Assets – FileBrowser Preliminary Work – Experimental Build I

Assets – FileBrowser Preliminary Work – Experimental Build I

So, as some of you may know already, since December 2014 and my three weeks spent in Amsterdam at BI, I’ve started working on the asset topic.

An 'Append' file browser with two blender files showing all their materials, objects and textures. Note the renamed bookmark on the left too.

An ‘Append’ file browser with two blender files showing all their materials, objects and textures. Note the renamed bookmark on the left too.

So far, I did not do anything really directly related to assets (except early designing) – rather, I’ve been improving the editor I intend to use later for assets handling, i.e. the FileBrowser. I have already ported some cleanup/refactor and some minor features (like search field in header, operator to enforce mat/tex/etc. previews generation, …) in master, but most work is still in the dedicated ‘assets-experiments’ git branch, so I’ve made some experimental builds to (try to 😉 ) get a bit of testing. In those builds you’ll find:

  • Bookmarks and co using UIlists, with possibility to rename and reorganize bookmarks, plus the default features of UILists (filtering by name, and some sorting).
  • Possibility to list the whole content of a blend file (in append/link mode) at once (set ‘Recursion Level’ setting to 1), and in any mode, to list several levels of the directory tree in a “flat” mode (including blend files content if relevant, set ‘Recursion Level’ to 2 or more).
  • Consequently, possibility to append/link at once several items, either from a same .blend lib, or even from different ones.
  • Also, filtering by datablock types was added (so that you can see only e.g. materials and textures from all .blend libs from a same directory…).
  • Previews were added to object and group datablocks. Generation of those is handled by a python script (note: only handles BI renderer in this build, Cycles is yet to be added).

Note about previews of datablocks like materials, textures, etc., you have to manually generate them (from File -> Data Previews main menu), and then save the .blend file. On the other side, preview generation of objects and groups work with separated automated tasks ran on selected .blend files (which should rather not be opened at that time). This is quite inconsistent and shall be fixed for sure! On a more technical aspect (though it can also have effects on user PoV):

  • Directory listing is now also a background job (like thumbnail generation of images and .blend files), which means listing huge directories, or remote ones, does not lock the UI anymore.
  • Previews of datablocks (IDs) are now exposed in RNA, so third party scripts will also be able to generate their own previews if needed. Not all ID types have previews though (only object, group, material, lamp, world, texture and image ones currently), this is likely to change though.

So, as usual, any feedback is more than welcome! Note too that Windows behavior was not tested at all yet (don’t like starting my win WM :/ ), do not expect (too much) issues on this platform, but you never know with Windows. Cheers, and hope that new year will be full of good things for Blender and all of you!

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