PI6 Exporting and Importing Galleries and Libraries

At least a couple of times a week people ask about how to back up their EasyPalette Galleries and Libraries. There is nothing more frustrating than losing all of your original presets and objects if your PI crashes.

While this isn't the most exciting tutorial in the world, it contains practical and useful information that will show you how to make sure that if you ever have to reinstall PI, you'll get all of your custom Gallery presets and Library objects back. The process of Importing and Exporting to and from the EasyPalette is the same for Libraries and Galleries.

In this tutorial, I'll be using an example of this little mouse I painted.

Copyright 2001 Stephanie Baker-Thomas

I did this painting in Paint as Object mode, so that all of the parts would be editable objects. Every time I added a few new objects, I selected all the objects and saved them to a custom Mousies Library in the EasyPalette. You can see the steps as I saved them in this screen shot.

save new objects in sequence to a library

If my PI crashed, I would lose all of the editable objects making up this mouse. I'd have to paint it all over again. And believe me, I don't want to have to do that because it took hours and lots of trial and error. Fortunately there's an easy solution to this problem, which is to back up the Mousies Library with the Export command. You, too, should use Export regularly to back up your Galleries and Objects to a non-PI folder on your hard drive or to a floppy or CD. To back up using this command, first select the Library (or Gallery)  you want to Export in the left pane of the EasyPalette. Click the Object Libraries down arrow.

click down arrow for Object Libraries

From the submenu that slides out, choose Object Library Manager, Export.

Object Libraries Manager, Export

This opens the Export Object Library dialog box. Browse to the folder to which you wish to save the Library. I'm saving this to my "objects" folder. Type in the name of the Library. Decide whether to save "All thumbnails of the current group" (the default) or just "Selected thumbnails of the current group" (you'd have to have them selected to begin with).

Export Object Library dialog box

Click Save to Export the Library. It will be saved to the selected folder as a .UOL file, the proprietary Ulead Object Library file extension. (If you are Exporting a Gallery, it will be saved with Ulead's proprietary .SMP file extension). If you're as paranoid as I am about losing your work, you'll want to copy these files to a CD regularly too, just in case your entire computer crashes. It's been known to happen.

Now if you have to uninstall and reinstall PI for some reason, you will be able to Import your Library easily. In addition, you could Export a Library to share with others, or you could Import other people's Libraries. For example, you can Import the PI6 Stamps I've made into a Library in your EasyPalette, and you can Import Material Gallery presets created by other people that you've downloaded from their web sites.

To Import a Library (or Gallery), click the Objects Libraries (or Galleries) down arrow and choose Object Libraries Manager, Import (or Gallery Manager, Import). Doing so opens the Import Object Library (or Gallery) dialog box. Browse to the desired folder and select the Library or Gallery you wish to Import. Click Open to Import. PI will whirl for a few seconds, and then the Library or Gallery, complete with thumbnails, will appear in your EasyPalette.

Here's a few things about Importing Galleries that are worth knowing about. If you like to download presets from other folks' web sites, you need to pay particular attention to any non-PI images they've used as bump maps or reflections.

If you put a JPG used as a bump map into your PI Textures folder, for example, you will have no problems Exporting the Gallery. But you will have problems if you have to Import it back into the EasyPalette. Why is that? Because if you lose PI or uninstall it, the JPG used in the preset will be lost too. It is better to save non-PI images used for preset bump maps and reflections to a non-PI folder on your hard drive. For example, you might want to make a folder on your hard drive and name it "bump maps" or "reflections" or something like that. That way if you have to Import the Gallery back into PI, your presets using the JPG will still work.

If you're not sure what the path is to a preset bump map or reflection, apply the preset from your EasyPalette. Then click the Materials button in the Attributes toolbar. Click the Bump or Reflection tab and hold your cursor over the line that begins "C:\..." just under the File button, and the full path will be revealed in a popup box.

find path to bump map or reflection

Even though Exporting to backup your custom Libraries and Galleries is a foolproof way to preserve your custom work, it only works if you do it! A good rule of thumb is to discipline yourself to Export every time you create a new Library or Gallery, or add something to one.

Finally, one last thing about Importing and Exporting Galleries -- if you plan to share them by making them available for download as ZIP files, consider including a text file with them. You can use Notepad to make a little text file that includes your name, web site name, URL, email address, any restrictions on their use or requirements for linkbacks, and installation instructions. So many people download freebies, it is easy to forget where you found something, who made it, and if there are any restrictions on its use. A text file provides all the necessary information and can help to preserve your copyright and terms of use.

This tutorial uploaded 3/09/01

Do not duplicate, translate, copy, archive, appropriate or redistribute this document.



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