Primitive Normal Orientation

Ever wondered what “Orient Polygons” does? It tells me that it winds all the polygons in the same ‘direction’. What direction is that?
And how does it know (determine) what polygons to reverse or flip. I find that desription utterly useless and needed more control over my prim normals in Houdini (defining direction using a set of shared points and their surface orientaiton) for a project i’m working on.

Based on those requirementrs I made a simple orient prim normal operator that uses a vector point attribute to test the primitive orientation. If the op determines the prim normal needs to be flipped, it’s added to a primitive normal group that can be reversed using the reverse SOP.

import math

# This code is called when instances of this SOP cook.
node = hou.pwd()
geo = node.geometry()

# Evaluate the parameters
prim_group = hou.pwd().evalParm("primitive_group")          #primitive group to sample from
normal_name = hou.pwd().evalParm("sample_attribute")        #vector attribute used for averaging and comparison
export_group = hou.pwd().evalParm("export_group")           #primitive group wrong faced normals get exported to
angle_threshold = hou.pwd().evalParm("angle_offset")     #maximum allowed angle

# Finds the primitive group
def findPrimGroup(inName):

    for group in geo.primGroups():
        if == inName:
            return group.prims()

    return None

Sample Information------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

# Fetch the primitives and sample input information
if len(prim_group) is not 0:
    prims = findPrimGroup(prim_group)
    if prims is None:
        raise hou.NodeError("Can't find primitive group: %s" % prim_group)

    prims = geo.prims()

if len(prims) < 1:
    raise hou.NodeError("Not enough primitives provided! Need at least one..")

if len(export_group) < 1:
    raise hou.NodeError("No export group found")

if export_group in geo.primGroups():
    raise hou.NodeError("Primitive group '%s' already exists" % export_group)

export_group = geo.createPrimGroup(export_group)

normal_attrib = geo.findPointAttrib(normal_name)
if normal_attrib is None:
    raise hou.NodeError("Lookup attribute '%s' does not exist" % normal_name)


# Now sample the normals
for prim in prims:
    # get the prim verts
    verts = prim.vertices()

    # from every vert get the associated point normals
    # note that every point normal is normalized
    prim_point_normals = []
    for v in verts:
        vector = hou.Vector3(v.point().attribValue(normal_attrib))

    # accumulate point normals
    accum = hou.Vector3(0,0,0)
    for n in prim_point_normals:
        for i in range(3):

    # get the average
    count = len(prim_point_normals)
    for i in xrange(len(accum)):
        accum[i] /= count

    # get primitive normal
    prim_normal = hou.Vector3(prim.normal())
    inv_prim_normal = -1*prim_normal

    # get the angle
    current = accum.angleTo(prim_normal)
    inversed = accum.angleTo(inv_prim_normal)

    if inversed < (current+angle_threshold):

32 thoughts on “Primitive Normal Orientation

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