Indie FAQs


What is Houdini Indie

A limited commercial license for small studios to generate professional-quality work on a tight budget.

  • Registered to one machine.
  • Cannot be floated on the network. They are locked to the machine using them.
  • Subscription comes with a secondary license for use on another computer or dual-boot configuration.
  • Cannot open the Indie interface with the Houdini Engine Indie license.

Indie Splash Screen

An Indie subscription contains two licenses:

  • Houdini Indie- open the Houdini Indie interface
  • Renderer (Indie/Apprentice) - render using Mantra

Indie Licenses Installed

For more information about Houdini Indie : www.sidefx.com/products/houdini-apprentice

To compare Houdini Indie with our Commercial and Apprentice products: www.sidefx.com/products/compare

To purchase Houdini Indie: www.sidefx.com/buy

Indie restrictions
  • Houdini Indie uses its own file format for saving scenes and assets.
  • Cannot be used in the same pipeline as commercial versions of Houdini.
  • Restricted to 4096 x 4096 when rendering out animations.
  • Works with with the following 3rd party renderers: RenderMan, Arnold, Redshift and OctaneRender.
  • The annual gross revenue of commercial entities and contracting entities does not exceed $100K USD.
  • Commercial and contracting entities can purchase a maximum of 3 Indie and 3 Engine Indie.

Note:

  • An Indie subscription a supplementary license for use on a second computer/operating system
  • Use of these two licenses is restricted to a single artist, using Indie on one of these computers at a time.

Rendering with Indie

  • When rendering image sequences, you are restricted to 4096 x 4096 pixels. There are not restrictions for still images. The image sequence restrictions apply to Mantra and any third party renderers supported by Indie.

  • The Houdini Indie render restriction only applies to renderings within the Houdini GUI including Mantra and other 3rd party renderers. Rendering from other applications using the Houdini Engine will not have the same restriction although the work created must respect Houdini Indie’s limited commercial license.

For more information about Houdini indie: www.sidefx.com/products/houdini-indie

To compare Houdini Indie with our Commercial and Apprentice products: www.sidefx.com/products/compare

Who may use Indie

You are an individual working for a large company. You earn less than $100,000 annually.

If you produce final renders or baked out data for the large company then they are considered a client and you may use Houdini Indie. If you want to share scene files and assets then you are partners and will require a commercial license.

You are a freelancer who earns less than $100,000 annually. You have a contract do work for a large company that has revenues over $100,000.

If you produce final renders or baked out data for the large company then they are considered a client and you may use Houdini Indie. If you want to share scene files and assets then you are partners and will require a commercial license.

You are an individual who earns more than $100,000 annually at a day job. Revenues from your personal project will be under $100,000 annually.

As long as the personal project stays separate from your day job then it is allowed.

You are a small group of individuals working on a side project. There is no legal entity formed. Each person earns under $100,000 annually. Revenues from your side project will be under $100,000 annually.

As long as the side project stays separate from the other jobs then it is allowed.

You are a small studio (legal entity) making less than $100,000.

You can use up to 3 Houdini Indie licenses and 3 Houdini Engine Indie licenses. Once gross revenues reach $100,000, full commercial licenses will be required.

We are going to earn over 100K USD but we haven't yet.

You will have to purchase commercial licenses as soon as you cross the $100,000 gross revenue threshold.

With the $100,000 revenue limit in section 6.2 of the EULA. What does content refer to?

The clause "...in the case of an Indie User that is using the Software to create content for a third party that will use such content in connection with a Commercial activity…" is referring to situations where larger studios want to contract work out to freelancers. In those cases the combined gross income of the studio and the freelancer needs to be less than $100K USD if you are sharing scene files and assets. If you are delivering final renders or baked out data then the clients income does not need to be considered.

Who may not use Indie

You are a studio making more than $100,000 annually

You will need Houdini commercial licenses for your work.

You are a studio making more than $100,000 annually. You would like to use Houdini Indie for internal testing purposes only.

Houdini Indie can be used for evaluations but cannot be used for any commercial work because of the studio’s income.

If you decide to use Houdini in production, you will need to purchase full commercial licenses.

Please contact an account manager sales@sidefx.com to get a commercial evaluation license if you want to run a more effective test.

Supplementary Indie license

Houdini Indie subscription comes with a supplementary license which you can install on a second computer/laptop, or to work in dual boot mode. The use of these two licenses is restricted to a single artist, who can only use Houdini Indie on one of these computers at a time.

One set of licenses includes:

  • 1 Houdini Indie - open the Houdini Indie interface
  • 1 Renderer (Indie/Apprentice) - render using Mantra

Indie Secondary License

If you are trying to license the secondary computer and you do not see any available licenses to install in the License Administrator, check the other computer already licensed with Indie. You may have installed both sets onto that machine.

You will need to return one set of licenses if all the Indie licenses are installed on one machine.

Returning a license will release it from the computer name and hardware. It will be placed back onto the account as a new license entitlement which can then be installed onto a new machine.

Houdini Engine Indie

Houdini Engine Indie is a non-graphical version of Houdini-Indie.

  • Does not open the Indie interface.
  • Run command-line renders or simulations on remote render machines.
  • A plugin to load Houdini Digital Assets (HDAs) within Maya, 3dsMax, Unreal, Unity and C4D.
  • Install on a machine without Houdini Indie licenses.
  • Max 3 Engine Indie licenses per account. This means you may run Engine Indie on 3 farm machines.

The Houdini Engine Indie license is in two parts:

  • 1 Houdini Engine Indie - unlock the plugin
  • 1 Renderer (Indie/Apprentice) - render with Mantra

Houdini Engine Pipeline

Renew subscription

Houdini Indie does not auto-renew. Existing licenses cannot be renewed.

You will need to purchase a new subscription once your current subscription expires.
New licenses will be generated.

Purchase Houdini Indie

Download

Please see our system requirements page to see what hardware and operating systems are supported.

There is only one installation package for all users: Apprentice, Indie, Commercial, and Education. The installed licenses determine which features are available in the application and what restrictions are imposed on its use.

To download the installation package:

  • Go to www.sidefx.com → Get → Download
  • Please login to download Houdini. If you are new, you can register here
  • If you cannot access your account, try resetting your password here

The Download button will auto-select the appropriate build based on the operating system. Links to other operating systems are provided.

If you want to download a specific build or version, please refer to Houdini builds.

Install (Windows)

Run the Houdini setup program by double-clicking the downloaded executable.

You do not need to Run as Administrator. As long as your user account has permissions to install programs, you should be fine.

Make sure to select the License Server component in the installer.

Indie Windows Install

Once installed, the application is available by default through:

  • Start Menu → All Programs → Side Effects Software → Houdini Indie 18.0.x

You will be prompted to install Indie licenses when you launch the software.

The following two services (found in Services.msc) will need to be in the running state for Houdini to function:

  • HoudiniServer (client program to interact with the license server)
  • HoudiniLicenseServer (license server)
Install (Mac OSX)

Run the Houdini setup program by double-clicking the downloaded .dmg file.

Make sure to select the License Server component in the installer.

Indie Mac OSX Install

Once installed, the application is available by default through:

  • Go → Applications → Houdini → Houdini 18.0.x → Houdini Indie 18.0.x

You will be prompted to install Indie licenses when you launch the software.

Install (Linux)

The installer must be run with sudo.

Note:
You must make sure that the install file is not located in root's home folder (/root) as this will give you permission errors during the install process.

  • Open a Terminal
  • Unpack the downloaded tar.gz archive and go into the unpacked directory
  • Run the houdini.install script using sudo
  • Make sure to select the License Server component in the installer.

You can also double click on the houdini.install file with your mouse. It will run the installer in a terminal.

Apprentice Linux Install

An example of installing Houdini from the Terminal:

  • $ tar -xvf houdini-18.0.287-linux_x86_64_gcc6.3.tar.gz
  • This should create a directory called houdini-18.0.287-linux_x86_64_gcc6.3
  • Run the houdini.install script:
  • $ cd houdini-18.0.287-linux_x86_64_gcc6.3
  • $ sudo ./houdini.install

To launch Houdini from the Terminal, type the following:

  • cd /opt/hfs18.0 [press Enter]
  • source houdini_setup [press Enter]
  • houdini [press Enter]

This should setup the Houdini environment for you.

License the software

By starting Houdini for the first time or without an active license, you will be prompted with two options:

  • Install (or reinstall) my free Houdini Apprentice license
  • I have a paid license for Houdini

Indie License Prompt

  1. Choose the second option: I have a paid license for Houdini and click Next.
  2. Press the License Settings button to start the License Administrator (hkey).
  3. Press the Login to get started button or go to File->Login.
  4. Press the Check for Entitlements to install button or go to File->Install Licenses.
  5. Leave the default quantity as 1. The machine only needs 1 Indie and 1 Mantra license.

Indie Install License

Note:

  • You are issued a second set of licenses for a secondary computer/operating system in dual-boot setup.
  • The License Administrator (hkey) displays the licenses installed on the local machine.
  • If you cannot login to your account to install Indie licenses, try resetting the password.
Upgrade licenses

Houdini Indie is subscription based:

  • If your Indie subscription is active, you will be issued upgrade license entitlements to your SideFX account.
  • The upgrades will need to be installed onto the machine using the License Administrator.
  • Please check your licensing account for upgrade entitlements.

You must install your Houdini 18.0 upgrades to the machine before you can use Houdini 18.

To upgrade licenses

  1. Download and install the latest Production Build or the latest Daily Build.
  2. Launch the License Administrator on the machine licensed for Indie.
  3. Login to your licensing account.
  4. Press the Check for License Entitlements button or go to File->Install Licenses
  5. Press the Install button.

This process will generate the keystrings and install your upgrades. The keystrings will be written to the licenses file on the machine automatically.

Please make sure all licenses installed on the machine have been upgraded, including Mantra.

Indie License Upgrade

Move licenses
  • Houdini licenses are registered to both the computer hardware and computer name.
  • Not enough that you uninstall Houdini from the computer to move your licenses.
  • Use the License Administrator to release the licenses from the computer.
  • Release the licenses by returning them back to your account at SideFX.

Please see Return licenses

Indie License Return

Note:

  • You cannot use the web portal to move your licenses.
  • Licenses must be moved from the machine with the licenses, using the License Administrator.
Return licenses
  • Use the License Administrator (hkey) or sesictrl (non-graphical hkey).
  • Returning licenses must be initiated by the computer itself.
  • Licenses cannot be returned from the website.
  • A license may be returned up to 10 times per year.

Returning licenses will release them from the computer name and hardware. They will be placed back into your SideFX licensing account as uninstalled entitlements which can be pulled down from another computer using the License Administrator.

When you return a license, a disable code is calculated and written to your licenses file on the computer.
The disable code is also recorded and added to your account. The License ID is then invalidated.

There are Two ways to return a license:

License Administrator (hkey):

  1. Start License Administrator.
  2. Select the License.
  3. Right-click and select "Return License".
  4. Enter your email address and the password used for licensing.

Indie License Return

Non-graphical command line tool sesictrl

  • The sesictrl program is a way to manage licenses without a graphical interface.
  • To have access to sesictrl, you will need to setup the Houdini command line environment.

Once you have the Houdini environment setup in your Terminal, use sesictrl to return the license:

  1. Run sesictrl print-license to get a list of installed licenses (the first column is the License ID).
  2. Run sesictrl return-license License ID to initiate the return.
  3. Enter your email address and password used for licensing.

Indie Return sesictrl

Houdini builds

Daily builds

SideFX provides new builds of Houdini almost every day. These daily builds contain bug fixes and small improvements to the software. The detailed list of fixes is available in the journal under the Support menu. By installing a daily build, users are often able to benefit right away from our agile development process.

Production builds

SideFX periodically designates a daily build of Houdini as a "production build". Production builds are released almost monthly and have gone through the full quality assurance process, so they are at least as stable as the original. It is thus advisable to upgrade from time to time, particularly from one production build to another to take full advantage of new improvements.

Troubleshooting

These are the most common issues with downloading, installing, or licensing Indie:

Can’t log into the website to download the software

The license server is not running

  • Indie must look to itself for licenses.
  • Launch the License Administrator and go to File->Change License Server.
  • Press the local server button. Ensure that it matches your computer name.

Stuck in the licensing loop

  • Houdini Engine Indie will not run the Indie graphical interface. Verify that you have purchased Houdini Indie licenses.
  • Ensure that any antivirus/security software on the computer is allowing communication between the client program HoudiniServer (hserver/hserver.exe) and HoudiniLicenseServer (sesinetd/sesinetd.exe).
  • Modify the firewall to allow ports TCP 1714 (hserver client program) and TCP 1715 (sesinetd server program) locally.

Pop-up error warnings

Sometimes resetting your Houdini preferences will help resolve issues.

The most common pop-up errors:

SSL Error when trying to login using the License Administrator

  • Windows 7: TLS 1.2 is not enabled by default. To enable will require a registry edit. Windows 7 is now unsupported for Houdini.
  • Mac OSX High Sierra: Contact support for instructions on how to install a new system security certificate.

UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec

  • Ensure your operating system is in English and that your username does not contain non-English characters or other symbols.
  • Also ensure your folders containing any Houdini files do not contain non-English characters or other symbols.

Cannot save file

  • For OSX Catalina users, navigate to System Preferences > Security and Privacy> Files and Folders.
  • Ensure the folders you wish to save in are added and checked. This will give Houdini the appropriate permissions to save to those folders.

General Crashes

License diagnostic

To generate a diagnostic printout for debugging licensing issues:

  1. Start the Houdini License Administrator (hkey).
  2. Under the View menu, select "Diagnostic Information".
  3. Save the file.

 Indie Diagnostic File

You may also press the "Email License Diagnostic to Technical Support" button from the Server Information tab in the License Administrator. This will launch your email program with the diagnostic file.

Indie Diagnostic Button

Machine information

If you are experiencing crashes or other errors using Houdini, please send your machine information along with the license diagnostic and any generated crash logs to support@sidefx.com.

  1. Launch Houdini -> Help -> About Houdini -> click on "Show Details".
  2. Save the file using the "save” button at the bottom.
  3. Attach the file along with the license diagnostic in an email addressed to support@sidefx.com.

Indie About Houdini

You may also press the "Email Crash Report to Technical Support" button from the Server Information tab in the License Administrator. This will launch the file browser to locate the crash.*_log.txt file.

Indie Diagnostic Button

Crash logs

Locating crash logs:

Windows
The crash error pop-up should tell you where the crash log has been written to. Most often it will be in your home directory under AppData. Ensure you select "Hidden Items" under the View menu in your file browser.

For example:

  • C:/Users/username/AppData/Local/Temp/houdini_temp

Mac OSX

  • On OSX crash logs are saved in /tmp.
  • You can only see this directory through a Terminal (Utilities->Terminal), not through the interface.

Linux

  • On Linux, the crash logs are saved in /tmp/houdini_temp

You may also press the "Email Crash Report to Technical Support" button from the Server Information tab in the License Administrator. This will launch the file browser to locate the crash.*_log.txt file.

Indie Diagnostic Button

Contacting support

If you are experiencing difficulties with licensing Houdini:

  1. Generate the License Diagnostic.
  2. Attach the diagnostic file to an email addressed to support@sidefx.com

If you are having other issues such as crashes or error messages:

  1. Follow the steps above to provide the support team with the License Diagnostic.
  2. Attach any crash logs generated.
  3. If Houdini will stay open long enough, attach the reported machine information.