Friday, January 23, 2015

Naming Convention 4. - Numbers

We use numbers to count things. Avoid to use numbers on distinguish things.
Typical example to count versions like:
But not the best practice to distinguish different things like:
I usually use letters to distinguish variations.
Using one letter can refer to 26 variations. We can extend it with double letters like:
We can combine variation with counter like this:

Anyway, this topic is about using numbers. We are talking about CG and VFX (as TidyVFX is about that) but this knowledge is important for the whole universe of course :)

To establish a naming convention means we have to specify for what to use numbers.

1. Count things
As I wrote above

2. Arrange things
For files and folders usually have to use numbers to specify a certain order because file systems use alphabetical order by default. For eg. if we have IN, OUT, PROD it would look like this in the file system:

But if you want a certain order you have to use numbers like this:

2.1 Padding series
Because of the file systems another thing to deal with is the padding. It is quite simple.
One character can produce ordered sequence from 1 to 9, two character from 1 to 99, etc.
For image sequences in VFX we usually use 4 digits and that means correct order 1 to 9999.
Also have to mention never start a sequence from 1 because it is a big issue when we have to extent it with 80 frame at the beginning for some reason. It would start from -80 and we really don't want that.

2.2 Padding shots (insert shots)
There is another function of padding in shot numbers for eg. We have to consider there could be new/extra shots during the production. So if we use 001, 002, 003, we can't insert a shot between 001 and 002. We have to extend the name with zeros. Same rule. If we use one character that means we can insert 9 extra shot.
So the shot numbers should be like this:
The rule for inserting extra shots is to halving the numbers. To insert shot between 0010 and 0020 would be 0015. To insert a shot between 0010 and 0015 would be 0013 (or 0012).
I would not recommend to use 001A, 001B for shot names.