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 3 licenses:

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

Indie Secondary License

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.
  • 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.

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
  • 1 Karma Renderer (Indie/Apprentice) - render using Karma

Indie Secondary License

Note:

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 move a set of licenses if all the Indie licenses are installed on one machine.
A set of licenses is 1 Indie, 1 Renderer, 1 Karma-Renderer.

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.

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.

How Houdini licensing works

You must have a valid Houdini Indie license to use Indie.

The Houdini Indie license is registered to both:

  • The machine hardware
  • The machine name

The Houdini Indie subscription consists of 3 licenses:

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

If you have an active Indie subscription when a new version of Houdini is released, you will be notified of upgrades that will need to be installed to your machine. Please refer to Upgrade Licenses.

The license management system is based on a client/server model.

With Houdini Indie and Apprentice, the client and server programs are on the same machine. They communicate with one another for license negotiation.

  • sesinetd (sesinetd.exe) - the license server program.
  • hserver (hserver.exe) - the client program that communicates with the license server application, sesinetd.
License the software
  • A machine needs 1 Indie, 1 Mantra and 1 Karma license.
  • Reserve any Engine Indie licenses for a computer without an Indie license.

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.

Indie Install License

  • You are issued a second set of licenses for a secondary computer/operating system in dual-boot setup.
  • A machine with an Indie license does not need to have Engine Indie. Save Engine Indie for a machine without an Indie license.
  • 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.
Installing licenses non-graphically

If you are running a headless server or are having issues using the graphical License Administrator utility Hkey.

The non-graphical utility sesictrl will allow you to administer the license server through the command line.

To obtain help information about a specific command run: sesictrl --help
If you need help information from the legacy sesictrl interface enter: sesictrl --legacy-help

Examples of using sesictrl:

  • Install licenses: sesictrl redeem
  • Return licenses: sesictrl return-license
  • Generate the license diagnostics: sesictrl server-diagnostic
  • License usage: sesictrl print-license

To access the program sesictrl, you will need to source the Houdini environment.

Windows

  • Start->Search and type "Command Line Tools 18.0".
  • Or, C:/Program Files/Side Effects Software/ Houdini 18.0.x/bin/hcmd.exe
  • Type sesictrl at the prompt to see the available options.

OSX

  • Spotlight search for Houdini Terminal for your specific Houdini version.
  • Applications->Houdini->Current->Utilities->Houdini Terminal 18.0
  • Type sesictrl at the prompt to see the available options.
  • You can also source the Houdini environment in your shell:
    • cd /Applications/Houdini/Houdini18.0.397/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources
    • source ./houdini_setup

Linux

  • The sesictrl program is located in /usr/lib/sesi
  • Type ./sesictrl to see the available options
  • You can also source the Houdini environment in your shell:
    • cd /opt/hfs18.0
    • source houdini_setup

For more information about sesictrl please refer to www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini/ref/utils/sesictrl.html

The License Administrator (hkey)

The License Administrator (hkey) is the easiest way to manage Houdini licenses and to generate diagnostic information.

If you are running a headless system (a machine without a graphical display), please refer to to Using the License Administrator non-graphically on the general License Management FAQ.

Windows:

  • Program Files -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini 18.0.xxx -> bin -> hkey.exe
  • You may also do a search for License Administrator

Linux:

  • Applications -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini 18.0.xxx -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

  • Or, open a Terminal and type:
    cd /opt/hfs18.0
    source houdini_setup
    hkey

Mac:

  • Applications -> Houdini -> Houdini 18.0.xxx -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

When you launch the License Administrator, you will need to log in to your account if you wish manage your licenses. There are two ways to log into your licensing account in the License Administrator:

  • File->Login...
  • Press the Log in to get started button

Indie Hkey login

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.

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. Press the Login to get started button or go to File->Login to log into 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.

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

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.

Once the licenses have been released from the computer, they are returned to your account. They will show on the account as uninstalled license entitlements. You can then use the License Administrator on the new computer to install the returned licenses. This will complete the move.

For more information, 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 using hkey
  • 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.

License Administrator (hkey)

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

Indie License Return

Return licenses using command line
  • 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. Type sesictrl print-license to get a list of installed licenses (the first column is the License ID #).
  2. Type sesictrl return-license License ID # to initiate the return.
  3. Enter your email address and password used for licensing.

Indie Return sesictrl

Renderfarm setup

The steps:

  1. Add the free Engine Indie license to your account if you have more than two computers on the farm.
  2. Install Houdini on each machine according to your operating system.
  3. License each computer.
  4. Choose a machine to be the HQueue server. HQueue comes with Houdini.
  5. Choose a machine to be the central file server that will share the files between all machines.
  6. Add the client computers to HQueue.
  7. Test job submission.

With each Indie subscription you are issued a supplementary license for use in a dual boot configuration or on a secondary computer.

Go to the online store to put Engine Indie into your account if you have more than 2 machines on your farm.
Engine Indie licenses are free. You are allowed a maximum of 3 Engine Indie licenses per account.

Indie and Engine Indie licenses are locked to each computer. You cannot float them on the network.
Each computer will be both the license server and client to itself.

A typical setup with a single subscription of Indie.
The same operating system on each node is recommended.

Install and License Houdini

Machine 1:

  • Install Houdini, including the License Server component.
  • Launch the License Administrator. Select File->Change License server and press Local Server.
  • The server name in the License Administrator must match your local machine name.
  • Install the licenses: 1 Indie, 1 Mantra, 1 Karma license.
  • Do not put Engine Indie on the computers with regular Indie licenses. Save those for the render nodes.

Farm machines:

  • Install Houdini, including the License Server component.
  • Launch the License Administrator. Select File->Change License server and press Local Server.
  • The server name in the License Administrator must match your local machine name.
  • Grab an Engine Indie license from the online store to your account. You are allowed a maximum of 3.
  • Each Engine license comes with a Mantra and Karma license.
  • Install the licenses on each computer that will act as a render node: 1 Engine, 1 Mantra, 1 Karma.
  • Don't install the Engine Indie license on a computer that has the regular Indie license.

About licensing your farm

  • The HQueue Server does not require a license to run.
  • The HQueue Clients do require valid licenses in order to run Houdini commands (hython, mantra).
  • Mantra render jobs require Renderer licenses on each node.
  • In order to cook .hip files, Indie or Engine Indie licenses are required on each node.
  • Indie licenses do not allow .ifd files to be created. The .ifd files are written to memory by the software then rendered to disk.
  • Each task in the job is responsible for loading the .hip file, cooking a particular frame and then rendering that frame. Each task in the job will require an Engine license.
  • If the machine does not have a regular Indie license, then you must use the Engine Indie license including a Renderer license on your render node to allow the .ifd file to be written to memory before the Mantra render job will start.

Install HQueue

Shared network folder

  • Which machine will store the files and share them with the client computers?
  • How will you share these files? A shared network folder or filesystem.
    • NFS
    • OSX AFP
    • Samba
    • Windows File Sharing
  • Ensure all nodes can access the shared network folder.

If things aren't working...

  • Licensing: Ensure each machine has properly installed licenses.
    • The License Administrator will report any issues.
    • For machines with an Indie license, launch the Indie interface to test.
    • For machines with Engine Indie licenses, launch the hython command to test.
  • Communication: Check any firewall settings.
    • HQueue Server listens by default for incoming connections on port 5000.
    • HQueue Clients listen by default for incoming connections on port 5001.
  • Permissions: Try reading/writing to the shared network folder on each client machine.
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

Licenses have stopped working

Consult the Installation and Licensing Problems page for a range of solutions to issues.

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.

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.