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Blender-aid helps manage Blender productions


blender-aidIs your Blender production turning into a spiderweb of linked libraries? Blender-aid can help.

Jeroen Bakker wrote:

During the blender conference we launched a tool that can help Blender users with their production and Blend files. We got many enthusiastic reactions and lots of questions.

Creating a library system can be difficult. Making changes to the library system, like renaming a file, can be even harder. It can take hours, even days before you've figured out which files to change.

The tool, called Blender-aid, can help. After entering your production into the tool, you can get an overview of all your files and how these files are related to each other. You can even zoom into a file to see what is in it; which materials or groups. Blender-aid also provides some simple operations like renaming a file, renaming an element within a file and moving a file to another location within your production. Also missing links are detected by Blender-aid.

Blender aid - view a production

Blender-aid modify librarysystem


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. donblender: the tool is focused on productions using multiple blend files. The tool is used stand alone (besides Blender on your workstation). We're looking at a server based solution in a future release

    There are multiple reasons why you can benefit from the tool:
    * reorganize the library system
    * analyze the impact of changes
    * checking consistency
    * documentation
    * and many other

  2. I like this. It will help with large projects and team projects even more.

    It's like people out there know organization is a must.

  3. Yes, yes and a hundred times yes! I had something primitive oatched together for these tasks, but this looks wonderful! I hope the part about being able to add links directly to a blend file is implemented soon (i.e. clock on a file in BlenderAid and pull it into another file, thereby linking it inside it)!

  4. @Jeroen

    each file rename + move etc.. could be accompanied with an automatic svn commit so that operations are versionned

    and also if a file is svn rename'd or moved (svn mv or so), your tool could execute operations as an svn pre-commit script in order to put the .blender links back again or raise an error (dialog/message) preventing commits from happening because the renaming/moving was not reasonable somehow

  5. doesn´t work for me under winxp.

    C:\blenderaid>python server.pyc
    No Python Imaging Library found! redirecting thumbnails
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "./", line 198, in
    File "./", line 643, in setup
    sqlite3.OperationalError: unable to open database file

    # where is the webserver binding
    # do not use port less than 1024 as they need to be created with more privileged than
    # normal users.
    WEBSERVER_BINDING=("localhost", 8080)

    # location of the sql database binary.
    # this file will be created when not exists

    #Stylesheet to use in html

    #release version of the system

    #additional description of the release
    VERSION_DESCRIPTION="October 2009"

    don´t know what i did wrong.

    any ideas?

  6. @dave62:
    There are some issues when running on windows. Have you created "c:\var\tmp"? This folder is default available on Linux and MacOSX, but not on windows.

    More info can be found on the website (Blender-aid documentation)

    @all: thanks for the nice feedback

  7. This is really a band-aid to heal a 'feature wound' in Blender.

    We need these features to grow inside Blender to heal the 'feature wound' and associated user pain.
    This is not to pooh pooh your great work and contribution Jeroen - it will really help almost all Blender users at this time.

    External file/pipeline management tools exist for many 3D editors and this is good for Blender too.

    When these 'feature wounds' are healed inside Blender itself, then Blender-aid may still serve a purpose as a server app with additional functionality - until a future internal Blender file/asset/library management can network with other instances of Blender and perform the same functionality.

    But right now, your tool is healing user pain that has been around for such a long time that it highlights a 'feature wound' in Blender that should be healed from the natural growth of the same features inside a version of Blender, and certainly in 2.5, which is meant to fix a lot of Blender's anatomy.

    I'll use your tool as most will, and again I thank you, but I hope someone will look to integrate these features into a better file/asset/library management system inside Blender itself.


    Yes, it's great to have 3rd party apps for Blender - but - only if they do something that Blender shouldn't/can't do. We have to draw a line somewhere as to what Blender should do, and it is obvious to most users that Blender-aid is coming to the aid of Blender as a band-aid for features that Blender should already have, and certainly should have in a final/mature 2.5 release.

  8. @Jeroen Bakker

    yes, i already created those folders. but still cant get none of those three different py versions to run under xp. what about the missing python image lib warning. where can i get this "optional PIL"?

    btw works very fine under studioubuntu 9.04 great tool! thx a lot:)

  9. @blndrusr @Jeroen
    not everything that helps working with .blend files should be inside blender.
    Jeroen's solution maybe for web search & sharing of assets in repositories..

    For example
    Uploading .blend with its dependencies to repositories
    you want to send some scene you've created to a remote models repository, then you use some python script or (future?) built-in functionality for this, and that features resolves all the .blend dependencies of your scene to upload to the server either all .blend merged into one .blend, or all .blend together but as separate files.

    Downloading .blend with its dependencies from a repository
    In this case, the repository may reachable through a SOAP/REST/WebDAV/SFTP service and show dependencies between .blend, bitmap (etc.) files, as well as hand "master" .blends and their dependencies together for download, similarly to linux package management systems (apt-get...)

  10. This looks awesome! There's just one major problem for me, and that's that Blender-aid doesn't seem to like spaces in the folder name of the production. When I tried the folder with spaces, BA didn't find any files. When I replaced the spaces with underscores, it found the files, but then also found a bunch of "missing links" because I'd changed the folder name without changing the .blend files. I hope that's not too difficult to fix.

    Otherwise, totally awesome, and I look forward to using this a lot!

  11. @myselfhimself, interesting comment - 'not everything that helps working with .blend files should be inside blender' - and one that in principle I agree with.

    It's the practice or reality - the details that decide if something should be in Blender or not.

    And it's obvious that at least the non-server features - the existing Blender-aid features - should be native to Blender, that is in Blender and not provided as a 'band-aid' (bandage) by another app.

    Editing asset file names etc is as core a feature as editing a layer name. Moving a file is as core a feature as moving a 3D vertex. And the same should be said for Blender discovering missing asset links in libraries and giving the user a simple in-built feature to correct, etc.

    In regards to your other comment - 'Jeroen's solution maybe for web search & sharing of assets in repositories' - this is an set of functionality that could justify constituting a standalone app/web-app outside of Blender. It could have a federated user model, so allow art directors etc final control over assets in a big project, etc, and most importantly take the networking burden off Blender file/asset/library management. I like that idea.

    But the core features of Blender-aid as released now - not a future server version - should be in Blender now and certainly in 2.5-3+ versions.

    Relying on a 3rd party app for this is an embarrassment to the state of development of Blender, and an unnecessary pain to load up and work with along side Blender every time you want to fix a problem with a file in Blender - even if Blender-aid has a nice interface.

    Blender's 2.5 interface is flexible enough to integrate these features and is the right place to do it. Perhaps a server version should be a standalone app, but that's not the feature set I'm referring to.

    The features in Blender-aid as it is released now should already be in Blender or in ver 2.5-3.

  12. @MacGuyver, I will add this to the bugtracker... should not be to much of a problem.
    @blndrusr and others, this is a subject where we can cooperate. I fully agree that some functionalities should be directly available in blender. I've been investigating this issue for some time now and have multiple solutions. perhaps we need to vote what should be the best solution.

    Together with svn integration this is a hot topic for blender-aid.

  13. I think the project should be called "Bleder-server" and integrated in the oficial root development.

    With SVN integration, access permissions, renderfarm management, file management, library management, ... etc

    Would be a good tool for professional productions.


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