Houdini 16 includes the new modular Autorigs system. This masterclass provides an introduction to the tools and demonstrates a complete workflow starting with an imported character mesh all the way to a Digital Asset that is ready for animation.

To follow along with this masterclass, you can use your own model or in Houdini's viewport press tab > Test Geometry: Tommy to get a character model similar to the one used in this video (available as of Houdini version 16.0.557).


  • ahmed_barakat 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

    Great video, Thanks for doing it, definitely Houdini needs more Rigging tutorials for the not super technical people, really appreciated
    I would like to ask how easy it is to integrate muscles into this setup.

    am quite new to Houdini coming from the Softimage land, been playing around with apprentice for a month or so and am really loving it.

    • goldfarb 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

      rigging tutorials are being developed, look for future announcements.

  • harryabreu 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

    Thank you very much I have Houdini Indie since 15 and I am very interesting in use Houdini to make a complete pipeline with character animation.
    I've study hard but is difficulty to figure out how make rigging in Houdini please if you can show more for us user how start rigging here a lot of new user and company will come to Houdini to make a lot of animations more than VFX because until today we have no much help on this way.
    Tank you for your effort.
    May be now we can Go Procedural and Artistic together in Houdini ;-)

  • seifdune 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

    how about eyes and mouth

    • goldfarb 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

      This is planned for a future update.

  • Patrick_ 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

    very nice:)

  • FXdal 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

    Would it be possible to add the option to add more joints in the arms to spread the roataion.
    So no controllers, spline just a number of joints.

  • Kurono3000 5 years, 2 months ago  | 

    Hi, how can i export this rig and animations to Unreal Engine?
    When i try, i get duplicated root errors.

  • Simon 4 years, 5 months ago  | 

    I'd like to see some rib controls as well as eyes, and jaw
    And a full face rig hopefully at some point.
    Great start though

  • IbtesamSadiq 4 years, 1 month ago  | 

    can I use to rig cars for ue4?

  • Angel Fucaraccio 3 years, 10 months ago  | 

    Hi, thanks dor the video. At 8:20 you explain how to reload the settings. I closed Houdini halfway through doing my work and now I´m trying to reload this settings but I get an error. At some point of the tutorial you also explain that by right clicking the node you go to "Type properties" - Extra Files, but there is no explantion on how to get the settings back. Whatever I do I get this error
    The selected subnet has references to nodes outside the subnet, or has references that use absolute paths to operators inside the subnet. These references should be converted to relative internal references or this operator type may not work properly in other Hip files.
    /obj/Char_Sioux_Rig01/stand_in/object_merge:references /obj/Sioux_retopt2 which is outside the network being saved. Do you wish to save anyway?

    I´m new to Houdini, have no idea what this means. So the question is, how do I get back the settings to continue working in the autorig setup?

  • goldfarb 3 years, 10 months ago  | 

    you should be able to open you hip file make sure an Autorigs panel exists then just drag and drop the asset node into the panel
    if this doesn't work it means that something is wrong with the AssetSettings filestored with the asset
    if that is the case you could upload your hip file to a forum post or to support and I can have a look

  • Geoff Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago  | 

    I have been having the same problem. Dragging and dropping produces these errors from the default biped rig
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.352/houdini/python2.7libs\autorigs\mainGUI.py", line 147, in dropEvent
    File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.352/houdini/python2.7libs\autorigs\ui\uiMenuBar.py", line 305, in loadFromNodePath
    self.charactertabs.existingCharacter(selectednode, jsonobj)
    File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.352/houdini/python2.7libs\autorigs\ui\uiCharacterTabs.py", line 39, in existingCharacter
    autorigs_asset.existingFromJson(assetnode, json)
    File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.352/houdini/python2.7libs\autorigs\asset\autoRigsAsset.py", line 194, in existingFromJson
    File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.352/houdini/python2.7libs\autorigs\modules\base\rootModule.py", line 121, in buildAfterImport
    File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.352/houdini/python2.7libs\autorigs\modules\base\rootModule.py", line 218, in buildFromJson
    File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.352/houdini/python2.7libs\autorigs\modules\extremity\extremityGuideParams.py", line 492, in fromJSON
    File "C:/PROGRA~1/SIDEEF~1/HOUDIN~1.352/houdini/python2.7libs\autorigs\ui\uiParamNum.py", line 96, in setValues
    if len(self.params) != len(values):
    TypeError: object of type 'float' has no len()

  • Geoff Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago  | 

    When I try Autorig>File> New From...>HDA(On Disk)... and select the file I saved out from the default Autorig hda I get "This character is not a valid autorig character".
    I am unable to get it to capture the geometry as well after several hours of trying and following the masterclass. Is it because I'm using a Houdini Indie licence? I certainly hope not.

  • Geoff Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago  | 

    Tried again with the supplied Tommy test geo. Same results. A broken rig is produced that does not capture the geo. I started out hoping to do layout 7 hours ago and now I will just have to give up until someone provides some answers. I can produce a priviz/layout dummy in Maya in a matter of seconds, as a comparison. Houdini's default Simple male/female rigs are not proportionately correct so not usable.

    • goldfarb 3 years, 9 months ago  | 

      you'll want to get the latest Production Build - 17.0.416 - as there were a number of issues addressed in that release.

  • dddmod___ 3 years, 3 months ago  | 

    Hello, Michael! Thank you for the cool tutorial! Can I ask you a question? This screenshot shows what twisted riging is created after the autorig https://dl.dropbox.com/s/mntc9pyaxr1q66d/2019-06-22%20%281%29.jpg?dl=0
    In this example, everything is the default except fingers. I switched to two fingers https://dl.dropbox.com/s/tjnxmqniof0rnyr/shot_190622_115845.png I didn't change anything else. What's the problem, i can't change the number of fingers?

    • goldfarb 3 years, 3 months ago  | 

      what version of Houdini are you using?
      this issue came up a while back and was fixed.

      please try the latest Production Build - currently 17.5.293

      • dddmod___ 3 years, 3 months ago  | 

        I have 17.5.173
        Thank you! I'll try 293
        Michael, can you advise me where to find information about what the approach to animation rig in Houdini is conceived? I've been interested how to work with switching between FK and IK so that the bones don't jump to their original position when switching. How to do in the houdini the walking because it is necessary to copy and mirror the position of the bones from one side to the other. Can I copy and to mirror pieces of animation, and so on. I've seen your lessons аbout rig many times, it's all very impressive! but still there are questions how to animate this rig. I ask this on different forums, but usually people don't know much about riging animation.

        • goldfarb 3 years, 3 months ago  | 

          IK/FK switching without the jump is done in the autorigs through scripts - have a look in the Scripts > pythonModule.

          as for animation - it's not really my thing, but you should be able to copy animation from one leg to the other etc in the animation editor
          you could also write a script(s) that could do it for you - I've had requests to add these types of things to the autorig but they are not a high priority right now.

          • dddmod___ 3 years, 3 months ago  | 

            Thanks for the clues, Michael! I'll try. I hope soon there will appears these simple things which will reduce the threshold for entering in Houdini for new users.
            As for the autorig, I reinstalled the new version, now really works better but still there are small discrepancies https://dl.dropbox.com/s/ua418x0648hc6vw/For_Michael.mp4?dl=0
            It is better to noticeably if you superimpose a layer https://dl.dropbox.com/s/bvpvn8zwzt46asv/For_Michael_2.mp4?dl=0
            I can move the dots where i need manually, but without the ability to mirror position of bones for other side, it won't match

  • dddmod___ 3 years, 2 months ago  | 

    When I insert a copied location parameter into a mirrored object, this object moves exactly in a mirror relative to the original, It is very cool. When I copy and insert position from one side of the object into the other side object into the autopig , it does not work correctly and the object becomes not mirrored position. https://dl.dropbox.com/s/cifyrmfpyugvgv9/Screencast%202019-07-05.mp4?dl=0 What is the difference between objects and bones in autoig and defaulted bones from the shelf?

    • goldfarb 3 years, 2 months ago  | 

      the mirrored objects have a different orientation that the arms so they will behave differently
      in the autorig, if you take the L hand translate and past that value into the R hand translate, then negate the x value you'll get the same position

      • dddmod___ 3 years, 2 months ago  | 

        Thank you, Michael! Your tips are always very accurate! That's right you said. But now I have another not clear situation. When I rotate my finger, the bone scrolls. What is the reason? https://dl.dropbox.com/s/fq8x5pwwit1pzzi/Screencast%202019-07-28.mp4?dl=0

        • goldfarb 3 years, 2 months ago  | 

          not sure without seeing the file

  • dddmod___ 2 years, 10 months ago  | 

    Hello Michael! When I animate autorig, during the animation process, my IK controllers quietly change their initial position. I can’t catch the moment when this happens, but it happens regularly. Can you tell me in what cases this can happen? I thought these controllers should not shift relative to the hierarchy. You can look here what I mean https://dl.dropbox.com/s/m2q7hvaoofrjgpm/Autorig.mp4?dl=0

    • goldfarb 2 years, 10 months ago  | 

      that's pretty strange - and not something I can reproduce...
      can you post to the forum and upload your file for me to take a look at?

  • andreasWalsh 2 years, 10 months ago  | 

    Is there a way to get this old Tommy test geometry? The current one is different.

    • goldfarb 2 years, 10 months ago  | 

      Tommy was created from this soldier geometry - but we're not able to release it at the moment.

  • dddmod___ 2 years, 8 months ago  | 

    Here are the difficulties I encounter when doing autorig https://dl.dropbox.com/s/afkn604i3qzeluw/Autorig_Capture.mp4?dl=0
    In Houdini 17.5, this thing with fingers seems to have been fixed, but now, after generating the bones, the fingers are again generated outside the mesh. In addition, bonedeform throws an error

    • goldfarb 2 years, 8 months ago  | 

      you must click the Stash Input button on the Stash SOP to allow the capture data to be calculated.

      as for the issue with the fingers, I'd need to see the assetsettings file to troubleshoot the issue.

      please file a bug so this issue can be tracked


  • Hamad 2 years, 5 months ago  | 

    thanks for the amazing tutorial ... when I translate the hand and pull it to the ground its just become to stretchy and the body is not following it as normal move same goes for the hips the upper body stays up .. any hints ? and thank you

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