Configure VEX

How to configure your workflow with custom VEX.

VEX configuration.

Date Created:Friday December 29th, 2006 03:41 AM
Date Modified:Wednesday July 30th, 2008 04:26 PM

FOLDER STRUCTURE for custom VEX operators/shaders


The houdini8.1 folder (or whichever your current release is) is where you keep all of the custom configuration files. Yours could look something like this:

Example of $HOME/houdini8.1:

Configure VEX -


In the vex folder you keep files linking to the .ds files for vex operators. Along with these files are folders containing the .ds, .vfl, and .vex files.

The folders that contain the vex are Displacement, Surface, Light, Pop, Sop, Cop2, Chop, etc...The files that are used for linking the .ds files to Houdini are the VEXsop, VEXpop, VEXchop, etc...

Example of houdini8.1/vex:

Configure VEX -


In the shop folder you keep files linking to the .ds files for shaders. This contains SHOPsurface, SHOPdisplace, SHOPlight, SHOPfog, etc..

Example of houdini8.1/shop:

Configure VEX -

Creating a shader

1) Navigate to $HOME/houdini8.1/vex/Surface (create necessary directories if they don't exist)

2) Write someshader.vfl

3) In shell, or command line tools, type this:
vcc -u myshader.vfl

(this generates necessary .ds and.vex files)

4) Then add a line to the corresponding file, $HOME/houdini8.1/shop/SHOPsurface.
someshader vex/Surface/someshader.ds

Syntax:shadername PathToTheDialogScript

5) If you have a session of Houdini currently running, use the hscript command dsreload, or open a new session of Houdini and enjoy!

NOTE: Lastly keep in mind this process is the same for all different types of VEX operators / shaders!

Just remember which types go in which folders. For instance, a geometry operator's vfl would live in $HOME/houdini8.1/vex/Sop, and the file to add the dialog script path to would be $HOME/houdini8.1/vex/VEXsop.

A Light Shader would live in $HOME/houdini8.1/vex/Light, and the file to add the dialog script path to would be $HOME/houdini8.1/shop/SHOPlight.

Automating this process with scripts

Below is a script you can use to have these files generated and linked for you.
(easiest if script in ~/bin):

This will automatically create the VEXchop, SHOPdisplace..etc
cd into the directory containing the .vfl, use vcc -u, then run:


dir=`echo $PWD | sed 's@/@ @g' | awk '{print $NF}'`
 if [ $dir == "Displacement" ] || [ $dir == "Surface" ] || [ $dir == "Light" ] || [ $dir == "Shadow" ]
   file=$HOME/houdini8.1/shop/SHOP`echo $dir|tr '[A-Z]' '[a-z]'|sed 's@ment@@g'`
   file=$HOME/houdini8.1/vex/VEX`echo $dir|tr '[A-Z]' '[a-z]'`
echo -$file

 for x in `ls | grep ds`
    one=`echo $x |sed 's@\.ds@@g'`
    two=`echo vex/$dir/$one.ds`
    echo $one $two >> $file

echo "written to $file"

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Creative Commons License
Configure VEX by Dan Lynch
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License
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