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05. Nodes and Components

Here, we'll take a look at Nodes and Components in Houdini.

Nodes and Components

Objects, Points, Vertices and Primitives

Before we start creating networks, let’s quickly breakdown some of the important contents of an Operator.

  • Objects = Objects are the top-level representation of the things in a scene. They have editable translation, rotation, scale, pivot and uniform scale parameters to name a few.
  • Points = The basic element of a 3d scene and one of the most important elements that are manipulated. A point is simply, a point in space defined by 4 values: x, y, z and w (weight), and can also contain other point attributes, such as colour, normal position and so on.
  • Vertices = Vertices share points, whilst still keeping their own information. For example, two polygons sharing a corner, share one point (where the corners meet). However, each polygon has a different vertex at the position where they meet. In essence, a vertex is a reference to a point.
  • Primitives = Primitives are a unit of measure formed by several points. A primitive can be a polygon, a NURBS curve, a Bezier surface and so on.

With your sphere selected, jump into the Geometry level (I) and set the Primitive Type to Primitive. If you MMB click and hold over the sphere1 SOP, you will notice it has the following components:

  • 1 Points
  • 1 Primitives
  • 1 Vertices
  • 1 Sphere

Also enable Display Points in the Scene View Pane to see the single point.

You can also go to the Geometry Spreadsheet Pane to see information about the sphere1 SOP. Make sure Points is enabled. Using this Pane, we can view the Attributes on the SOP. In this example, our sphere1 SOP has 4 attributes: P[x], P[y], P[z], P[w].

Now set the Primitive Type to Polygon and view the results once more. This time, you will notice that the sphere1 has the following components:

  • 42 Points
  • 80 Primitives
  • 240 Vertices
  • 80 Polygons


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