Houdini General

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Production Protocol

Items marked as Production Protocol are the custom settings I have defined in my current production methodology.

Program Settings

File Locations:

  • Default location for working files packaged with Houdini that can be used for reference or quick access:
    • C:\Program Files\Side Effects Software\Houdini(version)\houdini\pic
  • Default location for digital assets:
    • C:\Users\username\Documents\houdini18.0\otls\digitalAssetName.hdalc
  • Default location for defining environment variables:
  • C:\Users\[username]\Documents\houdini[version]\houdini.env

Setup External Editor:

  • Set up by defining environment variables for routing to the external editor, such as JetBrains PyCharm.
    • EDITOR: Path to external editor executable.
    • VISUAL: Path to external editor executable; overrides EDITOR variable if defined.
  • External editor can also be defined by accessing Edit > Preferences > Set External Text Editor, and navigating to the external editor executable.
  • Access the external editor from within a Python context via RIGHT-CLICK > Expression > Edit in External Editor.
    • A hotkey can be defined for this action via Edit > Hotkeys... and navigating within Context to Houdini > Panes > Parameter Fields and Labels > Edit in External Editor (under Action).

Project Settings

$HIP & $JOB Paths

Coordinate location of $HIP and $JOB paths for respective project file by accessing Edit > Aliases and Variables (Alt+Shift+V). In the Variables tab, define paths as necessary by selecting line item, modifying using text field at bottom right, and pressing Enter key to update.

  • Production Protocol:
    • $HIP: Map to working project file in Project drive.
    • $JOB: Map to project's sim and output folder in Overload drive.

Display Settings

20190515 Hou Workspace PanelLinks.png

Panel Links

Panels can be linked and locked using the lock icon at the top right of each panel. To link panels, use the lock icon to select from one of the available numbers and coordinate the panel to link with the same number. This example shows the 2 left panels linked with 1 and the 2 right panels linked with 2 to consistently link the nodes with their corresponding properties. This strategy can be applied other panels also, such as Scene, Geometry spreadsheet, etc.


Quickly cycle through network views using the user-defined numbers assigned to them. Enable each view with the corresponding number and keyboard shortcut to set quickmark: ( (CTRL+1) , (CTRL+2) , etc.

  • Production Protocol:
    • Objects Network: (1)
    • Shader Network: (2)
    • Motion FX Network: (3)
    • Materials Network: (4)
    • Outputs Network: (5)

Network Wiring

Coordinate node and wiring organization to maintain clarity in data streams.

  • Network Wiring Styles: (SHIFT+S) to toggle between Straight and Rounded.
  • Add Dot: (ALT+ Drag Wire)

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Nodes:
    • Display: (R)
    • Template: (W)
    • Bypass: (B)
  • Node Palettes:
    • Shapes: (Z)
    • Colors: (C)
  • Copy Node: (ALT+ Drag Node To Copy)