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The Vellum Solver is a wrapper around a DOP network to simplify the running of Vellum solves.
Like most Vellum SOPs, it is a three input SOP. The first input is
the surface geometry to solve. The second input should have the same
number of points as the first, with point-to-point correspondence
either with point numbers or
id attributes. The second input
also should have special primitives describing the constraint relationships.
Constraints are how the connectivity between points are defined and controlled
and can be created with a Vellum Constraints SOP. Note that the network tab
menu has several macros to refer to common setups, such as Vellum
Configure Cloth. The third input provides the collision geometry.
The collision geometry should have matching topology frame-to-frame.
In addition, some types of packed geometry are recognized.
You can dive into the solver to add DOP nodes to apply special forces. You can also use the Vellum Constraint Property DOP to adjust the constraint properties during the solve using these internal nodes.
collisionignore, the third input’s object can be referred
external and the generated ground plane as
Clears the entire simulation cache.
What frame on the Houdini playbar that the simulation should begin at.
Scales the effective time of the Vellum solve. This can be used to create bullet-time like effects where the physics of the Vellum solver run at a different rate than the Houdini playbar. A value of 2 will cause cloth to fall twice as fast, and 0.1 will slow it to a tenth the speed.
Each frame will be broken into this number of substeps. Additional substeps are required for fast moving collisions or sudden forces.
The default substeps can be very aggressive, usually if the Vellum solver is too stretchy, raising substeps to 2 or 5 is a good first start.
Within each substep, this number of passes will be taken by the constraint enforcement operations. Stiff constraints can require more iterations to converge. A good starting point is the diameter of the geometry - the number of edges between the farthest points.
The default constraint iterations use a Gauss-Seidel approach that is fast to converge. However, if it doesn’t fully converge due to too high stiffness, or impossible configurations, it will leave the error as bad looking triangles. The smoothing iterations use a Jacobi approach which is slower to converge but leaves error spread out in a more attractive fashion. The default of ten passes helps smooth out error, but might need to be increased if the overall Constraint Iterations is very high.
Controls if any collision detection is done at all.
Controls if self collisions are detected.
Adds a ground plane to the simulation. The ground plane will be visualized with a blue grid.
Location of the center of the ground plane.
Number of collision detection passes to perform. These are interleaved between the constraint iterations. Since collision is expensive, it is best to minimize this. But frequent interleaving helps avoid tent-poling effects where a small collider is fighting with the no-stretch constraints. In practice we find 10 to be correct for most situations, and substeps often being a better solution to increase quality.
Post Collision Passes
After all constraints are performed, a final round of collision detection is done. Collisions are often the most noticeable failure mode, and it is ideal if the next frame can start with non-intersecting geometry. Thus a final cleanup pass can achieve these requirements. We have found that “number of stacked layers + 2” is a good estimate for this number. This allows the effect of the underlying collider to ripple through the stacked layers fully.
In any collision pass, any colliding pair may not be fully resolved. This number of additional collider-pair passes will be run until they are resolved. Since these are only performed on active colliders (and no new collision search is done) this is very cheap.
layer integer point attribute is used to flag point as belonging
to different layers of cloth. Higher numbers refer to higher layers.
Layer Shock will make lower layers this many times heavier during collision
evaluation, ensuring the higher layers will move out of their way. The
rest of the dynamics are unaffected by this, and the difference is fixed
regardless of the number of layers between the two. This can be thought
of as a way to dial between one-way layering of sims and fully coupled
Uniform gravity force to apply.
A uniform wind direction. Since this is a drag force, a wind of zero will act like still air and slow everything down; and a high wind will speed cloth up to that speed.
The amount the particles are dragged by the wind force. This is also scaled by the tangential and normal drag forces specified on the Vellum Constraints SOP to provide unequal drag depending on orientation.
A more brute force approach to reducing dynamic velocity - the velocity is scaled directly by this amount, causing sudden movements to be quickly damped.
A threshold at which to apply full friction. When the ratio of the tangential velocity and the normal impulse is less than this, the tangential velocity will be fully eliminated through friction. This is roughly tan() of the slope angle that will allow sliding under gravity.
If the static threshold fails, this controls what percentage the tangential velocity will be reduced in the dynamic friction case.
A scale factor on the amount of friction effect to apply for collisions with external geometry.
A scale factor on the amount of friction effect to apply for collisions with self geometry.
Ground Static Scale
A scale factor for the ground plane’s static friction. Useful to create frictionless grounds.
Ground Dynamic Scale
A scale factor for the ground plane’s dynamic friction. Useful to create frictionless grounds.
Controls if the simulation is cached to memory.
Cache Memory (MB)
Maximum size of the memory cache.
Style of the simulation.
Each frame the simulation takes the inputs and runs them forward the given number of frames. The final result becomes that frames result. No frame-to-frame coherency is present.
Each frame is solved from the previous frame, and the inputs are used to setup the first frame only.
The number of frames to roll forward for the quasi-static simulation.
All dynamic forces and states, such as velocities, are removed from the output. This allows the output of a clean state to start a new simulation from, such as when completing a drape.
Points on the simulation mesh can be marked as Pin to Target to follow the targeted animation. By default, this target is the first input. But in some cases the animation you wish to target may be present in another SOP node, so that can be specified here.
The path of a node to refer to when simulation points are set to the
target animation. Should have a one-to-one point correspondence
with the simulation points, either by point number or
When integrating points forward by their velocities, curved motions like swinging pendulums will be mispredicted and be damped by the constraint projections. A second order predictor recovers more of this curved motion and maintains more energy in the system.
In any case, if collisions are detected the system will fall back to first order to avoid excessive bouncing.
Secondary Constraint Pass
Enable Secondary Constraint Pass
If this checkbox is turned on, all constraints in the specified Constraint Group will be solved in a separate, interleaved pass to the remaining constraints.
There are two main uses for this option. First, there are some expensive constraint types that do not need to be solved as frequently as the rest of the constraints, so enabling this option and choosing a low Solve Frequency can improve performance. For example, cloth bend constraints on high resolution cloth with low bend stiffness such a silk or cotton. You need to ensure that you're solving distance constraints every pass so the cloth doesn’t stretch. However, bend constraints are expensive and don’t need to be as strong, since silk and cotton have very low bend resistance and wrinkle easily. Solving the bend constraints as a secondary pass will give you strong performance gains. However, this method isn’t practical for stiffer material such as leather.
The second use case is constraints that cause frequent changes in the constraint topology,
which causes the solver to re-order the constraint solve, possibly causing jittering in the
remaining constraints. An example is organic tissue represented by tetrahedra and attached
together with sliding Stitch constraints. As the sliding causes changes in the constraint
topology the tetrahedra might jitter slightly as the constraint solve order changes. Moving
the Stitch constraints to another pass by setting Constraint Group to
increasing the Solve Frequency to 1 will retain the same stiffness but eliminate tetrahedral
jittering due to changes in the solve order.
The constraint group(s) that should be solved in the interleaved secondary pass. This parameter accepts standard group syntax, so can contain explicit group names and ad-hoc groups, often specifying one or more constraint types with something like
@type==bend. Any constraint not contained in these groups will be solved in the primary pass as usual.
The frequency at which to solve the secondary pass. A setting of 1 will solve the secondary pass as often as the primary pass, while a setting of 0.25 will solve once every four passes of the primary pass (one quarter of the time).
The multi-pass options allow a substep to be repeated until certain conditions are met. The current conditions are designed to fix issues that are caused by disabled points causing geometry to be caught and cause the undisabled points to generate stretching. Since collisions always pre-empt constraints, the result is cloth or hair stretching. Points adjacent to auto-disabled points will be themselves disabled if too much stretching is detected. The solve step will then be repeated in the hopes this frees up the geometry.
The maximum number of times to repeat the substep. If no new points need to be disabled, the process will stop immediately.
Disable Stretch Ratio
The amount of stretch at the end of a solve step that will trigger points to be eligible for disabling. This is to detect when failed collisions are pulling the Vellum object apart. By failing additional points the object usually can be released and result in a better result than continuing to stretch.
Various acceleration limiting options can be used to prevent the simulation from being over-eager to obey non-realistic forces. These can otherwise result in large energy spikes.
Fallback to First Order Integration on Collision
If Max Acceleration is exceeded for a point, assume it signals a sharp, discontinuous collision where the second order prediction will be wrong and add erroneous motion, often in the form of bouncing. In this case, fallback to first order integration for the affected point.
Grain and Fluid particles are always considered for fallback to first order, not only in the case of collisions. While this control is helpful to calm down simulations and avoid stray particles, it can decrease overall splashiness of grain and fluid motion. Increasing Max Acceleration can restore that splashiness.
Limit Acceleration in Velocity Update
Cap the amount that velocity of a particle is allowed to change as a result of any of the dynamics. This is useful to prevent some instant motion being mis-identified as a massive force, and thus avoid fly-away particles.
Limit Displacement on Collision
During the collision resolution, if the collision correction moves a particle more than the acceleration amount, cap the effect. The hope is to fail more gracefully when a part of a model snags on the cloth and is pulling it in a surprising fashion.
Disable Broken Welds
When a weld breaks, the two new points start off next to each other.
If the surfaces do not separate naturally due to whatever triggered
the break, they may trigger collision detection and be pushed out,
causing an explosive motion when breaking occurs. This option
disableself attribute when points are de-welded to avoid
these self collisions. Note that this may cause layered cloth to
self penetrate, however.
Normalize the stress computation over time, so that the computed values are more predictable as the Substeps parameter changes.
The method used for finding the next closest position on the target geometry when sliding Attach to Geometry or Stitch Points constraints. Closest Point simply chooses the closest point on the target geometry to the projected sliding position. This approach is fast but can improperly jump across concavities in the target geometry. Traverse Polygons starts from the current target primitive and successively walks outwards, finding the closest point on the surrounding primitives. This approach is more expensive but handles concave target geometry better. Traverse Triangles (Optimized) is similar to the previous option in its improved handling of concavities, but can be many times faster as it uses specialized triangle distance functions. However, it can only be used with target geometry consisting of triangles.
Target geometry with quadrilaterals can be triangulated with the Divide SOP.
Enable Auto Sleep
Particles that remain near-stationary for sufficient time will be
put to sleep by setting their
stopped attribute to
You can use the Pinned visualization to visualize which points are sleeping.
How slowly particles need to be moving before they are eligible
for sleeping. The amount of time they remain below this speed
is accumulated in the
deactivation_time attribute. If they
exceed this speed, the
deactivation_time is reset to zero.
How many seconds particles need to remain at or below the velocity threshold before they are put to sleep. See the POP Awaken DOP for methods to wake the particles back up again.
Vellum grains use a separate collision pass to deal with collisions between the grains. These parameters control that behavior. They are similar to those on POP Grains
Potential intersection particles are any within this scaled distance
of the average of the two particles
pscale attribute. This
is an overestimate because usually collisions are not updated
during the constraint iterations, so it needs to record not
just the currently colliding particles, but those that may
start to collide due to the earlier iterations.
This also effects the range of the attraction force in clumping.
The maximum number of particles that will be considered when searching for potential collisions over the substep. Capping this is useful to avoid excessive computations, if too many particles are created at one spot. This parameter is ignored if OpenCL Neighbor Search is enabled, in which case all neighbors are considered within the radius determined by Search Scale.
Assume Uniform Radius
pscale attribute is used to determine the radius of each
particle. If all particles have the same radius, faster acceleration
structures can be used to find neighbors.
Ignore Neighbors in Same Piece
Ignore any neighbors that have the same non-negative value for the
piece point attribute.
This option can be enabled to create separate clusters of grains that only interact
with other clusters, often in conjunction with a Shape Match constraint to give
rigid behavior. The VDB To Spheres SOP can be a good method
for filling objects with overlapping grains.
A weighting for how much the particle collision forces are weighted. A value of zero will disable particle collision.
Scale with the
repulsionweight point attribute.
A weighting for how much the particles will naturally stick together when close. A value of zero will disable particle clumping.
Scale with the
attractionweight point attribute.
Vellum fluids use a density constraint to keep fluids incompressible, as well
as provide viscosity and surface tension. Any particle with a non-zero
attribute is treated as fluid.
The viscosity of the fluid. Low values for viscosity help keep the simulation stable,
while higher values can simulate liquids like honey. A per-particle
can be used to multiply this value for variable viscosity. Fluid particles will different
phase values will be solved independently for viscosity, allowing multi-phase fluid
The surface tension of the fluid. Higher values for this setting reduce the curvature of the fluid
and cause it to form blobs. A per-particle
can be used to multiply this value for variable surface tension. Fluid particles will different
phase values will be solved independently for surface tension, allowing multi-phase fluid
Spatial Sort Interval
Vellum fluids and grains perform many calculations involving nearby points. Generally performance is greatly improved by ensuring that points that are near other in 3D space are also near each other in memory. This option enables a spatial sort of the particles at the specified interval of frames.
This sort will change the point numbers of the particles, so it can be useful to add an
id attribute before simulation.
OpenCL Graph Coloring
When doing graph coloring, a fast parallel OpenCL algorithm is used. Unfortunately it may require 10× more memory than the rest of the solve on tetrahedral meshes. Thus, systems that might fit in memory for solving will not succeed the color pass. Disabling this forces all graph coloring to be done in a slower sequential manner, preserving RAM for the actual solve.
OpenCL Neighbor Search
Perform any neighbor searches for grains and fluids using OpenCL, which is faster than the CPU but can use a bit more GPU memory.
Show the collision object as a blue wireframe.
Show Guide Geometry
Show additional guide geometry from the solver.
Draw spheres for the
pscale of the geometry. If the geometry has already
solved it may have set the
overlap_self attribute, if so, the actual
effective thickness is drawn in cyan. This is useful to detect if
the original thickness was too high - if so the extra thickness will
be ignored by the simulation and just slow down the collisions.
Draw the thickness by offsetting the geometry in opposite directions rather than by using spheres.
Failed Self Collision
Draw failed self collisions as red spheres. These points will no longer collide with their own geometry, nor will any edge or triangle attached to them.
Failed External Collision
Draw failed external collisions as orange spheres. These points will no longer collide with external geometry, nor will any edge or triangle attached to them.
Draw which points have been semantically fused together with the
weld attribute. These can be broken during the solve using
the auto break options, or by setting
weld to -1.
Because the thickness may be small, the visualization spheres can sometimes be lost. This scales the visualization spheres allowing them to be readily seen.
Constraints are often added to different groups. This allows you to isolate one particular group to visualize.
Pin to Target
Draw spheres over points pinned to the target animation.
Draw stitch constraints of points stitched together.
Attach to Geometry
Draw attachment constraints for points attached to external geometry.
The constraint guides are not scaled by the thickness of the object, so this provides an absolute scale for their size.
False Color Mode
Visualize properties of the constraints using a blue-to-red infrared coloring.
Leave the original colors.
Color according to the maximum stretching force applied by the constraints.
Color according to the maximum bending force applied by the constraints.
Color according to how far constraints are stretched.
Color according the ratio between original and current stretch.
Color according to how many degrees the bend angle has deviated.
Stretch Plastic Flow
Color according to how much the stretch plastic flow has been triggered.
Bend Plastic Flow
Color according to how much the bend plastic flow has been triggered.
Color according to the maximum volumetric force applied by the constraints.
Color according to how far volumetric constraints have expanded from their rest state.
Color according the ratio between volumetric expansion and the rest state.
Display Visualization Geometry
Toggles if the simulation geometry is false-colored in addition to the constraints.
Max Stretch Stress
Scales the maximum stretch stress to be the maximum coloration.
Max Bend Stress
Scales the maximum bend stress to be the maximum coloration.
Max Stretch Distance
Sets the maximum stretch distance to be the maximum coloration.
Max Stretch Ratio
Sets the maximum stretch ratio to be the maximum coloration.
Max Bend Angle
Sets the maximum bend angle to be the maximum coloration.
Max Stretch Plastic Flow
Sets the maximum stretch plastic flow to be the maximum coloration.
Max Bend Plastic Flow
Sets the maximum bend plastic flow to be the maximum coloration.
Max Volume Stress
Scales the maximum volume stress to be the maximum coloration.
Max Volume Distance
Scales the maximum volume distance to be the maximum coloration.
Max Volume Ratio
Scales the maximum volume ratio to be the maximum coloration.
This example demonstrates animating Vellum constraint properties during simulation.
This example demonstrates using the pressurescale attribute to create an animated inflation effect with the VellumSolver’s pressure constraint.
This example demonstrates using the
layer point attribute to improve collisions when simulating multiple layers of Vellum cloth.
This example demonstrates using Pin to Target constraints to attract Vellum cloth to capture / deformed geometry.
This examples demonstrates using the
disableexternal attribute to disable Vellum collisions on a point-by-point basis.
This examples shows to use point attributes to directly control collisions with collisionignore and collisiongroup.
This example shows how to create Attach to Geometry constraints during a Vellum simulation based on proximity to a collision object.
This example demonstrates dynamically stitching or gluing Vellum geometry together during a simulation.
This example demonstrates gluing Vellum Grains together for sticky particle effects.
This example shows the most efficient and stable way to update the orientation for hair guides going into the Vellum Solver when used outside the standard Grooming tools.
This examples shows how to target a hi-res Vellum cloth simulation to a previous low-res simulation to maintain overall motion while still getting fine wrinkles.
This example demonstrates simple breaking welds for tearing cloth using the Vellum solver.
This example demonstrates creating softly releasing Pin constraints using the Stiffness Dropoff parameter.
This example demonstrates the Tetrahedral Fiber constraint for simulating contracting softbodies.
This examples shows to use point attributes to get varying friction in Vellum cloth simulations.
This example demonstrates how to create Vellum fluids interacting with Vellum cloth.
This Vellum fluids example demonstrates how to create a typical crown splash from a drop of water falling into a pool.
This example demonstrates how to create two interacting Vellum fluids with different viscosity and surface tension settings, for example water and oil.
This example demonstrates how to create Vellum fluids interacting with Vellum grains. Please make sure to turn off Advanced ▸ OpenCL Neighbor Search in the Vellum Solver DOP node. This is necessary to prevent the simulation from disappearing particles.