Houdini 20.0 Geometry

Geometry appearance editor

The appearance editor mode of the data tree pane lets you edit various controls for object viewport/rendered appearance in one place.

On this page

When you edit controls in the appearance spreadsheet, the pane modifies the corresponding controls on the object (or in the case of packed geometry, modifies a Packed Edit node to set the appropriate attributes).

How to

To...Do this

Create an appearance editor pane

  1. Click the New tab icon in the top line of a pane.

  2. Choose New pane tab type ▸ Data tree.

  3. Click the pop-up menu in the top left corner and choose “Appearance editor”.

Things to know

  • If you import Alembic geometry (or otherwise import packed geometry), you must append a Packed Edit SOP to the geometry network.

    This is because, unlike regular editable geometry, the display of packed geometry is controlled by attributes on the geometry, which the Packed Edit node changes. The appearance editor works by modifying how the node sets the attributes.

  • If you are editing the geometry inside an object at the geometry level, the full geometry is always displayed, even if the data tree shows it as “hidden” at the object level. See object and geometry level for more information.

  • The “Display” checkbox controls the display flag on objects. The object node display flag affects display and rendering.

  • The “Display type” column changes the object’s Display as parameter (on the Render tab). This only affects display, not rendering.

  • The “Material” column changes the object’s Material parameter (on the Material tab).


Pop-up menu

The pop-up menu at the top left sets which user interface the data tree pane displays.


Type a pattern (not a sub-string), for example sphere*, and press Enter. Only names matching this pattern will show in the spreadsheet.

Follow selection

Turn this off to prevent clicks in the editor from selecting geometry.

Path attribute

You can add a path attribute to primitives to specify their location in the data tree hierarchy. This is a slash-separated string. For example, two primitives with the path attributes obj/foo/bar and obj/foo/baz would create the following hierarchy.


Geometry imported from an Alembic file automatically has this attribute set to match the internal object hierarchy of the Alembic file.






  • Destruction

    How to break different types of materials.


Next steps

Guru level