The Studio Workshop: Naming Conventions

The Studio Workshop: Naming Conventions

Following on from last Friday, welcome back to the Studios Assistant workshop, where Brad Collier-Brown and I share a few of the most common queries and solutions from the Escape Studios classroom, so you guys at home can learn a little something from us too.

Personally, the biggest issue I've come up against in the past few weeks is naming conventions. There are a lot of you out there right now rolling your eyes at me, because you put all your polyCubes in a group and named it 'scene', and you think that's sufficient. It’s not! And the problem is, at the moment, you're probably all working on personal projects, where you model, light, texture, render and comp yourselves, which means as long as you know which polyCube is your chair, and which one is your table, you're fine. The problem comes when you start working in a team.

Let’s say you model a crane, and pass it on to me to make an nCloth cable to swing from it. If I open up your scene and start converting parts of your model to passive colliders, will I be able to open your outliner and navigate to where I want to go? Or will I have to spend half an hour sorting the polyCubes from the polySpheres before I can even start. Doesn't sound like much, until you imagine how much a Senior TD gets paid per hour in the industry, which means it’s his time and money you’re wasting, meaning your boss is probably going to get a little hostile towards you! Everyone's life would be a lot easier if you just organised your scene correctly! 

The same problem comes from Render Layers. You won’t realise until you start passing your layers onto a compositor that calling your shadow layers 'shadow 1', 'shadow 2' and 'shadow 3' means nothing. These guys haven't sat next to you while you built your scene, they don't know that you've split the wall shadows and floor shadows; so please put it in your layer name. It’s also useful to get an object ID pass for everything in your scene, to allow quick and easy colour correction. If you don't know what an object ID is, drop us a comment at the bottom of this post, and maybe we'll make a post about it.

Be clear and concise in your naming of everything, and start now; it’s not a lesson you want to be taught by an angry compositor the week before deadline when you get your first job on Bath of the Titans!

So there's our lesson for today folks, and there’s plenty more of them to come; proving our dedication to your education at every pace. Check back in again soon for more tips and tricks, and if there's anything you want us to cover, sound off in the comments below!

2 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Mon 23 Apr 2012: 2:27pm

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  • Regina Viveiros:

    Great little post. I'm known for creating perfect working photoshop and illustrator files where everything is grouped as it should and named appropriately, touché!

  • Arkadiusz:

    Great tip for new people in production pipeline. This same principle should be apply for compositors to compositor and spend some time on naming backdrops, nodes in nuke or layers and comps in After Effects. It's really hard to take project from other person and try working on it if there everything is named "null". Be aware of this lesson.

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