What is the Content Browser?
The Content Browser in Unreal Engine 5 is where you’ll store and manage all of the assets in your projects. It is where you create, import, arrange, view, and control all of the elements that make up your projects, such as textures, materials, sounds, 3D models, animations, blueprints, levels, and other files.
What is an asset?
If you’re not sure what an asset is, think of them as building blocks that you can use to create your projects. The Content Browser helps you in keeping track of all of these assets.
To put it simply, any element within the Content Browser is considered an asset.
You can create new ones, import existing ones, arrange them, see what they look like, and control how they behave. It’s similar to having a central hub where you can manage and experiment with all of the components that make your projects come to life.
How to access the Content Browser?
Opening the Content Browser in Unreal Engine is really easy.
Just go to the “Window” menu and select “Content Browser”. You can have up to four Content Browsers open simultaneously on your screen.
To close them, simply click the small “x” next to the Content Browser tab.
How to use an asset in the Content Browser?
To use the assets in the content folder, there are usually four options:
- The first is to drag the asset into the viewport. This will make your asset appear in the currently open level, and it will be converted into an actor. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what an actor is yet; I’ll explain it in the next lesson.
- The second method is to double-click the asset in the content browser. This will open a new window where you can edit the asset. Depending on the type of asset, this window may look completely different.
- Third, if you right-click on the asset, a list of possible actions will appear. Rename, duplicate, reimport, export, migrate to another project, enable nanite, and many other actions are available here.
- Finally, simply hovering the mouse over an asset will display extremely useful information such as disk size on the screen.
On the right side of the Content Browser window, there is a Settings button that will open a list of all available options:
- View Type: Choose between tiles, a list, and columns.
- Lock Content Browser
- Filter Display: Select whether the filters should be displayed vertically or horizontally.
- View: Just check or uncheck what you want to see in the browser.
- Content: Show C++, developers, engine, plugins, or localized content.
- Search: These three options function as search filters for the search bar. Just enable or disable them.
- Thumbnails: Choose how large you want the thumbnails to be displayed, from tiny to huge.
- Allow incompatible skeletons
How to create assets?
You have two options for adding assets to Unreal Engine:
- The first one is to click the “+ Add” button in the upper left corner. This will display a list of all the asset creation options. This menu allows you to import external assets created in other software as well as create basic and advanced assets within Unreal Engine.
- The second option is quicker, simply right-click anywhere in the content browser and the same list will appear on screen.
Don’t get overwhelmed by all of these options if you’re just getting started with Unreal Engine. I understand how intimidating it can be, but we will look at each and every one of them during this course. Simply bookmark our Unreal Engine Roadmap to make sure you don’t miss out on any updates.
File Management in Unreal Engine
The first and most important organizational tip is to simply make folders.
To create a folder, just click on the “+ Add” button and select “New Folder“.
I strongly advise you to maintain organization within Unreal Engine because it has many advantages and, once you get used to it, it will come naturally to you:
- Organization: Asset folders keep your project organized, making it easier to manage and locate assets.
- Workflow Efficiency: Organized folders enhance workflow efficiency by allowing quick access to specific assets.
- Collaboration: Folders facilitate better collaboration, enabling team members to find and share assets more effectively.
- Asset Versioning: Folders aid in asset version control, preserving history and facilitating easy tracking of changes.
- Project Maintenance: Organized folders simplify project maintenance, making it easier to update and replace assets as needed.
Filters in Unreal Engine
Filters are an excellent way to quickly find what you’re looking for in the content browser.
To apply a filter, just click the small icon with three horizontal lines next to the search bar.
There are many filter options, but they are well organized, so you should have no trouble finding the one you want.
Depending on your settings and the filters you’ve chosen, the list will appear vertically or horizontally. The cool thing about this list is that the filters you’ve previously selected are saved as “Quick filters.”
Now you can simply click on the name of a filter to quickly deselect it, and have many active at once.
To remove a filter completely, click the filter icon again and deselect the checkbox to the left of the filter.
Consider collections to be another way to organize different sets of assets by grouping them.
Collections, unlike folders, do not actually hold the assets themselves, but rather keep track of where the assets are. Collections just create a reference to the asset location. Consider it similar to having a list of your favorite books rather than having the books physically stacked in one place.
The cool thing is that an asset can be in multiple collections at the same time, giving you more options and flexibility when organizing your stuff.
To make a collection, go to the Collections section and click the “+” icon, then select “Local collection“. You can also create a shared or private collection if you’re working with a team in a multi-user project.
Give your collection a name, and then drag and drop assets into it. As you can see, the asset remains in its folder because collections are only a reference to the asset. You can also right-click on the asset you want to add to the collection and choose “Manage Collections” to add it to one of your collections.
Advanced Search Syntax
The advanced search syntax in Unreal Engine can be really helpful for finding specific assets or narrowing down your search results. It lets you do more advanced and precise searches within the Content Browser.
This can be useful for filtering by specific properties. You can search for assets based on certain details like file type, size, or when they were created. This makes it easy to find assets that match specific criteria. And for Combining search conditions. You can use words like “AND,” “OR,” and “NOT” to combine different search conditions. For example, you can look for assets that have a certain tag AND are in a specific folder.
To make it simple to understand, an advanced search typically consists of three components: a key, and operator and a value.
|Key (Name)||Operator (Equal)||Value (String)|
- Name: Name=”Third”
- Path: Path=”/Game/ThirdPerson”
- Class: Class=Blueprint
- Collection: Collection=myCollection
- MetaData: Triangles < 900
Finding an asset’s metadata may appear difficult, but it is actually quite simple. Simply hover your mouse over an asset in the Content Browser.
The asset metadata is constituted by all of the information displayed on the screen. For example “sRGB” would appear if you hover a texture.
- Not Equal:
Example: Name="Third" Name!="Character" This example will find all assets with the word "Thrid" in the name, but not any assets with the word "Character" in the name. If you use the Third Person Template, this search will hide the Third Person Character Blueprint but show the Third Person Game Mode.
- Less or Equal:
Example: Triangles < 900 This example will select Static Meshes with less than 900 triangles.
- AND &&
- OR || |
- NOT !
Example: Triangles < 900 AND NaniteEnabled=True This example will select Static Meshes with less than 900 triangles that have Nanite enabled.
- Exclude: –
- Exact: +
- Starts or ends with: …
Example: -blue By beginning the search with a hyphen, you can exclude folders from the Asset Tree. Typing "-blue" in the Search box, for example, hides any folder named Blueprints.
Finally, as shown in the examples, there are three types of values:
- Numeric: Triangles < 900
- String: Name=”Third”
- Boolean: NaniteEnabled=True
Variable types will be covered in more advanced lessons, so for now we’ll keep things short and simple. Strings refer to text, boolean values can only be true or false, and numerics are just numbers.
To learn more about Advanced Syntax Search, visit the Unreal Engine Official Documentation.