Houdini 18.5

SideFX Labs

SideFX Labs is a completely free, open-source toolset geared towards assisting Houdini users with a variety of tasks commonly used for digital content creation. It is an all-inclusive toolset that spans the shelf, digital assets, custom desktops, scripts and more.

On this page

Note

Check out our overview page to see the wide range of applications the tools provide.

Installation

You can install the SideFX Labs Toolset directly from inside Houdini 18 and above. Just add the existing SideFX Labs shelf to your desktop and click on the "Update Toolset" button. You can also install it manually using the packages system .

Shelf Updater

The updater provides several options for installation depending on your needs / limitations.

  1. Every installation of Houdini comes with a version of the SideFX Labs toolset tied to the version of Houdini. Example: Houdini 18.0.345 includes version (18.0.)345 of the toolset. Perfect for users who don’t have the ability to download external packages.

  2. Download the latest production build. A production build is released approximately every four weeks. Similar to production builds of Houdini, the toolset is generally more stable but won’t include the latest additions to the toolset.

  3. Download the latest development build. A daily build is released every day. These builds will contain the latest additions to the toolset including new tools, updates and bug fixes. Untick the "Production Builds Only" checkbox in the updater to see a full list of the builds available.

Source

You can also download the source and release files directly from GitHub. Convenient tags have been set up to indicate which commits have been included in what builds of Labs.

Changelog

Changelogs get posted on the forum roughly bi-weekly to keep you informed on bugfixes, new tools and general updates. You can subscribe to it here to receive an email when it goes live.

Nodes

Houdini 18.5

Getting started

Using Houdini

  • Geometry

    How Houdini represents geometry and how to create and edit it.

  • Copying and instancing

    How to use copies (real geometry) and instances (loaded or created at render time).

  • Animation

    How to create and keyframe animation in Houdini.

  • Digital assets

    Digital assets let you create reusable nodes and tools from existing networks.

  • Import and export

    How to get scene, object, and other data in and out of Houdini.

  • Executing tasks with PDG/TOPs

    How to define dependencies and schedule tasks using TOP networks.

  • MPlay viewer

    Using Houdini’s stand-alone image viewer.

Character FX

  • Character

    How to rig and animate characters in Houdini.

  • Crowd simulations

    How to create and simulate crowds of characters in Houdini.

  • Hair and fur

    How to create, style, and add dynamics to hair and fur.

Dynamics

  • Particles

    How to create particle simulations.

  • Dynamics

    How to use Houdini’s dynamics networks to create simulations.

  • Vellum

    Vellum uses a Position Based Dynamics approach to cloth, hair, grains, and softbody objects.

  • Pyro

    How to simulate smoke, fire, and explosions.

  • Fluids

    How to set up fluid and ocean simulations.

  • Destruction

    How to break different types of materials.

  • Grains

    How to simulate grainy materials (such as sand).

  • Finite elements

    How to create and simulate deformable objects

Nodes

  • OBJ - Object nodes

    Object nodes represent objects in the scene, such as character parts, geometry objects, lights, cameras, and so on.

  • SOP - Geometry nodes

    Geometry nodes live inside Geo objects and generate geometry.

  • DOP - Dynamics nodes

    Dynamics nodes set up the conditions and rules for dynamics simulations.

  • VOP - Shader nodes

    VOP nodes let you define a program (such as a shader) by connecting nodes together. Houdini then compiles the node network into executable VEX code.

  • LOP - USD nodes

    LOP nodes generate USD describing characters, props, lighting, and rendering.

  • ROP - Render nodes

    Render nodes either render the scene or set up render dependency networks.

  • CHOP - Channel nodes

    Channel nodes create, filter, and manipulate channel data.

  • COP2 - Compositing nodes

    Composite nodes create, filter, and manipulate image data.

  • TOP - Task nodes

    TOP nodes define a workflow where data is fed into the network, turned into "work items" and manipulated by different nodes. Many nodes represent external processes that can be run on the local machine or a server farm.

Lighting, rendering, and compositing

  • Solaris

    Solaris is the umbrella name for Houdini’s scene building, layout, lighting, and rendering tools based on the Universal Scene Description (USD) framework.

  • Rendering

    How to render images and animation from the 3D scene.

  • HQueue

    HQueue is Houdini’s free distributed render and simulation manager.

  • Materials

    How to assign materials and create custom materials for shading.

  • Compositing

    Houdini’s compositing networks let you create and manipulate images such as renders.

Reference

  • Menus

    Explains each of the items in the main menus.

  • Viewers

    Viewer pane types.

  • Panes

    Documents the options in various panes.

  • Windows

    Documents the options in various user interface windows.

  • Stand-alone utilities

    Houdini includes a large number of useful command-line utility programs.

  • Python scripting

    How to script Houdini using Python and the Houdini Object Model.

  • Expression functions

    Expression functions let you compute the value of parameters.

  • HScript commands

    HScript is Houdini’s legacy scripting language.

  • VEX

    VEX is a high-performance expression language used in many places in Houdini, such as writing shaders.

  • Properties

    Properties let you set up flexible and powerful hierarchies of rendering, shading, lighting, and camera parameters.

  • Galleries

    Pre-made materials included with Houdini.

  • Houdini packages

    How to write and combine multiple environment variable definition files for different plug-ins, tools, and add-ons.

  • Houdini Engine

    Documents the Houdini Engine C and Python APIs as well as the SessionSync utility.