March 3, 2022 Maddie Quach

Learning some plugins for Houdini to increase work efficiency

plugins for Houdini are a fantastic way to extend the functionality of a piece of software. It opens the door for users to take a piece of software, in this instance Houdini, and make it do more than the creators of it have managed to so far. Some of these plugins end up making it into the software itself and other plugins sit well alongside the main software package. Here we take a look at some kick-ass plugins that will make your life easier. Some of these are plugins for Houdini and others are what Houdini calls ‘Engine plugins’ – where Houdini is made available in a host application.

Plugins for Houdini: Adobe Substance

Adobe Substance is a collection of applications which let users create art. A key part of this is where Adobe Substance provide off-the-shelf materials through their asset library as well as providing the tools to create your own materials. The Adobe Substance is plugins for Houdini lets you take all that material goodness and import it straight into Houdini. This is done using Substance Archive files or SBARs for short. Substance’s nodes can be chained together and then connected into the output of Substance graphs to anything you create in Houdini including geometry and terrains. This plugin works seamlessly – something you’d have expected considering how closely both Adobe and Houdini have worked to ensure it all flows together.


This is a cracking plugin that produces beautiful results. If you’re in the market for a plugin that will enable you to create volumetrics such as explosions, smoke, fire and pyrotechnics. If you’ve used Houdini before then you’ll know that it has built-in Pyro tools that enable you to simulate these types of effects. The Pyro solver is great but I’d argue that in general Axiom is better, especially if you are wanting to really push the boundaries of what’s possible and if you create these types of effects on most projects. Axiom works with all the major operating systems and takes advantage of your GPU to process the calculations. Assuming you have a good graphics card this therefore makes it very responsive when running simulations.


This plugin gives Houdini users a set of tools to create motion graphics. Think of it as a plugin which makes it easier and more intuitive to create animations. If you’re happy working with complex networks of nodes to create your animations then you won’t need this plugin but if you want something which takes a lot of the headache out of creating motion graphics then you should get MOPS. It includes controls to duplicate, rotate, bounce, aim and add falloffs. All these controls can then be added to things within Houdini such as masks and multiples.

plugins for Houdini: Groombear

This brilliant plugin enables you to groom hair directly inside of Houdini. This is done through creating and modifying the built-in guides that are a standard part of Houdini. Groombear has all the grooming tools that you would expect for a plugin of this type including comb, smooth, clump and swirl to name only a few. All these tools are grouped into their set of brushes that you can take advantage of when forming and shaping your ‘groom’. All these brushes work well with any length of hair to enable you to create any type of groom you like. Unfortunately, Groombear will only work on Windows and Linux (at time of writing).

Unreal & Unity is plugins for Houdini

Unreal Engine and Unity are two of the main players in the game-engine market. Side FX have ensured that there are direct links between these two engines and Houdini itself. The means by which the link is made possible is through ‘Houdini Digital Assets’, created directly within Houdini and then imported into Unreal and Unity. Houdini ensures a ‘live’ link between these assets and Houdini to ensure that any amends made to the assets are reflected not only in Houdini but also in Unreal Engine and Unity. This plugin allows for seamless integration between Houdini and two of the biggest game engines out there.

Conclusion about plugins for Houdini

We hope that these tips will absolutely decrease the time it takes for you to create incredible Houdini simulations.

At iRender, we have developed multiple RTX 3090 workstations specifically optimized and configured for GPU rendering workflows, from single- GPU 1x RTX 3090 to Multi-GPU 2/4/6/8 x RTX 3090, you can choose one server that is suitable for your demand and your software to get started. You are guaranteed to experience maximum performance for your budget. Users will remotely connect to our server, install their software only one time and easily do any intensive tasks like using their local computers. We offer clients the powerful processor Intel Xeon W-2245 @ 3.90GHz / AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3955WX @ 3.90GHz and up to 1 TB SSD to load your scene quickly.

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Maddie Quach

Hi everyone. Being an Customer Support from iRender, I always hope to share new things with 3D artists, data scientists from all over the world and learn from them as well.


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