Rebuilding the C4D Spline Wrap Deformer In Houdini

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The “Spline Wrap” deformer inside of Cinema4D is a versatile tool that many artist use on a daily basis. Whether you want to wrap paint strokes along a spline or animate a snake, the defomer gives you a quick and easy way to do so. Houdini offers a similiar tool with the “wire deform node”, but it’s a little more versatile and thus a little more complex to setup. So having a counterpart to the “Spline Wrap” deformer might be a good idea. In this tutorial Manuel goes through the process of rebuilding the C4D tool inside Houdini. This is a good exercise in how to use Houdini to create tools and offers some matrix math, too, as a bonus feature. Enjoy!

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    Thanks a lot Manuel for this brilliant in depth video on creating the spline wrap deformer and almost an entire co-ordinate system along any spline. You guys are literally demystifying CG by connecting it to its roots in linear algebra! I was trying out a few options sometime back and one thing that generally used to work for me in a similar manner is that I would connect a closed polygon spline profile to the cross-section input of the sweep SOP and the re-sampled curve to the backbone input of the sweep SOP. Then drop down a skin SOP followed by a polycap SOP and achieved exactly the same results. So, I was wondering if that could be a more artist friendly (most of my colleagues run away from VOPs ;)) yet correct method to achieve the same result?

    • Thank you, glad you like the tutorial. Your method of course works to create the object I used for demo purposes in the video, as it does not change along Z. The beauty of the deformer is though, that you can use any object to conform to a spline, even if it is of very irregular shape. And this cannot be done with the skin SOP.

  2. Hey guys,
    Love the tutorial…much thanks! On a side note, was wondering where abouts you sourced the texture/materials for the birch tree in the videos title frame render. Ive been looking for a high quality one for a current project and would love a point in the right direction.
    Thanks again,

    • Thank you! Good to hear you like the tutorials. The birch scan and texture are my personal side project. They are not available yet, unfortunately.

  3. Nicolas Heluani

    Hi guys, just wanted to say thanks for the classes and that I took the liberty to make an HDA in Orbolt expanding on the concepts here.
    Basically I added Control on Spline begin, Spline End, Offset, and a ramp control to scale along the geometry. I also made it so you can build your geometry anywhere (not the center) and in any orthogonal axis. You can find it here if you want: []

    This version is locked but I unlocked another version currently in review by Orbolt.

  4. Hi guys, much thanks for this tut, especially the sweep sop framing trick.

    I’ve tried similar effects before by using double cross-product to compute the normal, but it couldn’t get the normal direction right when the curve shape is much more complex. It seems the sweep sop is able to track the shape of the curve and make correct rotation when necessary, do you have any ideas how it works? Or some way to achieve this directly in vex?

    Thanks again,

  5. Any idea how I might twist or roll the sweep cumulatively?
    The sweep parameter only seems to twist linearly over the entire length of the spline.

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