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Publishing textures from within maya

Ideally I want all artists to perform all publishing via maya. After all, textures are second class assets in the sense that they are never referenced directly from upstream entities (such as a shot or a sequence).
Are textures supposed to be considered as assets in shotgun land? How are others typically dealing with textures as they relate to shotgun/tracking? I want shotgun to know about textures (in order to track versions/dependencies etc). But I don't want artists to have to think about publishing outside of maya.
Generally folks (at least in smaller studios) think about the "first class" assets, not the second class ones like textures.
Hopefully that makes sense.
If it does, how do I handle them? Shotgun seems to ignore textures when it comes to published, so presumably I need to do something to make it "texture aware", but I don't quite know where to begin.

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    Julien Dubuisson

    Hi Hamish,

    What I've been doing so far here is to handle textures as 2nd class assets and publish them as texture bundles. As you say we publish from maya/softimage and we usually don't have to reference or load specific textures. We just load a specific version of a shading/texture model. But as I still want to be able to track down which textures were used in which version I need to publish the textures in some way.

    So each time a shading model is published, I copy all the textures in a publish folder (write protected) and register the publish folder in Shotgun as a TextureBundle tank type. And then I publish the model which uses the published textures and have a dependency in Shotgun to the texture bundle. I usually run a couple of checks to avoid duplicating a ton of textures for each version, and also use the publish to process all the mipmaps and a bunch of other stuff. And everything is run on the farm.

    In term of tk-multi-publish config the scan checks for items of type shading/texturing models, and I treat all the texture stuff in the secondary_publish for the models. They are some kind of tertiary publishes as the primary publish is the scene and all the various models are secondary publishes.

    If anyone want to comment or give feedback on their way of doing it I'm highly interested as well

    Hope it helps. 

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    Manne Öhrström

    Hello Hamish/Julien!

    This is a great question and we are curious to hear about this too! There is the photoshop engine and publish integration - so I know one way some clients work is that they publish files out of photoshop (allowing them for example to work with multi layer psd but then export each layer separately into various texture maps). In maya, these items can then be loaded up via the loader app (which by default will create a file texture node). Subsequent updates to textures will be tracked by the breakdown app and any publishes going out of maya will contain dependencies all the way down to the textures.

    If this is too formal, one other possible way to set this up is to run a check during your multi publish process in Maya to scan for textures that are used by the scene but not yet published in shotgun. These textures could then published at the same time as the maya scene is published. At this stage, you could either choose to simply leave the textures in the location where they were referenced from, or copy the textures into some specific location, defined by a template.

    Hope this makes sense! Thanks!!

    Manne

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