Artwork by Andriy Bilichenko

Discover Houdini's USD-based Renderer

Karma is a powerful physically-based renderer that is deeply integrated with Houdini's Solaris environment.  
Together Solaris and Karma provide high-end production quality rendering to artists and studios.

Karma Reel

Karma CPU & XPU

Karma has two feature rich render engines that are both designed to produce the same high quality results:

Karma XPU takes advantage of both the GPU and CPU simultaneously to ensure full use of all computers resources. This renderer works exclusively with MaterialX shaders. Karma XPU is the faster renderer and is production-ready for a wide range of uses.

Karma CPU runs entirely in software on the CPU and is able to render both MaterialX shaders and legacy shaders built using VEX. Karma CPU can be used to access the few features not in XPU.

Karma Features

Here are a sampling of the features that can be found in both Karma XPU and Karma CPU. Visit the compare chart for a more complete list.

Rounded Edges/Dirt Map

Deep Images

Point Clouds


Physical Sky Light

Portals on Dome Light

Geometry Lights

IES Lights

High Resolution Textures

Light Filter Shaders

Bezier Curves

Fur Material

ACES: Texture Color Space

Uniform Volume Geometry

Pyro Shader for Volumes

Demand loaded textures with Eviction

Absorption and Nested Dielectrics

HdCoordSystem support for shaders

Automatic texture optimization

Per-instance property overrides

Artwork courtesy of Tumblehead

Solaris + USD

Solaris is Houdini’s environment for layout, lookdev and lighting and is built on USD, the open source Universal Scene Description format created by PIXAR. This makes Solaris a great environment for interacting and authoring USD scenes and assets. USD is an optimized system for organizing your assets that allows for efficient workflows for teams or individuals.

Solaris integrates with USD's HYDRA Imaging Framework which provides direct access to Karma. Via Hydra, Karma can also be used to render with other apps such as USD View.

Materials & Textures

With Karma, Material X is the ideal framework for building shaders. Through the Material Linker in Solaris, you now have access to a growing Gallery of materials that can be applied with a drag and drop interface.

Material Linker | Gallery
 Room Map

Render Stats

When working in production, information about every aspect of the rendering process can help you make key decisions.  Houdini and Karma will now send critical information to the Render Stats panel or to a detailed HTML report.

Distributed Rendering

To take advantage of a compute farm, you can distribute your Karma jobs using either HQueue, a schedular that comes with Houdini, or a third party solution such as AWS Deadline.

For rendering to the cloud, solutions such as Conductor and Gridmarkets now support Karma.

KARMA | Licensing

Karma can work both inside Houdini and as a Hydra delegate in other USD-based applications. SideFX is bundling licenses with Houdini Core and FX for FREE* with an annual $195 USD rental cost for extra licenses.  Karma is also available with Houdini Indie, Education and Apprentice.

Note: The bundled licenses can be used BOTH locally and on your render farm/cloud.

* Tokens bundled with perpetual licenses are available as long as AUP is active. If AUP expires then these tokens are no longer available.


Houdini FX/CORE Workstation
5 Karma

10 Karma*

Extra Karma

USD Annual Rental

Volume Pricing Available

Houdini Indie
2 Karma

Houdini Education
10 Karma

Houdini Apprentice
1 Karma