For a lot of iClone users, particularly longtime users, the massive amount of content has made it difficult, if not almost impossible, to keep up with all the assets you've accumulated. Add to this the fact that some users are also developers of iClone content it can get to the point that you have so many items you forget you even had them or created them.
Of all the problems a 3D animator can have, this is one of the best. Managing too much content is not exactly an end of the world scenario but if you don't remember you had an item then you waste time looking for it elsewhere, re-downloading it, time and time again. The older you get… the worse this can be.
With all this in mind, the devs at Reallusion created a Smart Gallery plug-in for intelligent management of your content. Now… before we go any further let me explain the Reallusion roadmap for this plug-in.
As released, in an early form, it is basically a thumbnail gallery with features. The only problem right now is the path to all items is basically hardwired into the code. Simply put, right now, you cannot have a custom layout for your assets and have Smart Gallery recognize them.
This WILL change according to the devs at Reallusion. The initial release is basically for getting the plug-in out into the userbase so the community can help shape it in the future as Reallusion adds more features such as custom paths to assets.
As released your custom content (already in your custom folder before installation) will not show up in Smart Gallery (SG) custom folder, you have to add it manually. Only items saved after the SG installation will be in the SG custom folder.
TO ADDING EXISTING CUSTOM CONTENT
With Custom menu choice selected within SG:
- Go to the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of SG and select IMPORT CUSTOM CONTENT.
- DO NOT CHANGE FOLDERS… just press SELECT FOLDER and the existing custom content is added to SG.
As you save new items they will be added to the Custom folder in SG.
As to the Developer side, things are looking up. The best part of this, at least for this content dev, is the ability to download and test your pack. To see exactly how it resides on the end-users file system. We've been able to designate a folder name for our items but this goes much further.
With this early release that is somewhat problematic until SG sees further development. A hardwired path is not desirable and the limitations will soon be discovered but and this is critical… the upload process works and is still superior to the existing content uploader.
Just keep in mind that custom paths are coming. As a dev… if you put your commercial assets in a folder named Commercial… then that folder is created on the user system as a final destination which may not be what you want. Be mindful of this when creating your assets as to where you save them. You will soon grasp what I mean.
To further summarize… if you use Windows Explorer to manage and organize your content outside of the default Reallusion install paths you will have some hiccups with this early version both as a user and a dev. Reallusion is aware of this and is working to give us the ability to truly and intelligently manage our assets by allowing SG to recognize custom locations.
There is value to the thumbnail aspect of SG as released. I have found custom content and purchased content that I had completely forgotten about! It's like a bonus. I even had to stop and play… err… I mean… work… with a few of them.
There is also value to the ease of installing and uninstalling purchased content. If you have limited space then SG keeps up with what is not installed too!
While Smart Gallery has a ways to go it is a nice addition for this user just based on the forgotten content discovery and developer upload process which allow us to visually add a clothed avatar along with all the clothing, accessories and props as INDIVIDUAL items to a pack for upload to the store.
Smart Gallery puts a lot of visual info on the screen and will only get better as it matures in its development cycle. Smart Gallery Plug-in is available for installation in the Reallusion Hub.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.