Houdini 16 moves shading and shader building into a new unified context called Material Networks. This masterclass by Kai Stavginski goes over everything you need to use the new context and build custom shaders in it. The result is a Custom Shader with the outputs required for mixing with built-in shaders, where you can blend individual shaders for specific results (displacements, roughness, metallic, etc.). Kai demonstrates the difference between Principled Shader and Principled Shader Core, the Classic Shader and benefit of cached code. Towards the end of the masterclass, Kai also explains OpenGL tags to visualize shaders in the viewport.



Kai Stavginski has been a Senior Technical Director for SideFX Software since 2014. In that time, he's mostly been busy in the areas of shading and fur tools. He started in the industry as a generalist in 2004, spent some time as a rigger for an animated feature and then created VFX for major Hollywood blockbusters for several years. He used Houdini to get the job done and now uses his extensive industry experience in his development work on the software itself.

More from Kai Stavginski


  • XiangYu 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

    Nice tutorial!
    Could you please upload hip files?

  • harryabreu 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

    Wonderful you are blazing my mind with procedural materials.
    I think I can developer a lot of "substance designer" materials here ;-)

  • Felix6699 5 years, 5 months ago  | 

    You did SHOP NET, just from a different angle. I can not say that this is simpler. New OGL assignments are convenient, and the result render in IPR. Thanks for explanations.

  • AlexanderWeide 5 years ago  | 

    Thank you very nice insight into the new workflow.

  • lucy 4 years, 8 months ago  | 

    I'm using H16.5, is it possible that when I collapse the nodes (included the principledshadercore) I'm not able to see the shader (noise and colormix) in the render?
    Thank you

  • dynamiclove777 4 years, 5 months ago  | 

    Thank you~!

  • fgillis 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    Good tutorial. Thank you. Took me a few viewings, but I'm finally getting it.

    I realize this is an old tutorial, and for h16, but I have a couple of questions regarding a simple layer mix between two principled shaders in h17.0.

    1. As a general rule, should the render times be similar whether you use one mixed layer material on a single object or two separate shaders on two objects? I'm seeing render times almost double when using a layered material on a single object that used to be two objects using separate shaders.

    2. Still trying to wrap my head around using "tags" for displaying custom materials in the viewport. Can layered materials be displayed in the viewport, or should I forget about trying?


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