Making the case for relative pathing

Posted on October 13, 2014 in Blog \ News

It’s Fall now, and some people are thinking about cleaning things out of their garages.  How about a little check up, though, on where you store your scene asset files?  We just returned from having a table at MIA Animation, and we talked with a number of CG industry folks about how we handle scene files and the assets that are linked to them.  A couple things were clear:

  • Most artists were not even trying to use relative pathing to locate external assets from within their scene files
  • Changing from absolute pathing to relative pathing is typically painful, but depends on the application being used

In this day of collaborative work, data exchange between platforms, and external render farms (hey, that’s us!), it makes sense for artists to begin training themselves to use relative pathing on a regular basis.  Your scene files need to be as portable as possible, something that relative pathing makes easy.  If you begin your project using relative links throughout, it becomes far easier to ship that project off to someone else…like us…for either more work or rendering.  Once relative links become a habit, the chances of you being stung by the “can’t find ____ .png/.jpg/.vrlmap/.cache…” pain come render time are much lower.

Yes, some applications have asset file collection/re-pathing/gathering features and functions, but those shouldn’t be your crutch.  Train yourself to think relatively, and you won’t be disappointed.

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