Houdini Digital Assets (HDAs) are networks of nodes that can be packaged up to simplify commonly used tasks in Houdini or to create tools that can be used in external software.

HDAs can be used in any software that has a Houdini Engine Plugin. these include:

  • Houdini
  • Autodesk’s Maya
  • Autodesk’s 3DS Max
  • Epic’s Unreal Engine (UE4)
  • Unity

This tutorial shows you how to set them up for different uses and to create correctly formatted geometry. This video covers:

  • Creating networks in Houdini to speed up commonly used tasks
  • Setting up networks for external software and how to integrate with objects that were not created in Houdini.
  • How to set up instancing of input objects in HDAs


The setup for instancing in the video skips an important step- The points onto which the instance is placed need an “up” attribute to orient them correctly on a curved surface. In the video this doesn’t matter because they sit on a plane. This is done with a polyframe node with “Normal Name” = “up” and “Tangent Name = “N”.

The changes are made after the surface output because reassigning N to the tangent will break the surface normals.

These changes are in the HDA Littleplanet_Instances which you can download at the bottom of this page.

For more information see the Houdini documentation on Copying and instancing point attributes http://www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini/copy/instanceattrs

For more in depth information on using HDAs outside Houdini take a look at:

Houdini Engine for Unreal https://www.sidefx.com/docs/unreal/

Houdini Engine for Unity https://www.sidefx.com/docs/unity/

Houdini Engine for Maya https://www.sidefx.com/docs/maya/

Houdini Engine for 3ds Max https://www.sidefx.com/docs/3dsmax/



Houdini Kitchen tutorials are aimed at experienced 3D artists who are new to Houdini, and focus on creating procedural geometry for video games. Each tutorial covers a single node or concept, and will usually finish with a demonstration of how that tool might be used in asset creation. There are easier ways to use Houdini – commonly used nodes can be set up automatically using shelf tools, and useful networks are now embedded in higher level nodes – but I believe that to be able to fully harness the power of Houdini it is important to understand the basics. I have worked as a Technical Artist in the Video Game industry for 15 years, and my credits include Killzone 2 & 3, The Getaway 1 & 2 and Playstation VR Worlds. I have been learning Houdini since 2005, and have been using it in production for the last 5 years. I also have a degree in Archaeology and have completed several 3D projects for the British Museum.

More from Susie Green


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