Asset Browser - Impossible to enter a folder

I just did a build and tested the Asset Browser with our library, so far it seems it will work great, but I found a problem.

I can show the folders but I cant go into the folders, I assume this is a known problem, but in case is not, should I file a bug?

I assume this goes to @mont29 and @julianeisel

The browser is not supposed to show directories currently. For various reasons (performance, UI and general design related) it only shows the assets of .blend’s immediately inside the selected asset library directory. The browser backend is pretty much ready for it, but for this first implementation I decided to not include it.
But given some known to-dos I wouldn’t be surprised if you managed to get them anyway. How did you manage to have them shown?

That was easy:

For us is kind of important to be able to show folders, otherwise the Asset Browser will be useless I’m afraid.

Our current library is based on single .blends with assets, without being able to navigate through folders would be impossible to access our current asset library:

The structure is:

Base Folder
__|
__|
__|- Category
____|
____|
____|- Sub-Category
______|
______|
______|- Blend files

This structure is similar to the structure used in other asset management addons, so this will be valid for anyone with an asset library already set up.

We have 1770 assets (single .blend files) organized in categories and subcategories as you see in the screenshot, as you can imagine we cannot “translate” this to a single folder, neither can we navigate through assets with the recursion level with everything in the same panel at once.

I beg you to enable Folder navigation from the library base folder to the upper ones, at least if the user enable the folders in the filter or as an experimental option in settings, otherwise it renders useless I’m afraid for anyone that already has an Asset Library set up and wants to migrate it to the new Blender Asset Browser :S

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The current design & implementation - which is just the first half of milestone one - a basic, local asset browser - are not ready to handle complex cases with 1000s of assets and complex directory structures. Neither is it ready to be used by existing asset management systems.

The milestone 1 design, as outlined here, even explicitly excludes displaying sub-directories. Assets in sub-directories would be loaded into a single, linear asset list. This design is written out by Brecht and was signed off by the people involved. That is to say, it’s not a design change I can do easily.

On the pure implementation side, having folder navigation within the repository shouldn’t be complicated to add. However there are design implications/limitations, e.g.:

  • We’d have to show navigation controls which poses some UI problems.
  • Users may want to see all assets in a single list, without directories.
  • When changing directories it would have to read the assets of a bunch of .blends which would be slow (caching is planned for 2.93).
  • What if later we decide that folders are not an appropriate abstraction to group together assets?

Later on, asset management systems should be able to integrate well into the asset browser. And we don’t want to make decisions for them on how files should be stored and how the resulting asset list will look like in the UI. So we have to be rather conservative (for the lack of a better word) with the design foundations.

Just please understand, that we are not where we want to be yet. Today was a big step in that direction but there are many limitations with what is in master now. It’s similar to the geometry nodes: Delivered early and far from feature complete - but something that works and brings value.


The display and filtering popovers currently contain items that do not apply to the Asset Browser, which should be addressed soon as part of T82680.

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I understand.

I will still keep some hope that you (the dev team I mean, not only you) can reach a middle ground where this is generally useful and can be used with existing assets, but if it’s not the case, it’s not the case, not the end of the world.

However some example on how is it useful in it’s current state (or the targeted 2.92 state) could be good, because so far it seems like a list of the .blend contents, something similar to what we can see in the outliner when we enable the “blender file” option, don’t take me wrong, I know there is a lot of work under the hood, but how is this intended to be used and to bring value in the 2.92 target state?

Thanks for the answer!

The main use-case is local user asset libraries. That is, a user can store a bunch of data-blocks for own reuse in self defined locations on the hard drive, and access them from any project.
For simple projects that may also be enough, where all .blends are in a single directory or in few directories (which can individually be mounted as asset libraries in the Preferences).

Note that only the “Current File” library shows data from the current Blender session (like the Outliner). It is the only one that allows editing asset metadata and removing assets directly from the browser, at least currently.
(You can actually edit the metadata in other asset libraries as well, but that will be disabled soon - the edits won’t be saved.)

I have a design idea for directories file browsing vs. assets issue.
We can have all options so people can use it whichever method they want.
Currently, on header there is ‘‘current file’’ drop down option, we can add more dropdown categories to make 4 main categories like so:

  1. ‘‘Blend File ( Internal Unmade Assets)’’ - (Contain all assets that are not made asset) - This option wont have file browsing in computer and It will be same as outliner’s blend file option but it will be more visual version of outliner so people might want to use asset browser for that purpose for making assets, they can use this ‘‘Blend File’’ option to ‘‘make asset’’ which will be the chosen assets that user decided to have in ‘‘2)Internal Asset Library’’
    So in a workspace, a person wont need to open outliner to make asset as well as an advantage
    It wont be hard to implement because it will be same as outliner in a more visual way

  2. ‘‘Internal Asset Library / Internal Assets / Made Assets’’ (Only Assets that are made asset) - It will contain the assets that are ‘‘made asset’’ by user for favouriting or deciding on his main assets like we currently do from outliner. So users can go either to ‘‘outliner’’ or ‘‘1) Blend File’’ option of asset manager and choose objects or materials and make assets. This one is same as ‘‘current file’’ option in current asset browser.

  3. ''External Asset Browser ( File Browser) ‘’ This will be same similar to ‘‘file browser in blender’’ or like unreal engine’s asset manager having directories. So when this drop down option is choosen the left tool bar of the asset browser will turn into ‘‘directories like windows explorer with hieararcy’’ instead of showing ‘‘asset types like materials, scenes, animations’’
    then we will be able to browse in computer and find the blend files we want and append any assets that we want into our ‘‘1) Blend File (Internal Unmade Assets’’ or we can directly append+make them assets to have in ‘‘2) Internal Asset Libray/ Internal Assets / Made Assets’’ category that ı mention.
    Also we can choose blend files or their specific materials or objects inside blendfiles in our computer that we want and click ‘‘add to external asset library’’ for easier access like favourite asset groups

  • There wont be any UI issue by adding buttons on all the asset manager header cuz the windows explorer hiearcy showing directories will take place of toolbar/Asset types on left and the buttons for browsing can be added on the same place or it can show up on header when this third option is choosen. So header can add new options depending on the choosen drop down option
  1. ‘’ External Asset Library / External Favourites’’ This will only contain assets that are made ‘‘add to external asset library’’ in previous ‘‘3) External Asset Browser’’ so we can add all the assets that we favourited or added to this library and have a mixed library that have taken assets from various directories in computer. When we click on an asset on the Properties panel with N we can see the directory of assets’s blend file or other information to find it.
    Also, this library can allows us to browse our favourite assets without creating assets by ‘‘make asset internally’’ then we can even link these assets like objects without appending as assets and use them as linked assets instead of appended assets that has data in blend file.
  • Note: this external asset library option can be more than one and its name will be able to be changed to imply categories of assets that are wanted to be grouped like having 2-3 external asset libraries such as ‘‘Chocofur’’ or others in the same drop down of the 4 categories I meantioned or it can be a secondary dropdown apperaring next to the 4 categories of drop downs I mentioned.

I know its just the start of the asset browser project so this is not to show missing things, but I just wanted to give my idea of design to organize and show necessary functionalities without making UI complicated.

@julianeisel understood.

AFAIK there is no way to put assets into the settings-defined library, I tried and objects always go to the Current File Library, and never to other asset libraries, am I correct or is it a bug?

Another question would be if linked files could become libraries without having to go into settings, it’s not important, but I’m curious, since this can bring a new way of managing assets in projects.

Thanks!

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I suspect what we are getting in the Asset Browser are the foundations for everyone to build it’s own Asset Manager, I mean, to be able to create the organization and categorization you may want at your will, as an addon that extends the asset browser, so what you outline here is something you will be able to generate by yourself :slight_smile:

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Yes, I agree, its possible to extend it by addon on top of these foundations by adding new functioanlities, but I just wanted to contribute to that foundation by giving a little humble idea and maybe help for the organization of it by providing base features idea or logic that everyone would want to have without doing by themselves. :))

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I agree with you that some basic functionality for asset management could be welcome, maybe in the form of an official addon on top of the asset browser, if you don’t want it, you can avoid enabling it and use a different one :slight_smile:

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@julianeisel there will be eventually a dedicated thread for collecting feedback on the asset browser?

Yes I will create one in a bit. I’m just prioritizing some bug fixes and basic polish.

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Tried the Asset Browser yesterday, without any knowledge of how it works (apart from my general Blender experience). I had to ask on Twitter how I could get it to work. The Asset Browser could be a bit more accessible. For starters, I’d place a text in the empty space mentioning “Use RMB menu ➔ ID Data ➔ Mark Asset to turn an object, material or other data type into a reusable asset.” Right now a newbie probably scratches his/her head why no assets are appearing in the browser, as I did.

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Probably a simple “Add asset to the library” in the center of the BG when you don’t hace any asset could be enough.

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I’m not sure if it has been mentioned or not (I cannot find a central discussion for asset management anywhere, unlike other features like geometry nodes or boolean improvements). I would like to see some kind of generic tagging system for assets eventually. I know that we are in the early days- so working with large numbers of assets is not really a priority, but thinking ahead (way ahead if you like) it would be good to have some way of tagging these assets with multiple custom keywords to aid in discovery later.

Folders are great if you are looking for a very specific asset and know where to find it, but for someone who does a lot of concept art, sometimes I just need a “large, bulky, industrial tire” or a “damaged iron beam” and want to type something to that effect in a search bar and get objects matching some or all of those tags.

In all the various software I’ve used, I have found tagging systems to be far more intuitive than drilling through folders hunting for a thumbnail.

edit: doing some digging and I found that there apparently is a plan for asset tagging, in fact you can add tags to your assets now though they don’t seem to influence search results. Either way, a very good sign for the future!

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The tagging system is already in place :slight_smile:

The folder one is what is not there and it probably won’t be for 2.92 based on what Julien said, but that renders the Asset Browser as a very limited tool right now, without being able to navigate folders it’s kind of weird TBH

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Sorry for thread hijacking slightly but

Have anyone figured out how one can store assets in libraries? Ive been sitting figuring on this for like an hour now without really getting anywhere. The docs tell you to “Save the file, if you want the new asset data-block to be available in other projects.” https://wiki.blender.org/wiki/Reference/Release_Notes/2.92/Asset_Browser#About_Milestone_1 . But it doesnt quite seem to do anything, nor does saving it inside of a current library location.

Is this yet not implemented (and the docs being slightly misleading?)?

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