Houdini 19.5 Nodes Compositing nodes

Lighting compositing node

Adds a light to the image.

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This operator adds a light to the image. The light can be directional or non, and have ambient, specular and diffuse components. The image can be a flat image, an image with a bump map, or a deep raster image containing point and/or normal planes.

Flat Lighting

Flat lighting requires no extra information. It assumes the image is a flat plane, and applies the lighting equation to the pixels. The image occupies the area (0,0,0) to (1,1,0).

The light position should have a positive Z value. The center of the image is (0.5, 0.5, 0). The distance the light is from Z=0 determines the brightness and the light’s shape (if a cone line is used).

Bump Map Lighting

Bump Map lighting requires a bump map, which can be produced with the Bump COP. This type of lighting is similar to Flat lighting, except that the surface normals are perturbed based on the bump map.

To adjust the height of the bumps, you will need to brighten or dim the bump map with a Bright COP. Or, if the bump map was created with the Bump COP, adjust the Bump Height parameter there.

Deep Raster (3D) Lighting

3D lighting can be done with the help of Point and Normal maps, which can be generated from the Deep Raster tab of the Mantra ROP. If only a Point map is present, the Lighting COP will attempt to build normals from the point positions. If only a Normal map is present, the process is similar to that of Bump Map lighting, and the points are assumed to be in the range (0,0,0) to (1,1,0).

The light can be placed anywhere relative to the 3D points. It is useful to use the viewport inspect function (i) to determine the 3D point values so the light can be positioned more accurately.

Volumetric Lighting

Volumetric lighting can be used with any of the above lighting techniques, though it is most effective when used with 3D lighting. Volumetric lighting adds an atmospheric light-scattering effect so that the cone of light can be seen.

Since volumetric lighting is quite time consuming to compute, it is a good idea to get all your other lighting parameters setup first, and then enable this option.

If the alpha plane is scoped, the amount of light at each point is placed in it.

Overloading VEX Parameters

This operator is implemented in VEX, which supports parameter overloading. If the first input has a plane which matches an operation parameter’s channel name, the input plane will be used as the parameter’s value, effectively overriding it. The overloaded parameter is then evaluated from the plane on a per-pixel basis.

eg. If the input COP has the following planes:


and it is fed into a VEX Fog COP, the fog density will be determined at each pixel by the fogdens plane, since the Fog Density parameter’s channel name matches the 'fogdens' channel name.


This operation may be restricted to certain planes, or components of planes. In addition, the operation may be applied to a subset of frames within the sequence. An image must have both its frame and plane scoped to be modified.

Images that are not modified are passed through, which does not take any memory or processing time.


This operation may be masked, which restricts the operation to an area of the image. The mask may be inverted, brightened or dimmed.

The mask input is on the side of the node. The label on the connector indicates the plane being used as a mask.

The mask input can also be scaled to fit the output image’s resolution, if they differ. If this node is changing constantly, and the mask is not, it is somewhat faster to put a Scale COP down to do the resize for the mask image. Otherwise, the scale will occur every time this node cooks.



Surface Type

Specifies the type of surface lighting to use:


Image has uniform normals and uniform depth.

Bump Map

Image has bumped normals and uniform depth.

Point & Normal

Image has normal & point maps for 3D lighting.

Point Only

Image has a point map for pseudo-3D lighting.

Normal Map

Image has uniform depth and varying normals.

Eye Distance

The distance from the eye to the image (at Z=0).


The ambient component of the light.


The diffuse component of the light.


The specular component of the light.

Correct for Aspect Ratio

If the image is not square, this adjusts the coordinates so that spotlights are still circular.

Color Operation

How to apply the light to the existing image:

Light Existing Color

The image color is used as the color of the surface, and the lighting calculation replaces it.

Add to Existing Color

The image color is used as the color of the surface,

and the lighting calculation is added to it.

New Lighting Only

The image color is ignored, and replaced by the new lighting. This will show only the ambient, diffuse and specular colors.


This tab allows you to change the diffuse and specular models.

Diffuse Model

The type of diffuse model to use:


Simple dot product model.


Rougher material model, like clay.

Diffuse Roughness

The roughness for the Oren-Nayar model.

Specular Model

The specular model to use, Phong or Blinn.


The Phong specular exponent.


The Blinn roughness parameter.


Light position and orientation.


The position of the light. In Flat, Bump Map and Normal Map modes, the image coordinates are {0,0,0} (bottom left) to {1,1,0} (top right).


The distance at which the light is at 50% intensity.

Directional Light

If on, the light is directional.


The direction vector of the light.


The cone size of the light, in degrees.

Cone Falloff

The falloff cone size of the light, in degrees.


The falloff function for the light.


Adds volumetric light effects. Takes quite a bit longer to compute.

Atmosphere Scatter

The amount of light scatter the atmosphere causes. Higher numbers produce foggier lights.

Light Falloff

The distance that the volumetric fog extends away from the light.

Falloff Function

The volumetric fog falloff function.

Light Core Size

Increases or decreases the light hotspot size.

Ray March Step

The step size when marching through the light volume. Smaller values produce finer results at the expense of computation time.


Bump, Point Normal Planes in 2nd input

If on, all the specified planes are in input 2, otherwise they are in input 1.

Bump, Point, Normal Name

The name of the corresponding input planes.


A mask can be chosen to limit the effect of the operator to areas defined by the mask. The mask can be taken from the mask input (side input) or from the first input itself.

Effect Amount

If no mask is present, this blends the output with the input by a constant amount (0 = all input, 1 = all output).

If a mask is present, this amount multiplies the mask.

Operation Mask

Selects the mask plane to use as a mask from the mask input. The mask can be selected from:

A mask can be a component of a plane or an entire plane. If a vector plane is supplied as a mask, its components are multiplied by the images' components.

Scalar Mask ('A', 'C.r')

C.r = I.r * M
C.g = I.g * M
C.b = I.b * M

Vector Mask ('C')

C.r = I.r * M.r
C.g = I.g * M.g
C.b = I.b * M.b

First Input

Useful for masking the operation to the image’s own alpha plane.

Mask Input

Selects the mask from the side mask input.


Turns off masking, without requiring disconnection of the mask input (useful for temporarily disabling the mask).

Resize Mask to Fit Image

If the mask image is a different resolution than the output image, turning on this parameter will scale the mask to the output image’s resolution.

If this node is changing constantly, and the mask is not, it is somewhat faster to put a Scale COP down to do the resize for the mask image. Otherwise, the scale will occur every time this node cooks.

Invert Mask

Inverts the mask so that all fully 'masked' portions become unmasked. This saves you from inserting an Invert COP after the node with the mask.


Plane Scope

Specifies the scope for both the RGB components of Color, Alpha, and other planes. The (C)RGBA mask only affects Color components and Alpha. 'C' will toggle all the RGB components.

For planes other than Color and Alpha, the plane name (plus component, if applicable) should be specified in the string field. The pulldown menu can be used to select planes or components present in this node.

A plane is specified by its name. A component is specified by both its plane and component name. The '*' wildcard may be used to scope all extra planes. Any number of planes or components can be specified, separated by spaces.


N.x N.y
P N Pz

Frame Scope

Frame Scope

Allows scoping of specific frames in the frame range. This is in addition to the plane scope (so a plane at a certain frame must be both plane scoped and frame scoped to be modified).

All Frames

All frames are scoped.

Inside Range

All frames inside a subrange are scoped.

Outside Range

All frames outside a subrange are scoped.

Even Frames

Even numbered frames are scoped.

Odd Frames

Odd numbered frames are scoped.

Specific Frames

A user-defined list of frames are scoped.

Frame Range

For Inside/Outside range, this parameter specifies the subrange of the sequence to scope (or unscope). This can be edited in Timeline viewer mode (⌃ Ctrl + 2 in viewer).

Frame Dropoff

For Inside/Outside Range, this parameter specifies certain number of frames before and after to slowly ramp up to scoped. The operation will be blended with its input to 'ease in' or 'ease out' the scoping effect over a number of frames. This can be edited in Timeline viewer mode (⌃ Ctrl + 2 in viewer).

Non-scoped Effect

For unscoped frames, this sets the blend factor between the input and modified images. Normally this is zero (use the input image). By setting this to a non-zero value, you can make unscoped frames be 'slightly' unscoped. The value can vary between 0 (unscoped) and 1 (scoped).

Frame List

The frame list for 'Specific Frames'. Frame numbers should be separated by spaces.

Automatically Adjust for Length Changes

If the sequence range changes, enabling this parameter will adjust the subrange and frame dropoff lengths to fit the new range.



Sequence length


Start of sequence


End of sequence


Input sequence length


Sequence frame rate


Number of planes in sequence


Width and height of image


Image index (0 at start frame)


Image time (0 at start frame)


Current plane array index


Current plane index


Num of channels in current plane


Composite Project X resolution


Composite Project Y resolution


Composite Project pixel aspect ratio


Composite Project raster depth


Composite Project black point


Composite Project white point


Lighting3d Example for Lighting compositing node

This example demonstrates three different ways that the Lighting COP can simulate 3D lighting, using images with Point and Normal deep raster information. Point lighting, directional atmospheric lighting, and lighting without Normals are explored.

LightingFlatBump Example for Lighting compositing node

This example demonstrates the effects of the Lighting COP on a 2D image. Flat lighting and lighting with the use of a bump map are explored.

See also

Compositing nodes

  • Add

    Adds two images together.

  • Anaglyph

    Creates an anaglyph from a pair of input images.

  • Atop

    Composites the first input (Foreground) over the second (background), but only where the background alpha exists.

  • Average

    Averages the foreground image and the background image.

  • Blend

    Blends frames from two sequences together using a simple linear blend.

  • Blur

    Blurs an image.

  • Border

    Adds a border to the image.

  • Bright

    Applies a brightness factor and bright shift to the first input.

  • Bump

    Builds a bump map from a plane.

  • COP generators

  • Channel Copy

    Copy channels from any of inputs into the output image.

  • Chromakey

    Mask or key an image based on its color.

  • Color

    Creates a constant color image.

  • Color Correct

    Applies a variety of color corrections to the image

  • Color Curve

    Adjusts the R,G,B and/or A channels based on a user-defined curve.

  • Color Map

    Maps a range of color to a new range.

  • Color Replace

    Replace a color region in an image with another region.

  • Color Wheel

    Generates a simple HSV color wheel.

  • Composite

    Does a composite (over, under, inside, add, etc) between two images.

  • Compositing nodes

    Composite nodes create, filter, and manipulate image data.

  • Contrast

    Increases or decreases the contrast of an image.

  • Convert

    Changes the data format of a plane.

  • Convolve

    Performs a generic convolve on the source image.

  • Corner Pin

    Fits an image into an arbitrary quadrilateral.

  • Corner Ramp

    Generates a four corner ramp.

  • Crop

    Crops an image and changes its resolution.

  • Cryptomatte

    Extracts matte from Cryptomatte image.

  • DSM Flatten

    Flattens a Deep Shadow/Camera Map into a flat 2D raster.

  • Defocus

    Defocuses an image similar to a real camera defocus.

  • Deform

    Deforms an image by moving the underlying UV coordinates.

  • Degrain

    Removes film grain from an image.

  • Deinterlace

    De-interlaces a frame of video by either averaging scanlines or copying a scanline.

  • Delete

    Removes planes or components from an input sequence.

  • Denoise

    Removes white noise from an image.

  • Denoise AI

    Uses machine-learning algorithms to denoise images with high quality and speed.

  • Depth Darken

    Darkens depth boundaries in an image.

  • Depth of Field

    Creates a depth-of-field mask, which describes how out of focus parts of the image are.

  • Diff

    Computes the difference between the foreground image and the background image.

  • Dilate/Erode

    Expands and shrinks mattes.

  • Drop Shadow

    Creates a blurred shadow offset of an image.

  • Edge Blur

    Blurs the edges of an image.

  • Edge Detect

    Detects edges in the input image.

  • Emboss

    Adds a lighting effect to the image by using a bump map.

  • Environment

    Applies an environment map to an image.

  • Equalize

    Equalizes colors by stretching or shifting the image histogram.

  • Error Function Table Generator

    Creates an image containing precomputed error function terms for hair albedo computation

  • Expand

    Expands and shrinks mattes.

  • Extend

    Extends the length of a sequence so that it can be animated beyond its frame range.

  • Extract

    Extracts a plane or channel from a multi-plane source.

  • Extrapolate Boundaries

    Fills empty areas of an image using the colors at the edges the non-empty areas.

  • Fetch

    Fetches a sequence of images from another COP, even in another network.

  • Field Merge

    Merges two fields into one Interlaced Frame.

  • Field Split

    Splits an interlaced frame into two fields per frame (odd and even fields).

  • Field Swap

    Swaps the two fields containing the even and odd scanlines of the frame.

  • File

    Loads image files into Houdini.

  • Flip

    Flips the image horizontally and/or vertically.

  • Fog

    Adds a variety of atmospheric effects to an image, including fog, haze and heat waves.

  • Font

    Renders anti-aliased text.

  • Front Face

    Cleans up flipped normals by making them face the camera.

  • Function

    Performs a variety of mathematical functions on the input image.

  • Gamma

    Applies gamma correction to the image.

  • Geokey

    Keys out parts of the image based on pixel position or normal direction.

  • Geometry

    Renders geometry from a SOP as a single color image.

  • Gradient

    Computes the gradient of an image.

  • Grain

    Adds grain to an image.

  • HSV

    Converts between RGB and HSV color spaces, or applies hue and saturation modifications.

  • Hue Curve

    Adjusts the saturation or luminance of the image based on hue.

  • Illegal Pixel

    Detects illegal pixels, like NAN and INF, in images.

  • Inside

    Restricts the foreground color to the area of the background’s alpha matte.

  • Interleave

    Interleaves image sequences.

  • Invert

    Applies a photographic pixel inversion to the image.

  • Labs Blackbody

    Generates a blackbody ramp, or colorizes a black and white image with a blackbody ramp

  • Labs DDS File

    Reads in DDS (DirectDraw Surface) Files

  • Labs Demosaic

    Converts a single mosaic (flipbook/subuv) image into a sequence of sub images based on the frame

  • Labs Grid Texture

    Generates a texture that can be used as a simple resolution checkerboard

  • Labs Normal Color

    Simple Helper Node to generate the default Normal Color

  • Labs Normal Invert

    Invert individual channels on an image

  • Labs Normal Levels

    Adjusts black point, white point, and midrange to increase, balance, or decrease contrast on a Normal Map.

  • Labs Normal Rotate

    Rotates a Normal Map while correcting recalculating it’s internal vectors

  • Labs Substance Archive

    Load Substance Archive (SBSAR) Files into COPs

  • Layer

    Layers a series of inputs together by compositing them one by one on the background image (input 1).

  • Levels

    Adjusts black point, white point, and midrange to increase, balance, or decrease contrast.

  • Lighting

    Adds a light to the image.

  • Limit

    Limits the pixel range at the high end, low end or both.

  • Lookup

    Applies a lookup table to the input.

  • Luma Matte

    Sets the alpha to the luminance of the color.

  • Lumakey

    Keys the image based on luminance (or similar function).

  • Mask

    Masks out an area of an image.

  • Max

    Outputs the maximum value of the foreground and background images for each pixel, which tends to lighten the image.

  • Median

    Applies a 3 x 3 or 5 x 5 median filter to the input image.

  • Merge

    Merges the planes of several inputs together.

  • Metadata

    Applies metadata to an image sequence.

  • Min

    Outputs the minimum value of the foreground and background images for each pixel, which tends to darken the image.

  • Mono

    Converts a color or vector into a scalar quantity, like luminance or length.

  • Mosaic

    Takes a sequence of images and combines them into 1 image by tiling them.

  • Multiply

    Multiplies the foreground image with the background image.

  • Noise

    Generates continuous noise patterns.

  • Null

    Does nothing.

  • Outside

    Restricts the foreground color to the area outside of the background’s alpha matte.

  • Over

    Composites the first input (Foreground) over the second (background).

  • Pixel

    Modifies an image’s pixels using expressions.

  • Premultiply

    Allows colour to be converted to or from a premultiplied form.

  • Pulldown

    Performs a pulldown (cine-expand) on the input sequence.

  • Pushup

    Performs a pushup (cine-expand) on the input sequence.

  • Quantize

    Quantizes input data into discrete steps.

  • ROP File Output

    Renders frames out to disk.

  • Radial Blur

    Does a radial or angular blur.

  • Ramp

    Generates a variety of linear and radial ramps, which are fully keyframable.

  • Reference

    Copies the sequence information from its input.

  • Rename

    Change the name a plane.

  • Render

    Renders a mantra output driver directly into a composite network.

  • Reverse

    Simply reverses the frames in the sequence.

  • Rotoshape

    Draws one or more curves or shapes.

  • SOP Import

    Imports a 2d Volume from SOPs as planes into a composite network.

  • Scale

    Changes the resolution of the image.

  • Screen

    Adds two images together, saturating at white like photographic addition.

  • Sequence

    Sequences two or more inputs end to end.

  • Shape

    Generates simple shapes, such as circles, stars and regular N-sided polygons.

  • Sharpen

    Sharpens an image by enhancing the contrast of edges.

  • Shift

    Shifts an image sequence in time.

  • Shuffle

    Shuffle frames around to do out-of-order editing.

  • Sky Environment Map

    Creates sky and ground images for use as environment maps.

  • Snip

    Either removes frames from a sequence or allows you to order them in a user-defined order.

  • Streak Blur

    Streaks an image, adding a motion blur effect.

  • Subnetwork

    Contains networks of other COPs.

  • Subtract

    Subtracts the foreground image from the background image.

  • Switch

    Passes the input of one of its connected inputs through, acting like an exclusive switch.

  • Switch Alpha

    Replaces input 1's alpha with input 2's alpha.

  • Terrain Noise

    Generate noise suitable for terrain height maps.

  • Tile

    Tiles the image sequence with multiple copies of the input image.

  • Time Filter

    Blurs a pixel through several frames.

  • Time Machine

    Uses a second input to time warp the first input on a per pixel basis.

  • Time Scale

    Stretches or compresses a sequence in time.

  • Time Warp

    Warps time by slowing or speeding it up throughout the sequence.

  • Transform

    Translates, rotates and/or scales the input image without changing the image resolution.

  • Trim

    Trims an input sequence in time by adjusting the beginning or the end of the sequence.

  • UV Map

    Creates a UV map.

  • Under

    Composites the first input (Foreground) under the second (background).

  • Unpin

    Extracts an arbitrary quadrilateral area out of the input image.

  • VEX Filter

    Runs a VEX script on its input planes.

  • VEX Generator

    Runs a VEX script on the planes it generates.

  • VOP COP2 Filter

    Contains a VOP network that filters input image data.

  • VOP COP2 Generator

    Contains a VOP network that generates image data.

  • Vector

    Performs vector operations on the input.

  • Velocity Blur

    Blurs an image by using pixel velocity to produce a motion blur effect.

  • Window

    Cuts a small window out of a larger image.

  • Wipe

    Does a wipe between two input sequences.

  • Xor

    Makes two elements mutually exclusive; if their alpha mattes overlap, the overlap is removed.

  • Z Comp

    Does a Z composite of two images.