Why is browsing content in Daz so complicated and messy?

Carder123Carder123 Posts: 0
edited December 1969 in The Commons

Hi all,

I've been using Daz Studio 4.5 now on and off for about 3 months, and I STILL cannot get my head around the way you're meant find your stuff after you install it. Even after watching the You Tube tutorial several times too! It's a random, fragmented mess.

The content never corresponds with the file path on the read me. The content is often listed in Daz under the developer's name (which you soon forget and have to look up again), and there's simply WAY too many subfolders. Subfolder hell..if I'm honest.

My heart sinks whenever I install Daz content, because I know I'm going to spend the next 20 minutes trying to find it. (If I'm lucky)

Do you think you can sort this out in time for version 5? Just keep the file structure simple guys!..

Every other piece of software I use has content and plug-ins easily categorised. I'm sorry, but the term 'Smart' in Daz is a joke! :(

Please sort it out, your content browsing is simply terrible.

Comments

  • GiGi_7GiGi_7 Posts: 777
    edited December 1969

    I construct and use strongly custom categories, for each thing I install, I categorize it (and create/modify product and metadata) . Also I use separated folders for clothes, shapes, hair, etc, so the search in the first time is less "traumatic" in case I didn't beware with path during install folder. With custom categories work is very speed, and you don't need worry about where your stuff are...at least the majority, custom use of textures still need search because content library doesn't support jpg, png, bmp as files to display.

    Without categories I go crazy. During this days I lost categories in the content folder and simply I stopped to work. Certainly search for content is sometimes a torture and a challenge to memory.

  • GiGi_7GiGi_7 Posts: 777
    edited February 2013

    Shapes. I forgot shapes. Actor and body haven't complication, but others partials are messy or hard to identify its product, no icons so its effect is not known or recalled, so you need play with all dials to see what thing they do.

    Post edited by GiGi_7 on
  • sfaa69sfaa69 Posts: 254
    edited December 1969

    As to the answer "why?", it's because Studio began when Poser required that different types of files be put in exactly the right place, and in order for installers to install correctly, the Studio arrangement followed Poser. Or something along those lines.
    Since I have never used Poser, and intend never to use it, I have been arranging my content manually from the beginning, so that loading the base figure is from a category such as clothes, or hair, or furniture, or whatever. All the props and textures for that item are in sub folders under that item so I don't have to go searching in characters, props, or poses every time I want to use something.
    Apparently the smart content makes this process easier, but since 80% of my stuff was before that system was introduced, I am still doing it the old way. It's a pain at the beginning when you're loading files, but sure makes it easier when you're actually working on a scene.

  • WhimsicalWhimsical Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    File structure in poser has never been the same fractured confusing mess that daz studio's is.

    I used to love daz studio however after the last hd replacement my heart just sank at the prospect of having to try and reinstall and resort stuff for daz studio i didn't bother to reinstall it

  • LeatherGryphonLeatherGryphon Posts: 1,718
    edited February 2013

    Regarding the title question: "Why is browsing content in Daz so complicated and messy?"

    I have an opinion but will temper my statement to a couple of questions:

    1) Perhaps it's because Studio4 may have been constructed without a design plan or was constructed to mimic an engineers nightmare?

    2) Or perhaps it makes perfectly logical sense and is an elegant solution, but there is yet to be created a perfectly readable, logical and complete document describing it that can be understood by mere mortals?

    However, after much damage to my head and little damage to the wall I've beating it against I've almost determined that there is some rhyme to its reason. You just have to forget how you used earlier versions of Studio or Poser.

    I tackled the problem by installing Studio4 virginly on a separate computer without content. Then one at a time, added new content but I added ONLY Genesis content from DAZ. I let the installer install everything with default values and I then crawled around my filesystem checking to see what was put where. That let me learn what "normal" is. After all, that's sort of how I learned about the file structure of Poser and earlier versions of Studio.

    But knowing where your files are actually put in the filesystem is only half of the problem. Finding how they are displayed in the Studio4 browsers is a whole other level of complexity. The new Studio4 browser mechanism is a "smart machine". And as I've said for years, "The trouble with smart machines is that to take full advantage of them you have to be smarter than they are.".

    I won't attempt to describe how or why certain things that use to be icons in the content browser are no longer in the browser but have been moved to other tools that confuse the hell out of me. After all, that's what's supposed to be documented in full and complete manuals provided by the manufacturer.

    I'll also take this opportunity to again point out the issue of trying to run Studio4 on a Vista, Win7 or Win8 machine as a "Standard" user. To install Studio4, just like installing most applications, you have to provide the password of an administratively privileged user. However, unlike most applications, Studio4 then assumes that you ARE that administratively privileged user, and proceeds to set some sort of flag (probably a Registry entry) that points to that user's Documents folder. The consequence being that after you've installed Studio4 and install some content letting it use default paths that you didn't examine carefully and then you run Studio4 as a Standard user and go to look for your installed content you'll discover that you can't find it. :-( The reason, is that the content has been installed into the administrator's Documents folder which is invisible to you as a Standard user. i.e. your content isn't your content anymore!

    I've been able to get around this issue by starting with a virgin system (one which doesn't have Studio4 already installed) then temporarily changing my personal Win7 login account to be an administratively privileged user. Then I login and install Studio4 letting it default to whatever paths it wants to establish. That apparently satisfies Studio4 so that it's default paths are within my personal account. Then I change my login back to being a "Standard" account and re-login. Thereafter, any content that I install using the default paths, now gets installed into my Documents folder and is visible to my account. That doesn't resolve the issue of where in the hell does Studio4 display the damn thing in the browser(s) but at least I know the data is in files visible to me somewhere.

    But now we are presented with a new, super smart machine, called the DAZ Installation Manager or DIM (very appropriate acronym) That supposedly takes all the thinking away from us and just "works". With the caveat that it works best if you start from scratch and re-install everything. I am avoiding this thing like the event horizon of a galactic black hole! I spent 4 months re-installing everything manually last year and carefully recategorizing my downloaded installation files as well as my installed content. I'm not about to let some Damn Installation Mangler force me to re-think my categories. Perhaps this is a good thing for newbies who can't or won't learn enough about computer file systems to actually understand what's going on but some of us old timers look at this like throwing sand into the clockworks.

    Post edited by LeatherGryphon on
  • icprncssicprncss Posts: 3,441
    edited December 1969

    Regarding the title question: "Why is browsing content in Daz so complicated and messy?"

    I have an opinion but will temper my statement to a couple of questions:

    1) Perhaps it's because Studio4 may have been constructed without a design plan or was constructed to mimic an engineers nightmare?

    2) Or perhaps it makes perfectly logical sense and is an elegant solution, but there is yet to be created a perfectly readable, logical and complete document describing it that can be understood by mere mortals?

    However, after much damage to my head and little damage to the wall I've beating it against I've almost determined that there is some rhyme to its reason. You just have to forget how you used earlier versions of Studio or Poser.

    I tackled the problem by installing Studio4 virginly on a separate computer without content. Then one at a time, added new content but I added ONLY Genesis content from DAZ. I let the installer install everything with default values and I then crawled around my filesystem checking to see what was put where. That let me learn what "normal" is. After all, that's sort of how I learned about the file structure of Poser and earlier versions of Studio.

    But knowing where your files are actually put in the filesystem is only half of the problem. Finding how they are displayed in the Studio4 browsers is a whole other level of complexity. The new Studio4 browser mechanism is a "smart machine". And as I've said for years, "The trouble with smart machines is that to take full advantage of them you have to be smarter than they are.".

    I won't attempt to describe how or why certain things that use to be icons in the content browser are no longer in the browser but have been moved to other tools that confuse the hell out of me. After all, that's what's supposed to be documented in full and complete manuals provided by the manufacturer.

    I'll also take this opportunity to again point out the issue of trying to run Studio4 on a Vista, Win7 or Win8 machine as a "Standard" user. To install Studio4, just like installing most applications, you have to provide the password of an administratively privileged user. However, unlike most applications, Studio4 then assumes that you ARE that administratively privileged user, and proceeds to set some sort of flag (probably a Registry entry) that points to that user's Documents folder. The consequence being that after you've installed Studio4 and install some content letting it use default paths that you didn't examine carefully and then you run Studio4 as a Standard user and go to look for your installed content you'll discover that you can't find it. :-( The reason, is that the content has been installed into the administrator's Documents folder which is invisible to you as a Standard user. i.e. your content isn't your content anymore!

    I've been able to get around this issue by starting with a virgin system (one which doesn't have Studio4 already installed) then temporarily changing my personal Win7 login account to be an administratively privileged user. Then I login and install Studio4 letting it default to whatever paths it wants to establish. That apparently satisfies Studio4 so that it's default paths are within my personal account. Then I change my login back to being a "Standard" account and re-login. Thereafter, any content that I install using the default paths, now gets installed into my Documents folder and is visible to my account. That doesn't resolve the issue of where in the hell does Studio4 display the damn thing in the browser(s) but at least I know the data is in files visible to me somewhere.

    But now we are presented with a new, super smart machine, called the DAZ Installation Manager or DIM (very appropriate acronym) That supposedly takes all the thinking away from us and just "works". With the caveat that it works best if you start from scratch and re-install everything. I am avoiding this thing like the event horizon of a galactic black hole! I spent 4 months re-installing everything manually last year and carefully recategorizing my downloaded installation files as well as my installed content. I'm not about to let some Damn Installation Mangler force me to re-think my categories. Perhaps this is a good thing for newbies who can't or won't learn enough about computer file systems to actually understand what's going on but some of us old timers look at this like throwing sand into the clockworks.

    Option 1 has my vote.

  • ServantServant Posts: 393
    edited December 1969

    What I did was spend a day simply creating folders under the libraries folder and rearrange them under a new folder like "characters", "v4 clothes", "fantasy" for instance. It's a bit of work, but makes things much easier to navigate the content library. It's not 100% effective, though, but it works for me.

  • ssgbryanssgbryan Posts: 690
    edited December 1969

    icprncss said:

    Option 1 has my vote.

    I gotta agree with you on this.

    DAZ would have been better served if the DS4 designers had read The Mythical Man Month by Dr. Frederick Brooks. Most of the design problems could have been avoided.

  • nightwolf1982nightwolf1982 Posts: 487
    edited December 1969

    I agree that the content browsing in DAZ can be messy, but I believe it has more to do with a lack of standardization that anything else. Everyone has their own opinion on how files should be arranged (that is, anyone who cares enough to learn). This includes content creators and the people who pack up these products for distribution.

    This means that while one person may categorize a pose AS A pose, someone else might categorize it as a preset. and then it depends on what that pose does. Material pose? might be in the preset category, the materials category, or even characters category.

    Hell, there might even be multiple categories for the same thing (skirt and skirts in the wardrobe category, for example)!

    If there were a single set of rules that were adhered to, things might be different. Until then, your best bet is to plan out your install paths and expect to do some re-categorizing and metadata editing.

  • Carder123Carder123 Posts: 0
    edited February 2013

    I agree that the content browsing in DAZ can be messy, but I believe it has more to do with a lack of standardization that anything else. Everyone has their own opinion on how files should be arranged (that is, anyone who cares enough to learn). This includes content creators and the people who pack up these products for distribution.

    This means that while one person may categorize a pose AS A pose, someone else might categorize it as a preset. and then it depends on what that pose does. Material pose? might be in the preset category, the materials category, or even characters category.

    Hell, there might even be multiple categories for the same thing (skirt and skirts in the wardrobe category, for example)!

    If there were a single set of rules that were adhered to, things might be different. Until then, your best bet is to plan out your install paths and expect to do some re-categorizing and metadata editing.

    I appreciate what you're saying and I know what you mean about the 'perfect file structure' being subjective, but Daz needs to say...."OK you lot!....version 5.....forget all the other versions! .....THIS is how you form your file structure. There's two options to browse...ONE for people who want to complicate matters and use Poser.....and TWO - DAZ USERS.....ie: Genesis>male/female>clothing,hair, face, textures and poses.

    ....job done!

    How simple would that be!? Then I could actually get on with creating my hobbyist masterpiece, rather than losing what little hair I have left trying to find those f****** skin textures I installed.

    Post edited by Carder123 on
  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 15,704
    edited December 1969

    ...jolly good, the site is back up.


    OK, good I stumbled onto this thread.

    After reading LeatherGryphon's post, it makes me feel I need to have someone with more IT savvy than myself set up Win7 so I can install 4.5 on the new workstation. I never have dealt with all this administrator or password rubbish on previous systems I've owned as I was the only one using them. XP let me bypass this and just install away, no hoops to jump through (actually considered getting XP Pro to avoid this but it actually cost more than Win7)

    Building the machine turned out to be pretty straightforward and rather simple compared to dealing with setting up the OS. Everything is seen in by the system's BIOS but Win7 doesn't see the 1TB D: runtime drive properly (it labels it as a floppy drive). It isn't seeing the GPU drivers either, thus I am only getting low res VGA quality.

    Now I learn have to set up some "super" administrative account from a hidden folder on my own personal system so I can properly perform a clean install of 4.5 and all my content.

    ...then there's the issue of how 4.5 is organised.

    I always thought it was silly that (with 3.x) Daz split installation of Studio to two different locations and came up with the "Content Library" concept. With previous versions, everything, the core application and runtime structure, went into the Programme Files folder. This made it easy to create custom catagorised runtimes for content as long as the Geometries, Textures, and Data folders were left intact. Heck you could even have your runtime on a separate drive as long as it was mapped properly in the application. I personally find the old runtme structure very elegant and simple to deal with. It is fairly easy to create new folders, rename content folders, and move content around.

    Now with all this CMS and "Smart Content" stuff, it adds another step of complexity. I'm not sure how to go about setting up a custom runtime (which is somewhat a misnomer as 4.x is built on the "Content Library" concept). What can I custom install/move/rename and what do I need to leave alone so I don't break an important path which would cause a failure on loading? For example, as I understand, any Genesis content needs to be in the same location as the base Genesis figure. Does that need to stay in the "My Documents/Library" folder? That would defeat the whole purpose of the separate runtime drive as much of the new clothing, pose, hair, and character content is Genesis based.

    I also will be installing/running Poser Pro2012 as well as Daz Studio 3.2Advanced (to be able to use plugins I like such as LDP2 that do not work in 4.5), Bryce 7.1, CarraraPro 8 (without the CMS update), and MarvelousDesigner2. Save for Bryce, these all need to have access to the same runtime.

    I knew I faced a big enough job in just installing and building the runtimes. Now with all this Win7 & Daz Library stuff it seems it has just become all the more difficult.

    Seems the K.I.S.S. factor doesn't apply anymore.

  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 7,187
    edited December 1969

    Kyoto Kid said:
    With previous versions, everything, the core application and runtime structure, went into the Programme Files folder. This made it easy to create custom catagorised runtimes for content as long as the Geometries, Textures, and Data folders were left intact. Heck you could even have your runtime on a separate drive as long as it was mapped properly in the application. I personally find the old runtme structure very elegant and simple to deal with. It is fairly easy to create new folders, rename content folders, and move content around.

    That's actually pretty simple...DAZ had no choice in the matter. MS changed the rules of the game...if you thought the hoops to jump through just to get the installer to run were a bit much, think how much worse it would be having to seek permission to do ANYTHING...try and load something from your content and a bazillion 'Do you want to do this?' boxes pop up...

    And here's a little secret...the default install directory is just that...the default. It's not the ONLY place you can install to...but you do have to observe certain rules. Although one of the best ways around it...move EVERYTHING to another location.

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,759
    edited December 1969

    Ever since I did my content this way http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/11176/ I don't have any issue with finding stuff....remembering is another matter. :)

  • icprncssicprncss Posts: 3,441
    edited December 1969

    Poser Debut and P9/Pro 2012 by default do not place the installed content in the main app folder anymore. The only difference is, you are given the choice.

    When the content manager was introduced in DS3, you were given the option to check the box that told DS not to use it. You can also go with a the tree view rather than the content view in DS3 and up.

    As for Win7, do not install DS, Poser or any app you will be making frequent changes to in either of the Program Files folders (x86 or the one for 64 if you're using 64 bit). Make a new folder or better yet, a separate partition. Install DS to the separate folder or partition and you should be good to go.

    If the UAC is having fits, disable it completely.

    If you really want the My Library folder inside the main app folder, move it there. As long as the folder is correctly mapped to DS, the app doesn't care where you put it.

  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited February 2013

    icprncss said:
    Poser Debut and P9/Pro 2012 by default do not place the installed content in the main app folder anymore. The only difference is, you are given the choice.

    When the content manager was introduced in DS3, you were given the option to check the box that told DS not to use it. You can also go with a the tree view rather than the content view in DS3 and up.

    As for Win7, do not install DS, Poser or any app you will be making frequent changes to in either of the Program Files folders (x86 or the one for 64 if you're using 64 bit). Make a new folder or better yet, a separate partition. Install DS to the separate folder or partition and you should be good to go.

    If the UAC is having fits, disable it completely.

    If you really want the My Library folder inside the main app folder, move it there. As long as the folder is correctly mapped to DS, the app doesn't care where you put it.

    Wrong, Win7 protects the Programs Areas of your drive, So if content is placed in any of the Programs folders writes (Data files to the Data folder for scene files and other types of saves) just will not happen. That said any other area and even external devices work perfectly as long as mapped to the DS app properly.

    Post edited by Jaderail on
  • LeatherGryphonLeatherGryphon Posts: 1,718
    edited February 2013

    icprncss said:
    ...

    If you really want the My Library folder inside the main app folder, move it there. As long as the folder is correctly mapped to DS, the app doesn't care where you put it.

    WRONG! DAZ may not care but Windows Vista, win7 and win8 do. Attempts by an executing application to write into the "Program Files" or "Program Files (x86)" folders will be redirected to write to a sub-folder in the normally hidden "appData" folder in your personal account.

    Also, the oft given advice to disable the UAC should only be followed if your computer is isolated from the Internet. The UAC is there for a reason! Granted, the UAC on Vista was a royal pain in the neck nagging you multiple times even as an administrative user. But that frustration was cured with Windows7, and if you follow the rules for program installation you rarely see it except once when installing a software as a Standard User.

    The mention of a hidden super administrator account is correct, there is one in Windows Vista and Win7 and I think Win8. It's not normally necessary to enable it. There are actually four levels of user accounts:

    1) Super-Administrator (disabled and hidden by default) who has complete control of the machine and is never asked for the password.

    2) Administrator There must always be at least one "Administrator" login account. It is hardly ever asked for the password.

    3) Standard User (there are no Standard User accounts unless you create one) who is asked for the Administrator password whenever installing software or attempting to write into protected areas or manage system features.

    4) Guest login. (disabled by default) The Guest login has less privileges than the Standard User and cannot view other user's data. This account can be used by children and guests for temporary access to the computer for game play or web browsing. It actually cannot be assigned a password! I guess it's relatively safe and useful but I look at it with suspicion. I keep other people off my computers (*smug grin*).

    I've found only one instance where I actually needed the Super-Administrator account. It was required for me to use the third-party application "Eraser" to securely erase the free (un-allocated) file area of the hard drive. The app wouldn't let me erase the free area even when logged in as Administrator and providing the password. That area of the system was too heavily protected. But when logged in as the Super-Administrator it worked properly. :-)

    Windows is designed for ordinary people to run as a Standard User login. If a virus gets into the computer through a standard user's account it is much more unlikely that the system itself will be damaged. The user's account unfortunately may become a pigs breakfast, but the system is safe. I've set up a public library used by nasty teenagers continually playing games and visiting sites they shouldn't and it gets viruses all the time. The system itself is not harmed. I use the Administrator's account to simply blow away the Standard User account that they were using and make a new one. Problem fixed. However, I finally quit that job because one or more of the more savvy kids were deliberately hacking the system. (*grrr*) Computers should never have been made available to non-professionals.

    Post edited by LeatherGryphon on
  • icprncssicprncss Posts: 3,441
    edited December 1969

    I meant it won't care so long as you install DS outside the idiot program files folder. I keep Win7 in a partition all by itself and install other apps to other partitions and drives.

    I had the My Library inside the main DS4 app folder on an older Win7 OS and never had an issue because the main app was installed to a separate folder on C: drive.

  • JaguarEllaJaguarElla Posts: 10,357
    edited December 1969

    I nearly always have Windows explorer open and use search doing 3D,
    in Carrara I have to then go to file and import once I find something,
    the one small plus about studio is I can at least drag and drop it in straight from my WinEx search Window!
    even obj files etc, it will put up the import dialogue.

  • SpitSpit Posts: 1,581
    edited December 1969

    I don't know what I am under win7. This is the first machine I've set up a login. All the stuff is mine only (except DIM which made itself Public), I've run into situations where I've had to run something as Adminstrator. No big deal. I've installed into Program Files and Program Files(x86) and a few utilities into a folder outside those. I'm just not exercised about it either way and have no problem with any Studio I've installed nor any of its content.

    As for browsing, the CMS and metadata is supposed to make that unnecessary. Unfortunately the designers (1) didn't understand the need for artists to browse for inspiration--searching for specifics doesn't always cut it-- (2) there's a lot of missing metadata and a lot of inconsistency in existing stuff and (3) DAZ has given us no (even backdoor) direct interface to the database.

    Once I've decided finally how to handle all my content vis-a-vis DIM/not DIM, I suspect working in Studio will be easier. My problem is getting from here to there and right now it all seems insurmountable. This is taking way more time than I'm comfortable with.

    I still believe browsing content is king, but I'm willing to give that up for Smart Content for Genesis and related stuff (only).

  • JohnDelaquioxJohnDelaquiox Posts: 1,063
    edited December 1969

    I keep requesting that the store adds downloadable read me files to the site

  • SzarkSzark Posts: 8,759
    edited December 1969

    Yeah it is a great thing to be able to read the readme before buying, saves a lot of mistakes buying the wrong item or buying more items for it to work fully.

  • LeatherGryphonLeatherGryphon Posts: 1,718
    edited February 2013

    Spit said:
    I don't know what I am under win7. This is the first machine I've set up a login.

    If you have only one login option at startup then you are probably an "Administrator".

    You can find out for sure by going to the "START-->Control Panel-->User Accounts & Family Safety-->User Accounts" and examine the information in the box. It will say either "Administrator" or "Standard User" or "Guest".

    If you are an "Administrator" and you want to create another user, you click the "Manage another account" link. Only an Administrator can create or remove users. There must always be at least one Administrator in the system.

    If you are an "Administrator" and want to change your account to be a "Standard User" then you need to first create a new account of "Administrator" type and assign it a password. I usually name it "Admin" (because the name "Administrator" is, I believe, reserved for the super-administrator) and I give it a good strong password. Then log off and then login using the new "Admin" account. Now you can go back to the "Control Panel" and choose "Manage another account" link to change your personal account to be a "Standard User". Then of course log off and log back in to your personal account. The only change you'll probably notice is that you'll be challenged for the "Admin" password when installing software or changing some system parameters.

    user.jpg
    600 x 275 - 17K
    Post edited by LeatherGryphon on
  • Peter WadePeter Wade Posts: 317
    edited December 1969

    I nearly always have Windows explorer open and use search doing 3D,
    in Carrara I have to then go to file and import once I find something,
    the one small plus about studio is I can at least drag and drop it in straight from my WinEx search Window!
    even obj files etc, it will put up the import dialogue.

    Thank you wendy♥catz !

    I didn't know you could drag and drop from explorer to Daz Studio but now you have told me I think I'll find it very useful. Especially since the content manager doesn't seem to like my computer for some mysterious reason.

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