Tips on File Versioning and Date Naming Conventions

Here are some notes on file versioning and date naming conventions for 3D animation production:
I recommend using the following “_###” versioning system:

animation_001
animation_002

Frame padding

It depends on the project you’re on, but most project files won’t have a 1000th version so 3 frame padding is very very safe for almost all purposes in animation, while 2 frame padding doesn’t allow for the occasional 100th version.

The letter “v”

Some pipelines use “v” to denote version number, and I think it’s not a bad idea. In a pipeline where it’s understood that “_###” already denotes versioning, it comes across as an additional letter without providing more information.

Using the “.”

Please avoid using the “.” for file versioning because some softwares may confuse that with a file extension! That said, Maya’s imagePlane sequence only accepts “.” for image sequence number.

For Maya image sequence
Bad:

animation_001.jpg
animation_002.jpg
animation_003.jpg

Good:

animation.001.jpg
animation.002.jpg
animation.003.jpg

Date naming convention

Most file browsers default to sort by name. It quite confusing to date files with DDMMYY because 301216 will numerically be after 011217 when it should actually be chronologically before:

011217
151217
301216
310118

Thus I recommend YYMMDD where it will make both numerical and chronological sense:

161231
171201
171215
180131

Why use YY over YYYY?

In fact, it is clearer to see 2016 as compared to just 16. As long as the entire pipeline understands the date convention, we can essentially save on the redundant “20”, since most of the projects we work on don’t run past a century.

That’s all for now!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *