Now maybe I’m the only one but when I’m working on a project having good efficient project management is important to me. Whenever I start any sort of project the first thing I do is create a new folder give it a relevant name, and populate it will sub folders that I think I will need: scenes, images, renders, reference, ect. Then I work out of those folders, adding new sub folders as needed.
I find that this is a great way to work because not only does it help you stay organized, but it helps keep things manageable when working on larger projects. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to assist a classmate or a colleague and they have all their files all over the place and they don’t even know where to look to find them. Or even worse when they have all their files in one folder and you have to spend five minutes searching for the right texture, because it was clumped together with 200 other files and named untitled-005copy2.png
The reason that I am bringing this up is because I find that blender lacks some important project management tools. Now I hate to point out Blenders flaws, because well I love Blender and I know the developers work hard to provide us with this amazing tool. None the less I do believe it is a flaw.
I’ve had experience with Maya, 3DS Max, and XSI, and one thing they all have in common is a built in Project Management system. In these programs when you start working on a new project and want to stay organized you launch the program and go File>New Project. This prompts you to give your project a name, and choose where you want it to be saved. When you do this it creates a folder in the chose directory and fills it with folders.
For example, when creating a new project in XSI.
That’s a lot of folders, and while most of the time you aren’t going to use them all, the benefit of creating the new project is that everything is saved into its appropriate spot. For example, do a render? Saved in Render_Pictures. Bake an AO Map? Saved in Pictures. Bake a smoke simulation? Saved in Simulation. You can even delete all the folders and it will recreate them as it needs them. This makes it easy to find the things you’ve saved and helps keep everything in one (organized) location.
Furthermore, if you go to say add a texture, it opens right up into the Pictures directory. If you go to open a new scene, it opens up into the scenes directory. This makes finding and loading files faster and more efficient.
This system also allows you to load projects. So say you have to make changes to a past project you just go, File>Project Management and select the project from a list of existing projects.
Blender sort of allows for this, as in the User Preferences, you can set the File Paths that Blender uses. However this is fairly manual and not nearly as efficient as it could be. So this is a feature that I think that Blender could really use, because to my knowledge it currently does not. If it does someone please point it out to me, as I would love to make use of it.
I found this video that demos what I am talking about in 3DS Max. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NjF0UcPyEU