Houdini Apprentice FAQs


How do I install Houdini Apprentice?

For a more detailed description, please refer to Download and Installation FAQs on the Support->FAQs web page.

How do I install licenses (with internet access)?
  1. If using Windows, run a Houdini product from the Start Menu (eg. Houdini FX). If using Mac, run Houdini from the Applications folder in Finder. If using Linux, run one of:
    • houdini to start Houdini FX
    • hescape to start Houdini (known as Houdini Escape till version 11)
  2. When a window appears saying This Software Requires a License, click on Install a Non-Commercial License.
  3. After the license has been installed, another window will appear. Click on Run Houdini FX to start the Houdini product.

Notes:

  • Once a Houdini Apprentice product has been activated, the license is valid for 30 days, after which time you can reactivate it again.
  • Each Houdini product (Houdini FX, Houdini) needs to be activated separately.
  • The reactivation process is automated. When you try to run a Houdini product that must be reactivated, you will again be prompted to install a non-commercial license.
How do I setup an HTTP proxy in the License Administrator?

If you are behind a firewall and you need to use an HTTP proxy to access the internet, you can tell the Houdini License Administrator to use one.

Note that if you need to authenticate to your proxy, this will not work. You will need to follow the section "How do I install licenses (without internet access)?".

  1. Find out your HTTP proxy host name and port by looking at your web browser's settings.
  2. Select File -> Preferences... in the License Administrator. Turn on the toggle to use an HTTP proxy, and enter the proxy host name and port. These settings will be saved for the next time you use the License Administrator.
How do I start and stop the License Server?

Windows:

  • Go to the Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services
  • There is a service called HoudiniLicenseServer that you can stop/start/restart

Linux:

  • Run the sesinetd startup script located in /etc/init.d
  • Usage: /etc/init.d/sesinetd {start|stop}

Mac OSX:

  • Type commands in the Applications > Utilities > Terminal

To start (type all on one line): sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist
To stop (type all on one line): sudo launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist

What do I do if I receive the error: "Unable to connect to hserver for licence acquisition"?

On Windows, verify that you have the service HoudiniServer listed in Services and that it has started. You can go to Services through Control Panel->Administrative Tools. If it's not listed, ensure that there is a program called hserver.exe located in C:\Windows\system32. If there is, you can try manually adding it to Services:

On Linux, make sure that hserver is listed in the process list. If not, you can start it by typing hserver when you've sourced the Houdini environment.

How do I install HDK?

Starting with Houdini 9.5, the HDK is automatically installed during the Houdini installation process.

For the earlier versions, you need to run the hdkinstall command first, before you can use HDK.

Windows:

  • Run the Command-Line Tools and then run the command hdkinstall Note: The Command-Line Tools can be started by Start Menu -> Programs -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini 9.0.x -> Command Line Tools

Linux:

  • After sourcing the Houdini environment (source houdini_setup), run the command hdkinstall
  • If running the Bash shell, type: source houdini_setup_bash
How do I install licenses (without internet access)?

If you do not have internet access from the machine running Houdini, you will need to use a second machine with internet access to acquire your licenses.

  1. Start the Houdini License Administrator from the Start Menu if using Windows or from the Applications folder in Finder if using Mac. If using Linux, run hkey after sourcing the houdini environment (source houdini_setup or houdini_setup_bash if using the bash shell)
  2. Click on the Server Information tab and record the license server host and the server code.
  3. From the machine with internet access, go to https://www.sidefx.com/services/non-commercial-license/ . Enter the server name and server code and select the Houdini product to activate.
  4. Cut and paste the SERVER and LICENSE keys and and save them to a file on a disk.
  5. On the machine running Houdini, select File -> Manually Enter Keys.... Paste each key into a text box using Ctrl+V and press OK.
  6. You can now run the Houdini product.

If installing licenses in local licensing mode, you may need to set the read-write permissions on the license directory (C:\Windows\keys or /usr/lib/sesi or /Library/Preferences/sesi/) so that the License Administrator utility can create the "licenses.local" file. Otherwise you may get grayed out fields in the License Administrator dialog box.

The License Administrator (hkey) doesn't have valid licenses anymore. It is reporting: License server server code: 00000000. What do I do?

On Linux, the server code is dependent on the MAC address of the ethernet card. In particular, eth0. Verify that there is a valid eth0 device in the system. You can do this by typing /sbin/ifconfig -a to list the network devices.

Why do I receive this error in the console?: NT_GeneratorThread::queueEvent eventqueuefull.Event dropped

This is due to using an older graphics card. Tell Houdini to use software OpenGL rather than hardware OpenGL. This is done by setting an environment variable:

HOUDINI_OGL_SOFTWARE = 1

Apprentice is installed but cannot use it in network mode (floating license). What should I do?

There is a restriction on Apprentice licenses. Apprentice licenses are node-locked (+.+.+.+). This means that you can run Houdini only on the machine that the licenses are installed on.

License Administrator (hkey) says that it has an "Invalid Server Key". What should I do?

The SERVER license key in the licenses file has become invalid. This can happen when hardware changes are made to the machine hosting the licenses. For the free Apprentice users, the easiest solution is to delete the licenses file and to follow the instructions in the section "Installing Licenses With the License Administrator (with Internet Access)" or the section "Installing Licenses Without Internet Access" to reinstall the license keys.

The licenses file (or licenses.local file, if Houdini is configured for local licensing) is located: Windows:

  • C:\WINDOWS\keys\licenses

Linux:

  • /usr/lib/sesi/licenses

Mac:

  • /Library/Preferences/sesi/licenses

If the above solution doesn't work then delete the licenses file again and follow these steps:

  1. Start the Houdini License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Click on the Server Information tab and record the license server host and the server code.
  3. Go to http://license.sidefx.com/get_nc_license.php. Enter the server name and server code and select the Houdini product to activate.
  4. In the License Administrator, select File -> Manually Enter Keys
  5. Copy and Paste each SERVER and LICENSE key into the text box using Ctrl+V and press OK.
  6. You can now run the Houdini product.
I receive errors when sourcing houdini_setup. What should I do?

[user@linux]% source houdini_setup
bash: houdini_setup: line 26: syntax error near unexpected token `set'
bash: houdini_setup: line 26: ` if ( ! $?cwd ) set cwd=`/bin/pwd`'

The houdini_setup file is for those using the either csh or tcsh. Try sourcing houdini_setup_bash. To find out what shell you are using type: echo $SHELL

What is local licensing?

Traditionally, Houdini asks the hserver process for permission to start. Hserver runs on the local machine and acquires the license token from the main Houdini License Server process (sesinetd), usually on a remote host. For more information about hserver and sesinetd, please visit www.sidefx.com->Support->FAQs->About Licensing.

While this architecture is flexible and necessary for Commercial workstation and network licensing, it is needlessly complex for Apprentice and Indie users. To simplify licensing, Houdini can use local licensing for Apprentice and Indie. In this mode, Houdini verifies the licenses locally by itself, never contacting the hserver or sesinetd processes.

On startup, Houdini looks in the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file to decide which licensing mode to use. $HFS is the environment variable used to identify the installation location of Houdini. Note that only node-locked (workstation) Apprentice and Indie licenses can be used in the local licensing mode. For Commercial licenses, the sesinetd licensing mode is mandatory, but it can also be used for Apprentice and Indie.

How do I know which licensing mode Houdini is using?

The Houdini License Administrator (hkey) specifies the licensing mode in the Server Information tab.

How do I switch Houdini from using network to local licensing mode?

If you have installed Apprentice or Indie licenses in network mode, you will need to copy the licenses file to licenses.local within the following directory:

  • Windows: C:\Windows\keys
  • Linux: /usr/lib/sesi
  • Mac: /Library/Preferences/sesi/

Then, you must set the licensingMode parameter to localValidator in the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file. $HFS is the environment variable used to identify the installation location of Houdini. You can simply add the following line to that file:

licensingMode = localValidator

Now the Houdini License Administrator (hkey) will report “Licensing mode: local licensing” in the Server Information tab, and Houdini will use the local licensing mode.

Optionally, if you don't intend to use network licensing at all, you can shutdown the hserver and sesinetd processes or services.

What communicates with the License Server?

The Houdini License Client is called hserver (HoudiniServer service on Windows). This program communicates with the license server called sesinetd (HoudiniLicenseServer service on Windows) for license acquisition.

Windows:

  • Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services -> HoudiniServer stop/start/restart

You may also use the Command-Line Tools on Windows:

  • Start -> Program Files -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini 9.0.x -> Command Line Tools
  • Type hserver -q to stop the client
  • Type hserver to start the client

Linux:

  • Make sure that you have sourced the houdini environment (source houdini_setup) (If using the Bash shell, source houdini_setup_bash)
  • Type hserver -q stops the client
  • Type hserver starts the client

Mac:

  • Start Houdini Shell.terminal in the Applications folder in Finder
  • Type hserver -q to stop the client
  • Type hserver to start the client
How do I switch Houdini from using local to network licensing mode?

If you have installed Apprentice or Indie licenses in local mode, you will need to copy the “licenses.local” file to “licenses” within the following directory:

  • Windows: C:\Windows\keys
  • Linux: /usr/lib/sesi
  • Mac: /Library/Preferences/sesi/

Then, you must set the licensingMode parameter to sesinetd in the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file. You can simply look for the line containing the licensingMode assignment and change the right-hand side value to sesinetd:

licensingMode = sesinetd

If the sesinetd process is not running, you will have to start it manually.

You must have Administrative rights (root, sudo) to be able to stop/start the license server.

Windows:

You can start and stop the Houdini License Server in the Services area of Windows.

  1. Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services
  2. There is a service called Houdini License Server that you can start

Linux:

  1. Run the sesinetd startup script located in /etc/init.d
  2. Usage: /etc/init.d/sesinetd start

Mac:

  1. launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist
I have two versions of Houdini. Do both of them use local licensing?

Each installed version of Houdini can be configured independently of other versions since the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file is specific only to a single version. $HFS is the environment variable that points to the installation of Houdini. For both versions to use local licensing, you will need to edit two Licensing.opt files. However, all installed versions of Houdini will use a single licenses.local file because this file is common to all versions.

Howerver, the $HFS/houdini/Licensing.opt file can be overridden by $HOME/houdiniX.Y/Licensing.opt. If you edit the overriding file, all Houdini versions X.Y will adhere to that configuration.

Why is the “Change License Server” option grayed out in the License Administrator when I am in local licensing mode?

Since Houdini is not using a license server in local licensing mode, it does not make sense to change the server. The option will become active if you switch to network licensing mode.

I have problems installing licenses in the local licensing mode. Fields are grayed out in the License Administrator.

Make sure that you have sufficient file permissions to create or write to the “licenses.local” file in the following directory, based on your platform:

  • Windows: C:\Windows\keys
  • Linux: /usr/lib/sesi
  • Mac: /Library/Preferences/sesi/
What do I do if I'm having license trouble?

If you are experiencing difficulties with any part of the licensing process:

  1. Start the Houdini License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Under the View menu, select "Diagnostic Information"
  3. Save the file and attach it in an email addressed to support@sidefx.com

If you don't have a graphical display, you can type "sesictrl -f > file". Attach the file to an email and send it to support@sidefx.com.