Houdini 13.0 What’s new


  • The new Pyro FX shelf tools let you create production-quality smoke and fire effects quickly. The shelf tools are backed by new DOP nodes (Pyro solver), SOP nodes (DOP I/O surface node), and a very flexible, production material (Pyro material).

  • You can now divide the work of a fluid simulation and distribute it to multiple networked computers.

  • The wire, fluid, and cloth solvers are now faster due to multi-threading and/or algorithmic improvements.

Motion FX

  • Motion FX allows you to easily add CHOPs effects to parameters using the parameter’s RMB menu. More information.

  • You can add effects to objects using the Lag Object and Jiggle Object tools on the Animation shelf tab.


  • You can now create a clear part line in combed fur by using the Add Parting tool on the shelf.

  • Replaced parameters on the Fur Object for specifying how thickness, frizz, and color vary along the length of each hair with ramps.

Network usability

  • The network editor now has a toolbar to allow easier access to network functionality. Use the network editor’s Gear menu to turn the toolbar off.

  • Sticky notes in the network. Press Ctrl + P to create a new note. More information.

  • You can now nest network boxes inside each other.

  • Improvements to wiring.

    • Shaking a node disconnects it.

    • Dropping a node onto a wire connects it. Hold ⇧ Shift to connect the next free input instead of the first one. This new behavior is disabled if you turn Enable Drop-on-Wire off on the Network Editor section of the Houdini Preferences window.

    • More information.

  • Dropped nodes now automatically snap to line up with their parents and siblings. More information.

  • Holding ⇧ Shift while dragging a node will move it with its children, and holding ⇧ Shift + Ctrl will move the node with its parents. You can also turn on a checkbox called Move Tiles With Their Children on the Network editor section of the Houdini Preferences window, which automatically move it together with its children.

  • You can now press B in the network editor to quickly set/unset the bypass flag on the node under the mouse pointer. Press ⇧ Shift + B to set/unset the bypass flags on the selected nodes.

  • You can now use the HOUDINI_NODE_WIDTH environment variable to control the width of nodes in the network editor. The variable is a multiple of the flag width.

  • The “current” node (the node displayed in the parameter editor) is now marked in the network editor with a dark outline when it’s not selected.

General usability

  • Motion Effects let you very easily override a parameter with a CHOP network, allowing you to quickly apply an effect such as jitter or overshoot. More information.

  • There is now stereoscopic viewing in the viewport, a stereo camera rig, stereoscopic rendering in ROPs, and stereoscopic MPlay and IPR viewing. The stereo camera rig is also on the Lights and Cameras tab of the shelf. More information.

  • Better display and manipulation performance.

  • Multi-line editor fields, such as on the Code tab in the type properties window, now feature a toolbar with common editing functions.

  • Expression evaluation is now faster.

Shading and rendering

  • The render view now supports fast previews that update as you change parameters. More information.

  • New production-quality Pyro shader. More information.

  • New occlusion materials. Useful for general occlusion passes, occlusion-for-compositing passes, or simple colored/textured type occlusion renders.

  • New Simple Ramp material in the palette, which makes for a useful x-ray or toon type material. More information.

  • VOP networks now automatically convert datatypes when possible. You can middle-click an auto-converted connection and choose to create an explicit conversion node.

  • The PBR rendering engine is now implemented in VEX. This allows you to export deep raster variables in PBR and to use a shader to control PBR rendering.

  • You can now export deep raster planes such as direct_diffuse (Direct lighting, diffuse component) and direct_specular (Direct lighting, specular component) from PBR.

  • Better filtering of shadow maps (also in 9.5).

New shelf tools

  • The new Pyro FX shelf tab contains new pyro effects tools.

  • There are two new Cloth shelf tools.

    • Elastic Object is useful for simulating objects that try to regain their original shapes after a collision, such as a rubber ball.

    • Dentable Object is useful for simulating objects that do not try to regain their original shapes after a collision, such as a crushed can.

  • There is a new Animation shelf tab.

  • The Freeze transforms tool pushes an object’s Scene-level transforms down into a Transform surface node at the geometry level.

  • The Knife tool lets you interactively split polygons along a drawn line.

  • The Edge loop tool lets you easily insert a loop of edges in quad polygon geometry.

  • The Up-res tool adds the nodes necessary to up-res a fluid container.

  • The Slice tool slices a particle fluid across an arbitrary plane for distribution to a simulation farm.

  • The Slice along line tool slices a particle fluid using a set number of slicing planes evenly spaced along a certain direction.

  • The Distribute tool modifies a DOP network so it can be distributed across multiple machines in an HQueue simulation farm.

  • The Pyro container creates a container for pyro effects.

  • The Add field to fluid tool creates the nodes necessary to add a new field to a volume fluid container.

Other improvements

  • Mac port is faster and more reliable.

  • HOM is more completely implemented and better documented.

  • Many improvements and new options in FBX translation.

  • The RMB context menu for parameters is now defined by an editable XML file.

  • New Houdini Dark color scheme available in the color settings menu.

  • Scripts can now disable ramp parameters.

  • Bug fixes and optimizations.