The case of the hrender that failed to start AdskLicensingAgent


Or, “things that happen when you use single-user licensing on a render node” ūüėČ

In this case, a Houdini command-line render with Arnold (HtoA) failed because the AdskLicensingAgent failed to start.

---------------------------
AdskLicensingAgent
---------------------------
This application failed to start because no Qt platform plugin could be initialized. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem.

Available platform plugins are: minimal, offscreen, webgl, windows.

---------------------------
OK  
---------------------------

After AdskLicensingAgent crashed, the render would continue, but license authorization would fail:

00:00:00   148MB         | authorizing with license manager: user ...
00:00:31   153MB WARNING | rendering with watermarks because of failed authorization:
00:00:31   153MB         |  [clm.v2] timeout before callback was called

Using Process Monitor, I saw (as expected) that the problem was that the AdskLicensingAgent was loading Qt platform plugins from Houdini:

The solution? Set QT_QPA_PLATFORM_PLUGIN_PATH to point to the AdskLicensingAgent\platforms folder.

set QT_QPA_PLATFORM_PLUGIN_PATH=C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\AdskLicensing\Current\AdskLicensingAgent\platforms

Troubleshooting HtoA installs


If you have a problem like this:

  • HtoA does not¬†show¬†up in¬†Houdini
  • the HtoA material nodes are missing
  • or you get node type errors such as
    • Failed to match node type definition
    • Error: bad node type found
    • Unknown operator on load

that is almost always because the environment (PATH and HOUDINI_PATH) is not set up correctly for HtoA and Houdini.

First, how to do you start¬†Houdini? Don’t double-click on a hip file, because the¬†Houdini¬†environment won’t be set up correctly.

Second, what’s your¬†houdini.env¬†look like?
You want something like this (PATH is for Windows only):

# htoa config start
PATH = "$PATH;C:/arnold/htoa/htoa-5.6.0.0_r370661f_houdini-18.0.597/htoa-5.6.0.0_r370661f_houdini-${HOUDINI_VERSION}/scripts/bin"
HOUDINI_PATH = "C:/arnold/htoa/htoa-5.6.0.0_r370661f_houdini-18.0.597/htoa-5.6.0.0_r370661f_houdini-${HOUDINI_VERSION};&"
# htoa config end

Third, check Help > About Houdini > Show Details
You want to see the HtoA location at the start of HOUDINI_PATH

If you have other renderers and plugins, I would remove all other plugins from HOUDINI_PATH, get HtoA working, and then put the other stuff back.

If you need more help, please send support your¬†houdini.env¬†file (or json package if that’s what you’re using) and the Houdini info from Show Details.

NEW: Getting a trial license for Arnold


To get a trial license, go to the Free Trial page at https://www.autodesk.com/products/arnold/trial-intake

You have to click the Download button. That’s what generates the trial license and adds it to your Autodesk account. But you don’t need that download (it’s the Arnold SDK, not an Arnold plugin), so Cancel that download after it starts.

You can download the Arnold plugin of your choice from arnoldrenderer.com/download.

To use the trial license, install the Arnold plugin and then start the Arnold License Manager and sign in.