Short film workflows

I’m sure this has been asked before, but I haven’t found anything specific to Blender. I’m just wondering what the best way to manage files for a short animation would be. I’ve never done any major animation before, so I would want to start off properly.

As I understand it, all characters and objects can be stored in separate .blend files, and then linked into the scenes. This would provide updates across all the scenes by modifying the original files, am I correct?

What other tips do animators have?

We never tried to do anything like that on XTIN Project. When making changes to a file we would usually save the changes as a new file with an incremented number. I suppose you could have a file.v.000 which would be the linked too file, and then after working on file.v.015 you could also save it again as file.v.000.

Try it and see.

use SVN or some other versioning software; manually tracking changes is going to make your life a bit complicated.
SVN has a nice track record: it’s being used by many small studios and unis, is used for all the open movie projects, and has some graphical front ends.
To check project organization of the repo, study the file structure for BBB.

Animating with Blender: How to Create Short Animations from Start to Finish by Roland Hess would be a suggested starting point. I haven’t read it myself but the contents (viewable at Amazon) show chapters about folder structures and organising things.

At the very least it could be useful to have a read about somone else’s experience with creating a short film with blender.

For file versioning, and if you’re on Windows, you might also check out an app called FileHamster. I’ve been using it for quite a while and I can’t imagine working on anything without it. It does realtime versioning of your files, so there’s no manual checking in/out of files. I have everything important setup for realtime versioning that’s saved to a large usb drive. Also, there are a lot of parameters that you can set to control how/when/which/where files are versioned. It was created for content creators, game designers, etc.

I keep meaning to check out SVN, though, since I know the BF uses it and many community members mention it often.

Seconded. Very step by step for doing this very thing.

I am currently in the very early stages of of a full short production myself and have chosen to use Roland Hess’ (harkyman) book already mentioned.

It explains all the important steps and planning needed to get the project running and more important completed. There is e.g. a separate chapter on managing all your assets using the blender library system with linking, proxying, dupligroup etc, discussing what to use for which situation.

This book is a very valuable companion during the whole production.