View Full Version : Computer Problems and Our Digital Art

07 July 2005, 03:27 PM
I'm always hearing horror stories about friends who experience computer crashes and lost files or corrupted data. Only recently I experienced a similar experience where some bad RAM totally screwed my operating system so that I couldn't even boot up. I was HORRIFIED! Turns out, I didn't lose any files and once the source of the problem was discovered I only had to reinstall the OS. Whew! Time to back up, I guess.

This lead me to thinking... with so much of our art (2D and 3D) becoming more and more dependant on computer technology and software, does anyone else feel a bit aprehensive about trusting our art to 'the machine'? Has anyone else out there actually LOST their artwork due to computer / software failure? How did you deal with that? How often should we back up our stuff and what's the best way to archive? Should computer and software companies be held responsible for the loss of such art? Why do us guys have nipples? Oh... uh, scratch that last one.

07 July 2005, 04:27 PM
Oh-ho-ho... There was this assignment last quarter in my Visual Effects-Based Cinematography class where we had to shoot a film on green-screen; it was my first time working with it. We had to make a video wherein we interact with a clone of ourselves. Anyways, I was ALREADY under the gun because, thanks to my other assignments, I had to put this off until two days before it was due. Day One, I shot the footage and captured it on the network. Day Two, I did the compositing work. I worked allll afternoon and around 8:30, I was finally finished and ready to export the final product. I adjusted the settings and hit the Render button....

And the G4 I was on crashed. Not only that, it crashed HARD, and when I rebooted it the thing couldn't log in because it forgot it had a network card. I mailed several frenzied problem reports to the tech guys and even went scurrying around the building looking for one I could grab, but ultimately I gave up, got on another computer, and redid the whole day's work. Finished around 1:30 AM, and it was about this time that a tech guy finally showed up to check out the busted computer . :curious: (misc.php?do=getsmilies&wysiwyg=1&forumid=0#)

07 July 2005, 05:26 PM
:surprised Well, you pose some cunundrums here...

First off, I'd suggest getting a RAID solution(mirrored) or having a batch program regularly backing up your data folder, and keep all your art in one subfolder. I have one for both 2d and 3d, everything goes into one of these.

Have 2 harddisks if you don't have the option for a RAID setup, I have two now after my hardware crash. You can use a second as a temporary files location, scratch disk or something and for the backups. Whichever one fails it's unlikely for them to both fail at the same time. ;) The programs can be easily reinstalled anyway.

Of course cd's could help you as well, never hurts to make an extra backup.

I suppose this thread is to vent also, so I'll just say this: microsoft sucks, and creative labs should be dismantled, they're a hazzard.

07 July 2005, 05:57 PM
Set up an auto-backup system. You're the only one who's gonna be sorry if you don't (especially if you're doing freelance work and you lose the project - there goes your credibility).

07 July 2005, 06:23 PM
Ah, backup solutions are things that most people just don't pay attention to. It's a shame, because things like this fly under the radar until there's a big problem. RAID is good, but a little pricey. A second hard drive and a automated backup program is probably good enough. It's also cheap (probably $150 bucks total).

I'm a programmer myself. Non high-tech folk probably aren't aware of the super-high priority on time-to-market for commercial software products. The reason: the first person with a product almost always ends up dominating the market. Quality always takes a back seat, usually defined in terms of "acceptable cost of errors". Ergo, as soon as you have something that people won't immediately return, most product managers will say "ship it".

One thing I've learned is to change my mindset from "high-tech stuff shouldn't break but does" to "high-tech stuff will break eventually". I always ensure that important things are redundant and secure. (Security is another issue entirely...)

Another idea: backup software like FileKeeper can log into FTP sites. There are lots of inexpensive storage sites (Apple has iDisk, there's lots of FTP hosts, etc). That will not just give you a back up, but you can then also access those files anywhere. Just something to think about.

Edit: It seems like I haven't found the backup software program of my dreams just yet. FileKeeper seems to just not update regularly, I'm not sure why. I'm trying out Second Copy, which creates, well, a second copy of a bunch of stuff, which is easy to configure to run at certain periods, but it has no FTP support as far as I can see. Bah!

07 July 2005, 06:43 PM
** Using Mozilla Firefox.

Start FF using the -profilemanager switch so you can create a new profile :)
Create a new profile without a subfolder in your Windows "My Documents" folder.
Try deleting your profile, including all files, and ignore the warning.
Last time I did this I lost about 15 GB of data second time I looked..

** Also setting up Windows

Partition your disks and choose whatever file system it wants..
Then later on decided you want FAT32 and convert your drive (with all the installed apps)
from NTFS>FAT32.
Take you computer on a road trip.
When back home boot it to find out your drive is now called $&*^%@# :)

**I'm glad I back up most things to optical media at the moment.
Even so I can't say I've never lost some work as in examples above..
So stop getting so precious about it (?)

07 July 2005, 07:32 PM
chrisbeaver: ain't that just like the calvary to show up just when you fix the problem yourself, ha ha ha. I too have had to recreate hours of lost work while at a graphic design company. Sucks BIGTIME!

jmBoekestein: I work on a mac and don't know what a RAID solution is (not that one is dependant on the other... I'm just not much of a tech guy). I do have 2 seperate HDs and do make a copy of my work from one onto the other (and burn the occassional CD backup). Alot of my PC wielding friends would agree with you... MICROSOFT SUCKS! LOL

Nathellion: Truer words were never spoken, my friend. I'm assuming you mean for the auto backup system to be onto a separate HD or server?

Spin99: Dude! 15GB of data... GONE?!! That's rough.

I know for some people (like my wife) who works exclusively in traditional media, still like to 'document' their work via digital photography. So even when we refuse to use the current technology in our art, preserving the art still means depending on the buggy machines for archiving! It's funny to tease her about how no matter how hard she tries, computers still force their acceptance on her... but sometimes I wonder if that's a good thing, y'know?

07 July 2005, 08:17 PM
LOL... :rolleyes: let me tell you a little somethnig about my windows + creative labs system...*sighs in utter frustration*

3DLabs was acquired by creative labs a while back, they make *cough* soundcards.

Ofcourse I wanted bigtime geometry processing so I bought a Wildcat VP. :surprisedwell, thing is, my monitors aren't the same size. So at startup this machine really likes to confuse me and switch the monitors around at random, turning 1 into 2 and what not. Since they're different size I can't even see anything on the smaller one which is dirtcheap.

On top of that the only blue scrrens with errors I get are either the soundcard or the friggin Wildcat. :banghead: Every-bloody-other-thing-always-works!!! :banghead: .

07 July 2005, 12:43 AM
Yes - I have lost important work. Now I don't tryust the computer at all, I back up onto CDROM whevever I do any project I don't want to lose.


07 July 2005, 12:46 PM
Another idea: backup software like FileKeeper can log into FTP sites. There are lots of inexpensive storage sites (Apple has iDisk, there's lots of FTP hosts, etc). That will not just give you a back up, but you can then also access those files anywhere. Just something to think about.

Ooooooh... this sounds good. I'm gonna look into it. Thanks!

07 July 2005, 01:22 PM
I use incremental save coupled with External hard drive. Each time you hit "+" It creates a new file with it's name incremented of 1. I usually work like this : ctrl-s / ctrl-s /ctrl-s / + and so on. If my computer spits inferno with nuclear clouds, I still have dozens of files in my external drive. 100 the hard drive. It's not that expensive to keep your hair where they have to be : on your head.

- Groutcho

07 July 2005, 05:47 PM
Already lost important thing but i didn't have my lesson and i never think to backup my works

07 July 2005, 09:46 PM
I lost quite a bit of data once, due to my own fault when I formatted my hard drive without properly backing up my data first. I lost alot pictures i had taken. Fortunately I had sent alot of the to friends via MSN messenger, so i got part of them back. Now I don't feel very secure about my files anymore, even though I have never had a hard drive crah.

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