Reference/Release Notes/Blender Asset Bundle
Work In Progress
This page is a Work In Progress, and its contents are subject to change as the Blender Assets project is further developed.
Blender Asset Bundle info
📅 Updated: April 21, 2021
The Blender Asset Bundle is meant to be a basic set of building blocks to get started, not a full blown asset library with thousands of large textures and heavy models.
Assets can exist of various data types, ranging from materials to objects, and should be marked for use with the Blender Asset Manager, including tags and a description.
Online asset platforms (markets or sharing sites) stay relevant for the Blender artist ecosystem, and users can create and save their own assets as well. The Asset Browser tries to bring a simple and streamlined experience for that.
The primary target audience for bundled assets are beginning and occasional Blender users. The Asset Bundle is a great way to help them get started with content creation.
However, a good set of default assets can be helpful for more expert level users as well, e.g. for quick scene mock-ups.
- The Asset Bundle is maintained at developer.blender.org.
- The Asset Bundle inventory is administered in the related Blender Asset Bundle Phabricator task: T55239.
A selection of other Blender artists can be approached for Asset Bundle submissions (see next section), but for now there will be no public call for content, because such calls typically cause much overhead and can lead to too much variation in quality.
See the sections below for submission guidelines and distribution suggestions.
Potential asset contributors
Potential Blender Asset Bundle contributors:
- . . .
- Bundled assets are an opportunity to help users learn. Users should be able to “look into the box”, pick apart assets and open node groups to learn about how they can create and manage such assets themselves.
- Make sure assets are usable by novice users. For example, if materials or Geometry Nodes objects exist of complex node structures, please group nodes and give the inputs / outputs clear names.
- All assets should make good use of tags, descriptions and mention the license.
- E.g. materials could have a tag with the supported render engine name, so users can filter by Eevee or Cycles materials.
- Dragging in an asset should not change scene settings, or add many data-blocks to the scene. E.g. dragging in a studio light setup shouldn’t adjust the render settings. So better make it a collection, not a scene.
- No usage restrictions, no advertisement
- We will only accept CC-0 licensed assets. These assets will be modified by users and used for real work. Therefore, we cannot expect users to credit the asset creators for these things.
The bundle also shouldn't serve as advertisement platform for artists. While authors will be credited using their full name, there should not be links to their homepages, product mentions and the like.
- Not only should the bundle be free of charge and free to use under a CC-0 license; it should also not bother users if they do not use the bundle. E.g. the Blender download size shouldn’t include hundreds of megabytes just for assets.
- In order to keep the Asset Bundle lightweight, built-in assets will have to make use of small, lightweight textures, and meshes will have to be light.
- Users will probably want to access the bundled asset library from multiple Blender releases.
- They need to be stored in a centralized location, with access from multiple releases. The asset browser design already allows mounting centralized asset libraries via the Preferences.
- The assets should be compatible with coming Blender releases. Ideally also with older Blender releases (at least starting with 2.80).
- Additional compatibility checks could be added, so assets can only be added to versions supporting the used feature(s).
- Ideally assets would be render engine agnostic. Of course an Eevee specific material can be Eevee only, but in general materials should also work with Cycles, ideally also with other render engines.
- The Asset Bundle should be usable from Blender without internet connection.
How to provide the bundle?
The Asset Bundle is a directory of Blend files. Below are options how we could provide it:
- Bundle with Blender
- Include asset .blend files as part of the Blender download, like fonts or scripts. These could also be compiled into the binary.
- At some point (e.g. a background job after Blender startup) Blender ensures the bundle is in a centralized location (e.g. ~/.config/blender/assets).
- ❗ Possible issues:
- ─ Violates zero cost paradigm.
- ─ Can easily bloat the Blender download size.
- ─ Assets may already be installed from another Blender version.
- Keep assets parametric, so they can be created 'on the fly' (e.g. by a script). Blender can then dynamically generate the bundle in a centralized default location as above.
- Additional download from blender.org
- There could be helpers to make this easy and fast to do. E.g. a button to open the download page in a web browser and a button to install the downloaded library to a default location.
- Online repository
- We could drop the requirement to be purely offline and just give the user an option to display default assets from an online library. Technically not supported yet, but might be an attractive, modern solution we could support soon (in a sense, best of both worlds). Of course the offline requirement has its merits.
- There could be combinations of the above. E.g. some bundled asset .blends + some parametric ones created on the fly.
How to install the bundle?
If the bundle is an additional download, how can it be installed easily within Blender? Some options:
- Have the library as compressed archive with .blends. Let the user manage this and mount it in the Preferences.
- Add “Install…” button to locate and install archive. It will extract the archive to a default location (e.g. ~/.config/blender/assets), similar to adding an add-on.
Should bundled assets be 'read only'?
- We might consider discouraging edits and put the library in a hidden directory. Otherwise updates to the bundle might be problematic.
- Versioning could become an issue too (e.g. user stores asset with beta Blender version, opens it with previous LTS).