New Proposal – asset management

Hi all! 🙂

Asset management is among one of the most valuable features in a 3d software since it allows to handle very complex scenes, that are the daily bread for artist and firms. Blender currently does a good job due to some very wise design and in Blender 2.5 things may become better and better.
But Blender has a limitation regarding layer management, it only allows up to 20 layers. A typical layer manager, a very useful and requested feature (I remember myself years ago downloading and opening Blender just to see very disappointed that the number of layers buttons remains the same over versions) allows to handle dynamic layers with more than toggable visibility, that means unlimited named layers, selection freeze , toggable renderability and so on.
It’s true that there’s a Layer Manager Script that helps on many of those issues but did I have mention that it only manages 20 layers? Let’s face it, 20 layers could be ok for small projects, not so complex models or if we like to spread our 200+ pieces realistic modeled watch across 10 scenes in the same file and go crazy navigating for its different logical parts.
Since Blender 2.42  a very powerful feature has been included: Groups, which allows all sort of crazy things. Groups could act essentially like Layers but have more advantages:
dynamic nature (unlimited per scene), named, and the good news is that I have implemented also restriction flags for them: toggle visibility, toggle selectability and toggle
renderability allowing for a very functional Layer Manager… sorry Group Manager 🙂


Fig. 1. – current versions, outliner showing groups


Fig. 2. – patch applied, outliner showing groups with toggle buttons

I have written a patch for Blender 2.4x series and for Blender 2.5, though for the last one some recode is required in order for it to work nicely with the new RNA system. but again, like always, I only show what IS possible in Blender through working prototypes. This feature is relatively easy to implement, and for an established Blender dev should be a matter of hours before being added to the trunk. Moreover, could be very useful for Durian and even a nice addition if another 2.4x release were to be made 🙂

It allows to use the groups as layers. Now in the outliner windows, in the Groups entry, for each group will appear the toggle buttons for object visibility, selectability and renderability. That way you can quickly organize your project like in a layer manager, navigate through it, protect entire groups from selectability and restrict entire group renderability.


Fig. 3. – patch applied, entire scene


Fig. 4. – patch applied, NUTS group visibility toggled


Fig. 5. – patch applied, BOLTS group visibility toggled

I hope this feature will be very usefull and hope you like it

Cheers Farsthary

New Proposal – asset management

12 thoughts on “New Proposal – asset management

  1. That makes complete sense. I don’t know why that already isn’t in
    Blender, I mean groups are just another thing in the outliner, why can’t their visibility/select ability be toggled too?


  2. Felix says:

    @mike: I believe the issue that was/is hard to solve for groups is that what will happen to objects that belong in multiple groups?

    IMO the solution should be that objects that exist in multiple groups should only be invisible once all the groups they belong in are hidden, but thats just mine. 🙂


  3. n-pigeon says:

    Very good idea and patch 😀

    Just how Felix is saying, what with multiple grouped objects? I have an idea with this, there could be a next type in outliner named Layers , working like a groups with your path but being independent layer of grouping. In this situation with exception that we can assign object only to one Layer type group.

    I hope you understand what I want to say, sorry for my English xD


  4. Ruddy says:

    Hi Bart,

    The volumetric engine is currently being integrated by Matt Ebb (his blog is in the web links) in the next blender version (blender 2.5, work-in-progress): as soon as the branch will be stable enough, Farsthary will start anew to work on it.
    You can test the branch with the smoke simulator (Daniel Genrich) and the volumetric engine (Matt Ebb) by downloading a build named “Blender Volume 2.5” on the “graphicall” website.
    If you want to compile yourself the branch, you can go on the blenderartists website and look for advices about how to grab the source code and build the blender binary.


    1. Farsthary says:

      Hmm te confieso que debo empaparme mas en ese tema, por ahora esta fuera de mi alcance pero no queda descartada la posibilidad 🙂


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