Houdini 20.0 Nodes Geometry nodes

VDB Activate geometry node

Activates voxel regions of a VDB for further processing.

Since 12.5

See volumes for an explanation of standard volumes and OpenVDB volumes.

Many volume operations, such as Volume Mix and Volume VOP, only process active voxels in the sparse volume. This can be a problem if you know a certain area in space will evaluate to a non-zero value, but it is inactive in your original volume.

The VDB Activate SOP provides tools for manipulating this active region. It can also fill the newly added regions to a constant value, useful for interactively determining what is changing.

To see the current active region, you can use the VDB Visualize SOP

and set it to Tree Nodes, Disabled; Active Constant Tiles, Wireframe Box; and Active Voxels, Wireframe Box.


See specifying volumes.

Source Group

The vdb primitives to change the active region in.


The vdb’s current region is combined with the specified region in one of several ways.


In the Union and Copy modes, when voxels are marked active they can also be initialized to a constant value. This will be done to all voxels that are made active by the specification - including those that were already active.

Thus, the Voxel Coordinates option will have the effect of setting a cube area to a constant value.


This defines a cube in SOP space. Any voxel that touches this cube will be part of the selected region.


Defines minimum and maximum values of a box in voxel-coordinates. This is an inclusive range, so includes the maximum voxel.


Expand the active area by at least the specified number of voxels or distance. Does not support operation or setting of values.


Uses the second input to determine the selected region.

Bound Group

Which primitives of the second input contribute to the bounding box computation.

Activate Using VDBs

If turned on, only VDBs are used for activation. They will activate wherever they themselves are already active. This can be used to transfer the active region from one VDB to another, even if they are not aligned.

If turned off, the bounding box of the chosen primitives are used instead and activated as if they were specified as World Positions.

Activate Using Convex Hull

If turned on, the convex hull of the points is used for activation.

Convex Hull Group

The subset of points to build a convex hull from. Voxels within the convex hull of these points will use the activation rules.

Voxel Offset

Amount of voxels to expand the convex hull by before activation. Negative values will shrink the convex hull.

NOTE: This is done by offsetting the half planes, so corners will not be accurate.

World Offset

Amount to expand the convex hull by before activation. Negative values will shrink the convex hull.

NOTE: This is done by offsetting the half planes, so corners will not be accurate.


Any voxels that have the background value will be deactivated. This is useful for cleaning up the result of an operation that may have speculatively activated a large band of voxels, but may not have placed non-background values in all of them.

For example, you may have a VDB Activate before a Volume VOP with Expand turned on to ensure you have room to displace the volume. Then when you are done, you can use one with Deactivate to free up the voxels you didn’t need to use.

Deactivate Tolerance

How close voxels need to be to the background value before they are deactivated. Often blurs, etc, may have border voxels become just slightly non-zero, so allowing for some tolerance can keep the active region from expanding. The test is less than or equal to; so zero will deactivate those voxels exactly equal to the background value.

Fill SDF

Any voxels that are inside the SDF will be marked active. If they were previously inactive, they will be set to the negative-background values. Tiles will remain sparse in this process.

Prune Tolerance

After building the VDB grid there may be undetected constant tiles. This tolerance is used to detect constant regions and collapse them. Such areas that are within the background value will also be marked inactive.

See also

Geometry nodes