* = Review
The new Content Management System (CMS) for DAZ Studio 4 provides huge usability enhancements to end users. Once metadata for products has been created, the “My Stuff” tab automatically displays only content that is compatible with the content selected in the viewport, greatly speeding scene creation by helping the user identify matching accessories, materials, and poses. Tools to create metadata for new products are provided with DAZ Studio 4. In the future, this may become automated as part of QA, but for now, this needs to be done by content creators for new products.
Before beginning to add metadata to content, be sure all files are arranged in an appropriate Content/Runtime folder structure. The process will be easiest if you create a custom Content/Runtime directory for your product. If so, be sure it is added to the Content Library tab, either from Preferences, or by right-clicking the “DAZ Studio Formats” and “Poser Formats” sections in the library.
If your product is isolated in a separate Content/Runtime folder, Create a Product by right clicking on the Content/Runtime folder and selecting, “Create a Product…”.
To create meta-data for a product installed into a Content/Runtime structure containing other products, follow these steps:
Find a folder containing some of the product's assets in the Content Library tab, e.g. in the Poser Formats folder, open the context menu on it, and click “Create a Product…”. A small dialogue will pop open, prompting you for a name, and after confirming it with “OK” a new product folder will be created in the correct alphabetical sub-folder of the top-level “Products” folder.
All contents of the selected folder and all sub-folders will be added to the Product. Try to find a folder that contains only items from the Product you wish to create, if possible.
Now locate all the assets that belong to this product in the various folders/categories of the Content Library tab, in both DAZ Studio Formats and Poser Formats. Select and copy the references, then return to the product folder and choose to “Paste Reference” from the context menu.
Create a temporary root category and assign the assets to it, as you locate them inside the folder tree, so that you can copy and paste them all in one go from that new category folder at the end, rather than jumping back and forth to the Products folder.
Once all assets have been added to the product, they need to be categorized. This can be done either from the Product folder or from the “DAZ Studio Formats” or “Poser Formats” folders. The DAZ Studio and Poser formats folders have the advantage that the files are already sorted by type, which makes categorizing them easier. However, if you don't have a separate runtime for the product, it may be easier to use the Product folder.
If you are categorizing weight-mapped content, i.e. content with the .dsf extension, you have the opportunity to set the categorization and other information when the .dsf file is saved.
Navigate to the folder you have chosen, and select the thumbnails of the items you will categorize. Then right-click and select “Categorize…”
In the Select Categories window, select all categories that apply.
Only check the most specific applicable sub-category in the tree. However, if a product fits multiple sub-categories, go up one level in the category tree.
For files that apply specifically to a product (lights for a specific scene, clothes for a custom figure, all materials, and anything that is not for general use), create a new category where applicable using the exact product name of the compatible product. The main determination is how many files could conceivably wind up in there, not just in your product.
In order for DS4 to recognise an asset when it is selected in the viewport or the scene tab and know what content is compatible with that asset, its internal “Scene ID” must be associated with its Compatibility Base, so that the My Stuff tab can filter its contents appropriately.
To link the Compatibility Base with the Scene ID, the item must be loaded into the current scene. However, all items for a product can be loaded at once, and need to be fit to or parented to anything.
In the dialogue window, select the base that you created for this asset and click OK. From now on, whenever this object is loaded into a scene, DS4 will know what it is and which objects and presets are compatible with it.
Right-click in the Select a Compatibility Base window and create a new root base by the product name.
For products with more than one object, you will create a new sub base under that root base for each item, using the item name.
To add meta-data to a file or set of files select the Products folder, click on the tab menu icon in the corner of the Content Library tab, and select “Content DB Editor…” A dialogue window will pop open.
In the Product tab you set the meta-data for the product (collection of assets), such as the store, description, and artists. The latter two are shown in the “Info” area of the “My Stuff” tab - but sadly, they're not included in the search function at this time, so you can't search for all products by one specific artist. Details of each field are listed below the sample image.
This is a relative path, and will save to the first …/Runtime/Support directory recorded in your Content Library. If that directory does not exist, you will be unable to save this file without manually changing the directory here or creating the directory in …/Runtime/Support. You may wish to change this to the custom Content/Runtime file structure for your product, if you have one.
This is simple if you have a custom Content/Runtime folder: Add your product's files to the Files list by right clicking in that box and selecting “Add fromDirectory (Recursive)”
If you have both a Runtime and content folder, or other files that should be included, make sure to add them as well. Be sure to select the correct level directory. Check that the paths start with Runtime or Content as appropriate.
After filling in all the information you wish and exporting the support files (either manually or automatically), the product will be visible in the Products view of the “My Stuff” tab, just as its individual assets are in the Files view.
Switch to the “Assets” tab. Make sure that “Sync Product and Local Database” is checked. Your files listed in the top half of the tab can be sorted by filename or extension to simplify selection.
The Content DB Editor will list all files defined in the currently selected Product as “Assets” in the top half of the window, showing in a table what kind of meta-data is associated with each. Selecting one or more of the listed assets will make them show up in the bottom half of the editor window, where you can assign or edit the data. This needs to be done on a per-file basis, although multiple similar files can be selected and edited at the same time, as appropriate.
Additional Root Categories can be created from this menu. Use with caution. Attempt to match how the product will be categorized in the DAZ 3D store as closely as possible.
Switch to the “Compatibility” sub-tab, where you can specify the relation between assets, i.e. which of them are modifiers for which other assets. Declare a compatibility base for each asset that represents a selectable, modifiable viewport object, such as actor figures, props and clothing figures. Assets that share all the same modifiers (e.g. a long and short version of the same pants, which both take the same material, morph and pose presets) can share the same base for simplicity. The declared “Compatibility Base” tells DAZ Studio 4 what the asset is, and the asset can also have one or more “Compatibilities”, which tell DAZ Studio 4 what other assets it can be applied to. This is the information that allows the My Stuff tab to show only the materials or clothes that fit the currently selected figure in the viewport.
The bases you created in the scene tab with Edit→Scene ID are declared here.
Any file that works with or on an asset is compatible with that asset. If the asset is not included with this product, you should have already set it up enough for it to be available as a compatibility base. Clothing is compatible with the base figure, presets are compatible with whatever they apply to, etc.
The DAZ Studio 4 Content Management System comes with several Bases already pre-defined in the database (such as all human DAZ figures from Generation 1-4 and Genesis), but for most objects, e.g. new clothing in your Product, you will need to create new root and sub-bases from the context menu of the Compatibility Base dialogue.
Add compatibilities to all assets that modify other objects, such as material presets, poses, morph injections, auto-parented props, clothing figures. Some presets can be compatible with multiple bases (e.g. generic material presets or multi-fit clothes or hair).
After assigning categories, compatibility bases and compatibilities to all assets where appropriate, you can now close the Content DB Editor dialogue. You will now be able to see Assets in the My Stuff tab.
In order for the Product to display icon, an image file of the same base name as the support files has to be placed in the same Support folder as the .DSX support file. The default location is “<Path to My Library>/Runtime /Support/”. For new Products, this image should be 114×148. If you are creating metadata for older products, you may use the 100×143 product thumbnails in the DAZ 3D shop website.
You may need to select different folders in the Content Library or My Stuff tab to force the Product view to refresh.
The metadata as defined here doesn't populate the store categorization at this point. DAZ 3D hopes to have them work together eventually.