As a CG Artist focusing on concept, composition and lighting I want to be able to spend my time focusing on creating compelling imagery. So I ventured out to find high quality models and materials from other CG Artists online. While I found many amazing assets from talented artists, their workflows, naming conventions and assets were all different from each other.

This led to a lot of time being spent on building materials, scaling assets, and managing large amounts of files with no standards. If I wanted to reuse an asset I could either build my asset how I want it and save out the Maya file or rebuild the asset every time I wanted to use it.

It was time consuming to rebuild the assets and managing all the asset files became a hassle. Other asset managament software like Connecter or Maya’s native content browser worked great but there were extra steps to get an asset into my scene. What I wanted was a tool that would allow me to treat my scene like a sandbox and quickly start playing around with different materials and assets.

Pictured are some of the assets all with varying folder structures, naming conventions and textures.

So I put on my thinking hat, created some flow charts and got to writing.

What resulted was a system built with Python and PyQt that would allow me to package these assets into a standardized structure with consistent naming conventions.

Some extra features were added to the packaging system like being able to assign materials from different renderers and a rescaling option that was useful in getting all the assets to have a consistent scale.

Below is a video demonstration of the asset builder and the asset browser in action. The video is sped up but the asset build process only takes about 30 seconds.

The build process is strict to my own material and render workflow but building a modular system with PyQt allows me to quickly extend the functionality of these tools. Like adding another library dedicated to vdb clouds. 

These tools allow me to spend less time building materials node by node and creating folder structures to be able to reference those assets in the future. I am able to simply pick several files and give minimal information about the asset and have it ready to import anytime I need it.

Below is a video demonstration of me recreating a personal piece with these tools. For reference the sped up video is 30 minutes long condensed into 45 seconds.