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personnal HDA when freelancing small studio


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Hi everyone,

For the people who freelance, what do you do with your personal HDA when you have to work with small studio?

For exemple, I have built multiple HDA to speed up my workflow, but if I work with a client and use them. At the end of the day, the client will own also my HDA I have developed. (not only the product)

Is there a way to lock the HDA or I have to deal with the fact that if I work with a client that needs my file, he will also own that.

Let me know what are your thoughts on that. I know that with big studio, you have to deal with the studio HDA but with smaller client that doesn't have a robust houdini team, how do you deal with that.

Thanks :D

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this is how I deal with this for freelancing,  if I am physically at a studio using their equipment I tend to not use any personal HDAs for exactly this reason, instead kind of unboxing them with limited functionality for the purpose of the job and leaving it as a subnet.  Outside HDAs can also be extremely problematic for certain pipelines, farm & cloud rendering and most studios discourage/outright ban them anyway


if you really want to use a personal HDA at a studio you can blackbox it (Assets > create black boxed asset).  this will make it usable and distributable but unable to be inspected


if I am working remotely (most of my work), with random clients or studios regardless I include it in my contract that I do not include any houdini source files, assets, setups etc, only renders/caches/nuke scripts w/e, as setups/tools that you have been developing for years are worth far more than any individual job.  Much like any non-redistributable software EULA


finally, if you really want to be a pain in the ass you can make your tools so complicated, or bury tons of python code so deep in them that no one will be able to figure them out/use them anyway. job security :P

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another user was bringing this up to me recently, and what I came up with was a licencing implementation.  The way it works, is that you'd essentially use a blackboxed hda, that has an additional license implementation, that either locks the HDA to a machine(s) or has a time based limit, etc...  That way, you could say "hey, this is prior work, and I'll license it to you (the studio, or whoever) for the duration of this project, or a defined amount of time.  Once that time/licence expires, the HDA will no longer work, until it is re-licensed.  Its been working quite well and should take care of the problem when it is a problem.

If you are interested, feel free to get in contact.


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