First Look at SideFX Solaris

First Look at SideFX Solaris

SideFX has recently shared the first look at Solaris, their new USD-based lighting, look development and shot layout environment that will be a part of Houdini 18 later this year.

The new project will be accompanied by a new render engine, Karma, revealed originally at Siggraph 2019.

Solaris is basically the next step towards making the existing features in Houdini accessible to people who are not TDs and technical artists. “We’re taking the very powerful procedural tools that have been in Houdini for a long time, and putting them into a whole new group of artists’ hands,” noted senior product designer Scott Keating.


  • Geometry brought into LOPS becomes USD – USD remains USD while in LOPS.
  • Solaris provides a visual editor for working with USD.
  • Solaris supports a wide variety of lookdev, layout and lighting tasks.
  • Solaris is a new context in Houdini Core, Houdini FX, Houdini Indie and Houdini Apprentice – not a separate application.
  • A new USD-compliant renderer called SideFX Karma Render was announced for Solaris/USD
  • This new renderer works with Hydra for fast IPR.
  • This will be a fast CPU-based renderer with a GPU version of it being developed for a future release.
  • Solaris also works with other Hydra-compliant renderers such as RenderMan.

The tool will be more accessible thanks to a new series of GUIs and direct drag-and-drop workflows, so it’s not just about wiring nodes and setting parameter values.

“Solaris is a new world where everything happens in one place,” added Keating. “There’s no need to chase down parameters.”

Make sure to watch the full session for more details.

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