Friday, June 29, 2007

Inventory Organizers


Written 27 June, 2007

Inventory Organizers

I’m constantly struggling to keep my inventory within reason.

Most of the freebies I picked up in my early days in Second Life are packed away in boxes which are inside other boxes which are inside other boxes.

My poses and animations are stuffed inside a free pose stand I picked up at the Animation Warehouse.

And my more than 1000 textures are stuffed inside twenty or so texture organizers I bought from Thinc, Inc.

I have them organized by category. There is an organizer for wood, another for water, another for metal, another for fabric, another for rock, another for terrain, another for glass. When I want to browse, I pull out the organizer for, say, Asian Textures and scroll through panels of textures until I see one I want. I tell the organizer to retrieve it and it sends it to the Textures folder in my inventory. When I’m finished with the texture, I delete it. Way simple.

There are a variety of texture organizers, some free and some expensive, some stand-along and some HUD devices, but I remain impressed with the first one I saw.

Sweetie showed it to me back in December, at K.R. Engineering. I bought their very neat scripted picture frame,and she picked up their texture organizer. She has yet to put textures in it, but from her description it had features the Thinc organizer lacks, so last night I went to the new K.R. Engineering headquarters and dropped a thousand Lindens on their organizer.

It is indeed versatile, and I see why Sweetie has yet to use it—it’s complicated! My first attempts to stuff textures into it, attempted last night while I was foggy with sleep, came to naught. So this morning I opened the instructions, copied them, and pasted them into a Word file which I just finished reading.

I have high hopes that when I get home from work this evening I will triumph over my obstinate, high-prim (48) K.R. texture organizer. High hopes!

The K.R. organizer’s features promise it will be more useful and more versatile than my Thinc organizers, which perform flawlessly and which I’ve been enjoying.

Some features the K.R. offers:]

Stand-Alone or HUD device (The Thinc Organizer is Stand-Alone)
4x4 display (the Thinc has a 3x3).
Variable aspect ration (1:1, 4:3, 16:9)
Pans textures
Assigns textures to 16 user-assigned categories
IMs UIDs of textures
Variable brightness levels

What am I _thinking_? Below I reproduce the K.R. Instruction Manual in full.

I’ll be testing the K.R. organizer over the next week and will tell you, gentle reader, whether I ultimately switch to it.

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K.R. Engineering Texture Master v3
by Karsten Rutledge

The best just got better.

The Texture Master is designed to make sorting, browsing and using large amounts of textures a snap. Please keep reading for a list of features.

Available from ??.

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FEATURES:
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- Unlimited texture capacity.
- 17 categories (16 user defined + unassigned)
- Audience Panel: Project what you see on the HUD so that everyone else can see too.
- Built in search function (partial and whole name matching) that hides all except matching textures from view.
- Auto duplicate removal by key.
- 16 panel preview mode, advanced by page.
- Fullscreen mode, advanced by texture.
- 5 zoom levels: 1x, 2x, 4x, 2x2, 4x4. Texture tiles in 2x2 and 4x4 zoom, to show seams.
- Brightness control.
- Aspect control: Show textures as 1:1:, 4:3, or 16:9 aspect in fullscreen mode.
- Panning controls: Zoom in and pan up/down/left/right in fullscren mode.
- Rotation: Rotate texture clockwise or counter-clockwise in fullscreen mode.
- Three texture retrieval methods: UUID (reports the asset UUID for use in scripts), single (selected texture), or category (gives you folders with all the textures in the category)
- Access control: Allow the texture master to be used by you only, your group, or everyone.
- HUD can be 'closed' so that it doesn't clutter your screen, and reopened when you want it.
- Self-updater: Check for and automatically deliver new versions of the Texture Master to you on demand.
- Options to delete the currently selected texture or all the textures in the category.
- Sorting option: Click twice on a preview panel to get a menu allowing you to move that texture to another category.
- Copyable, make as many Texture Masters as you want to store your collection.
- Clean up your inventory! Moving all your textures out of inventory means drastically decreased load times for inventory!
- Instantly add multiple textures directly to specific categories! One step, no menus! Just drag and drop!
- Checkered background behind all textures, so alpha textures don't disappear.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Texture Master can only display textures that you have full permissions on. This is a current limitation of Second Life's programming language.

BROWSING:
Quickly browse through pages of 16 thumbnails of all your textures. Optionally click the full screen button and view the selected texture enlarged with five zoom levels and on-screen controls. Switch to 4x4 or 2x2 zoom to see how well your texture repeats, or zoom in to 2x or 4x to see greater detail on your texture. Use the on-screen controls to pan around your texture, rotate or darken.

ORGANIZE:
The Texture Master is like 17 Texture organizers in one! Dropping textures into the root of the device puts them in the Unassigned category of the Texture Master by default. You can reassign textures within the device by clicking on a texture on the thumbnail view (after it's already selected indicated by being highlighted in red) and get a menu of categories to assign it to. You can then click on the Cat (Category) button on the right and switch around between 16 user defined categories or Unassigned! You can even rename each of the 16 categories from the Cat button to suit your tastes, such as 'Wood', 'Metals', 'Industrial', etc.

QUICK DROP:
With the Texture Master locked (click the Lock button in the upper left to bring a shield down over your texture viewer) you can hold down the CTRL button on your keyboard and drag textures from your inventory onto the screen cover. The device will automatically move textures to the Unassigned category. WARNING: THIS CAN BE SLOW FOR LARGE AMOUNTS OF DROPPED TEXTURES.

Even better, however, is to switch to the thumbnail view on the Texture Master and do the same (hold down CTRL), except drag your textures onto one of the 16 thumbnail panels, thereby quickly assigning textures to one of the 16 user categories! IMPORTANT: THIS HAPPENS VERY FAST, UNLIKE QUICK DROPPING ON THE COVER.

When in Thumbnail viewing mode (where you can see the 16 squares), clicking the Thumbs button on the right toggles category title flags on/off. When on, the title of each category will hover over it's respective square.

SEARCHING:
Need a metal texture but not sure exactly which one? Wood? Stone? Click the Search button and search for 'wood' to find all textures within the Texture Master that have 'wood' in the texture name. Automatically searches all 17 categories (Unassigned plus 16 user categories) and notifies you of how many results found in each when finished. You can then use the Cat button to switch between categories and view the results in each! When a category returns search results it will only display the thumbnails of the matching items. You can use the Search button again and hit Clear to clear the results of the search and view all textures again.

EASE OF USE:
Once you find the texture you want, just click the Retrieve button to have the Texture Master give you a copy of the texture, or it's UUID for use in scripts.

ACCESS CONTROL:
Working on a project with a group? Set the access level to GROUP and you and your coworkers can use the Texture Master. Or, set it to All and anyone can use it. Defaults to Owner only.

FREE YOUR INVENTORY:
Move all those thousands of textures out of your inventory and into the Texture Master and speed up your inventory loading at the same time as you make them easier to use!

TROUBLESHOOTING:

-> RESIZING: THE TEXTURE MASTER IS NOT INTENDED TO BE RESIZED, IF YOU RESIZE IT IT WILL STOP WORKING CORRECTLY, SO STOP DOING IT AND STOP INSTANT MESSAGING ME WITH 'OMG IT DOESN'T WORK ANYMORE' AND CONVENIENTLY FORGETTING TO MENTION THAT YOU BLEW IT UP TO 50X IT'S ORIGINAL SIZE. THANKS.

-> UNLINKING: If you unlink the Texture Master for any reason, chances are it will not work correctly when you relink it together. If for whatever reason you find it necessary or unlink it by accident, you can either rez a new copy of the texture master and copy your textures over or attempt to relink it with the following linking procedure:
1) Select all pieces EXCEPT the fullscreen prim, the root prim and the sixteen preview panels.
2) If HUD version, the invisible prim that contains the floating text should be selected last in step 1.
2) Select the preview panels next, going from right to left, bottom to top.
3) Select the fullscreen prim next.
4) Select the root prim (backdrop in fullsize version, black piece to the left on HUD version)
5) Link. Yes I know it's weird.

-> "OOPS, I DELETED THE SCRIPTS" SYNDROME: Rez a new copy of the texture master and copy the scripts from it to the appropriate place.

Please contact Karsten Rutledge if you have any other problems with the Texture Master. Texture Master owners are entitled to free upgrades and bug fixes.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ):
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Q: How many textures can the Texture Master hold?!
A: Unlimited!

Q: How do I add textures directly to a category?
A: The process for adding textures is fairly straight forward, but can be easy to miss. To add a texture directly to a category, which is honestly the best way to do it, you must first make sure that the Texture Master is in thumbnail mode (so that you can see the 16 preview squares). The 16 preview squares represent the 16 categories FOR THE PURPOSE OF ADDING TEXTURES. Adding textures is COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF THE CATEGORY YOU ARE CURRENTLY BROWSING. You can drop textures directly into your 'Wood' category even if you're currently looking at 'Stone.' Why? Well, for starters, because it makes more sense and was easier to code that way, but most importantly, when you're sorting out large amounts of textures you don't want to have to keep switching back and forth between categories to drop a texture here, a texture there, it'd be nuts.

So, to add textures to category 1, you'd add textures to the first square (upper left), category 2 is the next square over, category 3 the next, and so on. The categories are left to right, top to bottom. Top row is 1-4, second row is 5-8, third row is 9-12, bottom row is 13-16. To quickly see this for yourself, click on the Thumbnail button again WHILE YOU ALREADY IN THUMBNAIL MODE. Doing this will toggle floating category labels off and on over the 16 squares. Now hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and drag a texture from your inventory onto one of those squares. Make sure that you keep holding CTRL until you have let go of the texture. At that point the texture will be inside the device.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While you can add textures to any category regardless of the category you are currently looking at, if you are not, in fact, looking at the category you just added the texture to then you won't notice any visible change. Switching to that category should show the texture that you just added.

Q: 'Wood?' 'Stone?' But my categories are all 1, 2, 3, 4.... How do I rename a category?
A: Switch to the category you want to rename by using the Cat button (filing cabinet icon) on the right. Then click on the Config button (tools icon) and there will be a 'Rename' button on the popup menu.

Q: Can I add more than one texture at a time?
A: Certainly! In your inventory window, you can hold down CTRL or SHIFT to select multiple textures, and drag them all at once. You can NOT, however, drag FOLDERS. You must select the textures themselves!

Q: How do I move a texture I've already added?
A: Switch to thumbnail view where you can see the texture you want to move, then click on it. It should be highlighted red. Once it is highlighted red, click it again. You will get a pop up menu asking you where to move it.

Q: Can I rename the Texture Master?
A: Yes! You can make copies of it and rename them to whatever you want.

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MENU OPTIONS:
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The Config Menu:

- HELP: Immediately switches to fullscreen mode and displays a quick reference display on the device.

- PANIC: Retrieve a copy of this notecard.

- Update: Query the Texture Master update server at K.R. Engineering Headquarters to verify the device version. If a new version is available, it will be automatically sent to you.

- Owner: Set the Texture Master so that only the owner may use it.

- Group: Set the Texture Master so that the owner or anyone in the group the device is assigned to can use it. The group the Texture Master assigned to will be the group you currently have active when you rez the device. To change this after rez, right-click on the device and choose 'Edit...'. If necessary, press the More >> button on the bottom right of the edit window, then go to the General tab. You will see a list of Creator, Owner and Group. Click the Set... button next to Group to pick a new active group.

- All: Set the Texture Master so that ANYONE may use it, INCLUDING RETRIEVING TEXTURES FROM IT.

- Rename: Choosing this option will prompt you for a new name for the category you are currently viewing. You can NOT renamed the Unassigned category, which the device recognizes as category 0. Categories 1-16 can be renamed to anything you like between 1 and 24 characters. As of version 3.0, the Texture Master supports multi-line category names. Do separate the category name into multiple lines, separate lines with an equal sign (=). For example: If you name the category "Wood=Metal' then 'Wood' will be the first line, followed by 'Metal'.

- Delete: Delete only the CURRENTLY SELECTED TEXTURE. That is the texture that is currently highlighted in red on the thumbnail view, or the texture currently being viewed in fullscreen mode.

- Delete All: Delete ALL textures FROM THE CURRENT CATEGORY ONLY.

- Duplicates: Scan through the current category and remove any duplicate textures found. NOTE: This is not 100% reliable, as the script has no way to visually look at a texture and decide if it's identical or not. This simply removes textures that have the same asset key. So if you accidentally put a texture in twice, it'll like show up as 'Texture' and 'Texture 1', running this option will cause Texture 1' to be deleted, but only if it shares an identical key with 'Texture.' It does NOT go by name, so if you have a texture called Wood Planks 1 and Wood Planks 2 that are different textures, they will not be considered duplicates, because their asset keys will be different.

The Retrieve Menu:

- Retrieve: The Texture Master will give you a physical copy of the currently selected texture that will appear in your inventory.

- Retrieve All: The Texture Master will give you EVERY texture in the current category, in FOLDERS, with 100 textures per folder. So if you have 200 textures in a category called 'Woods', it will give you two folders, one called 'Texture Master "Woods" Category 0-100' and 'Texture Master "Woods" Category 101-200'.

- UUID: This will only instant message you the asset UUID key for the currently selected texture, it will not give you anything. This is useful for use in scripts and other projects, where a physical copy of the texture is not necessary.

The Search Menu:

- Search: Selecting this option will cause the Texture Master to prompt you for a new search criteria. As soon as you supply something to search for, all the categories in the Texture Master will begin searching for matches and report how many they find. IMPORTANT NOTE: While you have an active search, ONLY THE RESULTS OF THE SEARCH WILL BE VISIBLE, ALL OTHER TEXTURES WILL BE HIDDEN. Also, only 100 search results will be shown in each category. You should be as specific as possible.

- Clear: Clear the results of a search, making all textures available again.

1 comment:

davidstacey said...

I really like the way you write :-)
Nice and organised.
I am("Instructions By Trinity" Bohannes)