Features

Blade Alley, Jonathan Ball

Alienbrain Features

Most version control systems are built to handle source code, and work best with lots of small files.

Alienbrain was designed from the ground up for large teams to work together on the massive binary art files required for next-generation productions — even from remote locations.

Secure File Management and Version Control


Underpinning Alienbrain is a robust file management system, taking care of the nitty-gritty so that you don't have to. The Alienbrain server is free and easy to install (our responsive support team can help) and once set up will get to work managing your project assets.

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Alienbrain stores all your project files securely and visually


Protect Your Assets | Never Lose a File

Alienbrain stores, versions, and tracks a production’s assets and related data in a secure repository that provides version control and history for all assets on a central server. It prevents accidental overwrites by controlling concurrent operations on the same assets.

  • Comprehensive Version History: You can browse a file’s version history using thumbnails to identify the right version quickly. You can view, edit, and compare previous versions easily.

  • Rollback: To undo changes to a file you can “roll back” to any previous version. You can roll back individual files, or entire folders recursively.

  • Powerful Search Tools: Alienbrain offers powerful searching options, from quick searches to advanced searches using wildcards and regular expressions. You can also search histories to find a specific version of a file or a submitted change set.

Visual Workflows

Unlike many source control systems, Alienbrain has been designed with the artist at the forefront. The User Interface has been built around graphical files, while the primary features have been streamlined to those that an artist really needs - and by using the integrations, it all just happens in the background.



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Quickly browse your project using thumbnail images



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Alienbrain previews almost all image formats



Designed for Artists | Designed for Art

Alienbrain’s visual workflows and collaboration tools make it the favorite of artists, and integrations with leading 3D and 2D art tools ensure that it slots neatly into any production pipeline.

  • Intuitive User Interface: Alienbrain’s clean user interface is easy to learn and easy to use. You can change the arrangement of different views to suit user preferences or workflow requirements.

  • Previews and Thumbnails: Instead of having you memorize filenames and shortcuts, the Alienbrain preview server generates thumbnails and previews on the fly, so you experience the Alienbrain asset repository as an immersive, visual environment where you can find the right assets quickly.

  • Local File State Icons: Local file modifications are displayed using intuitive icons so you know what changes you’ve made to local copies of the files. You can find relevant files in seconds, and can identify files that are only present locally, so you can import them into Alienbrain.

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Visually preview all versions, and rollback if needed

Integrations for Leading 3D and 2D Art Tools

Alienbrain features plug-ins for applications such as Epic's Unreal Engine, Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max, and Adobe Photoshop so you can access files in the Alienbrain repository without switching applications. Alienbrain manages externally referenced files automatically, so if your 3D scene references textures, Alienbrain extracts them automatically when you check the scene out.





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“Alienbrain is a complex and powerful source control tool, but it works in a way that our art team could understand and use easily. It helped us keep up with our very dynamic and creative production processes”
Ian Lovett, Technical Art Director
Lionhead

Collaborative Environment

Alienbrain really shines in larger teams where the complexity of file management increases dramatically. When everybody on the team knows where files are stored, which the latest versions are, and who is working on them, team members can focus on getting the job done.



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Send links to team members with Alienbrain Messenger


Work as a Team | Work Smarter

Alienbrain is a perfect collaborative environment for media and entertainment projects, whether you’re creating art assets, reviewing and signing off, or tracking projects status.

  • Image Annotations: You can add non-destructive annotations, stored in separate markup layers, to any image so it’s easy to give visual feedback and identify required changes.

  • Integrated Messaging: Alienbrain’s built-in messenger and email support simplifies team communication by allowing you to send a hyperlinks to, or copies of files to team members without switching applications.

  • Workflow Status: Assign files to users, set due dates, and track work status from 'in progress' through to 'signed-off and locked'. Markers against the file icons allow you to spot status at-a-glance.

  • Reporting: Advanced reporting tools allow project leads and managers to track project status in real-time and re-assign work items as needed. Pre-defined and custom workflows make it easy to quickly review the overall state of a project. Administrators can attach metadata, like due dates and assigned users, to make project status easier to track.

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Quickly get an overview of your project status

Architecture and Administration

Core to any asset management system is the backend. Alienbrain's administration tools allow team leads and IT administrators to manage users, projects, servers, and clusters of servers - all from a simple UI.



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The Health Monitor helps admins check the status of Alienbrain


Centralized Server | Centralized Admin

Alienbrain offers enterprise-class back-end technology with intelligent administration tools to keep projects running smoothly.

  • Server Health Monitoring: The Server Health Monitor is a modular server-side watchdog process that constantly monitors the operational conditions of the Alienbrain server processes and reports the status to the administrator’s desktop, reducing the risk of unscheduled downtime and improving overall availability.

  • Fine-Grained Access Control: Administrators can control access rights logically (by role) or physically (by files and folders). Users can have assigned roles that determine their access capabilities or be granted operational privileges on specific files or folders.


  • Remote Collaboration: Using http/https, remote clients can securely access the Alienbrain repository without going through a VPN. The remote collaboration server (RCS) enables protocol routing for small teams or individuals working remotely.

  • Automatic Database Backup: To minimize downtime, you can back up project databases at regular intervals without shutting down the system. Project metadata can be copied to a backup location in configurable intervals.

  • Flexible Storage Management: Flexible offline and online capabilities help system administrators cope with next-generation multi-terabyte projects. Bucket Management makes it easy to intelligently move older file versions to secondary storage, freeing up disk space..

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Administrators have full control over project access and rights

Version Control for Game Developers

TRY IT NOW

Customization and APIs

With complex products come complex pipelines. By leveraging Alienbrain's range of API's, event triggers, and command line interface, tool architects can integrate Alienbrain into the production process - making team members more efficient than ever.



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Command line access to your projects for build or pipeline


Make your pipeline work for you

Alienbrain is completely customizable, and ships with fully documented APIs and sample code for Jscript, MEL, maxscript, C++ and Microsoft .NET, as well as a host of other customization tools.

  • Custom Metadata: You can assign custom metadata to every file in the Alienbrain repository to help filter files, manage file variants, generate custom reports, and so on. Each branch in the file tree can have custom metadata, or inherit metadata from its parent branch.

  • Triggers & Events: Alienbrain supports client-side triggers and events. On the client, events are generated before and after each operation, and can be caught to change the standard behavior.

  • Command Line Tool: Available on all supported platforms of the cross-platform client, the command-line tool offers advanced users a powerful way of automating tasks and batch processing.

Software Configuration Management

Alienbrain's simplified UI belies the extensive configuration management feature-set under the hood. With industry standard branching and merging, and an integration with all recent Visual Studio versions, Alienbrain has something for the coders as well as the artists.



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Fully featured for code as well as art


Build in your own sandbox

Alienbrain offers a complete set of software configuration management features that make it the tool of choice for games programmers.

  • Release Labels: Labels allow you to assign names to folders or files at a specific point in time, making it easy to go back later and recreate an exact asset configuration.

  • Change Sets: Change sets group changes made to individual files into a logical entity that can be used throughout the project lifecycle. Change sets allow you to make changes locally and defer the server-side execution until the entire set of changes is completed.

  • Parallel Development and Branching: Using Alienbrain, developers can work in parallel on projects or modules and perform simultaneous changes — even to the same file. They can also work on different branches to make controlled changes to a released version of a product while continuing development in the main line. In both cases, Alienbrain tracks the changes to individual files and allows them to integrate their changes easily.