Houdini 20.0 Reference Panes

Layout Asset Gallery pane

This pane shows the contents of a USD asset database. You can drag assets from the gallery into the Layout node’s working set.

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This pane lets you manage USD components (props) in an asset gallery. The pane displays the contents of the asset gallery. You can tag and filter the visible assets, and drag them from the gallery into the Layout node's working set to use them to populate the USD scene.

The asset library is a database pointing to files on disk, such as the component USD file containing the model, and a thumbnail file. (In future versions of Houdini there may be a more flexible system that will allow Houdini’s asset browsing interface to integrate with asset management systems.)

Importing assets

To...Do this

Import a single asset

  1. In the asset gallery toolbar, click the button.

    The Add Asset dialog appears.

  2. In the dialog, set Name to the human readable label for the asset (this appears below the asset thumbnail in the asset gallery interface).

  3. Set File to the path to a .usd (or .usdc or .usda) file containing the asset model.

  4. If you have a thumbnail file for the asset, set Thumbnail to the image file path.

  5. Click OK.

Import assets in a directory tree

  1. In the asset gallery toolbar, click the Add Asset Directory button.

  2. Enter the path of the top-level directory containing the USD assets.

  3. Optionally specify a comma or space separated list of variant sets.

  4. Click OK.

    Houdini will look for directories matching the asset directory structure below.

import assets in a directory tree as part of a TOP network

See the USD Add Assets to Gallery TOP.

The TOP node also looks for directories matching the asset directory structure below.


Currently Houdini does not check whether an asset on disk is already in the database. If you try to import the same directory twice (to pick up changes), you will get duplicate assets.

Asset directory structure

Currently, when importing assets Houdini looks for a directory matching the structure created by the component builder tool. For example:


Houdini looks for the following structure:

  • Look for a directory, with a .usd (or .usdc or .usda) file with the same base name as the directory inside.

  • If there is a thumbnail.jpg or thumbnail.png file in the directory, use it as the asset thumbnail.

  • If a list of variant set names was provided when importing the directory, the primary asset file will be added as multiple entries in the gallery, with each gallery entry specifying a specific combination of variant choices.

  • If no list of variant set names was provided, and the directory has a variants subdirectory, import any USD files inside as variants of the primary asset.

    If for a given variant.usd file in the variants subdirectory there is also a variant_thumbnail.jpg or variant_thumbnail.png file, use that as the variant asset’s

(Future versions of Houdini may make asset import for flexible, and/or integrated with asset management systems. Future versions of Houdini may also make managing variants in the asset gallery smarter than importing them as completely separate assets.)

Managing assets

To...Do this

Remove an asset

  • Right click the asset and choose Delete.


  • Select the asset (or multiple assets) and press ⌦ Del.

Switch to a different asset library database

  1. Click the Gear menu to the right of the current library path, and choose Select file.

  2. Choose the asset library database file to switch to.

Organizing, filtering, and searching assets

Each asset includes various pieces of metadata, some of which you can edit and/or filter:


Each asset can point to an image file (usually a .jpg file) that depicts a view of the 3D asset.


Each asseet has a label you fill in when it is imported. The label is displayed below the asset. You can filter assets by text in their labels.

Creation time

You can filter the visible assets by their creation times.


You can “star” an asset to make it easy to find later.


You can optionally assign a color to each asset. This is an easy way to categorize assets quickly. The asset view displays an asset’s color as a colored line above the thumbnail.


You can associate an arbitrary list of tags (single words) with each asset in the metadata editor. You can then filter snapshots based on tags. (Starred status is actually stored using the star tag.)

To...Do this

Edit an asset’s label

  • Click the label to make it editable, and start typing.


  • Right-click the thumbnail and choose Rename.


  • Edit the asset’s label and tags in the metadata editor window (see below).

Star an asset

  • Click the star outline in the top right corner of the thumbnail in the asset strip.


  • Right-click the thumbnail and choose Star.

  • To un-star an asset, click the star icon again, or right-click the thumbnail and choose Unstar.

Assign a color

Select one or more assets, then right-click the selection and choose a color from the context menu.

Edit tags and metadata

  • Select the asset and click the Edit Metadata button in the toolbar.


  • Right click the asset and choose Edit Metadata.

You can edit the asset’s label and tags in the metadata editor window.

  • You can type the list of space-separated tags (words) for this asset in the text box above the tag list.

  • You can add/remove existing tags using the checkboxes next to the tags in the tag list.

Show only starred assets

Turn on the Show Only Starred button on the toolbar.

Show/hide the filter sidebar

Click the Show/Hide More Filters button after the search field in the toolbar.

This opens a sidebar showing different filters.

  • Select a filter item to show assets matching that filter.

  • Click a selected filter item again to deselect it.

  • Use the radio buttons above the filter list to choose whether to show assets that match any of the selected filters, or all of the selected filters.

Filter by color

  1. Show the filter sidebar (see above).

  2. Select the color(s) to show in the sidebar list.

Filter by tags

  1. Show the filter sidebar (see above).

  2. Select the tag(s) to show in the sidebar list.

Filter by text

Type what to search for in the filter textbox in the snapshot strip toolbar. This matches label text and also tags.

Filter by recently created

  1. Show the filter sidebar (see above).

  2. Select one of the date-based filters, such as “created today” or “created in last 7 days”.


Add asset

Open a dialog to import a single USD asset. See importing assets above.

Add asset directory

Choose a directory of assets to import. See importing assets above.

Edit Asset

Edit the file paths for the selected asset.

Edit Metadata

Edit the label and tags for the selected asset(s).

Choose asset gallery

Choose a different gallery database.

Show Only Starred

Filter the snapshots so only starred snapshots are visible.

Show Only Non-Auto

Filter the snapshots so auto snapshots are hidden.

Search box

Type to filter by label text and/or tags.

Show/Hide More Filters

Opens a sidebar in the strip area with additional options for filtering.