Map Dropbox to Virtual Drive - lifesaving tip for remote teams
Whether you're using Dropbox, OneDrive, GDrive, Box, or any other cloud storage service, it can make you want to pull your hair out at times. You've probably experienced this if you're syncing large files with teams, trying to use cloud storage for VFX or Game design, AND ESPECIALLY IF YOUR A 3D DESIGNER WORKING WITH XGEN!
Maya's Xgen hair system for example will completely implode if referencing a network location that has a space. And while this is the single event that has made me want to pull my hair out on multiple occasions it's by no means the only issue this can cause.
One of the worse features of cloud storage is that each system auto names a professional team account in a certain way that is not adjustable to you as the user. The result is a very ugly file path with parenthesis and even worse spaces. This can be really problematic for pipelines.
I've gone through countless issues with various cloud storage solutions for small studios and as an independent contractor. There are many reasons cloud storage systems aren't ideal for 3D pipelines. They are not a true network and struggle with syncing especially across time zones, large files are always tricky and they typically map to whatever drive a given user defaults to, meaning you can't count on consistent file paths.
Yet, could storage services are often the best option for small remote teams.
One lifesaving tip I can offer that helps avoid many of these issues and offers a consistent file mapping location to preserve any hard coded file references is to map your cloud storage to a virtual drive using the "subst" command.
I've documented the process for Windows for anyone that wants to test this out, and hope it helps you avoid some pain! Note this documents how we map our AvatarOS Dropbox to an A: Drive, but the same should work for any drive and any cloud storage solution.