How to collaborate on projects without corrupting

Participant ,
Sep 30, 2020 Sep 30, 2020

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We're working on a multi-character, multi-scene series of videos. Different animators need to work on the same project files (at different times). But we're getting a ton of corruption with various syncing methods (errors are about tags and HEAD)

 

First we tried Dropbox, then Resilio Sync. Both are causing intermittent corruption and loss of work.

 

I see under the hood you're using Git to manage project versioning. This is an interesting choice (guess it's cool that you can benefit from rollbacks, named versions etc) but it seems to be what's preventing any syncing software from functioning correctly without corrupting the repo. A potential benefit of git is being able to push/pull from a remote repo as a way to collaborate, but I don't see a way to do that?

 

Two questions:

1. Can you walk me through how the project files (and especially the Ch Data folders) are structured? I just had a situation where we lost even more work while trying to repair a broken project. Basically someone had done work yesterday, but the project got rolled back to a "2 days ago" state somehow. To try to recover the work, we started by duplicating the Ch Data folder as a backup (in case we were unsuccessful). Then we did our best to surgically restore elements from the syncing software's trash, so as to rebuild a "yesterday" version of Ch Data. We were unsuccessful (errors on open), so we reinstated our "2 days ago" duplicate of Ch Data (by renaming it back to Ch Data). Now the project won't open up at all, not even to the "2 days ago" state.

 

2. Do you have a recommended method for collaborating on files, storing files in a location where multiple people can access them, or even just safely bundling the files for manual transfer, archiving purposes, etc? They seem very brittle and I'm hoping if I can understand what's going on under the hood better, I can avoid so much breakage 🙂

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LEGEND ,
Sep 30, 2020 Sep 30, 2020

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I would love to hear Adobe's best practices - only work alone - but here is my understanding based on prefvious forum discussions.

 

Never put a Ch project directory inside auto file sync software such as dropbox. Ch assumes it can lock and write to the files exclusively at any time. It has frequently corrupted projects.

 

The internal got repo is the history feature in ch - for doing undos. It is not designed for concurrent project development. (Maybe one day?) You can use sqlite backend to git to access and repair it (and explore it) if you have experts. I don't recommend it personally, but it is possible.

 

For multiple people working on a project, i recommend:

 

- People can develop and rig characters separately. Then export the puppet via Export Puppeet in the menu and put that .puppet file in a shared area for other people to pick up and use.

 

- Once a puppet is used in a scene, never edit it. Import the original to make a copy, edit that, then start using that for new scenes. There is a risk the puppet changes will lose the old recording data due to the changes. So you may end up with v2, v3, v4 etc of a puppet. I often create once off versions of a puppet for different reasons (different special effects) - it can also keep the puppet faster as you have lots of small puppets instead of one mega puppet which can get slower.

 

- Never share projects. Allocate different scenes to different people and have them work independently. I personally export video clips from scenes separately. The rendered video files can be put in a shared drive for others to access and look at etc.

 

- I suggest prem pro or after effects to join the video clips per scene together as required.

 

- I use a shared drive for background images too, so they can be reused.

 

- I use a strict numbering scheme across all scenes and video clips. E.g. EO-ep1-sc2-shot3 (series name, episode, scene(location), camera shot, etc. I leave out most of the letters, so it's really EO2_3_1 - you get used to it. It can make sense to jump by 10 instead so you can insert new numbers easily (EO2_30_10 and EO2_30_20, allowing EO_30_15 to be added). This makes it easy to sort all the scene file video clips later.

 

- To make backups, i copy (zip up) the whole project directory and save it. 

 

- I started a new project file per 10 minute episode. It is the exported scene video files that really matter. I did this to organize better and avoid a corruption losing too much of the total work.

 

 

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