Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#0051 Ten Essential Rules of File Naming -. Summarized

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Asset Management 101  

Ten Rules To File By
So about now you're wondering if you want to modify your naming conventions or not.  Doing so can be a big undertaking, involving sometimes getting the consensus of other supervisors and producers.  It should certainly be initiated only for new projects, and you'll need to prepare a good document explaining what the changes are, why they are important and possibly how the system will be implemented.

When implementing the system, you'll need to consider how you will train your staff.  A memo is fine, but better is a briefing paper or possibly a slide show illustrating how the new system works.  You may find it necessary to explain to the staff why the changes are important and how it will make things more secure and improve everyone's understanding of file status and relationsips and revision level.   You need to explain the new system because people tend to resist and question change; explaining it to people is a show of respect.

Mostly, you'll need to get your intermediate supervisors and coordinators fully committed to the changes and get them to understand it is part of their job description to knoow and enforce naming conventions.

A final thing to consider is automation.  For one company, I made a spreadsheet in Open Office.  Artists in each work unit can fill in the information for their shot and get back a properly formatted name for their scripts and renders.  Similar utilities can be developed in MEL, Python or Javascript for users.  In NUKE a gizmo could be put together.  Remember, artists are busy and will ignore or make mistakes in file naming just because they are rushing or tired.  Make it easy for them.  

Here's an outline of this series

10 Rules To File By

1.Let it Speak (Make it meaningful)
2.Make it Short
3.Keep it Simple
4.Avoid Special Characters and Control Punctuation
Use command-line compatible punctuation
Avoid Spaces
Two periods maximum
The hypen – if you dare
Use postScript Notation
Special Emphasis
5.Protect Sort Order
Maintain Chronology
Variations and Passes after take or version
6.Rendered Files Must Refer to Their Script
7.There can be only ONE revision 1
Call Composited Shots "takes"
Put Modifiers After Revision Number
Tie Render Passes To A Revision
Use Takes and Versions Together
Make sure your revision modifier policy is understood
Use Codes and Punctuation Sparingly
8.Abbreviate Consistently
9.Use Project Identifiers
Separate internal or external work
Client company and sometimes division or department
Project: film, show, series, campaign,
Sub-project: TV episode, spot or reel number.
10.Include extra data
Artist Names
Variation vs Option Descriptions
Rights Managed Files
Camera Angle


Anonymous said...

Ideally, it would be desirable to achieve consensus on folder and file naming conventions within a team or department; however, this may not always be possible because each participant may believe their ideas are the best.
Alex Frisch

Isa A. Alsup said...

Ideally consensus will be achieved among team leadership. Needs of each department, if left unmet, will devolve into a chaos of ad-hoc solutions. Often, people become dogmatic about the filing system they champion, and become inflexible. What works best in a visual effects pipeline will usually not fit the needs of a design studio, game producer, or motion graphics pipeline. My goal in this series is to present general guidelines for supervisors to consider.

Consensus is desirable. Ultimately someone needs to make a decision and implement it. That decision needs to be made in a timely manner. Delay can mean costly confusion and retooling.

Anonymous said...

Consistency in the use of naming conventions for Web files and directories is both a matter of best practices and improving ease of navigation. With the anticipated implementation of an enterprisewide content management system, adoption and strict use of University file-naming conventions is essential.

Alex Frisch

Connie Jordan-Carmichael said...

Really, it's a very good work. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us

Connie Jordan-Carmichael | Ubiquity Broadcasting Corporation