"Reference" page as viewable/playable media

Hi all,

At work a “Reference” tab/page was set up per Asset page, with the idea that Asset Supes could put any sort of “reference” media (e.g. drawings, photos, videos, documents) for Asset artists into the tab/page for each Asset.

IIRC because the tab had to accommodate a variety of reference formats, the File entity was used. Unfortunately, people (rightly) expect to be able to click on the links and see the uploaded references directly in the browser, but the default behaviour with Files is to download them to the viewing computer when you click the link.

I know using Versions for this type of viewable reference repository would solve this issue, with the caveat that we would have to make sure that any of our existing Versions pages (for publishes, playblasts, etc) would filter these reference Versions out if we added them.

Are there any other ways of tackling the problem? Does the File type have a setting that might tale care of it without having to re-upload reference materials as Versions?

Advice is appreciated!




Hi @deanareeno,

You almost get it here. With File entities, you could not click the links to play the media directly in the browser. By default, it will download the files.

With Versions most of our clients will go. But yes, a saved filter is need to filtrate out versions which are references.

Another approach here is to add a File/link field directly on the Asset page. There are three types of method to upload references onto this field:

  • Upload File, which will open the file in the browser directly
  • Link to Web page, which will prompt to the link to a web image booth outside/inside your Shotgun site
  • Link to local file/directory, with which you could put a bunch of reference media in a folder on your shared central storage, where everyone could access; while clicking, it will open the folder.

You have to configure the root path on File Management section under Site Preference, and also ensure the SG desktop is installed and running on the Artists’ machine. Check this doc here for more details.

Let us know if anything else.


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Thanks Ben!

Bringing this back up again, as it’s also been a persistent issue for us for many years.

Ben’s suggested approach was not a good solution for us, as it requires either:

  1. That there be only one reference image for an Asset, which is never the case.
  2. That we set up an entirely separate website just to hold reference. That would require additional user training and administration, and we lose out on the all the benefits of having it in Shotgun (linking to multiple assets, statuses, change history, etc).
  3. Access to a shared filesystem which is frequently not available.

Using the Version entity for Reference has proved problematic, because some reference comes in file formats (like PDF, .XLS, .DOC) that aren’t well-supported by that entity.

Using the File entity for Reference has proved problematic because it can’t be added to a playlist, (which is a hard requirement for us) as well as the awkwardness viewing in-browser that DW spoke of.

Using either Version or File for holding Reference comes with the non-trivial burdens of: requiring users to remember to correctly label it as Reference, as well as requiring page authors to set appropriate filters to include/exclude Reference on every File/Version page, which is burdensome.

Neither entity is sufficient on its own. Reference is something that every production in every studio has to deal with. I’d really like to see Shotgun add a dedicated Reference entity type to bridge the gap.


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