The Megascans plugin for Houdini allows you to set up Megascans assets automatically with a single click inside Houdini.
|Windows, Mac OS, Linux||Houdini 18, 18.5 and 19|
It currently supports only the very latest versions of the following render engines and shader set ups for Houdini:
- Mantra Principled Shader
- Mantra Triplanar Shader
- Standard Surface
- Standard Triplanar
❗Note: If you want to create .tx files for your imported textures, use the Update TX Textures option in the Arnold menu in Houdini. This will create .tx files for your textures inside the asset’s folder in your Megascans Library.
- Redshift Material
- Redshift Triplanar
- Pixar Surface
- Pixar Triplanar
❗Note: Currently only Renderman 22 is supported. Support for Renderman 24 (in Houdini 18.5) is coming soon.
- Universal Material
- Universal Triplanar
It also provides the following additional features to speed up your workflow:
- Atlas splitting
- Asset scattering
- LODs set up for 3D assets
- Apply motion to Plant assets
- Ability to import Megascans assets to USD stage if you work with Houdini Solaris and the following renderers:
❗Note: It is recommended to go into the ‘Display Options’ of the Houdini viewport (hit ‘D’ in the viewport) and turn off ‘Displacement’ for the best performance.
Plugin installation is part of Bridge Export Settings. These settings are global and once set up, will not need to be changed too often.
You can install the plugin using any one of these methods:
- You can set up the plugin when you launch Bridge after installing it for the first time on your machine.
- Through Export Settings.
- Through the Manage Plugins option in the Edit menu.
❗Note: Make sure Houdini is closed before installing the plugin.
Installation during initial setup
- When you launch Bridge after installing it for the first time on your machine, you will see initial setup options. Click the Library Path to choose the folder on disk where you would like your asset library to be.
The Library Path is important because this is where Bridge will store your assets and plugins. If you don’t already have a folder for this purpose, Bridge will create it for you.
- Click Next.
- From the Export Target drop-down, select Houdini.
- Click Download Plugin to begin downloading the plugin.
Once the download is done you’ll see a confirmation message in Bridge.
- Click Install Plugin to install the plugin in Houdini.
- Once the plugin is installed you should see the Installed status on the pop-up. Click Done to complete the set up.
- Start up Houdini and you should see a Megascans menu in the toolbar confirming that the plugin was installed successfully.
In Houdini, Bridge will create a MegascansPlugin.json file at the following location (based on your OS) that references the plugin from your library:
- Windows: C:\Users\<Username>\Documents\houdini18.5\packages
- Mac OS: ~home/Library/Preferences/houdini/18.5/packages/MegascansPlugin.json
- Linux: Home/houdini18.x/packages OR Computer/home/<Username>/houdini18.x/packages
If you open this file it will have the path to where the Houdini plugin resides on your machine:
Installation via Export Settings
- To access the settings, click the gear icon on the bottom left corner of the asset’s right panel or go to Edit > Export Settings.
- Click Export Settings in the pop-up menu to view all the export options. You can tweak your settings, like texture format, LODs, mesh format (FBX or OBJ), etc.
When you launch Houdini you will see a new Megascans drop down menu in the Houdini menu bar.
Clicking “Megascans Plugin” from the dropdown will launch the plugin window. From here you can select the “Renderer” and “Material Type”.
Here’s how the different options on the plugin UI work:
- Renderer: Choose the renderer you’ve set up in Houdini.
- Material Type: Based on the selected renderer, this dropdown will show you the material setups you have available.
- Use Megascans Scattering: Check this box to enable scattering for your imported assets.
- Enable LODs: Check this box to set up LODs for 3D assets. When unchecked, only the LOD selected in the asset’s Export Settings is set up.
- Use Atlas Splitter: This will split up Megascans atlas assets when enabled.
- Apply Motion (Plants): When checked, this option will enable motion on Megascans plants.
- Import Assets on USD Stage: If you’re working in Solaris, enabling this option will let you import Megascans assets in USD format.
❗Note:If you’ve chosen the Import on USD Stage option, then none of the other selected options on the UI will be applicable on the imported asset.
The plugin’s UI preferences are saved in the Settings.json file at the following location:
You can change the location of the file as follows:
- Set up an environment variable called MS_HOUDINI_PATH.
- Point the variable above, to the path where you want the Settings.json file to be at.
- Open Houdini, go to Megascans > Megascans Plugin and on the UI select your Renderer and any other options that you may want to set before exporting assets from Bridge.
❗Note: It’s important to specify your Renderer so that the plugin knows how to set up the asset once it has been imported.
- In Bridge, go to the Local filter in the left panel to export a downloaded asset. Make sure Houdini is running.
- Click the Quick Export icon or hit the Export button.
As soon as you click on Export in Bridge your asset should pop up in your Houdini scene.
For specific renderers, upon export, textures are converted to formats that are optimized for use with those renderers. For instance:
- Mantra: .rat files will be created in the asset’s folder.
- Renderman: .tex files will be created in the asset’s folder.
To do a custom install of the Magascans Houdini plugin, do the following:
- Download the link from here, depending on your OS:
- Extract the MSLivelink folder to your desired location.
- Go to the location where your houdini.env file exists. This by default is located here:
- Windows: %HOME%/houdiniX.X/
- Mac: ~/Library/Preferences/houdini/X.X/
- Linux: ~/houdiniX.X/
- In this location look for the packages folder.
❗Note: If the packages folder does not exist, create it.
- Within the packages folder, create a file named MegascansPlugin.json.
- Edit the file and enter the path of the MSLivelink folder you extracted in Step 2 as shown below:
- Open Bridge, and in the Local filter click on the asset you want to export.
- Go to the asset’s Export Settings, select Custom Socket Export from the Export Target drop-down.
- Select the Use Socket Port option and set the port to 13290.
- Go back to the asset details panel, click Export and your asset should appear in Houdini.
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