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File Naming Convention

Lesson 29 from: The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

Lisa Carney, Simon Peter Raible

File Naming Convention

Lesson 29 from: The Business of Professional Photo Retouching

Lisa Carney, Simon Peter Raible

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Lesson Info

29. File Naming Convention

Next Lesson: Mark Ups


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Who Should Be a Retoucher?


Genres of Retouching


Comp vs Finish


Lisa's Path to Retouching


Simon's Path to Retouching


Establishing a Look


Who is The Client?


Lesson Info

File Naming Convention

This is a naming convention, a file naming convention that I have to say, can I brag a little? Brag on. This system really works and honest to Buddha I think for the most part, oops. For the most part if you go to, a lot of the agencies we work at you'll see this system in place now. Yay for my system. It works really well. And so here's the system. One you have client name. Oftentimes it's gonna be an acronym because you can't have a file that's huge. So you figure out a client, and often that name is the same name used in accounting software for the client. Then you have the job show for example. Oh I don't know, let's say you're doing a job for Apple Computer. And then they have a job, you're doing a piece of art for the iPad. So it'll be Apple, and then the project is iPad. Does that make sense? That would be like a show or a project. And then you have the specific thing you're building, like a key art or a bus shelter or a magazine ad. And then for this particular thing 'cause...

it happens to be a TV sample, it's season two, S2 just means season two for this 'cause this is an entertainment job. So if you look back in the folders for this particular job, this I don't know how many seasons this show went but if it went 10 seasons, the filename would be exactly the same and you would know season one, season two, season three. It's like clockwork. Anyway so client name, job number or title, name of project, and working file. So a WIP is a work in progress. So all my layered files are called W1A. WIP 1A. The A's stand for, it's the first one. I will make a WIP 1B, a W1B, if this file has gotten outta hand, and I need to merge some stuff. If this file has gotten outta hand and I need to merge some things, I move on to the next letter. The next letter. So it's be a WIP 1B. And then I continue my job. And then maybe I deliver a version. Now why did I go from an A to a B? I did that because I always have to go backwards. My jobs have to go all the way back to the original photograph. 100% right? It better. So, they better, right, or there's trouble. So it's the 1A, 1B, 1C is the next line down the row. Why it's not a WIP 2A, because I merge some stuff, is I use the main number for versions. So let's go to the next slide here. And at this point I wanna tell all those folks who are panicking, please do not panic, we have given you some lovely, lovely worksheets, that go in your bonus material that will exactly spell this out. And not only do we have a worksheet that spells this out, we've done it in two different ways. We've done it in Lisa speak, and we've done it in Simon speak. And I will tell you, I can't read his. I read his and I'm like that makes zero sense to me. And mine makes sense to me. Likewise, it doesn't work for him, so hopefully between the two of us, we've covered the universe. All right so let's take a look at how this job might go through. And I really want you guys to get this. You got a comp. The comp's gonna be for the job company, the same job show. And the comp's gonna have its numbers. This particular system that's comp number 15, those numbers can go up to like 100, 200, 300. And there's some initials after that. What this agency did and what it turned out worked out well, is if you put the initials of the artist doing the job in there, if you had a question you knew who to go back to. Now they have since changed their policy and they put a number there. So each designer has her own personal number, I think they were trying to not shame people. Like, oh so and so's gettin' all the files. So that's how they work. They have a number system for each person. And in addition, I should say this, I think they have numbers because they have freelancers. There is a singular number for a freelancer. The comp is the comp, blah, blah, blah, it gets picked, here comes your key art and, in this example and we're doing a WIP 1A. Now when I'm ready to send it to the client, it turns into a version. It becomes a V. So right here you can see, I have a V1A and that was a JPEG. If I got hit by a bus, and the job came back for a revision, and they called Simon and say, "Oh my goodness, Lisa got hit by a bus, "can you come in and work on the job?" Any version that the client said that they want to work on he knows if he looks and just goes back and finds the W of that exact name, he will find the layered file. And keep in mind, sometimes these files come back from a year later. You know something gets re-looked at or six months later, or you've moved onto three jobs since then and someone else has to come in and fill your shoes. It works like clockwork 'cause the numbers correspond. Now where it can be a little tricky is you get a lot of versions. Because okay here we have a CMYK tip, that goes to the printer. You have a version 1A PSB zip. Well do you remember we talked the other day about you gotta give layered files to your clients? It's not a WIP you give the layered file, you give a zip, I mean excuse me a version 1A layered file, and why is that? Is 'cause more than likely, if you follow our handy, dandy worksheets that Simon has worked so hard to produce, you're gonna clean up your layered file, you're gonna merge some things. You're gonna crop things out. And so that way your version 1A, is not exactly the same as a WIP. Because you don't wanna give 'em all your juicy bits. Do you remember when we talked about when you build your files don't crop out the outside stuff 'cause you might need it for another billboard? As a courtesy you don't send that to your client. They don't want all that extra bleed area. They don't want all that. They want just what they asked for. I wanna say are there any questions but I think there'll be many questions. I'm gonna move to the next slide, you doin' okay with this? Yeah, yeah. All right, cool. All right, so let me illustrate this again. I know I'm beatin' a horse, but it's worth talkin' about here. So all your WIPS, are gonna be layered files. WIP 1A, WIP 2A. That means this went to the client, and it came back. And now I had to do some changes, okay? It's not a 1B, a 1C, any 1A, 1B, 1C, those are internal changes, okay? Just my choice. Version files to clients. You got your JPEGs, you CMYKs, your simplified layered file that goes to the client, and then you might have a round two. Now I don't actually put my folders round one, round two, 'cause I can just look at the numbers. But some folks it gets them a little crazy 'cause those names can get a little long. They like to put the folders one and two. I don't, but either way someone can find this. And again inside your version folders are gonna be flat or modified layered files. Coolio? Yes, ma'am? Lisa I do wanna just take the opportunity to pause for any questions 'cause I know it's kind of a lot to take in at once, so just to if anyone has any clarification, yeah go ahead Amy. I had a question, this seems to be about doing more complicated comps and things, but if you're working with a photographer and they already have their naming convention, and you're doing a bunch of retouching files for them, keeping their file, like because they need to be able to reference too. I adore you. Excellent question. Excellent question. The client naming, 'cause I do do this a lot, this is an excellent question. This whole start part, is my client's whatever they have, but this is always me. That is an excellent question. But it's the same system. Same exact system only I don't get to dictate this. Okay. Now where it might be different is on the main job folder, I might have my acronym on the main job folder. And that is the only change. I never change a file's name. A client's file's name. No. And also because how many times have you guys accidentally moved files by mistake you're so tired, and you have to do a search. I want to be able to type in that client's number to do my search. I don't wanna have any higgily piggily things. And I do believe that was one of the complaints we had from the photographer that some people change. That was a really excellent question. So and you guys I know for this naming convention this is very specific to my jobs. But okay so let's say you have a client, you won't have a show name, okay, and you have whatever it is. So just shorten it. Just take out that section. The key thing I really, really want you guys to know is this. It's this that's the most important. The WIP 1A, the version 1A, and that these numbers always will take you backwards, to a layered file. Seriously it works like gold. And when the, oh go ahead. No, go ahead. I always think those last three letters in the back and then even when you're lookin' on your finder and you're lookin' through a bunch of names of folders and files, you'll see the first part and then, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, and then you'll see the last part, so it always shows up. And this is-- That's good I didn't think of that. Yeah, yeah. This is again one of those times where even if you don't need to get this overprotective, it's good practice to start now. 'cause once it starts growin' and if whichever way you start takin' off, you're gonna continue that way, and then scooch back to something that makes more sense a little more valuable. Gets a little tougher. Yeah, go ahead. I have a question. Yes ma'am. It's two questions and they might be really obvious. So for this set of file folders that you're making, you would make these for each client? Yeah, I have a action. The minute I get a job, that folder pops up and I only change the top name. And do you keep your estimates and all that sort of thing-- Absolutely. And my second question is I'm not familiar with PSB, what is that? Very large format. It's the large format Photoshop files. PSBs. Over two gigs. Yeah, over two gigabytes. Those are really, really good questions. so yes I have an automated action that drops the folder system and I just populate it. But I don't change it to, ACME WIPS, ACME versions, I don't. The name of the client is only on the main folder. My WIPS are my WIPS. Please note you guys, that the blue type, the layered files to client, I don't write that. That's just for you guys to know what we're saying. And this is such a good idea that everyone in Los Angeles has adopted it somehow. So you started up 20 years ago, in her little Metaphor place-- It was a big place, but yes. It was a big place? So that worked for that shop. Everyone else was doin' what everyone, everyone was tryin' to figure it out at the same time. Then you came to Emerald, and that's when she and I worked together. And we had our differences. She could be comin', turn your music down, why you gettin' in so late, and I was like, ah, get this broad outta here. But when it came to the naming convention, I was like, that's a good one right there. Folks moved from Metaphor moved from Emerald, and they all started populating and they would get into these shops and they're like, "Well how do you do your folder convention, "how do you do your naming conventions?" And this one rises to the top and pretty much, wherever you go in Los Angeles it's all your setup. Well I will tell you a couple things so, I have a sheet of paper with this written down on it and when people would come to work at the shops that I was running I would hand them this and say, even a freelancer, it's like great here's this system. So for those of you out there who are running print shops or who are running retouching businesses, and for those of you starting out. You start this right now. You plan for being big. You're gonna be huge, you're gonna have so many jobs, you won't know what to do with yourself. You are, I can feel it. And adopt that system and adopt it now. 'Cause you'll need it, it'll be great. And maybe it'll actually allow you to get big. Because you've got such a good organization. And again I wanna reiterate from the beginning, I got that job, an 18 year job, because I did that, I'm that person. And that job, that job afforded me some amazing things. I got to have a baby, I was sick for a year while I was pregnant. I mean I was sick. I laid on the couch for a year. They didn't fire me. When I had that kid, that kid was in the office with me, with a nanny, for two years. I didn't miss a single day of anything. His first walks, well you weren't there. When he, he took his first steps, the whole office came. 60 people were gathered 'round. And it's because of little weird things like, I know how to file management. Isn't that crazy? So if you're good at it, take it and run. I just wanna talk a bit about that version folder, 'cause that version folder's kinda like, "Well, wait why's there extra stuff in that? What could be in a version folder?" When we deliver jobs these are some of the requirements we are given. We need to give 'em a FLAT RGB TIFF. We need to give them a FLAT Lo Res RGB, like JPEG something. JPEG or TIFF, but it's for their social media. And these files might need adjustment. There might need to be a WIP, a special WIP for some of these because they need adjustment. We have to give a FLAT CMYK TIFF with and without type. And that goes to the printer. We have a print file. Now the print file, that's an internal print. So what happens on many of our jobs is we'll do a version. We'll do a job. We're like okay we'll send a JPEG and then we sent a print proof for them to approve, that's cropped, it's only 20 inches tall, so that's it's own special file. So all of these are made from the WIP, but they're all different sizes and different color spaces sometimes. RGB, CMYK. And then JPEGs of course. We have to give the client layered files. And then sometimes we have to give the client simplified layered files. So let me talk to you about the difference between a layered file and a simplified layered file. A layered file is, I want everything you've got. We're not giving them everything we've got. 'Cause we're tryin' to be courteous. So we clean up our file, we name things properly, I think we're gonna talk about that at finishing touches. Name things properly, crop when needed. But it's still a layered file. Then the same client might say, "Hey can you give us a simplified layered file?" so imagine what this is, so if this is a TV show and there's four cast members, a house, a tree, some sunshine, and a sky, they don't want all the retouching on the cast, they just want cast member A, merged. Cast member B merged. Cast member C merged. And so on. And that would be called a simplified layered file. And then of course we have to give layered Lo Res files and again it's that darn web. And social media, and trailers, so these are some of the things you might find in a versions folder. Yeah? Yeah. So again, he's being really quiet because this is in my wheelhouse. And here's the thing, it doesn't have to be in your wheelhouse. If this is not something that you like, use our paperwork it's been done. You don't have to worry about it. If this is in your wheelhouse, run with it. Get a job doing this 'cause people need it. 'Cause you don't wanna do this? No I just keep it simple man. In's, Out's works, but all that web stuff I do hang on to that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

File Naming Convention Sample
Estimate Worksheet Form
Finishing Delivery Example
File Naming Convention Explanation
Worksheet & Billing Checklist
Solar Curves Action

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor
Alien Skin Software Discount Code

Ratings and Reviews

Bill Buckley

I'm a photographer who wants to be as good at Photoshop as possible. In my field few retouchers get hired, so it's all on me. Plus my creative vision cannot be accomplished by photography alone. Not to mention that in the field, as a photographer I can't always be perfect. Photoshop to the rescue. This is possibly THE best class I've purchased on Creative Live, and they've all been good. Great insight, entertaining, well taught Lisa and Simon were awesome. Bought more LC tutorials based on this course.

Kari A. Youkey

This course just opened my world. I started ( back in the Jurassic era) as an illustrator/drafter ( pen and ink), then CAD programmer, then GIS analyst with photoshop just coming onto the scene pregnant and unplugged focusing on parenting and my inner artist. I was gifted an IPad 6 years ago in the mist of my Taxi Mom years. My favorite ‘hobby’ became manipulating images and an addiction to Adobe apps. Now, In my new empty nest status, I have been trying to figure out my next direction in life....and CreativeLive has been a wonderful resource to explore different creative opportunities, feeling somewhere between photography and graphic design, I wanted to ‘paint’ photos with my tool of choice the tablet, not the camera. ...but it wasn’t until this course that I clicked with an Aha! I don’t have to become an photographer? I could get paid to retouch? Other people’s photos?.....and, I have a work history skill set that backs it up! Thank you so much for this course! Loved the instructors and how they shared their experiences and knowledge. You two have just provided a wonderful map and whole new path to explore and inspired a much needed creative spark to get back to work❤️. Thank You!

a Creativelive Student

Lisa knocked it out of the ball park again! Amazing work Lisa and Simon! I just can't find the many words that express how much I gain with each and every course she teaches. Once again, a wealth of information that was given in a down to earth manner. I absolutely love her teaching style! Amazing course Lisa and Simon, awesome job!

Student Work