Yin Yang

An experimental Micro-Film Project. Abstract portrayal of the tension between light & dark.

Ronald Fong - Houdini vs Maya

Houdini Camera Auto Focus Distance Tool

Here’s a little tool to generate a focus null based on your selected camera. Let me know if there are any bugs because I literally type this in 20mins without checking much! Thanks and cheers!

# Author: Ronald Fong
# Date: 29 Sep 2021
# Usage: Add this as a shelf tool. With a camera selected in the obj context, use this tool to generate a focus nul, and automatically sets the focus of the camera to the distance between the camera and the nul.
# Feature 1: Names the focus node based on the selected camera node
# Feature 2: Selects the focus node for user convenience

# set root
obj = hou.node("/obj")

# define nodes and create focus nul
selected_node = hou.selectedNodes()
cam_node = selected_node[0]
cam_node_name = str(cam_node) + "_focus"
focus_node = obj.createNode("null", cam_node_name)

# set camera focus code to focus nul
focus_code = "vlength(vtorigin(\".\",\"../" + cam_node_name + "\"))"

# layout nodes and select focus nul for user convenience
obj.layoutChildren(items=[cam_node, focus_node], horizontal_spacing=1, vertical_spacing=1)
Ronald Fong - Houdini File Cache File Tool

Create File Cache and File nodes in Houdini

Here’s a tool to add filecache and file nodes to your selected node in SOPs geometry context. At Masonry Studios, we base our Houdini geometry caches and its version on the file name (which contains the version number) and the node name, which is the default in Houdini’s file cache node.

However avoid using the file cache’s “Load from Disk” option to load the geometry back in, because:

  1. It’s convenient for the file cache node’s “Geometry Path” to stay as the default un-evaluated relative path, in order to generate new caches based on the current file version
  2. If we load in the geometry based on this relative path, and we version up our working file, this relative path will fail.
  3. Hence, we find it quite an elegant solution to use a file cache and a file node separately. The file node points to the absolute evaluated “Geometry Path” of the file cache node and we’ve since successfully avoided the issue of broken links to caches.
# Author: Ronald Fong
# Date: 29 Sep 2021
# Usage: Add this as a shelf tool. With a SOP node selected, use this tool to quickly create a filecache and a cache node.
# Feature 1: Names the cache nodes based on your selected node
# Feature 2: File node will automatically be the evaluated absolute path of your filecache node

selected_node = hou.selectedNodes()
geo_node = selected_node[0].parent()
name = str(selected_node[0])
filecache_node = geo_node.createNode("filecache", ("filecache_" + name))
file_node = geo_node.createNode("file", ("file_" + name))
file_node.setInput(0, filecache_node)
filecache_node.setInput(0, selected_node[0])


filename = filecache_node.parm("file").eval()
Ronald Fong - Houdini vs Maya

Maya vs Houdini. Blender vs C4D. Which is the best 3D software?

DCC Wars

Here are some statements I hear all too often:

“Maya is the best 3D package. You cannot find any other 3D package that can do the broad spectrum of CGI work it can do for its price point”

“Cinema4D is so much easier to pick up than all the other softwares. Everybody should be using C4D”

“Houdini is the end game 3D software, don’t bother with anything else”

– passionate 3D people

Yes, I’m sure the software you use is the best 3D software…

for you! It could very well be the worst software for others!

We chose it because it fits our production/creative objectives. We then need to acknowledge that not all 3D production artists/companies do the same type of work. Some companies work on hyper realistic creatures, others work with 3D typography and simple geometric forms, while others specialize in heavy destruction VFX work.

So the question isn’t so much about which is the absolute best 3D software, but what are your 3D production/creative needs? That determines which DCC you pick!

I’ll write about my personal experience using these various softwares, and update this space!

Good luck and happy creating!


Using Houdini’s FLIP solver to model the Rayleigh–Taylor instability (after Lord Rayleigh and G. I. Taylor). It is an instability of an interface between two fluids of different densities which occurs when the lighter fluid is pushing the heavier fluid.

  • Houdini
  • Redshift


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