Linking to local files

Last updated on April 7, 2016.

With local file linking, you have the option of pointing to a local networked file system rather than uploading files to Shotgun. You can even configure multiple mounted volumes, and specify different file mounting prefixes for Mac, Windows, and Linux users.

Requirements for local file linking

Local file linking requires the Shotgun Desktop app. Download the app and read "Desktop integration from the browser" for more details.

How do I set up local file storage for networked resources, such as a shared element library?

Admins can go to the Admin > Preferences page, then click to expand the File Management section. Make sure you check the pref 'Enable linking to local files'. Once this is done, click 'Save Changes'.

site preferences

Next, click the 'Add Local File Storage' link to create a new mount point. You'll see that this brings up a widget where you'll enter some information.

file management

Pro Tip: Create Multiple Mount Points

You can create multiple mount points just by clicking the [+] Add Local File Storage link once for each additional mount point. We recommend not getting too specific here. If you access most of your files from a project directory, such as "C:\projects", we recommend pointing to that directory instead of something like "C:\projects\this_one_project\files". This will make maintaining your local file storage easier as you add more projects.

Name the mount point
Give the mount point a human-readable name (e.g., Element Library), and then fill out different path prefixes for each operating system that has the networked resource mounted to it.

enable linking

Note: You don't have to fill out every operating system file path prefix. So, if you're a Windows only studio, just fill out Windows.

Save your changes
Click 'Save Changes' to save the newly created mount point. As soon as you do this, people can start creating files in Shotgun that just point to files inside of the networked Element library.

save changes

How do you use local file linking in Shotgun?

Once you have a mount point set up, clicking to open files in Shotgun is super fast. Here's why. With local file links, you're not actually uploading anything. Instead, Shotgun just stores the paths to the files so that the applet will know how to find them on your computer. By doing this, you can keep huge files on your network volumes, but still have access to them within Shotgun.

Let's create 3 reference art files with local file links.
We'll bring up a new file entity creation form, click the 'Link to Local' tab, then 'Browse'. Once we get to our networked volume - /Volumes/Elements/ - we'll attach 3 files. We'll click 'Choose', and then enter a description of 'Reference'. Then we'll click 'Create File'.

open files

How do local file links appear in Shotgun?

Now, we'll go to a files page to look at the 3 files we just created with local file links.

thumbnails

Note on auto-generated file attributes

Locally linked files will never result in auto-generated thumbnails, as would normally be the case if you uploaded an image file. Thumbnail images will have to be uploaded to the server. Also, the File Name, File Type, and File Size fields will never be auto-generated. You can use the API to automate this process. Read more about working with files and the API in the "Working With Local File Types" section of our API docs

What happens when you click on or view local file links?

When you view a local file link in Shotgun, it appears just like a normal link. Clicking a local file link from within Shotgun is exactly the same as double-clicking a file on your desktop. So, if you've got Photoshop installed on your computer, and that's the application that is registered to open files of type .psd, you're 1 click away from opening local file links to .psd files in the native application.

What happens when you click on/view local file links from outside the network?

If you're attempting to click on or view local file links from outside of the network, the links will appear as links, but clicking on them will result in a dialog like the one shown below.

error

Can I set up multiple mount points?

Definitely. In the File Management section of your preferences page, you can click the 'Add Local File Storage' link multiple times to create several mount points.

Related documentation

Can we access local files from the API?

Yes! The Python API now supports local files as of v3.0.3. You can both read and modify local file links using the API now. Read the details here: GitHub:python-api | Working With Local Files

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6 Comments

  • 0
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    Matthew Andrews

    Is it possible to do a bulk upload of links to local files? I have an excel doc with paths to every file and simply want to upload the paths into the 'uploaded file' field.

  • 0
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    Tom Stratton

    Is there any way to force the applet to be installed? I have followed all these instructions and the option to use the local file link is still greyed out...

  • 0
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    Francois Beaudry

    Any chance for UNC path support for windows?

    Also, It would be a time saver if it opened directly to the preset local storage path.  As it currently opens in "my document" by default. (forcing me to navigate to the preset paths.)  It might also be interesting to limit the browser to only those presets paths, as there is no point in seeing a drive I can't attach files from.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Francois Beaudry

    oops, sorry, never mind about the UNC comment...

    Since it was showing the "NETWORK" folder at the same level as what's on my desktop, I missed it at first glance.

  • 0
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    Quentin Auger

    Is that possible to save a file using one mount point (on windows) and read it from another one (on windows too) from another site, knowing that the file has been sync'd in parallel but is stored in another filesystem with a different base address ?

    It seems the mount point used by the saving account creates a basic address that is not fixable when we try to read it from another location using another Mount Point..

    Are we right ?

    If so, how can we work around this ?

    QA

  • 0
    Avatar
    Quentin Auger

    Ok, more research seems to answer it a bit more. Sorry for the bug.

    It seems than "multiple mount points" are actualy not really "mutiple" for the same assets right ?

    Documentation here : https://github.com/shotgunsoftware/python-api/wiki/Working-With-Local-Files

    says « Shotgun will automatically select the appropriate matching local storage for your file based on the path. Any other keys [than 'name' and 'content_type'] that are provided will be ignored »

    So this means there is no mount point detection other than one "guessed" after the original file path ?

    Which makes the other mount points useless for this file (at least using shotgun native api) I guess..

    Let me know if I'm wrong here.

    I guess the common workaround for that is to deal with these paths with a middleware getting first info from sg and editing it..

     

     

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