View Full Version : organization
02-02-2007, 07:09 PM
my files are rather messy and would like to change that.
i'm going to attempt to change how i work; from trying to create simple and helpful habits to higher level organizational stuff. i'll be trying my best to find or create organizational systems that will help my work easier on myself as well as those i work with.
small things i have in mind would be becoming more aware of labeling my layers in photoshop, create a default max scene, searching for helpful tools and plugins, etc. larger things being how i arrange my folders, possibly using a naming conventions, mentally defining my processes, etc.
if you have a certain way of doing something, like organizing your files that works really well, i'd love to hear about it. if it works for me, i'd love to adopt your way of doing things - how are your folders arranged?
if you have any other suggestions on how i could become more organized and efficient in producing cg work, i would be much obliged.
02-02-2007, 07:32 PM
I used to name my directories in Icelandic. Before that, I gave them German names. It wasn't too helpful. If you're neither an Icelander nor a German, you should not do that.
02-02-2007, 07:55 PM
i have a folder named "graphic works" ( trabalhos gráficos) and everything i creat is there , for example, if it is an SDK , ill drop it in the SDK folder and put the model in the model folder, the texture in the texture folder etc.
For next gen i usually have the folder with the name of the work , separate folder :
- Basemesh ( incase it is later mudboxed)
- Objects ( for any .obj i export)
- Reference ( any special reference i might be guided by )
- Normal ( where i do my experiments with the normal maps, etc before cleaning everything , usually usefull if you have loads of separate parts )
im a douchebag i know.
02-02-2007, 07:57 PM
I just stick whatever mesh i'm doing in "Projects"
02-02-2007, 08:19 PM
my maxstart file has my windows and grid setup organized into 3 little windows, 1 large, grid units 16/8/8 generic units, snapping on, resize of grid ok on all views bar perspective. It also containts the standard male character from whatever game im working on scaled correct and aligned to the grid wiith a base pivot point rooted at the origin so that anything I now build is rooted in the real world scale of the game.
I organize everything with named layers and navigate through layer manager which is always open.
I always have a base,lights, roughs, backups, splines, lowpoly named layer, then for each major hipoly section i have a named layer of that section.
Likewise in photoshop i have named groups for diffuse, specular, normal, emmisive, overlays etc.
I always name things.
I have a directory structure of for instance environments/ models/ hi/low/ model name /textures, BSP/ static mesh etc
organization is good.
Rorshach do you have a non-Epic version of that maxstart file? It's something I figure a lot could/would find handy, myself included.
Also - whats the purpose of snap-to-grid? This to make sure when working within modular constraints the sizes line up properly?
02-02-2007, 11:03 PM
Im not the most organized, but I do pretty well for my self.. I am no rorshach....
The best thing that I started doing was using layers like so when I make a high poly prop or elements. It was mainly done for revisitng later if needed:
Low Poly Final (this is the low poly part all put back together)
I usually just work in max by naming my objects properly and hitting the H key a lot. only time i've used layers is when the export pipeline called for, nasty bugger.
As for my computer itself, which if its not an application its all saved to my external HDD, looks like this:
(Expanded 1 level)
Dunno if this will help, but I find it extremely helpful.
Edit: Best sentence right there folks.
02-03-2007, 01:53 AM
I'm hardcore and dump everything in c:\
who needs folders.
02-03-2007, 03:07 AM
I find one thing that very few people organize is their start menu. I only have six entries in programs: Accessories, Games, Graphics, Internet, Startup, Utilities. All program entries go into one of the above. Then I have the same folder structure within the Program Files folder. Makes finding programs and files way easier than having a list of 5,001 entries. Then I use the windows hotkeys for all my most used programs, which eliminates the need for desktop icons. Just right click the entry in the start menu, and go to properties. In the keyboard shortcut, just press a letter. Now whenever you hit Ctrl + Alt + (the letter) that program will start. I have P for photoshop, O for outlook, 8 for max 8, 9 for max 9, 4 for mudbox, 0 for maya, etc. It makes it super easy to start up whatever program you need instantly.
Name your layers, files, images, as you go. Don't wait to do it in one fell swoop or you'll put it off. Also, when you are about to start something new to organize, think about it down the line. Will this way of organizing work when I have 50 of these? 1000? And it might alter the way you are going to organize. Also, try consistency, organize your photoshop layers the same folder structure every time, your max file layers, your file folder structure. This will make it second nature for both creating them, then using them afterwards.
02-03-2007, 03:28 AM
I use a folder of shortcuts:
Also at work I do a lot of rigging/skinning. I'm always dropping animations onto skeletons to test them, and by default max looks in it's animation folder. Therefor in that folder I have a shortcut to our exported animation folder on the network - stops me browsing for it each time.
I use Alienbrain a lot to prevent me having multiple versions of a file lying around with slightly different names.
In photoshop, if I'm using only a few layers, like using a PSD to store a diffuse, spec and normal map for the same object, I'll have empty layers between each of those, named SPACER and turned off. It helps me separate each section, and prevents me accidentally collapsing them onto each other.
With a busy PSD, I'll make use of folders - example: if I have several diffuse textures for the same object with dirt layers, then each of those gets its own folder, jumper1, jumper2. Each of those has sub folders dirt, rips etc.
Map your photshop filters to hotkeys! FILTERS?!!!!YUCK!!!!11. No, this is really clever. Alt-F5 is Unsharp mask, Alt-F6 is Gaussian Blur, Alt-F7 is Highpass (a VITAL filter)
Never name a file temp.xxx if you plan on keeping it.
Likewise, NEVER name a file latest.xxx
A few other computer workflow tips:
Sort your internet bookmarks into folders, such as Music, Money, Art, Games. Sort these with subfolders where applicable.
Delete emails as you get them/deal with them, or move them to a folder. At home I usually have 0 emails in my inbox - they are either deleted or stored in folders such as Friends, Holiday, Registration Information. If you do need to find an email later, use your packages SEARCH function.
Use an RSS reader to get your dose of news. I prefer to use Google Reader, I used to use bloglines. A web based reader allows me to read the same feeds at home or work. I'm subscribed to BBC news, Eurogamer, Lifehacker, Warren Ellis, lots of friends sites, some Polycounters sites, Boing Boing, Penny arcade etc. Like everything else, I've organised these into sections - Computing, Art, Friends, Music, News etc.
Use your feed reader to subscribe to digital photograpy technique sites - thats where you pick up invaluable tips such as colouring grayscale images with duotones and tritone. I learned the orton effect there, which is superb for concept art. I learned that you often get a better sharpen with less artifacts if you do it in LAB mode...
buddy the designer
02-03-2007, 03:46 AM
I personally have Projects folder, it contains each work in separate folder. I use MAX9 Project folder thing to group file types inside of them, which is usefull when you don't want to group everything yourself.
Second Folder I use is Textures which contains lots of References and hence the name, Textures, this folder is atm about 53Gb / 81 000 files.
02-03-2007, 06:50 AM
I've got a partition just for 3D, with has a 'work' folder in it, in that there is a folder for each app, in each of them is a folder for the project I'm working on. So it's like E:\Work\XSI\Lictor
And then have my save files organised like Model1... (saving incrementally), LowPoly1..., UV1, Render1...
And also put things in layers in the XSI scene, to make things faster and easier.
02-03-2007, 11:29 AM
Couple things that i've been doing recently
if you dont use quads in max you really should, the best thing to get over the hump is to delete like every default command in there so that you start with a blank slate. Then as you work throw in your most used commands, this will make sure that you know where everything is at and it's not hidden between max default 'useful' commands.
Also if I find myself doing repetitive actions in max or photoshop I make an action or maxscript command for it immediatly, even if it's just 3 or 4 actions it still helps.
Organize your reference folder! this is a big thing for me, I Always have tons of reference and I try to keep all of it around after I finish a project. I used to be really bad about keeping all of those pictures in one big folder, but if you organise these by descriptive folder names it'll really help.
02-03-2007, 12:04 PM
I feel my naming convention for the "inspiration" folder works pretty well.
Username is the alias of the artist. If I know who I'm saving, sometimes I'll just use their name.
Location is the initials or shortened version of where I found the picture.
PC = Polycount
EP = Eatpoo
CA = ConceptArt.org
CGChat = CGChat (surprise surprise)
Title would be the name of the picture or a descriptor if the person uploaded with some crazy ass name (ex. sbjsa12751038.jpg).
So then we get something like this...
which groups things nicely without the need for lots of folders. I can find someone pretty quickly or if I want more I can search their username on that site. If I know I'm going to be saving a shit ton of pics from one person I'll make a folder for them. Or I'll make a folder for a single site (like I did for the Sijun speedpaint thread).
Problems arise when you get cross forum postings from the same person with different names (like blankslatejoe here and JoeM on CGChat). Nothing really to prevent this other than keeping an eye open. Ive also got a *lot* of images in one folder which is nice to just flip through them all, but when looking for something in particular it can be hell.
Also, has anyone tried out the new search feature thats integrated in Windows XP (I think it was released when Vista came out).
It gives you a little search box down by the clock and you type in something and it'll find it on your computer, it'll even search through documents for that word if you want it too. I can just type "pho" then hit tab to autocomplete photoshop, then enter, then enter again and I've got PS up and running.
02-04-2007, 03:53 AM
Is that Apples Spotlight? It indexes pretty much everything on your Mac - files, applications, address book contacts, emails. its a superb tool.
These days people should be searching and not browsing, especially on large projects. FACT.
02-04-2007, 09:35 AM
Yuppers, it's in Vista.
It's much like Google Desktop (hot damn that's an awesome tool). We use Google Desktop at work to search through some 300 PC's, when we're looking for script examples and snippets.
buddy the designer
02-04-2007, 11:16 AM
I got something simmilar to Spacey in my Textures folder, for example when I found a nice album I want to have it on my hdd I add "whereitcomesfrom_" before the original name and put into folder with others from this type. Same for walls, floors bricks etc so I always know whos photo I'm using.
02-05-2007, 01:22 AM
I find making shortcuts to folders I'm using most on my desktop. For example, I have shortcuts to the Project folder for whatever I'm working with. Having a shortcut directly to my inspiration folder, and reference folders. Also a shortcut leading directly to D:/Games/ut2004/Eir being the directory of the mod I'm working on. I hate having a messy desktop, but having a few shortcut folders helps save seconds.
02-05-2007, 12:34 PM
Last year I got here a nice tip (I think the subject was the same).
Itīs a program called Slickrun (http://www.bayden.com/) , a little command line who float over your desk. Type a Word and the program/command will launch.
But organization itīs a "deep hole". My suggestion itīs separate your Work Pc from your Fun PC. No Games, messengers, fun videos or any digital gadgets to distract you. I think thatīs the biggest problem with all of yours who spent so much time in front of that machines.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.