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When to care about topology?

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Many modeling tutorials I see for Houdini often rely heavily on the boolean sop. I always thought  that because the boolean sop didnt create great topology that it should be a last resort sort of thing. Also when people convert the geometry to a vdb or sdf, do some adjustments, then convert it back to a polygon mesh, doesn't this also completely destroy the topology? I was modeling a cassette tape and attempted to get fairly good topology while still keeping some procedural aspects, such as the distance between the holes or the dimensions so nothing fancy that adds new points or prims. Then when attempting to make the corners or the holes, I was forced to use the topobuild sop because there seemed to be no other way to easily create new polygons and edges. The problem with using the topobuild is that you lose all ability to make it procedural, nothing I do in previous nodes changes the output of the topobuild. So is there any way to not completely destroy the topology while still being procedural? Do I just need to wait until the end to re-topologize the entire geometry? I was just under the assumption that a good modeler accounts for topology as they built their model and not after. Final question, is it just impossible to do any custom (non procedural dependent) topology/modeling work in Houdini currently?




first topobuild.JPG

second topobuild.JPG

cassette final.JPG

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It´s entirely possible – and recommendable – to not build your modeling workflow around booleans or VDBs. I would only use booleans in simple and unambiguous situations. I attached two ways to do holes one with and one without booleans.

Also here is a tutorial that might be helpful:


If you feel like you could need some more information on how subdivision modeling is done, check:




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It depends on how portable the model needs to be and what other factors are needed like sane UV maps for artists to work with. The Boolean of today is vastly different from the Cookie node of the past (significantly more reliable). An asset that can be subdivided is always going to be more valuable and portable but it's not worth the effort in some cases.

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