Houdini 20.0 Networks and parameters


Badges indicate some status information about a node. They usually appear as a row of icons below the name of the node.

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Control the display of badges

In the network editor, choose View ▸ Display options or press D.

In the display options, for each possible badge you can set three different display styles:


Don’t show the badge at all.


Show the badge in the row of badges below the node name.


Show a large version of the badge behind the node. This is to make important badges (such as errors) more prominent and easier to spot zoomed out.



This node has an error and could not cook. Show the info window to read the error message.


This node cooked but generated a warning. Show the info window to read the warning message.


This node has a comment. Show the info window to read or edit the comment. You can also use the checkbox in the info window to show the comment below the badges in the network editor.

Node Locked

You have frozen this node’s output geometry or channels. See the lock flag on SOP nodes, CHOP nodes, and TOP nodes.

Node Unload

This node does not cache its output geometry. See the unload flag

Node has data

This node has cached its output geometry. This badge is hidden by default since it would normally be on most nodes, but if you are trying to debug unload flags you might want to make it visible.

Node needs to cook

This node needs to recompute its output because the inputs or parameters have changed (or, the node has not computed its output for the first time yet). This badge is hidden by default, since Houdini normally cooks nodes automatically as needed. However, if you turn off automatic cooking you might want to make it visible.

Locked HDA

This node is a locked (synced) digital asset.

Unlocked HDA

This node is an unlocked (editable) digital asset.

Time dependent

This node changes based on the current frame. For example, it might have keyframe animation, or it might have an expression that uses the current frame or time.

Cached VEX

The contents of this VOP network have been replaced with cached VEX. If a network can be cached but is not cached, the badge shows a dimmer version.

Not compilable

This node hasn’t been updated to be compilable. This can be useful for checking whether all the nodes in a certain branch of the network can be grouped into a compile block.

Dynamic Work Items

This TOP node is generating dynamic work items. The badge will not appear until the TOP network has been cooked once.

Parameter badges


One or more parameters on this node are constrained/overridden by a CHOP network.


The bone has kinematics (FK or IK) on it.

Has take data

One or more parameters on this node have overrides in the current take.

Text badges

The controls on this tab let you choose how “text badges” appear on nodes. You can hide them, show the full text, or show the text truncated to a few lines.


Each node can have a text comment you can display near the node’s name. You can edit the comment in the node info window.

Detail ID

SOP nodes have an associated unique identifier for their cooked data. The Detail ID is also available from the node info window if you turn the debug flag.

Descriptive parameter

Each node type can specify the most important parameter to understand what the node is doing. For example, for the File node this is the filename. You can display that parameter’s value near the node’s name.

  • When you create a digital asset you can specify the asset’s descriptive parameter on the Node tab of the type properties window.

  • You can use scripting to set a descriptiveparm item in a node’s user data dictionary to a parameter ID to give that node a custom descriptive parameter:

    hou.node("/obj/geo1/blast1").setUserData("descriptiveparm", "group")

    This will override the descriptive parameter set on an asset. However there are some nodes it will not override that generate their own descriptive text.

Networks and parameters


  • Network editor

    How to create, move, copy, and edit nodes.

  • Network navigation

    How to move around the networks and move between networks.

  • Connecting (wiring) nodes

    How to connect nodes to each other to make them work together.

  • Network types and node flags

    Flags represent some state information on the node, such as which node represents the output of the network. Different network types have different flags.

  • Badges

    Badges indicate some status information about a node. They usually appear as a row of icons below the name of the node.

  • Find nodes in a network

    How to use the Find dialog to find nodes based on various criteria.

Editing parameters

Next steps


Guru level