Ensure you have downloaded and installed the Shade app from the website and offline models zip if necessary from here:

Open notepad and add the following powershell script. Note you must locate the shade_backend.exe file. This is typically in the following location:

  • If you’ve installed it to your user this should be in C:\Users\<YOUR USER FOLDER>\AppData\Local\Programs\shade\Shade.exe
  • If you’ve installed this elsewhere or for all users, you may have to follow the location of the shortcut
# Shade gives this key during onboarding. This unlocks unlimited assets and enables broadcasting on all interfaces.
# Shade sources the models from either the internet or a local model zip if there is not internet. Make sure to set
#  this environment variable if you're running in a shutdown environment.

$env:DISABLE_ANALYTICS="1"  # If analytics should be disabled
$env:SHADE_BROADCAST=""  # To broadcast on all interfaces
$env:SHADE_PORT="9082"  # defaults to 9082 but can be changed here

# Start the backend. Make sure to replace the path with the correct path to the backend executable. This can typically be found
#  by right clicking on the desktop shortcut, then opening that in file explorer. Open the folder and navigate to the resources/extraResources/server folder
#  and copy that path + shade_backend.exe
Start-Process -NoNewWindow -FilePath "C:\Users\<YOUR USER FOLDER>\AppData\Local\Programs\shade\resources\extraResources\server\shade_backend.exe"

Make sure to update the path to the shade_backend.exe and set SHADE_KEY and SHADE_MODELS_PATH if necessary.

Save the file as shade.ps1 and then right click on the file and select “Run with Powershell”.

If any issues arise, we’re always happy to help in our discord, over email or live on a call!


Keeping the backend up to date with the latest features is simple with multiple approaches depending on internet availability.

  • If internet access: Open the Shade app GUI (shade.exe). On launch, if an update is available the “update is available” window will show. Simply select the relevant update option.
  • If no internet or on terminal:
    1. Download the new installer from
    2. Overwrite the old shade folder with the new one
    3. Make sure to update the path to the shade_backend.exe and restart the server

Connecting Windows Clients

Download the Shade app onto any artist/clients/workstations that need to connect to Shade.

Studio clients on the same network only need three pieces of information to connect & search. To locate the server and then for shade to perform path translation.

  1. The network IP address of the Shade Server. For many setups this is the same as the SMB server on the port 9082, for example, in our organization we have an SMB server at smb://, so the shade address is If not, running ipconfig and using the ipv4 shown will typically work.
  2. The path to the shared drive from Shade server’s perspective. For example, if the shade server is running an SMB server, which is serving an external drive at C:\studio\media, then this value would be the same: C:\studio\media.
  3. The path to the shared drive from the client/artist perspective. If clients mount the assets folder at Z:\assets, then this value would be Z:\assets.

To fill this information:

  1. Launch Shade, on the first screen select I am using this in a Studio
  2. Fill in the information above into the following screen
  3. Continue, then select the relevant workspace from the left sidebar. Clients can index anything locally with the L (local) workspace but can take advantage of the server by selecting the other workspaces/servers.