LOD Hierarchy is a Houdini Digital Asset (HDA) that allows users to configure Level Of Detail Hierarchies to be used in other applications such as Unity, Unreal Engine, and other DCC's. The tool makes use of the newly implemented FBX Export abilities.  The user gets control over a couple of parameters, which allows the user to get their desired result.


This LOD Functionality will only work in builds equal to, or newer than 16.5.343!


Level Of Detail (LOD) for 3D models means decreasing the complexity of a mesh as it moves away from the camera (or other metrics).  A mesh needs a lot of detail when being inspected from nearby, but does not need as much detail when being looked at from a distance to maintain its look. LOD Hierarchy basically defines which version of a model is visible at which distance.


The only thing the user needs to do in order to get LODs exported using this tool, is connect the object level (/obj) geometry to the multi-input, ordered in the desired hierarchy structure, and hit export after configuring the parameters. Note that the tool also provides a Input Operators window, to allow for quick drag & drop reordering. 

General LOD Settings

The general LOD settings allow the user to set the mesh name for both the LOD Hierarchy and Meshes contained within. (Ex: When importing in Maya, would be called "Name/Name_LOD0, Name/Name_LOD1" etc). The user can also override the number of LOD levels to be exported with the provided slider. This allows the user to connect more meshes than he / she would like to export, rather than having to disconnect them while iterating. 


The export menu is really simple. It allows the user to change some FBX specific settings, and set the export location. Make sure to also include the ".fbx" extension in the output path as seen above, to prevent silent errors.



Paul Ambrosiussen is currently a Technical Artist and Game Tools Developer at SideFX Software. He finished his BASc in International Game Architecture and Design at NHTV University of Applied Sciences in Breda. Paul enjoys writing tools to support effective art-pipelines, and maintaining tool / workflow quality for the artists he is assisting. His goal is to help others create amazing things in a better, faster and more flexible way. He creates tutorials, gives live lectures, attends events, and presents custom workshops to customers.

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  • Milad Savar 3 years, 5 months ago  | 

    great Features for game :-)

  • czoog 3 years, 5 months ago  | 

    Nice, simple and useful! Thanks!

  • chris rogers2 3 years, 4 months ago  | 

    does this work with houdini engine + unreal?

  • jengyg 2 years, 10 months ago  | 

    Works great for me, but there seems to be a problem when exporting skinned characters.
    I unlocked and went inside of the obj_lod_hierarchy1 node and modified the filmboxfbx1 node inside of the ropnet1 to "Force Skin Deform Export", but that didn't seem to help.
    Trying to use this as a replacement for Simplygon.

  • Fontenelle89 2 years, 7 months ago  | 

    Is it possible to use this node to export LODs and also hook a geo container with UCX_ Prefix for UE4 collision? That would be convenient but I'm struggling to find where I would put my collision container and what should I name it no make UE4 reconize it as a custom collision mesh.

  • bhbilbao 2 years, 6 months ago  | 

    Exporting to Maya does nothing.
    LOD0, LOD1 and LOD2 are there , baut "distance camera" or "percentage screen" dont work.
    A fix is to ungroup them, and do Edit>LOD>Create LOD Group inside maya.

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