Learn how to use the Houdini Niagara Plug-in to bring point cache data saved out as a JSON file into UE4's Niagara system along with attributes such as age, life, id and color. These point caches can be static or animated point clouds created using procedural modeling techniques or using Particle, FLIP Fluid or Rigid Body simulation tools. Here are four lessons that explore different kinds of FX.


Take a quick look at the different projects being covered in these lessons. Learn what the Niagara plug-in does and how you can install it.

Length: 04:11

1 | Houdini Particles to Niagara

Learn how to take a particle system from Houdini into UE4 using the Niagara plug-in. Learn what Niagara nodes are available in UE4 and how to get attributes from Houdini into the Niagara system for processing.

Length: 14:51

2 | Volumes to Niagara

Learn how to derive a particle cloud from a volume in Houdini then transfer that into UE4 using Niagara. You can then use sprites to bring back the smokey nature of the sim and achieve a 3 dimensional smoke effect.

Length: 11:54

3 | Impact Data to Niagara

Learn how to use impact data generated from an RBD sim to spawn particle sims to add smoke and debris to the destruction effect.

Length: 18:43

4 | Interact with Baked Particles

In this lesson, you will learn how to get interactivity between a baked particle cloud and the Niagara particles. Here you will instance toy bricks to the point cloud then create a system where a character in motion will reconfigure the bricks to build a walkable bridge.

Length: 24:01



Simon is a tech Artist that loves building procedural tools and assets. By adding more and more procedural approaches to his workflow, he is able to build 3D models with speed and flexibility. During his studies at Digital Arts and Entertainment, he taught himself how to work with Houdini. After his studies, he started working on Ary and the Secret of Seasons at eXiin. Currently he is a Houdini freelancer and focuses on creating procedural content.

More from Simon Verstraete


  • jansonljie 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    I have been working from Houdini to UE4Fx, thank you Simon, this tutorial is very important to me, this is definitely a new start. Can I expect you to develop the next REALTIME FX WITH NIAGARA tutorial, I am willing to pay for him.

  • kuimig 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    thx simon,very useful!

  • BlissettDMB 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    Great Work. Always Quality work from the Team at Houdini!!!

  • NicTanghe 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    What did u study at DAE and how did you have time for extracurricular activities like teaching yourself Houdini ?

    • Simon_V 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

      Studied Game Graphics Production at DAE. Houdini was my Graduation work in the third year, kept learning it myself from there.

  • Ebo 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    pure gold ! :DD

  • plug5 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    good tut~.
    Using a vortex force will cause particle vibration, how do I fix it?

  • Kegs 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    Hi, I'm afraid I can't find the "houdini trigger" as seen in "the Interact with Baked Particles tutorial"? Any help would be great, thank you.

    • Simon_V 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

      You can check if the Houdini Niagara plugin is installed correctly.

      • Kegs 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

        Thanks for the reply. I have used the plugin a number of times and everything else is working well (and I can find all other modules). I'm using - 4.25.3 UE4 with the 4.25.3 plugin. "Houdini Trigger" Its not appearing under "emitter update" (library only off). Tried alot of searching though folders.. Can't find it anywhere I'm afraid..

        • Simon_V 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

          Maybe it is part of the HoudiniNiagara 2020 Demo content, I think it is included in the example here. https://www.sidefx.com/contentlibrary/houdini-niagara-for-ue4/

          • Kegs 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

            Sorry for the every late reply. yes - got it now. Thank you :) Very awesome plug-in and tutorials btw!!! =D

  • Kakette6 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    Hello ! It looks great unfortunately I have Upgraded my Ue4 and the Plug in is only compatible with 4.25.3. Will we soon be able to have an upgrade of the plug in with Ue4.25.4 ? (Great Tuto by the way)

    • Ted Pallas 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

      it has worked ok for me in 4.25.2, are you using plug-in V2?

      • Ted Pallas 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

        sheesh, i mean 4.25.4

        • Kakette6 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

          Thats Ok for me finally ;) tkxs !

    • Simon_V 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

      The Niagara plugin is a separate plugin for Unreal, here you can find more about it https://www.sidefx.com/tutorials/houdini-to-ue4s-niagara/ . This plugin should work with all versions of 4.25.

  • alzosmol 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    cool \m/ thanx

  • Kakette6 3 years, 6 months ago  | 

    Thank a lot !

  • ChouPoham 3 years, 5 months ago  | 

    I try to turn on GPU sim, but the Niagara particle will disappear. Does anyone work on GPU sim?

    • DashClyde 3 years, 5 months ago  | 

      Sounds like you might want to set the system's bounds. When the bounds of a GPU system are off screen, Unreal culls it. So if you increase the bounds size enough, the system thinks it's still on screen and will continue to emit when it's off screen.
      In the Niagara GPU Emitter Settings > Emitter Properties > Emitter > Fixed Bounds
      Here's an explanation from the excellent tharlevfx:

      • vfx.jefflin 3 years, 5 months ago  | 

        My unreal version is 4.25.4. Have the same problem. I've already fixed bounds (-1000, -1000, -1000) to {1000, 1000, 1000}. I just used the basic example the P_on_Surface and turn on GPU sim.

  • fanzhang0318 3 years, 4 months ago  | 

    What is the meaning of "num_points" in "header" of hjson file?

  • chlckdrb55 3 years, 2 months ago  | 

    Can't I modify the number of houdini cache particles in ue4?

  • Dimazen 2 years, 4 months ago  | 

    This is an amazing course for beginners like me. But I have a questions:

    Can anyone explain to me about limit of particles in niagara? In my project I use 27 million of particles, but UE don't read this file, because particles system reached the limit. Can I increase bound of particles? If I can't what I should do for make it work?

  • xopowoo 1 year, 8 months ago  | 

    Thanks for the great tutorial. However, something seems to be wrong with the Pighead_Destruction sample. Points are being generated every 3 frames from all the debris, not from where the hit was made. Is this a problem with the latest 19.5 and labs? Is there an environment where it works well?

  • chf 1 year, 2 months ago  | 

    I am trying to export a simple rbd sim with small cylinders falling down and rolling around to unreal via the niagara plugin.
    But the orient seems wrong, it does look like the are rotating around the wrong axis, about 35 degrees of in at least one axis...
    Anyone ever run into such an issue?

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