Best practice - what naming conventions do you use

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Old 04 April 2013   #1
Best practice - what naming conventions do you use

Hi there, Iím starting a project and want to put some thought into the naming conventions that I use. Iím less interested in whether people use camelCase or not but rather how people name the different types of nodes/objects they use. I always try to give all objects a descriptive name but there are some common troubles I have in any application. For example i model, texture, animate and render a chair and I end up with a mesh node, a group node, a layer node and a material node that would all logically be called Ďchairí. I often end up calling the mesh chair and then prepend the type of node to the name of the other objects but this feels dirty, Iíd be interested to know how other people handle this in their production scenes?
Any thoughts very appreciated

jt
 
Old 04 April 2013   #2
I use _msh,_grp, and _mat, as appropriate.
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Old 04 April 2013   #3
My usual naming convention is that the material of the chair isn't "chair," because the chair isn't actually made of "chair" -- it's typically made of wood, plastic or metal. If it's made of stainless steel, it'll have the material assignment "metal stainless steel" or something such. And a chair might belong to a "desk" group or a "seating" group, and all the chairs and their groups might exist on a "furniture" layer.

If you do need several different things with the same name, then adding an affix of some kind is usually a good idea (like "chair_mtr," like Meloncov suggested).
 
Old 04 April 2013   #4
I usually use mdl_, tex_ & if i have a few textures assigned to the same model I'll use _diff, _norm, _spec at the end. I always finish with a version number _01, _02. mdl_chair_01.obj & the tex that goes with this model will have the name of the model so tex_chair_diff_01.jpq, tex_chair_norm_01.jpg and tex_chair_spec_01.jpg.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04 April 2013   #5
p_chair ( polygon chair ) or g_chair ( if it's grouped ) and chair_shaded ( for material ) as an example.
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Old 04 April 2013   #6
I sually randomly bash the keyboard for my texture names. So I end up with "wood_46546456465464ghfhhfh"

Or if the project goes on for longer then expected, and its 2 in the morning, they end up with names like 'Wood_PLEASEJUSTWORKORIWILLKILLYOU'
 
Old 04 April 2013   #7
Originally Posted by LuckyBug: p_chair ( polygon chair ) or g_chair ( if it's grouped ) and chair_shaded ( for material ) as an example.

Now from here I would say that is overly complicated if that naming history is all for the same asset to be shared in a pipeline.

In such cases the geometry itself should keep the same name specific to its function/location as a prop-but where say the layout artist aquires it suggests its stage of 'completeness'. Say from 'Models' if the asset hasn't been textured yet but its geometry is approved. 'Textured' or 'Surfaced' if the asset has approved and is now ready for a lighting scene. Usually such assets are kept local to the artists project as a WIP until his task has been approved for sharing.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #8
Verry interestig, I've been using variations of these but never settled on a definitive version

Quote: In such cases the geometry itself should keep the same name specific to its function/location as a prop-but where say the layout artist aquires it suggests its stage of 'completeness'. Say from 'Models' if the asset hasn't been textured yet but its geometry is approved. 'Textured' or 'Surfaced' if the asset has approved and is now ready for a lighting scene. Usually such assets are kept local to the artists project as a WIP until his task has been approved for sharing.


this method seems very sensible but i guess it doesn't solve the problem of having layers/textures/other nodes with the same names. I think in general a prefix or suffix based on the node name seems the best thing, I'd be interested to hear the arguments for suffixes over prefixes and vice versa (just to play devils advocate)

thanks for all the responses so far!
 
Old 04 April 2013   #9
Originally Posted by Pyke: Or if the project goes on for longer then expected, and its 2 in the morning, they end up with names like 'Wood_PLEASEJUSTWORKORIWILLKILLYOU'

I've learned the hard way not to use explicites in file names at 4 AM.


The key thing to remember is that unless you work at a studio big enough to have staff developing scripts for naming and saving and stuff like that, a complex naming convention is likely to become too complex. The best naming convention is the one you actually *use*, not some idealized one that's too difficult to remember when you're naming stuff.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #10
@CaptainObvious, couldn't agree more, I am in that situation where I'm designing tools for a large-ish team and certainly a lot of content so the conventions are important. finding that spot between cumbersome and useful is tricky but the idea is that with the correct tools and a good system the artists shouldn't have to think about these things much and get on with what they are good at. like I said before i'm just interested in how other people do it and what works for them so I can make an educated choice on my project
 
Old 04 April 2013   #11
Originally Posted by CaptainObvious: I've learned the hard way not to use explicites in file names at 4 AM.



Ive heard some horror stories from people calling up files with the director sitting behind them, and them having some choice names...

Honestly, we dont use conventions in our files here. The central server has a standardized naming system, so most of the assets we use are already all set up.

For files, we have a file name (the one I have open now is BRN00415), followed by Client name, Job name, Date, and then any other required description.
So BRN00415_Architect_Building_0304_Central Plaza.
Then any specific files will be that same description, sans date, so BRN00415_Architect_Building_Floor Layout, etc.

Last edited by Pyke : 04 April 2013 at 03:42 PM.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #12
When rigging I always use strict naming convention now, even on personal stuff, just because the rigs have so many objects in complex relationships. For my standard assets though I keep the naming much simpler. Depending on the software, the adding of a indicator for type of object may or may not be useful. In C4D I'd implemented something like that based of all my rigging learning in Maya, but came to realize that it's so easy to filter or identify by object type the use of it in a name isn't of any real benefit even at the scripting level.

That is an important thing to keep in mind. a lot of time the main benefit in complex identifying naming conventions isn't as much about user recognition as useful as that also is, but in easily finding things when using scripting and you can easily search things by name.

For me now, least in rigging, my naming convention is more about what the function of the item is. so rather than simply adding jnt, or nul, geo etc. I choose to indicate if something is used as say a parent or constrained to something I call it aln for alignment, and if it's the target for constraint or target expression it's tar etc. So when I go back through the rig I can tell why something is there before I even see what it's related to. This has proven far more useful.

Naming conventions are about enforcing consistency within a team though, for yourself, just making sure to name each object is the key thing. Avoid cube1, cube 2, cube 3, call them what they actually are.
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Old 04 April 2013   #13
I'm not super consistent, but have a few rules:

-avoid special characters (like slashes, minus sign, spaces, etc.) easily makes scripting a headache
-if your software has some 'autonumbering' scheme, use a different one: for instance, blender add .001, .002 etc to same name objects, so I use _01 _02 etc... why? so you can tell that chair_02 is actually a second chair, whereas chair.002 "might" be a chair that someone duplicated and then changed into a table.
-with rigs I'm a lot more specific, with prefixes (GEO_/IK_ etc) all over the place, and big to small (arm_upper_L not upper_arm_L)there's just too much stuff going on to be sloppy.
-I tend to seperate terms_with_underscore, and not to use CamelCase (personal pref)
-for bigger/multiple person projects it helps to have scripts that check (and sometimes fix/enforce) naming conventions.
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Old 04 April 2013   #14
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