, current, debug, display, displaycomment, displaydescriptivename, export, expose, footprint, highlight, inoutdetaillow, inoutdetailmedium, inoutdetailhigh, material, lock, softlock, origin, pick, render, selectable, template, unload, visible, xray.

You can also search for the following statuses: "comment" (the node’s comment field has content), "warning" (the node has a warning), "error" (the node has an error).


Whether the given flag/status should be on or off.

Query string equivalent: +bypass +error -displaydescriptivename

nodesearch.NodeType(typename, typecat=None, exact=False)

Matches nodes of a specific type (for example, Copy SOP, or Geometry Object).

For example:

# Match any type with "vex" in its internal name
matcher = nodesearch.NodeType("vex")
# Match any SOP with vex in its internal name
matcher = nodesearch.NodeType("vex", hou.sopNodeTypeCategory())
# Only match nodes with an exact name
matcher = nodesearch.NodeType("examplecom::character::2.0", "Sop")


If exact=True, the exact internal name of a node type. If exact=False, matches a substring in a type name.


Whether to match the exact type name. The default is False, which matches a substring within the type name.

Query string equivalent: 'vex 'Sop/vex


Matches nodes that have a parameter in a certain condition.

The condition is a string with one of the following values:

"off_default_parm" – the node has a parameter that has a value other than its default.

"spare_parm" – the node has at least one spare parameter.

"animated_parm" – the node has a time-dependent parameter.

"expression_parm" – the node has a parameter driven by an expression.

Query string equivalent: @off_default_parm @spare_parm


Reverses the meaning of the specified matcher, so this matcher matches any nodes the child matcher doesn’t match.

Query string equivalent: NOT _keep_


Matches nodes that have nodes that match the specified matcher as input.


Matches nodes that have nodes that match the specified match as output.

nodesearch.Group(submatchers, intersect=True)

Groups matchers together with an "and" or "or" relationship.

If intersect=True, only matches nodes which all the sub-matchers match. Query string equivalent: (a & b & c).

If intersect=False, matches nodes which any of the sub-matchers match. Query string equivalent: (a | b | c).

matcher = nodesearch.Group([matcher1, matcher2, matcher3], intersect=False)

Python Scripting

Getting started

Next steps

Python viewer states

You can write viewer states in Python that let you customize user interaction in the viewport for your node.

Guru level


  • hou

    Module containing all the sub-modules, classes, and functions to access Houdini.

  • Alembic extension functions

    Utility functions for extracting information from Alembic files.