Metadata, wrapping my head around it

evilded777evilded777 Posts: 520
edited December 1969 in Daz Studio Discussion

So, I'm trying to wrap my head around metadata and smart content. It seems like a great feature, and where it works for me (genesis), its pretty neat.

If someone could help me understand a few things, or point out where my assumptions/observations are incorrect I would appreciate it.

It seems to me, that is you wish to use metadata and smart content, you are not able to physically rearrange your libraries. I have been at this for a long time (like many of you) and have amassed a great deal of content, and arranged it in ways that work for me. The only things I have left alone are new content, specifically genesis related and a handful of other things. All of these new things seem to work just fine with smart content (but I do not care for their physical arrangement. I do not like the "vanity folder" as maclean has called it, I find it almost as annoying as !!!). Smart content does not see my content that has been arranged as I like it (case in point: Bad Boy for M4. The only pieces of this not moved were the Poser Materials files, and those are the only items Studio seems to think exist).

Are my observations correct here? I am not trying to disparage this feature; just trying to understand to see if I can adapt.

Why is it that Smart Content does not recognize M4? I thought it was "aware" of all the Daz figures? When I load M4 into a scene, Smart Content behaves as if there were nothing in the scene.

Has anyone who has physically rearranged their content in the past succesfully adapted to Smart Content without a herculean data entry effort or a massive reinstall?

Comments

  • JimmyC_2009JimmyC_2009 Posts: 8,356
    edited December 1969

    Smart Content is a recent innovation, and most of the older items do not have it yet. Cridgit produced a Metadata Toolkit which may help you to rearrange how it is displayed.

    What most people do is use the Categories view, which allows you to create your own categories that suit you, and you can move things around in your own categories to your heart's content. Changing or creating new Metadata can be a long and tiresome job, but have a look at cridgit's tool kit to see what I mean.

  • evilded777evilded777 Posts: 520
    edited December 1969

    Smart Content is a recent innovation, and most of the older items do not have it yet. Cridgit produced a Metadata Toolkit which may help you to rearrange how it is displayed.

    What most people do is use the Categories view, which allows you to create your own categories that suit you, and you can move things around in your own categories to your heart's content. Changing or creating new Metadata can be a long and tiresome job, but have a look at cridgit's tool kit to see what I mean.

    Thanks, I've seen it. Found it to be of limited usefulness (tome , despite its depth and complexity.

  • FixmypcmikeFixmypcmike Posts: 12,341
    edited December 1969

    cridgit has tutorials on creating and using metadata here: http://forumarchive.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=180430

  • cridgitcridgit Posts: 823
    edited December 1969

    So, I'm trying to wrap my head around metadata and smart content. It seems like a great feature, and where it works for me (genesis), its pretty neat.

    If someone could help me understand a few things, or point out where my assumptions/observations are incorrect I would appreciate it.

    It seems to me, that is you wish to use metadata and smart content, you are not able to physically rearrange your libraries. I have been at this for a long time (like many of you) and have amassed a great deal of content, and arranged it in ways that work for me. The only things I have left alone are new content, specifically genesis related and a handful of other things. All of these new things seem to work just fine with smart content (but I do not care for their physical arrangement. I do not like the "vanity folder" as maclean has called it, I find it almost as annoying as !!!). Smart content does not see my content that has been arranged as I like it (case in point: Bad Boy for M4. The only pieces of this not moved were the Poser Materials files, and those are the only items Studio seems to think exist).

    Are my observations correct here? I am not trying to disparage this feature; just trying to understand to see if I can adapt.

    Why is it that Smart Content does not recognize M4? I thought it was "aware" of all the Daz figures? When I load M4 into a scene, Smart Content behaves as if there were nothing in the scene.

    Has anyone who has physically rearranged their content in the past succesfully adapted to Smart Content without a herculean data entry effort or a massive reinstall?



    The reason is works right out the box for Genesis is that all the new DAZ products have metadata. Smart Content can work for older products but it needs the metadata. So the reason it doesn't "recognize" M4 is that your M4 doesn't have any metadata yet. So either you create the metadata or you download M4 metadata from someone else (e.g. my freebie metadata on ShareCG).

    Yes, creating metadata for any complex product like V4 or M4 is a big task (it probably takes me 30 minutes each) but in a community of 500,000 people, you only need to do that once and 500,000 people can use it. Many people have been asking DAZ to provide us a mechanism for the community to share metadata, but with the site downgrade they have had their hands a bit full (or they have other plans).

    When you say "rearrange your content" are you talking about moving files and folders around? If so then this is certainly a more tedious approach than using categories, but I know some people are more comfortable doing it this way. Metadata can work after editing files and folders, provided you did that in DAZ Studio (from the right-click menu).

    Once your metadata is setup (and depending on how you setup your metadata), Smart Content can enormously accelerate the way you use Studio (I've submitted a number of feature requests to fill in some obvious user experience gaps). Picture this:
    1. Select the People category and load M4. Smart Content filters to all M4 items.
    2. Select the Wardrobe/Pants category and see all pants for M4. Assume you want to load/autofit M3 pants on M4. Uncheck the "filter" switch in Smart Content and Wardrobe/Pants now shows ALL pants (unfiltered).
    3. (Remember you're looking at products, so what you are looking for is intuitive and easy to find using the product icon. Find the pants you want then double-click to look for the item inside that product.
    4. Smart Content shows you the Wardrobe/Pants items for the selected product (there may be long pants and short pants). Load the M3 pants and accept the autofit.
    5. Check the "filter" switch in Smart Content and Smart Content now shows all content for the selected M3 pants.
    6. Select the Materials category and load the material preset you want.

    That was 11 clicks to find and load a figure and pants, and texture the pants. Note that the above is illustrative and requires a few enhancements to Smart Content (e.g. the filter switch, and opening a product in the current category etc.)

  • jestmartjestmart Posts: 1,816
    edited December 1969

    IMNSHO (In My Not So Humble Opinion), Smart Content is a feeble attempt to make the program newbie friendly. It doesn't help newbies so much as confuse them more when they can't find stuff because it didn't have metadata. And for old hands it often get in the way. Prime example, I wanted to apply a simple gauzy texture to the new Nymph...something dress. The linen texture from the SuperSuit bundle was perfect, but with the dress selected Smart Content would only show shaders that the metadata associated with dress. If I have to use the standard Content Library tab for more then half my work I might as well use it all the time.

  • evilded777evilded777 Posts: 520
    edited December 1969

    Thank you, Cridigit, for chiming in; I hope you understand I in no way meant to insult the obvious effort you have put behind this. I did, however, find your documentation a little hard to follow from my point of view (mostly because Genesis is NOT my most frequently chosen figure, and with no support for M4 -- big surpise -- I was feeling a little like a fish out of water).

    It does seem to me, that if I want to use this I am going to have to do a massive reinstall and wait for Daz and folks like yourself to produce the necessary metadata. The creation process is clumsy at best, and I'm still not sure I have a firm grasp on it.

    However! This did lead me to finally make use of Categories. I have no idea if the way i am employing them was possible in previous versions of Studio, but I have found them to be useful now.

  • evilded777evilded777 Posts: 520
    edited December 1969

    jestmart said:
    IMNSHO (In My Not So Humble Opinion), Smart Content is a feeble attempt to make the program newbie friendly. It doesn't help newbies so much as confuse them more when they can't find stuff because it didn't have metadata. And for old hands it often get in the way. Prime example, I wanted to apply a simple gauzy texture to the new Nymph...something dress. The linen texture from the SuperSuit bundle was perfect, but with the dress selected Smart Content would only show shaders that the metadata associated with dress. If I have to use the standard Content Library tab for more then half my work I might as well use it all the time.

    Yeah, I gotta agree. Its not quite ready for prime time. And while a great idea, I wonder if Daz is really going to support it for the long haul. And just glancing over the thread that shows what items have recieved a metadata update, I am entirely disheartened to see support for the Millenium Girls before Mike 4 (I won't even mention my opinion to their whole attitude on David).

  • JimmyC_2009JimmyC_2009 Posts: 8,356
    edited December 1969

    @evilded777

    There are Metadata files on ShareCG that cridgit has made for a lot of the Dynamic Clothing (and others), and there are some for V4 and M4 made by zigraphics, another member here. I downloaded the M4 one a while ago, and it works for me. I had to reimport my metadata I think.

  • BejaymacBejaymac Posts: 1,043
    edited December 1969

    Has anyone who has physically rearranged their content in the past succesfully adapted to Smart Content without a herculean data entry effort or a massive reinstall?
    Nope, but then I've had problems with their crap CM system since it was forced on us in DS2, anytime I tried to add new content to the DB it would miss files/folders, my content was already organised in the same way I would have done the DB, so it meant I could see when stuff got missed, yet DAZ would close my bugreports as they couldn't replicate it (didn't want to more like).

    Then along comes DS4 with it's "Smart Content", I used it for a little while, until I realised that all of my organising had completely broken any chance of their crap system ever working, and that I would have to make all of the Metadata myself for it to work, which would include a lot of content I've made, so it got flushed down the crapper where it belongs.

    IMNSHO (In My Not So Humble Opinion), Smart Content is a feeble attempt to make the program newbie friendly. It doesn't help newbies so much as confuse them more when they can't find stuff because it didn't have metadata. And for old hands it often get in the way. Prime example, I wanted to apply a simple gauzy texture to the new Nymph...something dress. The linen texture from the SuperSuit bundle was perfect, but with the dress selected Smart Content would only show shaders that the metadata associated with dress. If I have to use the standard Content Library tab for more then half my work I might as well use it all the time.


    Their database system has been doing that since DS2, wouldn't surprise me to find it's confused & scared off more "newbies" than it's kept, it also wouldn't surprise me to find most of them went to Poser instead.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,473
    edited December 1969

    Mediamonkey and XBMC and now Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom all have CMS systems that work. They are open source, they allow outside tools to work with the system easily, and if the db blows up, a simple reinstall and reinitialize fixes everything, no loss of data.... and, it's simple.

    How do they do this? Well by doing it the way all Metadata programs should nowadays imo. They encode data right in the files where appropriate, stable such as using ID3 tags properly in the case of MM (something MS Media player and Apple's do not.) When the tags aren't enough they use sidecar files usually using XML. This sidecar file goes in the folder with the item it tags with an identical name.xml usually. The application reads from these sidecar files into an index in the program to make searching fast and efficient, and writes back to the sidecar file any changes. If an external application makes a change to the sidecar file, a simple rescan in the program updates everything. Since XML is pretty basic/standard, it is easy to develop applications to manage, maintain and reorganize them in a way the original application hasn't built in. The XML format is flexible and can have new features added at any time, if any application doesn't understand a given tag in an XML file, it simply ignores it, it doesn't break anything (if done properly to XML spec.)

    Anyway, that's my 2¢

  • cridgitcridgit Posts: 823
    edited December 1969

    Thank you, Cridigit, for chiming in; I hope you understand I in no way meant to insult the obvious effort you have put behind this. I did, however, find your documentation a little hard to follow from my point of view (mostly because Genesis is NOT my most frequently chosen figure, and with no support for M4 -- big surpise -- I was feeling a little like a fish out of water).

    It does seem to me, that if I want to use this I am going to have to do a massive reinstall and wait for Daz and folks like yourself to produce the necessary metadata. The creation process is clumsy at best, and I'm still not sure I have a firm grasp on it.

    However! This did lead me to finally make use of Categories. I have no idea if the way i am employing them was possible in previous versions of Studio, but I have found them to be useful now.



    No probs, I have quite a thick skin unless people don't say "thank you" - that irks me a lot :-)

    You don't need to do a reinstall - metadata can work with your existing installation - but I think you're referring to the effort involved in creating the metadata. Then yes, everyone who has made some metadata would probably agree with you.

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,473
    edited September 2012

    cridgit said:
    ... unless people don't say "thank you"...

    I haven't had a chance to work with your tools yet cridgit (I did download) but I appreciate you taking the time to put it together. It's always nice when someone takes the time to create something to help others out and gives that away :)

    I would also say thanks to everyone who has created metadata for others to download. It's that kind of community effort that really solves issues like this in my experience.

    Post edited by Gedd on
  • cridgitcridgit Posts: 823
    edited December 1969

    Ok Gedd is off my hitlist now ;-)

    Cheers

  • evilded777evilded777 Posts: 520
    edited March 2013

    BUMP

    Now that Cridgit's material seems to have disappeared (perhaps moved, perhaps removed), and I am trying again to understand smart content and how to make it (now that I have all this wonderful metadata from the DIM -- it wasn't there before, right?)... where can I turn? The DAZ docs is less than helpful for some reason. I am missing some key concept.

    I guess a more accurate question at this point would be: how does one turn a product with existing metadata into smart content?

    //edit not sure HOW I figured out what I was missing, but I did. A little tedious... but possibly worth the effort.

    Post edited by evilded777 on
  • LindseyLindsey Posts: 1,127
    edited March 2013

    Well I'll take a stab at a tutorial....

    If you haven't noticed, products installed via DIM creates folders in Content Library>Product, but not all products are configured with metadata. IF the icons don't display a "file type" tag notation in the upper right the product does not have metadata.

    This tutorial will create metadata for a Hair product with material presets that does not have metadata. This should give you a basic understanding why/how Smart Content Tab and Metadata relates to each other.

    WARNING: If you don't see file extensions, turn them on. Edit>Preferences. Click on the Content Library Tab, enable check box for SHOW FILE EXTENSIONS, click Accept. This will assist in identifying the file's type.


    1. SELECT A FOLDER IN CONTENT LIBRARY>PRODUCTS WITH NO METADATA

    In this sample, we will use a hair + 3 material presets.

    Product: Kurt Hair (Designed for D3 and M3)

    Files: Hair: Kurt_hair.hr2
    Material presets: Black.pz2, Brown.pz2, Red.pz2


    2. CATEGORIZE THE PRODUCT.

    Select Kurt_hair.hr2, right Click>Categorize
    Select Default>Hair>Static (enable the check box)
    Click Accept

    Select Black.pz2, Brown.pz2, Red.pz2 presets, Right Click>Categorize
    Select Default>Materials>Hair (enable the check box)
    Click Accept

    TIP: Use lasso, shift-select or control-select selection methods. Another technique is to select the product folder, Right Click>Create a Category. This will create a product category within the existing category structure and every file in the product will be assigned that category. I've decided to categorize individual files instead, as not all files in a product will fall into a particular category. If you do categorize the whole product folder, you should delete the categories that don't apply once you get the files into the Content DB Editor.

    NOTE: This determines how the product/files are grouped in the Smart Content Tab.


    3. ADD METADATA DETAILS TO THE HAIR

    While still in the Product folder, select Kurt_hair.hr2, Right Click>Show In>Mapped Folder

    Go to the Pane Options (icon about the search button)>Content DB Editor

    In the Content DB Editor window, select Kurt_hair in the upper window.

    Set Type: Follower>Hair

    Select the Compatibility tab. Select Kurt_hair in the lower window, Right Click>Add Compatibilities to Selected File(s)

    On the Select a Compatibility Base window, Scroll down to Generation3 and expand the selection and choose David 3, Click Accept

    Repeat the steps and select Generation3>Michael 3

    If you want to associate the hair to Genesis too, repeat the steps and select Genesis from the list.

    With Kurt_hair still selected in the Compatibility tab, Change NOT DECLARED to DECLARED AS at the bottom of the window
    In the white box to the right, type Kurt Hair/Kurt_hair

    Click Accept

    Note: Format is - Product Name/Item name
    Alternatively, you can click on the Database button to bring up the Select a Compatibility Base Window and

    a. Right Click>Create New Root Compatibility Base (Kurt Hair)
    b. Select the Kurt Hair base, Right Click>Create New Sub-Compatibility Base (Kurt_hair)

    IMPORTANT: You need to assign a Compatibility Base to an item if you want to associate other things to it, such as materials, poses, special lights and clothing.


    4. ASSIGN SCENE IDENTIFICATION (Only needed if item is assigned a Compatibility Base)

    Load the Kurt_hair.hr2 into the viewport.

    On the Scene Tab, select Kurt_hair if not selected.

    Go to Active Pane Options>Edit>Scene Identification and make sure:

    Content Type: Follower>Hair
    Compatibility Base: /Kurt Hair/Kurt_hair

    Assign if they are blank. Click Accept when done.

    NOTE: If this info is missing, hair material presets will fail to associate to the hair in the Smart Content tab.


    5. ADD METADATA DETAILS TO THE HAIR MATERIAL PRESETS

    Go back to the Kurt Hair product folder

    Select one of the hair .pz2 presets. Right Click>Show In>Mapped Folder

    Go to the Pane Options (icon about the search button)>Content DB Editor

    In the Content DB Editor window, select all of the hair material presets

    Set Type: Presets>Materials

    Select the Compatibility tab. Select all of the hair materials in the lower window. Right Click>Add Compatibilities to Selected File(s)

    On the Select a Compatibility Base window, scroll down to Kurt Hair and expand the selection and select Hurt_hair, Click Accept

    NOTE: This is associating the material presets to the Kurt_hair in Smart Content tab.


    6. TEST IF WORKING IN SMART CONTENT

    Load Kurt_hair into the view port
    With the hair selected, click on the Smart Content tab you should see:

    Products sub-tab: "Kurt Hair" product (icon probably missing), click to see material presets
    Files sub-tab: Black.pz2, Brown.pz2, Red.pz2 material presets

    NOTE: the Materials grouping on the left corresponds to the file's category assignment(s)


    7. ADD MISSING PRODUCT ICON

    Create icon in jpg/png format, 110x140 pixels in size. Name the icon the same name as the metadata files located in Runtime/Support. In this example DAZ_3D_4135_Kurt_Hair.jpg or DAZ_3D_4135_Kurt_Hair.png.

    Place the icon in Runtime/Support. The product icon should display when the Smart Content pane is accessed or refreshed.

    /END OF TUTORIAL

    Post edited by Lindsey on
  • JimmyC_2009JimmyC_2009 Posts: 8,356
    edited December 1969

    Thanks Lyndsey!

    I have put this into my Evernotes, and I will work through it later. It will be very useful indeed.

  • LindseyLindsey Posts: 1,127
    edited December 1969

    I hope it all makes sense. I studied existing metadata to figure out the steps. I tackled simple products first like hair, animals and props and have processed over 150 products within the last two weeks. I'm up to 906 products on my Smart Content Product tab. If I find down the road I can optimize things, at least I know enough how things work to fix it.

    The most time consuming is clothing as there are too many categories two choose from... shirts, pants, shoes, socks, skirts, underwear, swim wear, outerwear and accessories for starters,

  • evilded777evilded777 Posts: 520
    edited March 2013

    Hey Lindsey, great job. I guess my altruism didn't stretch as far as yours. I learned a thing or to reading your tutorial that will help me along as well.

    Anyone else notice that some of the metadata that is shipping with older products is busted? Not to point fingers or anything, but a little quality control goes a long way.

    //edit here's one thing i have noticed, and if someone can point me to what I might be doing wrong I'd appreciate it: if I define types (follower\wardrobe\etc) items constantly want to replace something else even if they are different pieces (pants want to replace shoes). This does not happen with any of the Genesis smart content... and I do not see any differences between how i have defined items and how these items are defined.

    Post edited by evilded777 on
  • linvanchenelinvanchene Posts: 617
    edited March 2013

    Lindsey thats a great step by step tutorial that will help a lot of people get started.

    - - -

    For those who would like to dig deeper there is additional information in the Documentation Center:

    http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/public/software/dazstudio/4/userguide/creating_content/packaging/tutorials/adding_metadata/start

    The official "categories" for metadata can be found here:

    http://docs.daz3d.com/doku.php/public/dson_spec/format_description/metadata/categories/start

    - - -


    Three things I often overlooked myself when starting making metadata are:

    - Using the "Content DB Editor" from the "Content Library" offers less functionality then using it from the "Product Library".

    Be aware that changes you made are NOT automatically written to /runtime/support when you are making changes in the "Content DB Editor" from the "Content Library". The ability to export metadata can only be found when opening the "Content DB Editor" from the "Product Library"

    - When in the "Content DB Editor" invest some time to also add "Tags" to all files of a product

    The one tag that should always be entered is the product name. It helps to also add the file name of each preset. Then add as much additional tags as descriptions come to mind. Ask yourself: What words could the user enter in the search field when looking for this product / file?

    You can search by tags in Smart Content AND the the Content Library. There is an icon to the right of the search field in the Content Library to switch between searching by file names and metadata tags.

    - Whenever you are done setting up a product go to the "Product Library" open the "Content DB Editor" and export the files to /runtime/support. Make a backup of those files in a different location.

    just exporting the "User Data" from "Conent DB Maintenance" is not going to save the complete state of the metadata.
    The "User Data" keeps only track of the changes you made. Because the files in /runtime/support get just overwritten with product updates you will want to have a backup in another place to be able to reimport your version of the metadata if you do not like the updates made to the product.

    - - -

    A big "thank you" to everyone who helped me on my way to understand the whole metadata system better.

    Post edited by linvanchene on
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