Houdini 20.0 Nodes Geometry nodes

HeightField Visualize geometry node

Visualizes elevations using a custom ramp material, and mask layers using tint colors.

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Since 16.0

Houdini supports a default display for height fields where height fields is a grey surface and the mask layer is colored red. This node lets you visualize elevation and visualize other mask layers (for example, the mesa layer created by Height Field Clip and Height Field Terrace).

This node has two methods for visualizing:

OpenGL tinting

This changes the default tinting, letting you visualize zero or one mask layer as a tint using a custom color ramp. If you want to visualize more than one layer, you need to use the Material controls instead.


This assigns a custom visualization material on the input. This is the only way to get the elevation ramp, and it also lets you visualize multiple layers using different colors. It might even be all you need if all you need for rendering is a simple color ramp. The only drawback is that it replaces any previously assigned material.

How to

To...Do this

Visualize elevation using a color ramp

  1. Set Update tinting to “Remove tinting”.

  2. Set Update material to “Custom Material”.

  • You can click Compute range to make the ramp cover the full range of heights in the inputs.

  • If the Min elevation and/or Max elevation values are within the actual minimum and maximum height, the ramp will wrap.

Visualize other mask layers

  1. Set Update tinting to “Remove tinting”.

  2. Set Update Material to “Custom Material”.

  3. In one of the Layer fields under the height ramp, enter the name of the layer you want to visualize.

    You can visualize up to three mask layers.


Tinting by layer

Update Tinting

No Change: Use whatever tinting the input already has.

Default Tinting: Replace whatever tinting the input has with the default: show the height field as a medium gray surface with a red tint to show the mask field.

Custom Tinting: Show controls to show a mask field as a tint using a custom color ramp.

Remove Tinting: Remove any tinting from the input volumes. This will remove the default red tint showing the mask layer.

The following parameters are visible when Update tinting is “custom”.

Height Layer

The name of the height layer to visualize as the 3D terrain surface. The default is height.

Color Layer

The name of the mask layer to visualize as a color tint on the 3D terrain.

Compute Range

Click to fill in the Diffuse range parameters using the current minimum and maximum values in the mask field.

Diffuse Range

The minimum and maximum values in the mask layer to map to the start and end of the color ramp.


Controls the use of the ramp. If set to No Ramp, the mask’s values are used unclamped and unaffected by the ramp. Clamped Ramp will clamp the mask’s values (after fitting to the range) to the 0..1 range and then apply the ramp. Periodic Ramp will take the modulus of the volume’s values with 1 and send that to the ramp. This can be useful to create checkerboard or striped effect to better see large ranges of values.

Diffuse Ramp

The color ramp to use to visualize values in the mask layer, from 0 to 1 (or whatever values are in the Diffuse range parameters).


Update Material

The following parameters are visible when Material is “custom”.


Controls the up direction when visualizing the erosion. If the visualization contains stripes of color, this is likely set to the wrong value.

Compute Range

Fill in the Min Elevation and Max elevation parameters using the current min and max values from the height field.

Min Elevation

The minimum height value to map into the color ramp.

Max Elevation

The maximum height value to map into the color ramp.

Height Ramp

Maps height values in the height field (from Min elevation to Max elevation) into a color ramp to control coloring of the 3D height surface.

Layer 9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1

Enter the name of a mask layer and a color to visualize the layer as color on top of the elevation color ramp. Layer 9 appears over layer 8, which appears over layer 7, and so on.

Geometry nodes