File Management in 3ds Max - Working with Relative Paths

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  • Games
  • Design Visualization
  • 2011
  • Basics
  • Media Management
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Beginner
3 min

File Management in 3ds Max - Working with Relative Paths

In this tutorial, you learn about the importance of relative paths, especially in conjunction with project folders. Leveraging Relative Paths is a great way to remove complexity when transferring projects across systems.

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2010
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2010 or higher.
00:00:00 --> 00:00:06
Relative Paths is an important concept to adopt when you use
Set Project Folder to manage your project contents.

00:00:06 --> 00:00:12
When you set a project folder, you typically ensure that all files
related to a project are placed in their appropriate folders.

00:00:12 --> 00:00:20
.max files are found in \scenes, bitmaps are found in
\sceneassets\images, sound files in \sceneassets\sounds etc…

00:00:21 --> 00:00:27
When you start using these files in a project, the Asset Tracker
lets you view the files that are in use in the scene.

00:00:31 --> 00:00:35
Sure enough, support files are listed as part of their appropriate folders.

00:00:35 --> 00:00:40
However, these files are currently dependant on the top-level
location of the project folder itself.

00:00:40 --> 00:00:44
In this case, the top folder named "biplane" resides under
C:\My Documents.

00:00:45 --> 00:00:52
If you decide to copy the whole "biplane" folder structure and take it
to another computer, you would need to ensure the target computer
uses the same root.

00:00:52 --> 00:00:58
If you tried to copy the "biplane" structure to another computer under
"F:\My Projects" for example, you would receive an error.

00:00:58 --> 00:01:02
This is because the path listed currently for the support files is
looking for a "C:\My Documents" root.

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To bypass this problem, you can use Relative Paths.

00:01:06 --> 00:01:10
In Asset Tracking, use the Refresh button to ensure all assets are displayed.

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Select all the assets, and then with a right-click,
choose the Make Path Relative to Project Folder option.

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This strips the path to the sub-folder structure.

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Since the sub-folder structure is the same for all projects, you are
bypassing the top level that is potentially unique to a given system.

00:01:28 --> 00:01:33
At this point, it doesn't matter if the "biplane" project structure
is on the C:, D:, F or M drives.

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It doesn't even matter if the "biplane" structure is itself under
another sub-directory such as "My Documents" or "My Projects".

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What is important is that 3ds Max now looks for the subfolders
and will find the support files in the appropriate directories.

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If you add a bitmap to the scene, such as for the terrain for example,

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then refresh the Asset Tracker, the full path is taken again into account.

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One solution is to make the path relative as you did earlier.

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Another (better) solution is to access the Files tab
in the Preferences dialog,

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then enable the option "Convert Local File Paths to Relative".

00:02:24 --> 00:02:30
Using this option, try adding a bitmap to the scene, such as a texture
for the windbag.

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After refreshing the Asset Tracker, notice how the bitmap is already set
as relative to the project folder.

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From this point on, transferring this project folder from one system
to the next prevents you from getting any missing bitmap (assets) errors.
Posted By
  • 3ds Max
  • 2011
  • Basics
  • Media Management
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