Houdini 20.0 Networks and parameters

Custom HScript expression functions

How to add custom functions to the HScript expression language.

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You can create custom functions you can use in HScript expressions. Before you write your own function, double check the built-in library of expression functions. The function you need may already exist.


If you are writing such advanced expressions that you need custom functions, you should consider switching to Python for scripting.

How to

To...Do this

Open the custom function editor

  1. Choose Edit ▸ Aliases and Variables to open the Aliases and Variables editor.

  2. Click the Expressions tab.

Create a new custom function

  1. Open the custom function editor (see above).

  2. Enter your new function in the large text box.

  3. Click Apply Changes. Your new function should appear in the list of functions on the left.

Load definitions from an external file

Click the plus icon in the bottom right corner of the custom function editor and choose the file to load.

Edit the function source code in an external editor

  1. Click the Edit button in the bottom right corner of the custom function editor.

    Houdini uses the external editor defined by the $EDITOR environment variable. If $EDITOR is not set, Houdini uses a default editor for the platform (e.g. vi or notepad.exe).

  2. Edit the source code in the external editor, then save and quit to return to Houdini.


Custom function definitions have the following syntax:

functionName([[arg_type1] arg_name1 [, [arg_type2] arg_name2] ...])

The return type and argument types can be float, string, vector, or matrix.


If you don’t explicitly list a return type or an argument’s type, Houdini will assume it’s a float, and will silently cast any other data type to a float. If you forget to specify that an argument is a string, Houdini will cast it to float, potentially causing hard to find bugs.

The body of the function definition can use extra syntax such as assignment (=, +=, -=), if, for, while, etc. Use return to return a value.

Lines beginning with # are comments and are ignored by Houdini.


# Function to find the minimum value of two
# floating point numbers

min(v1, v2) {
    if (v1 < v2) {
        return v1;
    } else {
        return v2;

# Function to reverse the order of a string

string strreverse(string in) {
    float len = strlen(in);

    string result = "";

    for (src = len-1; src >= 0; src--) {
        result += in[src]; return result;

# Example to find the minimum element in a vector

float vecmin(vector vec) {
    min = vec[0];

    for (i = 1; i < vsize(vec); i++) {
        if (vec[i] < min)  min = vec[i];

    return min;

# Example to transform a vector into the space
# of an object passed in.

vector opxform(string oname, vector v) {
    matrix xform = 1;

    if (index(oname, "/obj/")) {
        xform = optransform(oname);
    } else {
        xform = optransform("/obj/"+oname);

    return v * xform;

# Example to find all objects which have their
# display flag set

string opdisplay() {
    string objects = run("opls /obj");
    string result = "";
    nargs = argc(objects);

    for (i = 0; i < nargs; i++) {
        string obj = arg(objects, i);
        if ( index(run("opset " + obj), " -d on") >= 0 ) result += " " + obj;

    return result;

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


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