META

Administrator quick start guide

Here’s all you need to know before you start using Ramses. Follow these few steps and you’ll be able to benefit from all it’s features very quickly.

Introduction

Ramses can help you automate your workflow, track and plan your production. For this, it’s made of several different components, which can work both hand in hand or independently:

Ramses is modular; that means you don’t need to use all components together: it’s not mandatory to have access to or install a Ramses Server, and the Add-ons can work independently.

No matter what, all these components also expect you to have a least a few predefined folders available in your computer to store some data. That’s the Ramses Tree.

Follow the next steps to learn how to prepare your pipeline and computers to work with Ramses and all of these components.

Warning

Although in the future the Ramses Client will be able to be used as a stand-alone, offline application, the currently available Alpha or Beta Versions absolutely need a connection to a Ramses Server (there’s no offline storage of the data for now). That’s temporary.

Note

For now, the only Add-on available is the one for Autodesk Maya, but others will follow soon (for Blender, After Effects, Nuke…)

Ramses also includes several APIs to let you extend it and develop your own Add-ons.

Tips

Although Ramses is made to be as simple as possible to use, it’s a production tool which both helps and needs you to be organized, and you’ll have to familiarize yourself with its organization.

1 - Prepare the folder structure, the Ramses Tree

In order to work correctly, Ramses expects a few folders to be available on the workstations; depending on what you plan to do with Ramses you don’t necessarily all of them, and they don’t necessarily need to be shared with all workstations.

1.A - A main Ramses folder

Ramses needs a main folder available on each computer; by default, it expects to find it in your documents folder.

The Ramses main folder default path is:

This path can be customized in the Ramses Client Application or the Ramses Add-ons settings.

This folder contains at least:

Before using Ramses, you need to choose where this main folder will be located.

There are several possibilities:

You could also syncrhonize the files manually; if you just send and receive your files manually, you can still use Ramses to manage them: just make sure everyone stores them in the same folder structure, inside a project folder managed by Ramses. Read below to learn more about project folders.

More details about the Ramses Tree.

Hint

The recommended way to share files between workstations when using Ramses is Syncthing: it is a free, decentralized and secured way to sync files between as many nodes as you need, and works on all systems. On bigger productions, if you need a central server too, just install it on the server or a computer with an access to the LAN/SAN location.

This way, the data is automatically replicated on all workstations, which makes it safe and reliable. Having instant access to the data locally improves a lot the performance.

Ramses will include Syncthing in future versions, to help you automatically setup your environment.

1.B - Project folders

By default, Ramses expects the project folders to be located into the Projects subfolder of the main Ramses folder, but you can customize the path independently for each project, for example to locate them in different shared locations or synchronized folders.

To change the path for a specific project, you need to use the Ramses Client Application.

But you can already prepare the path(s) for the project(s) you’re going to track with Ramses.

You don’t necessarily need to create any subfolder inside the project folder, as Ramses will create them automatically when it needs them. But if you’re starting to use Ramses for a project you’ve already started, you may need to manually rename and sort the existing files; in this case, you need to follow the Ramses specifications for naming and the folder structure, which are explained here.

In short, a project folder should contain at least these subfolders.

Sorting your files this way enables a lot of features in Ramses (thumbnails in the UI, direct access to the files from the Ramse Client Application, automatic time tracking, etc.). Read the details about naming conventions and the folder structure to know more.

More details about the file and folder structure.

2 - Prepare the Ramses Server

If you’re going to share data between different workstations and users, you’ll need access to a Ramses Server which can be on a local network or on the internet.

▹ If you already have a server available (or don’t need it), you can go to the next step 3 - The Ramses Client Application.

Warning

Although in the future the Ramses Client will be able to be used as a stand-alone, offline application, the currently available Alpha or Beta Versions absolutely need a connection to a Ramses Server (there’s no offline storage of the data for now). That’s temporary.

The Ramses Server is a very standard PHP + MySQL web server and its installation is just a matter of creating an empty database and copying a bunch of files, if you already have access to a web server.

The easy and versatile way to use a Ramses Server is to order a simple shared hosting from any provider (the Ramses Server will work on most basic servers as long as PHP and a MySQL-compatible database are available) and install it there as any simple website.

But if you’d prefer to install Ramses on a computer on your local network, you’ll first need to install a standard web server with PHP and MySQL, like what’s called an AMP stack (AMP stands for Apache - that’s the web server software - PHP - a programming language - MySQL - a database software). This is pretty common and can be done on all systems (Linux, Mac OS, Windows), and we provide step-by-step instructions to help you in the server documentation.

To connect to the server, you’ll just need its URL, which will probably look like http(s)://your-server.com/ramses or could be http://localhost/ramses if you’ve installed it locally, or maybe something like http://192.168.1.150/ramses if it’s on a local network for example.

Read the documentation of the Ramses Server.

3 - The Ramses Client Application

The Ramses Client Application is the main User Interface of Ramses and should be installed on all workstations. It gathers the shared data from a Ramses Server and communicates with the Ramses Add-ons. It also handles the folder structure and tracks your files and versions.

Warning

Although in the future the Ramses Client will be able to be used as a stand-alone, offline application, the currently available Alpha or Beta Versions absolutely need a connection to a Ramses Server (there’s no offline storage of the data for now). That’s temporary.

3.A - Installation

Installing the application is standard and very simple, depending on your system. Instructions are available in the documentation here.

Before starting to use the Ramses Client Application there are a few steps to configure it correctly.

3.B - Settings

The first time the Client is run, it shows the following welcome screen, asking for mandatory settings.

At any time, you can also go to the settings with the settings button at the bottom right of the application.

Local Data

The first mandatory setting to set is the location of the Ramses main folder, where Ramses will store all local data by default.

The Ramses main folder is the one you chose at the step 1-A above.

Server

Server address must be the complete URL to the server as defined at the step 2 above.

Check the Secure connexion box in case you want to encrypt the data sent to and recieved from the server. Your server must be compatible with SSL (that’s standard) and have a valid certificate (not all providers provide them…).

All other settings are explained here.

That’s all, now you can log in. If you’ve just installed the Ramses Server, the default user should be Admin with the password password.

3.C - Update the Admin account

In case you’ve just installed the server, start by changing the Admin name and password: go to the Admin ► Users tab.

Select the Administrator user, change its name and ID. Type password in the Current password field, and enter a New password twice then click on Change password.

User management is explained here.

3.D - Project settings

If you’re joining an existing project, and if you’ve decided at the step 1-B that the project folder should not be located inside the default Ramses folder, check the folder in the project panel

There, you can check (and change if needed) the Folder location of the project. If you want to revert back to the default location inside the Ramses main folder, leave the field empty.

Warning

To access this setting, the user needs to have either the Administrator or Project Administrator role.

This is temporary and will change in future versions of Ramses.

Project settings are detailed here.

3.E - Folders, file access and thumbnails

To access or even create folders to store your files and be sure Ramses finds them, it is easier to use Ramses than create them manually.

From the Assets or Shots panels, clicking on any folder button opens (and creates if needed) the corresponding folder in your file explorer.

When changing the size of the rows, more details can be shown for each task, including a preview image.
The image is pulled from the _preview subfolder of the shot or the asset folder which you can open with the folder button on the top right corner of the cell. Ramses will get the first PNG or JPG correctly named image from the folder, or any other image if a correct one is not found.

Each cell contains information about a task (the combination of an asset or shot and a step).

4 - Install the Ramses Add-Ons

Finally, you can install the Ramses Add-ons you need. Installation differs depending on the host application (Maya, Blender, After Effects…), read the doc for more information.