Mai Ao


About Me

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My Talks

obj-image HIVE
H19 Real-Time Pyro Workflows - Chasing Photorealism
obj-image GDC
SideFX Labs 2021-2022 | Servicing Next-Gen Development
obj-image Tech Talk
The Matrix Awakens: Generate a World
obj-image Tech Talk
The Magic of Houdini

My Tutorials

obj-image Node Reference
SideFX Labs | Volume Adjust Look

Recent Forum Posts

Official Labs Vertex Animation Textures 3.0 FAQs and Links June 14, 2022, 4:50 p.m.


I have been trying to wrap my head around the Rigidbody VAT3 Shadergraph for Unity. The Min and Max Bounds has some sort of magic values which makes the simulation work correctly. Changing it slightly breaks the whole simulation. I checked the shadergraph of URP which is quite different than the shader code for standard pipeline.

I followed this tutorial [] to create a Rigidbody simulation. Only when I use the values provided in the example project for Bound Min and Max, it seems to work.

I am trying to recreate the shader and have not been able to understand the bound related calculations in the shader.

Hi! The bounds are not just bounds. They are encoded with additional data that VAT shader needs. That's why you have to use the values exported from VAT node and you can't really modify them. The encoding is slightly complicated, but let me know if you want a full and long explanation.

Houdini 19 Mapbox not functioning June 7, 2022, 3:23 p.m.

Hello, I recently attempted to use mapbox to grab some map data. However, I am unable to even get passed API key input. After inputting my key and hitting refresh on the node, Houdini begins to compute and then errors with this message.

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "labs::Sop/mapbox::2.1/refresh", line 1, in <module>
File "labs::Sop/mapbox::2.1, PythonModule", line 39, in update
File "labs::Sop/mapbox::2.1, PythonModule", line 167, in refresh
File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.383/houdini/python3.7libs\", line 16462, in cook
return _hou.Node_cook(self, *args, **kwargs)
hou.OperationFailed: The attempted operation failed.
Error while cooking.

Currently I am on Houdini 19.0.383 py3

Unfortunately, I have no idea what is going on within the node to diagnose the issue any further. Any suggestions or others running into this?

Could you send us a test file to debug? If you can't post it here, you can email


Map Baker Displacement texture workflow June 4, 2022, 7:52 a.m.

I am also struggling to make the baked height work. in my case i have a complex rock i want to bake small details to the low version.
Its difficult to guess the height range and the trace distance.
Iterations are not quick because it takes a while to bake.
Is there a way to know these values in a more precise way?
some sort of visualizer would be helpful to see the correct height range.

a lot of the times the height map is noisy, is that because of my geo or the map resolution?

I can take a look at it. Do you mind sending us a test file? If you can't share it here, feel free to email and let them know to assign it to me. Thanks!