Apr 26, 2021 · 4 mins read

Tips for Faster Rendering in Houdini SideFX



sports & tech lover, co-founder & product guy at Vagon

Tips for Faster Rendering in Houdini SideFX

What is Houdini SideFX?

Houdini is a software tool to assist artists and graphic designers with visual effects and 3D modelling.

It’s a useful tool for anyone in the visual arts industry. Graphic designers, animators, 3D artists, people creating models can all benefit from the Houdini suite of software.

Houdini has its’ own rendering engine Mantra but rendering times can really slow your project down when you’re using state-of-the-art graphics software like Houdini SideFX.

But is faster rendering within the software even possible? We’re here to tell you that it is possible, and we’re even going to give you some tips and tricks to help you speed up rendering in Houdini for both Mantra and other alternatives.

Below are the tips and tricks for faster rendering in Houdini.

1. Use Less Shadows

Extra visual effects like shadows and other add-ons will increase the complexity of your project, and as a result, give your projects longer rendering times.

If these effects aren’t pivotal to your project, we’d suggest removing them. You remove shadows in the shadow linking section of the menu under Lighting.

2. Switch to GPU Rendering

The GPU’s main purpose is to help with faster image rendering. This is because it uses a graphics card for rendering rather than a traditional CPU.

A GPU is much more powerful than a CPU, and it will allow your computer to process multiple tasks from beginning to end, simultaneously.

3. Decrease Volume Step Rate

Using multiple samples allows you to create clearer images and models. However, this can hurt the rendering speed of your project. In fact, each new sample used can add a full second to the rendering speed of your image or model.

Using fewer samples will affect the quality of the project, despite increasing rendering speed. If you’re working on a project that is for large-screen viewing, decreasing the sample size may not work. But if you are working on a web-based project, this is a great hack to have your images rendering faster.

You can manage your sample size preferences by following Rendering > Mantra > Sampling steps.

4. Enable Active Radius

If your project has many light objects in it, probably those effects cause longer rendering times for your project too. Also, if it’s not possible to reduce the number of lights in your project, you can enable Active Radius for the light object shaders won’t affect the outside radius of the light object and it will dramatically decrease your rendering duration.

5. Tile Optimisation

Tiles are the small black boxes that appear on the screen while your project is rendering. The size of these tiles is very important to reducing rendering speed.

As the number of tiles increases, the tiles become smaller. This enables Houdini to focus on a smaller section of your project.

All of the cores in your processor will work on that render until it is finished. None of the cores will finish before another. Therefore, by optimising your tile size, and reducing the number of tiles as much as necessary from the Preferences > Optimisation menu, you will save from your rendering times.

6. Use Additional GPU Renderers

Altough Houdini has its’ own rendering engine Mantra, there are some alternatives to render your Houdini projects in a faster way.

Arnold, Redshift and V-Ray are some of the main alternatives you can use for your Houdini projects.

Even Houdini Mantra will be enough for some of the projects with additional optimisations, huge projects still need GPU accelerated rendering with an additional software.

7. Leverage The Cloud

Cloud computing can help to speed up rendering with its’ flexibility and latest hardware support. This is where Vagon can be a useful tool to help with faster rendering in Houdini.

Vagon provides you with a personal cloud computer that will have no problem handling large applications like Houdini from your low-end device.

It doesn’t matter where you’re located. As long as you have a stable internet connection, Vagon can help you to speed up your Houdini rendering process.

We hope that the tips we’ve given will help you on your next big Houdini SideFX project.

Faster rendering in Houdini will allow you to complete more projects, and keep your clients happy when they view the final product of your work.

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