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Asset Management Terminology
Needs Triage, NormalPublicDESIGN



Current terminology for the Asset Browser isn't complete and not very well thought out. It's important to clearly define the terminology and apply it consistently. This is needed for a helpful UI language, but also non-ambiguous developer documentation (e.g. API docs for asset manager systems).
It would further be nice to have a language scheme to take names from, rather than a bunch of loose, often rather technical terms (proposal at the end).


These are our own definitions for the context of Blender asset management.

Asset ManagerA system responsible for creating, monitoring, organizing and protecting an asset data-base. If no such system exists, the user is the asset manager.
Asset Management SystemThe combination of an asset/production tracker (e.g. Kitsu, server side software of BlenderKit) and a Blender add-on that acts as a bridge to it. Note that it's undefined where the asset manager operates here: The asset tracker could also do this part, the bridge add-on, the user or some combination of these.
Asset Manager BridgeA Blender add-on for an asset management system.
Asset BrowserAn editor within Blender that provides an (interactive) view into an asset data-base, possibly established through the asset manager bridge add-on.
CategoryA defined union of asset types. E.g.: "Objects and Collections", "Media" (images, videos and sound), "Materials".
RepositoryA .blend file, a directory with .blend files (possibly in sub-directories) or a "virtual" repository where an asset manager bridge add-on provides an index of asset meta-data which the Asset Browser can display.
Asset Data-baseA data-base of any format (e.g. mySQL based, SVN repository, a .blend, or a directory of .blends), possibly unknown to Blender, managed solely by the Asset Manager.
Smart FilterA preset of filter settings (asset type, tags, name filter-string, etc).


Missing Terms

  • The two asset types have temporary and already used names:
    • "Preset" (assets that are applied, like brushes, matcaps or poses)
    • "Primitive" (assets that are appended or linked, like objects, images or node groups)


UI Language Scheme Proposal

A simple metaphor for asset browsing is a library visit. Let's brainstorm how we could use that as a naming scheme:

Current TermNatural Language
RepositoryAsset Library [i]
Smart FilterCatalog
Meta-dataBack Matter
Generated list of assets with meta-data [ii]Asset Index

Some items may go too far, this is really just an idea.

i) The term Library is already used in Blender (the source file of linked data-blocks). Could this be confusing? In a sense, asset repositories are also the source "files" of assets, so maybe just Asset Library is reasonable. If in doubt we can differentiate between Data-block Library and Asset Library
ii) No existing term. This list is generated by the asset manager system and is what the Asset Browser needs to display a list of items that represent the assets.

Event Timeline

Julian Eisel (Severin) updated the task description. (Show Details)
Julian Eisel (Severin) updated the task description. (Show Details)

I would suggest "Mark as Asset" and the symmetric "Unmark as Asset". The current term "Mark Asset" sounds like there is already an asset. "Clear Asset" sounds like deleting the contents of an asset, very misleading...

Another suggestion is "Declare Asset" & "Undeclare Asset".

If there was a way to show a checkmark, it would simplify the bipolar phrases to just one.

The more I think about it “Clear” is problematic. It is not just a confusion with removal and deletion. It is more that “Clear” is generally not a negative state but a positive one, one that does not have restrictions, regulation, or obstacles in the way. A runway is clear for take off. A document might be cleared for publication. So in this case “ Clear Asset” might certainly be that you have approved its availability, not the opposite.

Rather than struggle with terminology to describe the action of changing the state of the object, it might be more straightforward to simply list the states. For example a submenu called “Asset Status” or “Asset Library” which opens to show you that this one is “Not an Asset”, next to other items like “Shared Asset”, “Public”, “Private”, Reserved, Hidden, Available, Disabled, or whatever.