Download and Installation FAQs


Before you begin
  1. Workstation: See the System Requirements page for the details.
  2. SideFX Login: You will need to login into www.sidefx.com to download the software.
  3. Connection to Internet: See here if your workstation don't have one.
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.

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

What SideFX needs to generate your licenses

Nothing. All we need is a valid email address for your licensing login and for you to receive licensing 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. An entitlement may be for a new license, or an extension/upgrade/change of IP to an existing installed 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.

Install Houdini
  • You will need to have "Admin" (administrator, root or sudo) access to install Houdini.
  • If you are new to Houdini or upgrading a full version (17.0 to 17.5), you will need to install the License Server tools in addition to the Houdini software.
  • If you have installed a version of Houdini and are to install a daily build of the same version, you do not need to install the License Server tools.
  • In general, uninstalling a previous version of Houdini is NOT required to install a new.

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
  3. The licensing menu will appear during the installation process if no installed licenses can be detected.

    • If you are installing Apprentice or Indie, choose Apprentice Licensing. This will take out the complexities of running a local license server.
    • If you are installing a commercial product, choose Commercial Licensing.

Please refer to The License Administrator to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to Licensing a Houdini product

Linux:

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

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Unpack the downloaded tar.gz archive. For example,
    $ tar -xvzf houdini-17.5.229-linux_x86_64_gcc6.3.tar.gz This should create a directory called houdini-17.5.229-linux_x86_64_gcc6.3/
  3. Run the houdini.install script:
    • $ cd houdini-17.5.229-linux_x86_64_gcc6.3/
    • $ sudo ./houdini.install
      You can also double click on the houdini.install file with your mouse. It will run the installer in a terminal.
  4. The licensing menu will appear during the installation process if no installed licenses can be detected.
    • If you are installing Apprentice or Indie, choose Apprentice Licensing. This will take out the complexities of running a local license server.
    • If you are installing a commercial product, choose Commercial Licensing.

Please refer to The License Administrator to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to Licensing a Houdini product

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
  3. The licensing menu will appear during the installation process if no installed licenses can be detected.

    • If you are installing Apprentice or Indie, choose Apprentice Licensing. This will take out the complexities of running a local license server.
    • If you are installing a commercial product, choose Commercial Licensing.

Please refer to The License Administrator to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to Licensing a Houdini product

Licensing a Houdini product

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

Choosing Apprentice, an Apprentice license is installed and Houdini will launch in the non-commerical mode.

By choosing Paid License, the Houdini License Administrator will show up.

  1. 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.
  2. Enter your licensing login ID and the password.

  3. You will see a list of licenses to which you are entitled.

  4. If necessary, make modifications to the quantities. You do not need to change the quantity for network licensing.

    • For example, if you have purchased 3 Houdini FX Workstation licences, Quantity will be 3 at first. You will need to set the Quantity to 1 on each workstation you perform installation. The quantity will be one lesss each time.
  5. Press the Install button.

To manually start the License Administrator, please refer to How do I start the Houdini License Administrator.

For other details, please refer to the Apprentice FAQ for the installation of the free non-commercial licenses, and to the License Management for the installation of the Indie and commercial licenses.

Cannot log into the License Administrator

For users who have purchased an Indie or full Commercial license:

The website and licensing are two different systems. You should have received an email from licensemanger@sidefx.com with your licensing login. Sometimes the email provided for licensing is different than the website login so you have to make sure that you're using the correct email login.

Try resetting your password on the website at www.sidefx.com/profile.

By resetting your website account password, your licensing password should also be updated to match. The two systems will have the same login.

If this does not work, please contact support@sidefx.com to have licensing access reset.

The License Administrator

You can either launch from the Application menu on each OS or from the command line by typing "hkey". Please refer to the section above to set up the command line environment.

Windows:

  • Start menu -> All Programs -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini version -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

Linux:

  • Applications -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini version -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

Mac:

  • Applications -> Houdini version -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

The License Administrator connects to Side Effects Software using port 80 (http). If you require a proxy to access the web, please see this section.

From Houdini 14, OpenGL is no longer required to run License Administrator.

License Houdini Indie

The Houdini Indie license is a 2-part license consisting of:

  • Houdini Indie
  • Render (Non-Commercial)

Both parts need to be installed on the same machine. Note that the Render (Non-Commercial) license will unlock into a less restricted mode with the Indie license installed.

If you install only the Houdini Indie license and not the Render license, you will not be able to render on the machine.

If you have the free Houdini Engine Indie license installed and not a license of Houdini Indie, you will not be able to open the Houdini Indie interface. To purchase Houdini Indie: www.sidefx.com/buy

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

To install a license of Indie:

  1. Launch the License Administrator on the machine you wish to license with Houdini Indie.

  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 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 licenses. The keystrings will be written to the licenses file on the machine automatically.

Valid Houdini Indie subscription but in Apprentice mode

Make sure that you have installed your Houdini Indie licenses. It is not enough to only open the Houdini Indie application.

To install your Houdini Indie license: How to license Houdini Indie

If you are still having issues please see What do I do if I'm still having license trouble?

Move license to another computer

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

It is not enough that you uninstall Houdini from the current computer to move your licenses.

You will need to use the License Administrator to return the installed licenses back to your licensing account at SideFX. This will release the licenses from the computer and put them back into your account. The licenses will be then available to be installed onto a different computer.

Please see How do I return licenses

If you do not have the original computer with the installed licenses, please see How to reclaim licenses.

Licensing a dual boot computer

Unfortunately, the licensing system is not prepared to recognize the different operating system as the same machine.

Indie users
To solve this issue, a supplementary Houdini Indie license is provided for each subscription.

Commercial users If you have a floating license server, this will be a non-issue as the client computer can look to the remote server for licensing.

Upgrade Houdini Indie license

Houdini Indie is subscription based. Once a new major version is released, you will be notified of your upgrades. Active Indie subscriptions are automatically upgraded.

For example, if you have Houdini Indie 16.5 licenses and would like to run Houdini 17.0, it is not enough that you install the Houdini 17.0 application. You will have to install the upgrades to your existing 16.5 licenses. Those licenses will need to be upgraded to 17.0.

You will be able to run older versions of Houdini with 17.0 licenses (16.5 and older).

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 you wish to license with Houdini Indie.

  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.

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. This includes the Render license.

Renew a Houdini Indie subscription

Houdini Indie does not auto-renew. You will need to purchase a new subscription for Houdini Indie. This will provide you with new licenses for the subscription.

If your subscription has expired or is close to expiring, you will need to purchase a new subscription.

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

Licensing Houdini Engine Indie

The Houdini-Engine-Indie license is a 2-part license consiting of:

  • Houdini Engine Indie
  • Render (Non-Commercial)

Both parts need to be installed on the same machine.

The Houdini-Engine-Indie is a non-graphical version of Houdini-Indie. It allows you to run command-line renders, and simulations, on remote render machines. And to open pre-made Houdini Digital Assets (HDAs) within Maya, Unreal, Unity and C4D. You make best use of your Houdini-Engine-Indie license if it is installed on a different machine than your Houdini-Indie license.

If you would like to use the Houdini Indie graphical interface, you can purchase Houdini Indie here: www.sidefx.com/buy

To install a license of Houdini Engine Indie:

  1. Launch the License Administrator on the machine you wish to license with Houdini Indie.

  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 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 licenses. The keystrings will be written to the licenses file on the machine automatically.

Upgrade Commercial licenses

Upgrades are provided to those Commercial licenses which have an active support contract (AUP).

Once a new version of Houdini is released, you will be notified of your upgrades. You will need to install the upgrades to your existing licenses if you would like to use the new release of Houdini.

For example, if you have Houdini 16.5 licenses and would like to run Houdini 17.0, it is not enough that you install the Houdini 17.0 application. You will have to install the upgrades to your existing 16.5 licenses. Those licenses will need to be upgraded to 17.0.

You will be able to run older versions of Houdini with 17.0 licenses (16.5 and older).

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.

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

Running older versions of Houdini

You can download various versions of Houdini from the Daily Builds page.

There are a few sections on the download page. The stable versions appear first in the "Production Build" section.

The "Daily Builds" appear next, if you scroll down.

There are also "Archived Builds" at the bottom of the download page for some older versions of Houdini.

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

For example, if you have a Houdini 17.5 license, you will be able to open Houdini 17.5 and older (17.0, 16.5, 16.0 etc.).

If installing older versions of Houdini, make sure to not install the licensing component as it will overwrite the latest licensing mechanism. You will need to have the latest license server software and licenses. Installing older versions will overwrite this.

If you do overwrite the latest licensing software then you just have to reinstall the latest Houdini version again.

Houdini Engine Indie license but cannot open Houdini Indie

You cannot open the Houdini indie interface using the Houdini Engine Indie license. Your Houdini Engine Indie license can be used to run Houdini Indie in non-graphical mode or to load Houdini Digital Assets into other content creation apps such as Autodesk® Maya,® and Cinema 4D, or game editors such as Unity® and UE4®.

www.sidefx.com/buy

License installed but can't run Houdini

Check to ensure you're trying to run the right product for the license you have. From the menu, select 'Houdini' to run Base Houdini (formerly known as Escape) and 'Houdini FX' to run Houdini FX (formerly known as Master). From the command-line, type 'basehoudini' to run Base Houdini, 'houdinifx' to run Houdini FX, and 'houdini' to run the program that you have licenses for, searching for Houdini FX licenses first and then Base Houdini licenses.

For more licensing help please see the License Trouble FAQ.

Houdini builds

Daily

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

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.

Cannot log into the website

Please try resetting your password

If are you are still having issues accessing your account please contact support@sidefx.com.

Houdini crashes on startup

Make sure that your computer meets our System Requirements.

Intel or AMD x64 CPU with SSE 4.2 required. Houdini 17.0 will not run on a system with an instruction set lower than SSE 4.1.

Do you have Nahimic or 3D audio drivers installed? Or 3D audio software installed? Please uninstall or disable them.

Asus Sonic Suite 2, the audio card software that comes with a lot of Asus ROG mainboards, seems to also be a culprit.

If you have any 3D audio drivers, please uninstall them or disable them.

We no longer provide Qt4 builds for Houdini 17.0.

Other things to try: Try deleting (or renaming) your houdini17.0 preferences directory. When you relaunch Houdini this directory will be regenerated, with all your Houdini settings at default. If you have an older version of Houdini, you will delete or rename the directory for that older version (for example, houdini16.5).

Windows: My Documents->houdini17.0

OSX: /Users/(your name)/Library/Preferences/houdini/17.0

Linux: /home/(your name)/houdini17.0

Qt4 builds for versions older than Houdini 17.0: Windows Mac Linux

If this doesn't help and Houdini stays open long enough, can you please send the support team your machine info from Houdini's Help -> About Houdini -> click on "Show Details". Please click the "save” button at the bottom, and send the file to support@sidefx.com.

Fatal error: Segmentation fault

Make sure that your computer meets our System Requirements.

Intel or AMD x64 CPU with SSE 4.2 required. Houdini 17.0 will not run on a system with an instruction set lower than SSE 4.1.

Do you have Nahimic or 3D audio drivers installed? Or 3D audio software installed? Please uninstall or disable them.

Asus Sonic Suite 2, the audio card software that comes with a lot of Asus ROG mainboards, seems to also be a culprit.

If you have any 3D audio drivers, please uninstall them or disable them.

We no longer provide Qt4 builds for Houdini 17.0.

Other things to try: Try deleting (or renaming) your houdini17.0 preferences directory. When you relaunch Houdini this directory will be regenerated, with all your Houdini settings at default. If you have an older version of Houdini, you will delete or rename the directory for that older version (for example, houdini16.5).

Windows: My Documents->houdini17.0

OSX: /Users/(your name)/Library/Preferences/houdini/17.0

Linux: /home/(your name)/houdini17.0

Qt4 builds for versions older than Houdini 17.0: Windows Mac Linux

If this doesn't help and Houdini stays open long enough, can you please send the support team your machine info from Houdini's Help -> About Houdini -> click on "Show Details". Please click the "save” button at the bottom, and send the file to support@sidefx.com.

Error in the console: NT_GeneratorThread::queueEvent eventqueuefull.Event dropped

This is due to using an older graphics card. Tell Houdini to use software OpenGL rather than hardware OpenGL. This is done by setting an environment variable:

HOUDINI_OGL_SOFTWARE = 1

If you can't license Houdini

Most licensing issues can be resolved by referring to the Common Licensing Problems page.

If you cannot resolve your licensing issues, please email support@sidefx.com with the license diagnostic from the machine you are trying to license. Please also include your Account number and or/email used for licensing so the support team can easily locate your account information.

To generate the license diagnostic:

  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 don't have a graphical display, you can type "sesictrl -f > file".

Refer to How do I start the License Administrator