Orbolt In Studio Environment

In this guide we'll go over how to setup Orbolt assets in a studio environment. File locations, licensing, copyrights, user management are common questions when it comes to using assets in a studio.


Since the Orbolt website and the Houdini Asset Browser use 'User' paradigm to match and track downloaded assets, the name of the studio account created on Orbolt will become the name of the structure path. For example, when you create a 'studio_name' user on Orbolt and download an asset or sync your account in the Houdini Asset Browser, Orbolt will create the default asset_store structure. If you decide to customize the path to somewhere else on your network, that path can be set so 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.


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:

Please note, the tilda (~) in front of the path is your home directory on your local network. For example, if Jim's home directory on on his local network is 'jim' and his account on Orbolt is called orbolt_jim, the default location for Jim's asset_store folder on Linux would be:

Windows: ~/houdiniX.X/asset_store/user/otls
Linux: ~/houdiniX.X/asset_store/user/otls
Mac: ~/Library/Preferences/houdini/X.X/asset_store/user/otls

In order to use the assets in a studio environment, the location for the asset_store folder must be overwritten by specifying the HOUDINI_ASSET_STORE_PATH variable in your /houdiniX.X/houdini.env respective to the Houdini version being used. This will allow systems/pipeline personnel to customize it, to fit the studio pipeline and allow asset usage on the render farms. For example, if you decide to move the assets to a location on your network, you would need to put HOUDINI_ASSET_STORE_PATH = path_to_your_network in houdini.env

After you set the path, you will need to launch the Houdini version that has the houdini.env with the variable you had set. Once that version of Houdini has been launched, go to the Asset Browser in Houdini and sync to Orbolt. Orbolt will launch your browser for you to authenticate the studio account you had created and once it has been connected, it will sync your assets and recreate the structure according to the path + studio account name created on Orbolt you had set. Downloading an asset through Orbolt will also recreate the structure as long as the variable is set is on your default Houdini version.

For example, if you created the account cg_studio on Orbolt and had set the HOUDINI_ASSET_STORE_PATH to the path_to_your_network, The next time you sync or download an asset, it will automatically create this asset_store structure with your Orbolt account and folders appended to your path:


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.

Royalty Free Usage
In terms of usage licensing there two choices. The Standard Royalty Free License and the The Editorial Royalty Free License. They both allow assets and content generated by them to be used royalty free. The Editorial License is a superset that includes the Standard License with one main restriction. Usage is restricted to one of journalistic/non-commercial nature. (for more info see this FAQ link). Since a studio is usually working on a commercial project, assets that use the Standard Royalty Free license scheme should be used. To aid with that Orbolt website search can be restricted to assets with only particular license type (search toggles can be found on the Search page and under More->License Type on the left hand side). If the studio is using/cleared by their legal department to use assets from other providers such as Turobosquid, then they are clear to use Orbolt as the legal agreements are the same.

Ultimately Orbolt and it's assets are built around our user community so let us know if you run into any issues or have workflow improvement suggestions ( support@orbolt.com).
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