Houdini Production

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This page outlines my production workflow, organization, and overall methodology. It also serves as a guide for clarity in understanding the inner workings of my Houdini production files. This is not intended to be a universal standard, but more of as strategy that I use in creating consistency in my work.

Project Startup Template

The 123.py startup script automates the creation of the following networks and operators. Each operator is also configured with the relevant parameter settings to quickly start a project and render.

Object Network
Hou Startup ObjNet.png
Shop Network Rop Network
Hou Startup ShopNet.png Hou Startup RopNet.png

Organization Legend

The following colors and shapes are used for organizing nodes within my Houdini working files.

Hou Org Legend Geometry.png Hou Org Legend Geo Reference.png Hou Org Legend Camera.png Hou Org Legend Light.png
Working Geometry Reference Geometry Active Camera Active Light
The contents within are for all geometry and modifications, but not intended to be rendered. The contents are for reference geometry like bounding boxes, reference images, etc. Active camera intended to be used for rendering. Active light that is enabled and for use within the scene. Inactive and disabled lights can be set to black.
Hou Org Legend Geo Render.png Hou Org Legend Null Out.png Hou Org Legend Null Ctrl.png Hou Org Legend Geo Sim.png
Rendering Geometry EOF (End-of-file) Controller Simulation Geometry
Content within this node is intended to be rendered. Note the prefix ‘rndr_’ which is to be used in the Objects tab of the active ROP. Typically, the content within is an Object Merge referencing the OUT node of a Working Geometry node. This is used to note the end-of-file within any active geometry node. Null node used to control parameters being referenced in one or more node parameters. Geometry node specifically to isolate simulation geometry and setup.
Hou Org Legend Null End.png Hou Org Legend RSmat.png Hou Org Legend RSrop.png Hou Org Legend Tooltip.png
Inactive EOF Active Material Active Renderer Tool/Method Tip
This is used to note the end-of-file for a stream that is not active and used for testing or reference. Materials noted in this color are active and used within the scene. Active ROP for project file. Tips noted within project workflow that are to be relayed to full documentation here on My CG Doc.
Hou Org Legend NodeNote.png Hou Org Legend NodeBlackNote.png
Active Node Documentation Inactive Node Documentation
Documentation specific to node with information about its intent and settings. Documentation specific to node in an inactive stream, typically used for reference or testing.


Open CL

  • Enable Use OpenCL option when available to capitalize on GPU. This can be found in nodes like the Pyro Solver and in its Advanced tab.


  • Use the Main take as the low quality version for testing, simulating fast, and debugging. But then simulate and render finalized versions with a high quality HQ take. Open up relevant parameters in HQ so they can be edited.



Before processing a render job, verify that the following are clearly set for the specific scene and render:

  • Object Transforms
  • Redshift OBJ Settings
    • Enable/Disable Tessellation
    • Enable/Disable Render Objects as Particles
      • @pscale values vs. Default Scale & Multiplier
  • Lights On/Off
  • Render Candidate/Force Objects
  • Takes LQ/HQ
  • Mantra
    • Set Rendering Engine to PBR

Motion Blur

If motion blur for particles is applied, verify that the motion blur settings are activated in both the Redshift ROP settings and the particles geo SOP settings, particularly the blur from the particles’ velocity attribute.

20190515 Hou ParticleGeo RSMotionBlur.png 20190515 Hou RSSetting MotionBlur.png