Metadata is information about files. For example, there is no way to know what the file named “Crazyheart.pz2” actually is. Is it pose?… is it a morph?… does it work with Victoria?… does it have something to do with a heart? Your guess is as good as mine! But by using the content_management_service to assign information (metadata) about each file, you can know the answers to these questions. After assigning metadata to “Crazyheart.pz2” you can know its a materials_preset for a cartoon style hamster named Fluffy (just what you were looking for, right?).
It's important because the DAZ Studio 4.x Smart Content (WIP) pane (and the Carrara 8.5 smart_content pane) only find files that have metadata assigned to them. All of the products in the DAZ 3D store will eventually have metadata. If you have products or files from another source that do not provide metadata, you will not find them in the Smart Content Pane (Tab), and will have to use the Content Library pane to find them. You can add your own metadata by using the Content DB Editor... action. Also, if you have bought products from the DAZ 3D store prior to those products having metadata assigned to them, DAZ will eventually provide an easy way to update the metadata for those products when metadata becomes available.
- Finding Content Types - Metadata gives you a way to find all your content of the same type. For example, if you want to add a pair of pants to a character you are creating, you can find every pair of pants that you own, assuming that all your files have been assigned “metadata” with the correct “Content Type”.
- Compatibility - Metadata holds information about the relationships between files. (Kind of like beauticians do for people) For example, let’s say you have just found the perfect pair of pants for your character but you hate the material/texture that comes with the pants. You vaguely remember buying a product with amazing material presets for these pants, but, you buy so much stuff you can’t remember what it was called or where it might be. Metadata to the rescue… just go to the Surfaces (WIP) pane, select the Preset page, then just select the pants in your scene and Studio’s search engine delivers only material presets that work with the pants… all because of metadata.