Orbolt In Studio Environment
We'll go over some quick tips for using Orbolt assets in a studio environment. File locations, licensing, copyrights, user management are common questions when it comes to using assets in a facility. Here's some helpful hints to maximize your asset usage.
As the famous saying goes location is key. By default all of the assets are downloaded and stored in the listed locations below in the 'asset_store' folder. The contents include the otl files containing Houdini Digital Assets, example hip files, and asset licenses. One thing to note, the asset license is separate from the Houdini license. It is created once at download, and is permanent after that. If needed it can be moved with the assets to a different location, or if deleted it can be recreated on demand by syncing with the website. Also, asset licenses are only required for HDAs that are copy-protected. If the asset is free, it can be copied anywhere just like a regular otl file (license file is not required).
Default location of the asset_store folder:
Windows: Username/My Documents/houdini12.5/asset_store/user/otls
In order to use the assets in a facility, location for the asset_store folder my be overridden by specifying HOUDINI_ASSET_STORE_PATH variable. This will allow systems/pipeline personal to customise it, to fit the studio pipeline and allow asset usage on the render farms.
Since Orbolt website and Houdini Asset Browser use 'User' paradigm to match and track downloaded assets some thought should be given to how a studio would like to operate. One option is to create a 'studio_name' user that only network administrator/supervisor has write permissions. Artists including the render farm would be able to read and use the assets but updates/downloads would be limited to only those that have access/password. Another option is to create multiple users per department such as 'studio_vfx' or 'studio_rnd'. This would allow grouping of assets by their intended usage.
Network security is a big part of the studio environment. To aid with that, asset licenses are permanent and the Asset Browser does not require internet connection to function. The initial asset download/syncing can be done on a dedicated machine with external connection and then copied to a custom location. Assets can be used on machines that have no internet access.