Hey there, we’re so excited that you found Shade and you’re interested in using our application. We’ve built this app from the ground up to focus on enhancing your file browsing and enable you to reuse, search all types of assets using AI.

We understand that getting started with a new application can be overwhelming, but we are here to help you every step of the way.

What is Shade and Why Should I Care?

Shade is a fully-local, AI-powered file browser that enables you to search, filter, and reuse all of your assets. Shade targets anyone who manages high amounts of photos, audio, videos, and 3D assets. Our team has spent the last 6 months building up the infrastructure to support AI search across all these different asset types, so you can search for all your files for what they are, not what they’re named. Now there are a few key notions that our team has really focused on to make Shade better than your existing file explorer while maintaining security and privacy first.

Download the Shade Desktop App

Shade currently supports MacOS and Windows, we are currently in closed beta so please join our discord to get access to the release.

System Requirements

Check if your device meets the minimum operating system requirements for installing and using the Shade desktop app.

macOS (Apple)

The Shade desktop app is optimized for Macs with Intel and Apple Silicon (M1) processors.

  1. Head to the Apple menu in the top-left corner.
  2. Select About this Mac from the options.
  3. The version number will be displayed under the version name. You must be running 10.13 (macOS High Sierra) or later.


  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Enter Computer in the search field.
  3. Right-click and select Properties.
  4. Identify the version under the Windows edition field. You must be running Windows 8 or later in a 64-bit environment.

💡 Shade runs a Shade agent - a secure background service that enables Shade to install updates, run the search engine, open Shade links to the desktop app. Shade runs an HTTP and HTTPS server on localhost and does not expose to the public internet. You may see this agent in your activity monitor.

Downloading and Installing

  1. Simply download Shade for your respective operating system.
  2. Shade will download and install into the location you configure - click on the downloaded file to run the installer.
  3. Move Shade to your Applications Folder
  4. Open the Shade App to Get Started

Creating An Account

Log in or create your Shade account via the Sign in With Email Address and Password (more authentication methods to come soon)

Set Up

If this is the first time accessing the app, the application will ask you a series of questions and walk you through the setup phase which includes getting some more details about you, and adding files and folders from your computer.

Once you’ve filled out all the details, simply start adding files and folders to Shade.

Once files and folders are added, Shade’s backend process will begin indexing your assets and using AI to autocatalogue, organize, and make your assets searchable for you. This is now a time where you can sit back and wait as you begin to see your assets visualize onto your screen.

💡 Shade looks for various applications on your computer to help render various files. For example, if you have a .mb file, Shade will look for Autodesk Maya on your computer to render it out. If you have a .blend file, Shade will look for Blender, etc. etc. This enables Shade to render everything locally without having to use the cloud and enables you to get access to searching your files faster.

Adding Your Files from the App

There are a few ways to add files from Shade. I’ll show you one way here by clicking the Add New button in the top left.

Viewing Files and Assets

As seen in the video above, we offer you multiple views and methods to access and filter across your assets, including a Discover page, an all assets view that enables you to see all of your assets in a high level view, recently added (to see what assets you just added) and more. You’re able to easily organize assets too into collections (and see the ones that Shade has created for you as well).

Here you can see that Shade has indexed all of my assets that I just indexed above.

Here’s a view where I can see all of my materials that I have indexed.


And that’s how you get started! It’s super simple and straightforward. Simply install the application and start throwing assets at it. Shade will organize and go through all of your assets, create visual previews for you to see, and enable you to easily access and search them.

Check out some more articles on

  • How to search and filter for assets using Shade
  • How to Create Collections from Your Assets
  • How to add tags and descriptions to assets outside of AI
  • Using Shade in Your Creative Workflow
  • List of File Types Shade Supports