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I find myself constantly fighting the camera in the Houdini viewport.

When I focus on an object with “space+g” and try to rotate the camera around the selected object, I can sometimes “tumble” around the selected object with “Alt+LMB” or “Space+LBM” but most of the time the view rotational center is way off. So as soon as I try to tumble, my object disappears out of view and I have to center it again.

It also seems to make a difference if I have the translate tool selected, or the item selection tool is active.

Is there a Softimage or Maya “F” key equivalent in Houdini that works reliably ? I googled around, and it seems it should be “Space+g” but that looks like a case of hit and miss.


oh, just figured there's a “frame selected” in the viewport menu that sometimes seems to do the same as “space+g” and works just as flaky.

It says it should work with “F” hotkey, but that doesn't work at all ( also “Shift f” doesn't ).


Siavash Tehrani
Hi toonafish,
Do you have “Set Pivot on Tumble” checked? This option is found under Edit > Preferences > 3D Viewports > Default Tumble Pivot. It was introduced more recently (H16 or H17-ish?) and is now the default behavior. Any time you begin tumbling it will set the surface under your mouse cursor as the new pivot. Personally I never got along with this method, as you have to be mindful of where your mouse cursor is any time you are tumbling.

I prefer to set “Keep Pivot on Tumble” and to manually set the pivot with Space+Z. This will re-frame the viewport which works well for me. You can also do Space+Shift+Z which will set the pivot under your cursor but not re-frame the viewport.

Space+F should work too and that is the equivalent of Maya's F key. The difference between Space+F and Space+G is that the former will frame up your model/selection while maintaining the view orientation, and the latter will frame up the object but reset the orientation to “Oblique” or probably whatever you have set under Edit > Preferences > 3D Viewports > Default Homing Method.
Hey thanks DaJuice.

This seems to explain some of the strange behaviour I experienced.

So if I understand correctly, the equivalent of Maya's or Softimage's F key is is by default separated into 2 Hotkeys in Houdini. One to place the camera ( Space + G ) and one to place the “tumble pivot” with Space + Z ?

What's the advantage of this ? Why not simplify it and make it behave as predictable as in Soft or Maya ?

When you are in the view tool then you don't need spacebar to use hotkeys in the viewport - if any other tool is active (select, move, rotate etc) then you need to put spacebar in front of F and G. I find it easiest to always use spacebar for view hotkeys as a habit.

When in the view tool (which is invoked when the spacebar key is pressed) there are some buttons in the top bar the let you change the tumble method without going to preferences.

The default “Set Pivot” method tumbles around whatever geometry you click on which could yield strange results if you have a large piece of geometry that goes off to the distance - if you click in empty space when you tumble then you will use the last pivot used (which may or may not make sense). If you use “Keep Pivot” then you may need to home the view (spacebar - H, F, G) to “reset” the pivot before tumbling.
Siavash Tehrani
So if I understand correctly, the equivalent of Maya's or Softimage's F key is is by default separated into 2 Hotkeys in Houdini. One to place the camera ( Space + G ) and one to place the “tumble pivot” with Space + Z ?

No, Space+F (or like Robert mentioned, just F in View mode) will still set a new pivot point, otherwise it wouldn't be much use. I don't have Maya in front of me at the moment, but I don't recall there being any significant difference in how Houdini and Maya's focus behave.
ok, thanks guys that helps a lot.

@DaJuice : The difference between Houdidni's and Softimage or Maya focus and tumble is that I “lose focus” in Houdini all the time. So when I tumble the viewport in Houdini after I focus on an object, the tumble pivot seems to move around.

Something I've never experienced in Softimage or Maya.
Check your Edit>Preferences>3d viewports>view state op defaults. And Panning Method above.
It's part of the “good” SideFx's factory defaults.
I should probably stop about that now and let the company bear whatever costs inferred from this whenever a new user accustomed with sense-making comes around, instead of me paying a reputational cost every time I'm complaining and sounding like a whining self-centered douche-bag that's being ignored for the last three versions or so.
I find it easiest to always use spacebar for view hotkeys as a habit.

I find it easiest not to have a special mode for viewport navigation at all….
Especially if the software decides when to put you in the navigation mode,when you don't need it.
Everything that needs more than one key should be functions that are rarely used.
Space/shift/A to reset a viewport camera is not easy to use.
@OneBiGTree & @Pickled until SideFx prioritise viewport UX this isn't going to change. Look at past roadmap and recent developments. Software engineeering is the top priority, which is very cool in itself.
@goat Deleted my previous comment as I deemed it too generic and somewhat pointless.

If I were to comment on new tech sidefx has put forth lately, ie PDGs, to me, it seems like a gamble. Lots of dev time with the worst outcome being keeping the current users interested, so probably a good bet in this space, when it comes to securing a market. Users interested in modeling and character animation? They don't seem to pursue this huge, I'd argue, segment.

So for the time being, we're stuck with Adsk products in the industry. As a freelancer you can, of course, use w/e you like.
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