Asset Manager Feedback

I could not find a comprehensive feedback discussion for general asset manager feedback- does one exist? if so please let me know! If not, others should feel free to post replies in here if they are so inclined.

With that out of the way, I wanted to share some feedback after using the newest version of the asset manager for the past day or so. I know that this feature is still very early, but I’m of the opinion that early feedback is the best feedback so here goes:

  • I love being able to drag and drop from the asset browser, but miss the precision of being able to create at the cursor. Perhaps drag and shift+drop could drop the asset at the cursor?

  • Somewhat related, but it’s currently not possible to drag and drop into the outliner, which is often something that we would like to be able to do.

  • I noticed that sometimes extra copies of an asset will show up in a library. After some investigation it appears that this is caused by another (completely separate) blend file using a library asset, and then the asset being changed at the source afterward. Understandably, you wouldn’t want the instance of the asset to change locations in a scene where it’s being used so it is being ‘branched’ somehow- the problem is that this “branch” is not indicated in the asset browser, so it appears to be the same object. I recommend some kind of icon (the github branch icon comes to mind) that appears over the thumbnail, and additional details on mouse hover (such as, which file caused the branch).

  • Tagging will be extremely important to the success of the asset manager, so I am glad to see that the groundwork for tagging is being laid out. Thus, it will be equally important for a robust tagging system. Adding tags to multiple assets is an untenably awful experience, and without a centralized list of tags that are created we are adding an unnecessary margin of user error due to misspellings, etc. Ideally, when the user presses the “+” button to add a tag and begins typing, a list of suggested tags that already exist will appear (similar to how it works on this forum).

  • Having useful meta data on mouseover would be very useful. The possibilities here are endless, but to rattle off a few ideas: Polycount, number of materials, related tags, bounding box dimensions, animation length, etc.

I’m sure I’ll come up with additional items as I continue to play with it- but so far I am very excited with the progress that has been made so far!

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Two small things for now…
Drag and drop from the outliner to the content browser would be handy… :wink:
Double click on an asset should load the asset in center of the scene… :wink:

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This is the kind of basic stuff I was expecting to work from day 1.

Anyways, this asset browser is very different from what I was expecting it to be. I can’t see much use for it at this point. Maybe it will be great in the future. :v:

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from a software development perspective, I can understand where things that might seem like “basic day 1 functionality” are lower priority to make sure that fundamental systems are in place. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s already on a roadmap somewhere- i just can’t find any of that information to verify it (the initiative has been rebooted so many times it’s hard to know where to look) so it was worth posting just in case.

I actually asked Julian about a feedback thread and he told me he was going to open it it soon… well, at this point I’ll just start here with my feedback.

1- Not only from the outliner, but also from datablocks, like in the case of materials, the material datablock and also the material slots. I think it’s definetely on the plan and we just need to wait.

2-I know this is an asset browser so it’s actually not meant for this, but I was nonetheless hoping that for materials we could have more of a sort of material library behavior, at least for the current file: having the possibility to create new materials directly from there and then assign them to objects, and even more important to have a view of all the materials present in the scene. I don’t understand why we still need to create an object before being able to create a material, the system of material slots depending on objects, which for any material that is not used by any object basically puts it “in the ether” without a chance of visualizing it, feels so old to me. Also, with the current state I don’t really see the point in making a material an asset for assigning it later to other objects in the same file, we basically already do it by adding a material slot and changing the material datablock.

3-I’m not really a fan of having the asset icon next to the object name in the outliner. It takes quite some space, for an information that I personally don’t need to know that much, also because the icon appears inside the datablock too, which makes sense. Also, it kinda looks weird to me that the object you mark as asset has the icon, but the assets that are imported from the browser don’t: shouldn’t be the opposite?

4-I think that when we make objects assets, there shoud be an option, maybe a dialog box, that lets you import the object in the library also with materials.

5- Maybe I’m wrong, but wasn’t “Make Asset” before? “Mark Asset” sounds a little bit weird to me.

6-This is just as a question, but so far is not clear at all to me how to import an animation asset: I created a small animation with an object, I made it an asset, but it seems that I can’t assign this animation asset to any object, what I’m missing?
EDIT: same with environment assets, how do I import them from the browser?

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Was waiting for the official thread too. But I think most devs are out for the remainder of the year and this feedback will probably grow unreasonably large by then and/or ruined by folks arguing back and forth with each other and spamming the conversation. Tagging @julianeisel still though.

Feedback:
Really cool start. I went right to setting up an Asset Library in settings and more or less figured things out after a bit of toying around.

Here’s the setup I’ve been testing:

  • I created a single asset library/folder that is present on my OneDrive called “common”
  • I added various .blends to this folder each containing data blocks that I’ve marked as assets (details.blend, mech.blend, mech-subd.blend, materials.blend)
  • Each of my PCs that run blender have an identical “common” library setup that points to their local OneDrive location. They each get access to everything!
  • Editing those .blends to add/remove assets means every other machine automatically gets them!

Sure, it would be really great to be able to manage those 4 .blends in a more seamless manner but it’s a very useful start so far! I’ll probably stop using both the Material Library VX and the PBR Materials addons now that this exists. Can’t wait to see this develop more over the next few releases.

Objects: Seems to work as intended except for the Redo panel T83884

Materials: Also seems to work as intended. However, I was surprised by one behavior. If you repeatedly drag-drop the same material into your scene, even onto the same object, you will continually rack-up different copies of the same material instead of them being shared. This is consistent with Objects and makes local changes to the material trivial but also a little confusing if you had intended for that material to be shared on multiple objects. Seems like if you want sharing you have to switch to the old material properties workflow rather than the asset browser workflow. Maybe have a shift+drag or ctrl+drag modifier to chose to just link materials if possible?

Node group: Is this actually possible to asset-ify? I wasn’t able to find out how actually.

Environment: I was able to create a “test world” asset, having a simple Environment Texture with HDRI. It shows up in the asset browser correctly with a preview etc., but I have no idea how to use it? I can’t drag-drop it anywhere or reference it.

Collections: Collections seems to be linked rather than appended like the Object assets. How the heck do I make a Collection instance local so I can edit it or override various things about it?

Previews: Previews really aren’t doing the asset browser any favors right now.

  • Objects: The camera orientation (straight-on side view) needs some design I guess. The current view is not useful at all for most objects.
  • Objects: It would be nice if a real render would be used, not just the workbench viewport(?). Maybe some sort of option is needed eventually. The built-in File->Data Previews->Batch-Generate Previews script does a real render for both objects and collections for example.
  • Materials: The previews, apparently, depend on which render engine is set in your scene. Needs to be documented at least?
  • Materials: Despite being dependant on engine, the previews only generate once, unless you make a change to the material also. That means switching between engines doesn’t yield a new image. You have to switch and make a change to the material to get the image to re-create properly when you clear/mark the asset again. A way to force generate new previews would be appreciated.
  • Materials: Normal material preview code has an option to use the World settings (when using Cycles at least). The asset browser instead goes through the alternate code path since that option is not set and ends with some really unflattering lighting defaults. It doesn’t show off materials well at all; especially low-roughness metals.
  • Collections: T83836 for collections to get proper images too of course :slight_smile:
  • General: T81972 will really help on hidpi displays as the current resolution is really rough on the Object preview images
  • Bug: A Material asset that you drag-drop from a non-local repository becomes an asset in the local file; they’re kinda viral. But the bug is that, about 20% of the time, the local asset doesn’t properly get a preview image. Hard to get a good repro out of this to file though…
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Collections: Collections seems to be linked rather than appended like the Object assets. How the heck do I make a Collection instance local so I can edit it or override various things about it?

Make Instances Real from the CTRL+A apply menu seems to work

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doing some testing- it appears that you can, but the only way I have been able to do it is by finding the node group in the data by browsing the blender file view in the outliner:
image

Through this, I noticed that it’s not possible to set a thumbnail image for a node group, however. it also does not appear that you can do anything with a node group asset yet, since it’s not the type of asset that has an object associated with it so you can’t drop it into a 3d viewport, and nothing happens when you drop it into a shader editor.

Regarding this, I just noticed that the same thing is happening with collections and geometry as well. I would also expect that the assets that are dropped into a scene are instances (similar to an instanced collection, where it is very performant compared to objects with linked data). If a user wants to turn it into an editable object or single-user object there is already functionality for that so it would fit into the existing paradigm nicely.

It would be nice to be able to edit assets in isolated environment (temporary scene). For example, I right click mesh asset in asset browser, choose “edit” option, and a new scene is created, where nothing except this asset exists, and there is a basic hdri / lighting setup. If I choose to edit a material, then blender creates a temporary mesh and places a material on it.

Drag and drop assets into scene seems to ignore snapping options, and uses screenspace plane with 3d cursor depth as basis for asset placement. In my opinion assets should be placed on top of existing geometry by default with fallback to the world floor (xy plane with origin 0,0,0).

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What I expect to see possibility with asset browser with Materials it’s:

  • dragging and drop material to the CURRENT selected material slot of the object if object is active and you drop on object itself
  • dragging and drop material to the object material list and if drop on existing material slot then ask create new slot or replace existing, if drop on empty space then create new slot
  • dragging and drop material to the selected faces in Edit mode and create new material slot
  • dragging and drop material to the Shader Editor to the CURRENT selected material slot with ask rename or keep existing name
    Or it’s not related to the feedback?!
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dragging and drop material to the selected faces in Edit mode and create new material slot

hrm, seems like you’d want it to replace whatever slot that face was using for a material- otherwise if you’re ‘sampling’ a lot of materials by dragging them into the scene you’re creating a lot of bloat in your scene that you don’t even realize until it’s too late. I can imagine someone looking at the material list on an object and being confused about why there are dozens of unused material slots if a new one is created each time.

I’m fine with this thread being a general collection of feedback, it gives us a central place to discuss these things until there’s a more official thread. when that happens they can merge this one into it or we can repost our feedback

not quite understand what do you mean.
But I’ll try to explain a bit.
For example I have a complex mesh, and I select some of it faces, then I go to asset browser, looking for a specific material drag and drop it to my current selection and it automatically create new material with own slot for this selection in my complex mesh.

It’s nothing new, it’s how the current system work where you can assign any material from your scene to the selected elements.

Oh, do you mean then if I drag and drop more then 1 material at once to the selection? Then, yes, it need exception for this.

Right- say the user has a face selected, and then drags in a material. Then decides they don’t like that one and drags in another. Now you have two new material slots created, when the user’s intent was to replace the one that was there before.

As I can see, blender material slots behave like you describe right now.
If I assign existing material in scene to the current selected faces it create new slot, and if I reassign this selection with other material from the scene it also create new slot.
(Used built-in addon “Material Utilities” for this operations).

So yea, after that you need to manually clean unused/unwanted material slots for the object.

I think the difference is that normally you create and manage materials all in the same place (the material list on the object). What the asset manager introduces is a new way of adding data to your scene where you might not know it’s happening (since the material list might not even be visible), so it could be a source of “bloat”. This is compounded a bit by the fact that since it’s added directly to the object, it automatically has a user- so Blender’s built in garbage collection wouldn’t catch it, so it would be there until you happened to notice it. For experienced Blender users that’s not a big deal since we know how the data is stored, but for new and intermediate users it might be confusing.

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Related to materials:

It would be useful to be able to override materials on assets that are brought into a scene. For example, I have ‘placeholder’ materials set up on a wheel asset that describe the different materials that it is made out of, but when I bring it into a scene I may want it to be powder coated, or chrome, or rusty steel, etc. I know I can just turn it into real geometry and do it that way, but it seems like it would be infinitely more flexible to be able to override incoming asset slots with materials that are in the destination scene.

I think that has more to do with library overrides than asset manager…IIRC the ability to override material slots is planned, but it’s not implemented yet… So I assume it will be possible with linked assets.

Anyone know if they support drag and drop scripts?

Pretty cool, intuitive to use and it’s already handy as is.

I second deadpin’s notes, especially regarding previews. A top down 3/4 view would be far more useful for auto previews.

Anyone found a way to add tags/descriptions for multiple assets at once, and filter based on those?

I also not a quite understand, if I have a large scene and I want only one material to save in asset, I mark it as asset then save whole large scene for only one material?

Maybe just do an extra save as in Menu - File to “save marked assets”?
Or near the option “Mark Asset” on RMB add “Save as Asset”