Production Facility FAQs

What are commercial licenses
  • All SideFX needs is a valid email address
  • The email will be used for your licensing login and to receive license notifications.
  • We do not require a MAC address or Host ID like other vendors.
  • You will be provided with a license entitlement to your account.

An entitlement is a "voucher" for a license(s) that you are entitled to install on any of your machines.

There are different types of license entitlements:

  • A new license for a product
  • Upgrade to an existing license version.
  • Extension to an existing license expiry date.
  • Change of IP to expand or restrict the networks allowed to use the license.

Entitlements are transformed into licenses when you log into the licensing system and "redeem" or claim them.

When you redeem or install an entitlement, you bind it to a specific license server machine and you turn it into a license tied to that computer. It is at this point that the keystrings are generated and installed to your local machine.

How Houdini licensing works

The license management system is based on a client/server model with a license server running on one server and the applications running on one or more clients. Generally the server and client are different machines on a network.

The license server software and client application may be installed together on a single machine – this is how it is used for workstation licenses.

  • sesinetd - the license server program
  • hserver - the client helper program that communicates with sesinetd

The license server (sesinetd) keeps track of the licenses and their activity (whether they are checked out or available for use). When a Houdini product needs a license, it communicates with hserver, which is a helper program running on the client. Hserver communicates with the license server (sesinetd). It is the license server (sesinetd) that grants licenses to valid clients and collects licenses when Houdini applications terminate. If there is no hserver running on the client, Houdini will not start.

  • On Linux and Mac OSX, hserver is started automatically when you start a Houdini application, or it can be started manually.
  • On Windows, both hserver and the license server are started as Services named HoudiniServer and HoudiniLicenseServer respectively.

Licensing diagram for a local client and a remote license server:

Remote License

Licensing diagram for a server and client on the same machine:

Local License

License restrictions

Sharing licenses with remote offices

  • Local Access Licenses serve across two remote offices up to 100km in distance.
  • Global Access Licenses serve more than 100km.
  • Workstation licenses can not be shared as they are tied to the machine installed to.
  • Please speak with your sales representative if you need to move a license to a remote office.

Transferring ownership of licenses

  • License ownership may not be transferred to another company or individual.
  • You are allowed to transfer a license to a different machine on your network. You may do this 10 times a year unless it's a GAL license.

Are licenses operating system dependent?

  • No. Houdini licenses are operating system independent.

When does my (term based) license expire?

  • Licenses expire one minute before midnight your local time on the date of expiry.
  • For example, If your license says that it expires June 30th, it will expire at 11:59pm June 30th your license server's local time.

Can I use 2 computers for my workstation license?

  • No. You may use 1 workstation license per computer. *If you would like to run Houdini on 2 computers, you will either need to purchase a floating license or 2 workstation licenses – 1 per computer.

Our licenses are set to expire before the expiry date on the invoice. Why?

  • Temporary licenses are issued until payment has been received.
  • Once accounting verifies payment, extensions will be issued to those licenses.
  • If you have any questions, please contact your account manager or
Network and Workstation licenses

Network (floating) licenses:

  • May be served from a central license server to machines on private networks.
  • There are 2 types of network licenses:

    • LAL (Local Access Licenses). May be floated on private networks to serve locations up to 100km in distance. Think of LALs as Site licenses.
    • GAL (Global Access Licenses) are network licenses. May be floated on private networks to serve locations more than 100km in distance. These licenses are have the most flexibility. Think of GALs as Enterprise-style licenses.

Workstation licenses:

  • Standalone (node-locked) licenses.
  • Locked to the machine itself.
Convert non-commercial files

If you have purchased a Commercial license and have Apprentice/Indie files to be converted, SideFX offers a one time conversion of the Apaprentice/Indie files.

Please make sure to package all the .hiplc (or .hipnc) and .hdalc (or .hdanc) files you need converted. Create a zip/tar archive and send it to As this is a one time conversion offer, make sure to package everything.

If the archive is too big to attach to email, contact to have access to the secure SFTP server.

Apprentice licenses in a commercial facility

Some facilities wish to have Apprentice licenses for training purposes. Apprentice licenses should not be mixed with existing Commercial licenses. Great care must be taken to not open Commercial files with Apprentice licensing because the Commercial files will be downgraded to a Non-Commercial format.

Floating Apprentice licenses may be requested which should be installed to a different license server machine than the one serving Commercial licenses.

You may install Apprentice learning licenses on the individual machines themselves and tell users that they will have to switch to the local machine as the license server, using the License Administrator. However, care must be taken. If you open a Commercial file with Apprentice licenses, those files will be downgraded and will not be able to be re-open with Commercial format.


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

To download the installation package:

  • Go to → 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.

The same installation package is downloaded by all users, whether Apprentice, Indie, Commercial, or Education. The installed licenses determine 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, please refer to Houdini builds.

You may also check the SideFX public FTP server for older Houdini installers.

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.

Install the License Server component if:

  • This computer is to serve licenses to client machines.
  • Licensing an individual workstation (not using a remote license server)

If this is a client machine and will use a remote license server, you do not need to install the License Server component.

Apprentice Windows Install

Once installed, the application is available by default through:

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

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

The following two services (found in Services.msc) will need to be in the runniang 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.

Install the License Server component if:

  • This computer is to serve licenses to client machines.
  • Licensing an individual workstation (not using a remote license server)

If this is a client machine and will use a remote license server, you do not need to install the License Server component.

Apprentice 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 using sudo.

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.

Install the License Server component if:

  • This computer is to serve licenses to client machines.
  • Licensing an individual workstation (not using a remote license server)

If this is a client machine and will use a remote license server, you do not need to install the License Server component.

To install:

  • 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.

Silent install/uninstall

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

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

  • The easiest method is to configure a DNS SRV record.
  • Client machines should automatically find the Houdini license server.

Linux or Mac OSX:

  • hserver -S server-name
  • A hidden file in users's home directory called .sesi_licenses.pref
  • This hidden file will contain one line: serverhost=license-servername


  • 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

Type /? for options

Type /S for silent.

License the software

Once your account has been setup, the system will send an activation email. This will be for your licensing account so you may install licenses using the License Administrator (hkey). 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 whitelisted in your spam settings.

You will have two ways to configure licensing for your facility:

  1. Setup a central network license server to serve the client computers.

    • Ideal for studios.
    • Easier license administration.
    • Client computers will need to be configured to look to the license server.
  2. No central server. License individual workstations.

    • Depending on the size of the facility, this might be more work than setting up a central license server.
    • Each machine will act as both client and server to itself. Ensure to install the License Server component during install.

Commercial Licenses

Pilot PDG:

  • The Pilot PDG license is for users that want to use the PDG capabilities outside of Houdini.
  • If you want to use PDG inside Houdini, simple press tab on the network pane and place down a TOP network node.


  • You may run unlimited instances of Mplay as long as you have 1 valid Houdini product license (FX, Core, Engine).
Setup a network license server
  • Commercial customers may purchase floating (networked) licenses.

About your Houdini License Server:

  • Refer to system requirements for the server operating system.
  • Use a machine with a high uptime (not rebooted or turned off often).
  • A virtual machine (VM) may be used.
  • Can host your license server in the cloud provided using a VPN and private addressing.
  • The license serve may be a headless system (no graphics).

Setup the server and clients:

  1. Download Houdini onto the machine to be the license server.
  2. Install Houdini. Select the License Server component (sesinetd) from the installer.
  3. Launch the License Administrator (hkey) on the server to install licenses.
  4. Download and Install Houdini onto the client computers. License Server component not needed.
  5. Launch the License Administrator on the client machine and point to the license server.
  6. Open the firewall ports.

Your license server

Windows or OSX:

  • Even if the machine is only running the license server, you will have to install Houdini.


  • Option of only installing the license server (sesinetd).
  • Use the license server install script sesinetd.install.
Install 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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

Configure 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
  3. Type the name of the machine that is serving the licenses

Clients can automatically find your Houdini license server using a DNS SRV record.

Linux or Mac OSX:

  • hserver -S server-name
  • A hidden file in users's home directory called .sesi_licenses.pref
  • This hidden file will contain one line: serverhost=license-servername


  • reg add "hklm\software\Side Effects Software\Houdini" /v ~LicenseServer /t reg_sz /d server-name /f
License individual workstations
  • If not configuring a central license server and licensing individual machines.

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

  • Apprentice (free) license
  • Paid License

Choose the second option: I have a paid license for Houdini and click Next.

  1. Press the License Settings button to start the License Administrator (hkey).
  2. Press the Login to get started button or go to File->Login.
  3. Press the Check for Entitlements to install button or go to File->Install Licenses.
  4. The machine will only need the Quantity 1 of each license.

Any extra Render or Engine licenses may be installed onto render nodes.

Commercial Licenses


  • The License Administrator (hkey) displays the licenses installed on the local machine.
  • If you cannot login to your account to install licenses, try resetting the password.
Upgrade the license server software

The license server should be at the same point version as the keystrings you are serving.
For example, if you are serving 18.0 keystrings, it is ideal to have your license server version at 18.0.

Please check the system requirements to ensure your operating system is supported for Houdini licensing.

To upgrade your Houdini License Server software:

  1. Download the latest Production or Daily build of the Houdini version you are looking to install.

  2. Run the installer, ensuring to install the License Server component.

    • For Linux you do have the option of installing only the license server sesinetd (sesinetd.install).
    • For Windows and OSX, you must install the full Houdini package.
      Ensure the license server is checked. This will upgrade the existing sesinetd (sesinetd.exe) program sesinetd.

  3. During the installation process, the license server component will be automatically restarted. This should take only a minute.

The license server software will serve keystrings up to one full version higher.
For example, if you are running a license server at version 16.5, you may serve only up to 17.5 keystrings. You will not be able to serve 18.0.

If you are running a central license server, we do recommend alerting your users that an upgrade will take place. It will be important for them to save their files during this time as a precaution. In general, an upgrade of the license server software will not impact users. The heartbeat is set for approximately 20 minutes. This means that if a client machine is not able to make contact with the central license server in that time, the active Houdini session will close.

The license server program is called sesinetd.

Upgrade licenses
  • Licenses with an active support contract (AUP) are eligible for upgrades.
  • Upgrades are to be applied to installed licenses.
  • Please check your licensing account for upgrade entitlements.
  • Using the License Administrator is the easiest way to upgrade licenses.

To install upgrades:

  1. Download and install the latest Production Build or the latest Daily Build.
  2. Launch the License Administrator on the machine.
    • If this is a central license server then you only need to do this on the server machine itself.
    • If licensed machines individually, repeat this process for each machine.
  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.

Commercial 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.

To move licenses:

Commercial License Return


  • You cannot use the web portal to move your licenses.
  • Licenses must be moved from the machine with the licenses, using the License Administrator.
Extend licenses
  • Once finance has confirmed payment, extension licenses are sent.
  • Apply the extensions to the installed licenses for the new expiry date to take effect.
  • The License Administrator is the easiest way to apply a new expiry date to licenses.

To install the new expiry date:

  1. Launch the License Administrator on the machine.
    • If this is a central license server then you only need to do this on the server machine itself.
    • If licensed machines individually, repeat this process for each machine.
  2. Login to your licensing account.
  3. Press the Check for License Entitlements button or go to File->Install Licenses
  4. Press the Install button.

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

Commercial Extend

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 2 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.

CommercialLicense 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.

License Return sesictrl

Houdini Engine

Houdini Engine is a non-graphical version of Houdini.

  • Run command-line renders or simulations on render nodes.
  • A plugin to load Houdini Digital Assets (HDAs) within Maya, 3dsMax, Unreal, Unity and C4D.

Houdini Engine Pipeline

  • Mantra is per machine - not per core.
  • Each time you call mantra, it will use 1 Mantra token
  • Initially we send you 5 Mantra tokens for each Houdini FX and Houdini Core

To set up more render nodes and access your unlimited supply of Mantra tokens, please contact or

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.

Render node to only use non-graphical license
  • Try setting the environment variable HOUDINI_SCRIPT_LICENSE to hbatch -R in your houdini.ev file.

  • This will attempt to check out your non-graphical license (Engine) rather than consuming your interactive FX or Core licenses.

  • Running hserver -n does not work with hython or with python based tools inside a file.

  • For more information about Houdini environment variables:


HQueue is Houdini’s distributed render and simulation manager

It 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.

Backup License Server

SideFX no longer supports the old redundant server setup. There is no redundant server setup capability.

The easiest method would be to use a hypervisor to create a clone of your physical or virtual license server machine. In the event of failure of the primary machine, you will be able to spin up the cloned image and continue to serve network clients.

It is very important that the clone has the same machine name and MAC address (network device hardware address) as the primary machine. This will allow you to serve network clients using your existing keystrings.

With your hypervisor, you should be able to edit the clone machine details to manually enter the MAC address.

To create a clone:


  1. Right click on the virtual machine
  2. Select Clone
  3. For MAC Address Policy select: Include all network adapter MAC addresses
  4. For Additional Options select Keep Disk Names and Keep Hardware UUIDs
  5. Edit the Name and the path or keep the defaults
  6. Click Continue
  7. Select Full clone and hit the Clone button to begin the cloning of the primary machine.
  8. Take the cloned image and place onto a different host machine and bring up in the event of primary failure.


  1. Right click on the virtual machine to select Clone
  2. Select Clone to Virtual Machine
  3. Enter the name of the clone and click Next
  4. Enter the host resource of the clone and click Next
  5. Select virtual disk format: same as source
  6. Select the datastore for the clone. Note that it should be different than the primary machine's. Click Next.
  7. Check the box to Customize the machine's hardware
  8. For the primary network adapter, set the MAC Address to manual and enter the same hardware address as the primary machine. Click Next.
  9. Click Finish to start the cloning process.

Cloning machines will still require some manual intervention. If the primary machines is unavailable, you will still need to manually bring up the secondary.

If you need a more automated setup you may want to investigate VMWare's Fault Tolerance (FT).

VMWare Fault Tolerance (FT)

"You can use vSphere Fault Tolerance for your virtual machines to ensure continuity with higher levels of availability and data protection. Fault Tolerance is built on the ESXi host platform, and it provides availability by having identical virtual machines run on separate hosts."

Unfortunately we do not support a redundant server setup.

VMWare Fault Tolerance Documentation

Houdini license server 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
  • passing special options to the server or client
  • floating licenses between networks
  • firewall setup
  • installing licenses without Internet
  • remotely manage the license server
  • license server chaining
  • license reporting
  • backup license server
  • run server daemon on a different port
Houdini Beta

Neither Houdini-Indie nor Houdini-Apprentice licenses have access to beta releases of Houdini. Licensing for these become available on the day of official point release.

Only full commercial Houdini licenses (FX and Core) that have their AUPs (Annual Upgrade Plan) active, are issued early access to the beta Houdini software.

Remote Desktop with Houdini

Remote desktop solutions such as Teradici, VNC, Teamviewer, AnyDesk and Windows Remote Desktop may be considered. Note that performance may vary. NVIDIA Quadro and AMD Radeon Pro cards have been known to work with Remote Desktop on Windows.

Run older Houdini versions

Houdini is backwards compatible. Older versions of Houdini will run with the most recent license.

For example, if you have a Houdini 18.0 license, you will be able to open Houdini 17.5 and older (17.0,16.5,...)

  • If installing older versions of Houdini, make sure to not install the licensing component as it will overwrite the latest sesinetd binary.
  • You will need to have the latest license server software and licenses. Installing older versions will overwrite this.
  • If you do overwrite the latest sesinetd server binary, reinstall the latest Houdini version again.
Uploading to FTP

There is a blind upload directory for you to submit your files.

In your FTP client or terminal shell:

username: anonymous or ftp
password: email address
port: standard FTP ports
TLS: Only use plain FTP (insecure). No TLS.

Please upload to the incoming directory.
The incoming directory is for blind uploads. You can only write to the folder but not read anything inside.

We do offer SFTP access, including SSH public key logins. Please contact if you would like access.

Houdini builds

Daily builds

SideFX provaides 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.


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

Can’t log into the website to download the software

Stuck in the licensing loop

  • 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).
  • Ensure that the firewall on your machine is allowing ports TCP 1714 (hserver client program and TCP 1715 (sesinetd server program) locally on the machine.

Pop-up error warnings

You may see various pop-ups with warnings.
Sometimes resetting your Houdini preferences will help resolve issues.

The most common pop-up errorsare the following:

Icon with name 'BUTTONS_list_add' does not exist.

  • Try adding Houdini (including the installer .exe) to the trusted apps in the Controlled Folder access of your realtime protection software.

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.

Apprentice Diagnostic File

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

  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

Apprentice About Houdini

Crash logs

Locating crash logs:

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:



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


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

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

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.