Education Institution FAQs


What are Education licenses

The Houdini Educational license is a special learning license that can only be purchased by education institutions, not by students or other individuals.

To compare Houdini Education with other Houdini products:

www.sidefx.com/products/compare/

1 Education license subscription is composed of:

  • 1 Education license
  • 10 Render (Non-Commercial) licenses
  • 10 Education Engine licenses

Note The "Houdini FX (Non-Commercial)" are old, redundant, licenses that are no longer used.

The Education license itself will unlock Houdini from Apprentice mode and allow the software to work in Education mode.

Education licenses are networked or floating licenses. This allows a central machine to easily serve client computers on the network. You can, however, license computers individually if needed.

Please refer to Licensing individual computers instead of using a network server.

How to use Education Licenses

Your interactive Houdini license is the Houdini Education license. This is what allows you to open and work in the Houdini interface. If you need to render a picture, or Mplay, or even any render within Houdini, a Mantra (Indie/Apprentice) license is used.

The Houdini Engine Education is a non-graphical version of Houdini Education. This license allows you to run command-line renders, and simulations, on remote render machines. And to open pre-made Houdini Digital Assets (HDAs) within Maya, 3dsMax, Unreal, Unity and C4D.

If a machine already has the Houdini Education license it does not need a Houdini Engine Education license.

The Houdini Engine Education licenses are for the renderfarm machines.

The Houdini Engine Education license also needs a Mantra (Indie/Apprentice) license to create a picture (render).

You should hold as many Mantra (Indie/Apprentice) licenses as you have machines, (workstations + render machines). These licenses are free.

You should hold as many Houdini Engine Education licenses as you have renderfarm machines.

Downloading Houdini

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

To download the installation package:

  1. Go to www.sidefx.com → Get → Download
  2. The Download button will auto-select and let users download an appropriate build based on their OS. Links to other Operating Systems are provided below.

The same installation package is intended for all users: Apprentice, Indie, Commercial, Education. It is the installed license that determines which features are available in the application and what restrictions are imposed on its use.

If you want to download a specific build or version go to Daily Builds. For more about daily builds and production builds, refer to 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.

If you have an account on the website and are having trouble logging, try resetting your password: www.sidefx.com/password_reset

Installing Houdini
  • You will need to have "Admin" (administrator, root or sudo) access to install Houdini.
  • If you are new to Houdini or upgrading a point version (eg. 17.0 to 17.5), you will need to install the License Server in addition to the Houdini software.

The License Server will install the licensing tools. Note if your machine is a client computer connecting to a central license server, you can bypass installing the license server onto the client node.

  • Note on Linux you do have the option of installing only the license server component if installing onto a central license server. The script will be sesinetd.install.

Windows:

  1. Run the Houdini setup program by double-clicking the downloaded executable.
  2. Follow the instructions in the installer. Once installed, the application is available by default through:

    • Start Menu → All Programs → Side Effects Software → Houdini version

Please refer to How do I start the License Administrator? to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to How do I license Houdini?

Linux:

Installer must be run as either the root user or with sudo.

Note if you are running with sudo, you must make sure that the install file is not located in root's home folder as this will give you permission errors.

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Unpack the downloaded tar.gz archive. For example,
    $ tar -xvf houdini-17.5.173.16-linux_x86_64_gcc4.8.tar.gz
    This should create a directory called houdini-17.5.173.16-linux_x86_64_gcc4.8/
  3. Run the houdini.install script:
    • $ cd houdini-17.5.173.16-linux_x86_64_gcc4.8/
    • $ sudo ./houdini.install (if only installing the license server you can run sudo ./sesinetd.install) You can also double click on the houdini.install file with your mouse. It will run the installer in a terminal.

Please refer to How do I start the License Administrator? to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to How do I license Houdini?

Mac

  1. Run the Houdini setup program by double-clicking the downloaded .dmg file.
  2. Follow the instructions in the installer. Once installed, the application is available by default through:

    • Go → Applications → Houdini → Houdini version

Please refer to How do I start the License Administrator? to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to How do I license Houdini?

Licensing Houdini Education

The Houdini Educational license can only be purchased by education institutions, not by students or other individuals.

We do not require a MAC address or Host ID like other vendors. All our system needs is a valid email address.

Once your account has been setup, the system will send you a notification of your licensing login. Your email address will also receive other notifications from the system such as new license entitlements to be installed, upgrades or extensions to existing licenses. Please ensure that you have licensemanager@sidefx.com whitelisted in your spam settings.

Important: Make sure to select License Server in the installer before attempting to license Houdini Education.

There are few ways of installing licenses. The easiest method is described below:

By starting Houdini for the first time or without a license, you will be prompted to install either:

  • Apprentice (free) license
  • Paid License

To License Houdini Education, choose Paid License. The Houdini License Administrator will launch.

  1. Choose the option Paid License.

  2. Select File->Install Licenses (Windows/Linux).

    • On OSX there is no File menu option. On OSX, start the License Administrator and go to the License Administrator menu (top left) and select Install Licenses.
  3. Enter your licensing login ID and the password. This will have been sent to you by licensemanager@sidefx.com

    • You will see a list of licenses to which you are entitled.
    • If necessary, make modifications to the quantities.
    • If you wanted to install licenses on individual machines rather than setting up a central license server, please refer to License individual workstations
  4. Press the Install button.

Important: Make sure to install the Education, Render, and Engine licenses on the same machine whether running a central license server or licensing individual computers.

1 Education license subscription consists of:

  • 1 Education license
  • 1 FX (non-commercial) license
  • 10 Render (non-commercial) licenses
  • 10 Education Engine licenses

The Education keystring will unlock Houdini FX from Apprentice mode to Education mode. The Render keystring is need if you want to use Houdini's Mantra renderer.

To manually start the License Administrator, please refer to section License Administrator.

Setup a network license server

Education customers are issued floating (networked) licenses. These licenses may be installed onto a computer to act as a central license server. Client computers can then look to the central server for Houdini licenses. This is the easiest way to License Houdini for client computers.

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

When choosing a machine to be a license server, make sure to pick a machine that has a high uptime. This means that the machine will not be turned off or rebooted often.

A virtual machine (vm) may be setup to act as a Houdini license server.

Important: Make sure to select License Server in the installer before attempting to license Houdini Education.

The steps:

  1. Download Houdini onto the machine to be the license server

  2. Install Houdini on the license server machine.

  3. License Houdini using the License Administrator

  4. Download and Install Houdini onto the client computers and have them point to the network license server to acquire a license.

For license servers running Windows and OSX, you must install the entire Houdini package, including the License Server component.

For license servers running Linux, you do have the option of only installing the license server component. You may use the default houdini.install script found in the installer. You can select to only install the License server. There is also a separate license server install script that may be used instead. This script is called sesinetd.install.

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.

Allowing access to the license server
  1. If you are running any firewalls, ensure the appropriate ports are open. Please refer to Firewall ports for Houdini licensing

  2. If you are running a custom IP subnet masks in your keystrings to either restrict or grant networks access to your licenses please refer below under Controlling access to the license server. Note that on the client machines you do not need to install the License Server component.

Controlling access to the license server

Houdini licensing is a two-phase process. The first phase is the client will query the license server for information about what products are available, their quantities, expiry dates, and network access mode (LAL, GAL, locked). The second phase is the license checkout.

The client will need appropriate permissions for both phases of the licensing process.

Permissions are handled by the IP subnet mask.

The default IP subnet masks for networked (floating) licenses:

LAL (Local Access)

 +.+.*.*,192.168.*.*,10.*.*.*,172.*.*.*

GAL (Global Access)

 +.*.*.*,192.168.*.*,10.*.*.*,172.*.*.*

By default, Render licenses GAL licenses.

The +... and +.+..* refers to subnet the license server itself is on.

If your network topology includes the default LAL or GAL subnets then you should be good to go without any additional configuration. Just make sure if you are running any firewalls, the appropriate ports are open. Please refer to Firewall ports for Houdini licensing.

If you would like to change the default IP subnet mask to allow more networks or restrict networks, you can have a custom IP subnet mask for your keystrings. The Change of IP entitlement will modify your existing keystring IP subnet masks without the need of returning licenses.

Please contact either your account manager or support@sidefx.com to request any changes to your default IP subnet masks of your licenses.

To modify your existing IP subnet mask, you will need to ensure two things:

1) The keystrings themselves have the appropriate subnets listed to allow clients to checkout licenses.

2) Create the sesinetd.options file to allow clients on those subnets to query the license server. This is accomplished by adding a -m flag followed by a comma separated list of the subnets. Make sure they match what is listed in the keystrings. The license server service will need to be restarted.

Example

A facility wishes to restrict Houdini access to networks 192.168.50. and 10.10.10. with the license server itself on the 192.168.50 network. The sesinetd.options file have something that looks like this all on one line:

 -V 2 -z 250000 -m 192.168.50.*,10.10.*.10*

For more information please refer to Houdini licenses across multiple networks.

Setup client machines

Use the License Administrator (hkey) on the client machine to look to the central license server.

  1. Open the License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Go to File -> Change License Server (Windows/Linux)
    • On OSX there is no File menu option. On OSX, start the License Administrator and go to the License Administrator menu (top left) and select Install Licenses.
  3. Type the name of the machine that is serving the licenses

You can also use hserver in the shell (once you've sourced the Houdini environment):

hserver -S hostname

where hostname is the name of your license server

There is also a hidden file called .sesi_licenses.pref that you can place in your home directory. The contents will be:

serverhost=hostname

where the hostname will be the name of your server.

License individual workstations

Sometimes configuring a central network server is not possible and installing licenses on each client computer is needed.

The steps:

  1. Download Houdini onto the workstation.

  2. Install Houdini onto the workstation. Select License Server in the installer before attempting to license Houdini Education.

  3. License the computer to run Houdini Education. The easiest method is described below:

By starting Houdini for the first time or without a license, you will be prompted to install either:

  • Apprentice (free) license
  • Paid License

To License Houdini Education, choose Paid License. The Houdini License Administrator will launch.

  1. Choose the option Paid License.

  2. Select File->Install Licenses (Windows/Linux).

    • On OSX there is no File menu option. On OSX, start the License Administrator and go to the License Administrator menu (top left) and select Install Licenses.
  3. Enter your licensing login ID and the password. This will have been sent to you by licensemanager@sidefx.com

    • You will see a list of licenses to which you are entitled.
    • Enter Quantity 1 for each license type when installing to the individual computer. The computer will then have 1 Education, 1 FX, 1 Render, 1 Engine license installed. You will have extra Render and Engine licenses left over.
  4. Press the Install button.

Important: Make sure to install the Education, Render, and Engine licenses on the same machine whether running a central license server or licensing individual computers.

1 Education license subscription consists of:

  • 1 Education license
  • 10 Render (non-commercial) licenses
  • 10 Education Engine licenses

The Education keystring will unlock Houdini FX from Apprentice mode to Education mode. The Render keystring is need if you want to use Houdini's Mantra renderer. You will have extra Render licenses left over since a Render (Mantra) license is per-machine.

To manually start the License Administrator, please refer to section License Administrator.

Silent install/uninstall

For silent installs run the installer with /? for documentation:

houdini-17.5.xxx-win64.exe /?

The /Registry option ("Yes" or "No", default "Yes") controls whether or not the installer will create Registry keys when installing Houdini. This mostly impacts whether or not the version of Houdini will show up in the Add/Remove Programs list.

It is recommended to use the defaults unless you have specific needs, such as installing Houdini on a shared network path. You cannot cannot define the "License Server Path" with the /Registry option.

To set the License Server

Linux and Mac:

There is an environment variable called SESI_LMHOST to set the license server

Windows:

The best solution is to modify the registry:

reg add "hklm\software\Side Effects Software\Houdini" /v ~LicenseServer /t reg_sz /d server-name /f

To uninstall:

Run the uninstall.exe located in Program Files -> Side Effects Software -> houdini 17.5.xxx.

Type /? for options

Type /S for silent.

General Houdini license management

Please refer to the general License Management FAQ for things such as:

  • licensing a system without graphics
  • starting/stopping the license server
  • server logging
  • options to the server or client
  • floating licenses between networks
  • firewall setup
  • installing licenses without Internet
  • remotely manage the license server
  • how Houdini licensing works
Upgrade licenses

Once a new point release of Houdini is released, you will be notified by licensemanager@sidefx.com to install your license upgrades. You will need to install the upgrade keystrings to your existing licenses if you would like to use the new point release of Houdini.

Each point release requires its own unique license keystring - whether a new keystring at that point version or an upgrade for the previous point version. For example, the latest point releases of Houdini have been 16.0, 16.5, 17.0, and 17.5.

For example, if you have Houdini Education 17.0 licenses and would like to run Houdini 17.5, it is not enough that you install the Houdini 17.5 application. You will have to apply the 17.5 upgrade keystrings to your existing 17.0 licenses.

Houdini is backwards compatible meaning you can install older versions and they will open using your current license subscription. This means you can open Houdini 17.5 and older (17.0, 16.5, 16.0 etc) using Houdini 17.5 keystrings.

When installing old versions of Houdini, do not install the license server for that old version as it will overwrite your current license server software and may not recognize your current licenses. For example, if you wish to install Houdini 16.5, make sure to not install the License Server for this version as it will overwrite the 17.5 license server.

Using the License Administrator is the easiest way to upgrade licenses.

To upgrade licenses:

  1. Download and install the latest Production Build or the latest Daily Build.

  2. Launch the License Administrator on the machine with the licenses to be upgraded.

  3. Select File->Install Licenses (Windows/Linux).

    • On OSX there is no File menu option. On OSX, start the License Administrator and go to the License Administrator menu (top left) and select Install Licenses.
  4. Enter your email and password used for Houdini licensing. If you are having problems logging into your account through the License Administrator, please see the section I can't log into the License Administrator.

  5. Press the Install button. Note if you don't want to upgrade everything at once, make sure to type 0 in the Quantity box of the License IDs you do not wish to upgrade.

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

Extend licenses

Once finance has confirmed payment for your temporary licenses, you will be issued extensions to the full term listed on your invoice. Once the extensions have been installed, the new expiry date should be listed on the installed licenses.

Using the License Administrator is the easiest way to extend licenses.

To extend your license expiry date

  1. Launch the License Administrator on the machine with the licenses to be upgraded.

  2. Select File->Install Licenses (Windows/Linux).

    • On Mac OSX there is no File menu option. Start the License Administrator and go to the License Administrator menu (top left) and select Install Licenses.
  3. Enter your email and password used for Houdini licensing. If you are having problems logging into your account through the License Administrator, please see the section I can't log into the License Administrator.

  4. Press the Install button.

This process will generate the keystrings and install your license extensions. The keystrings will be written to the licenses file on the machine automatically. Your licenses should have a new expiry date.

Problems

Sometimes the extension keystrings do not get written to the locally installed licenses file but show as redeemed on your account on the web portal. If this is the case, you can manually install the keystrings using the License Administrator. The extension keystrings will begin with the word EXTEND (in all capital letters).

For example:

This is an extension keystring to extend the license rental from March 14, 2019 to March 14, 2020

EXTEND 3e6d2c49 13-mar-2019 13-mar-2020 915f251a bd8a7ee103745dafb6ad98b3f5b27e0da656c509c0819

Should you have any issues installing your expiry date extensions, please contact support@sidefx.com

Move licenses

Houdini licenses are registered to the machine name and machine hardware.

If you need to move your licenses to a different machine, follow the section How do I return my licenses? to return your license back to your account at Side Effects Software.

The returned licenses will then be unregistered from the current machine name and hardware and be placed back onto your account as new unassigned entitlements which can then be installed onto another computer. When you return licenses and install them onto another computer, a new License ID will be generated.

Each time you return a License ID, that License ID's Return Count will be reduced by 1. All License IDs have a default Return Count of 3. If you need to reset this counter please contact support@sidefx.com

Houdini digital assets with Education licenses

The Houdini Educational license can only be purchased by education institutions, not by individuals.

In the school environment the Houdini Educational license does allow you to create Houdini Digital Assets for use in Unreal Engine, (even though the files are .hipnc).

For individuals the only option for creating Houdini Digital Assets, for use in the Unreal Engine, is the Houdini-Indie license.

Student access to Houdini at home

The Houdini Educational license can only be purchased by education institutions, not by students or other individuals.

The Houdini Educational license works with both Houdini-Indie and Houdini-Apprentice file formats.

Students may work with either of Apprentice or Indie licenses at home, and bring their files into school without problems.

Houdini Educational will save out Apprentice format files. But there is an online conversion tool that students can use to change these files back into Indie format if that is the license they have at home.

Please contact support@sidefx.com to have access to the online conversion tool.

Houdini Engine with Education licenses

Houdini Education licenses will run Houdini Engine but Houdini Apprentice licenses will not.

Students will need to work with Education licenses in a school lab to run the Houdini Engine in a host application.

Rendering with Engine licenses

Houdini rendering process is divided into two parts:

IFD generation, (similar to generating renderman rib files), and "writing" the pixels themselves.

When you hit the render button in Houdini, the IFD generation can be done either in the background, (where the .ifd is simply written to memory and not to disk), or you can choose to write the .ifd to disk. This part of the process takes either a Houdini-FX, Houdini-Core or a Houdini-Engine license.

The pixel writing part uses a Render (mantra) license. If you had previously rendered .ifd files to disk, you can distribute those to the render farm, and use the Render (mantra) licenses to generate the final picture.

Generally, our users will have a queueing software, (such as our Hqueue), that will distribute the IFD generation depending on how many Houdini-FX, Houdini-Core and Houdini-Engine licenses you have. Once the IFD generation is done, the queueing software will then distribute the renders to the render machines, depending on how many mantra licenses are available, (please remember mantra licenses are free).

If you do not hold an Engine license. You can render the IFDs to disk with the interactive session of Houdini, and then distribute the IFDs to be renderer by the mantra tokens.

Having Houdini-Engine licenses helps you speed up your renders, as the IFD writing part is the most time consuming. At the same time, having an Engine license allows your artists to keep working on their Houdini files.

Common Licensing Problems

If you have having licensing issues, please refer to the Common Licensing Problems FAQ

HQueue: Houdini’s distributed render and simulation manager

HQueue is a general-purpose job management system that distributes, monitors and manages tasks across a collection of computing nodes, or client machines. It specializes in managing render and dynamic simulation jobs submitted from Houdini. However, it be customized to work with any job from any application.

www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini/hqueue

Contacting support

If you are experiencing difficulties with any part of the licensing process or have questions/issues with Houdini:

  1. Start the Houdini License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Under the View menu, select "Diagnostic Information"
  3. Save the file and attach it in an email addressed to support@sidefx.com

If you are running a headless (non-graphical) system, please refer Generate license diagnostic information.

You may also refer to Common Licensing Problems.