Adobe Character Animator File Structure

FILE STRUCTURES IN CHARACTER ANIMATOR

Why is it so important for your Adobe Character Animator pipeline? In this short tutorial, we’ll explain.

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Creating a file structure for Adobe Character Animator is really important – especially when you are creating multiple episodes with various assets you want to keep track of.

Having a clear file structure is all about being organized. This is critical – not just for your workflow. It is critical if others are going to try and make sense of what you have created later on.

So in this tutorial, we are going to share how we build our file structure.

TOP LEVEL

This is the top-level folder that will identify your project. Let’s use ‘Bubbles of Wisdom’ as our case study. The top level folder is;

/Bubbles of Wisdom

Pretty obvious huh!

SECOND LEVEL

Because we have lots of things in our ‘Bubbles of Wisdom’ folder (such as a Reference Images, Documents, Potential Title Music) we need somewhere that our actual show exist. So this is in a folder called;

/Episodes

THIRD LEVEL

Here you can decide what naming will best suit your production. If it’s a few episodes you can name them whatever you like. If it’s a longer form series, you may want something a bit more specific. With ‘Bubbles of Wisdom’, we used;

/BOW – S01E01 Time Machine

‘BOW’ was just the acronym to identify the show.

‘S01E01’ Means Series 01, Episode 01. By putting this next, all episodes will be sorted numerically. First by the Season number, then by the episode number.

‘Time Machine’ was what the episode was called, and gives me an immediate idea of what the episode is about (because I likely won’t remember the episode number’).

So the next episode is named;

/BOW – So1E02 Romance

FOURTH LEVEL

This is the nuts and bolts of naming. We always have these folders sitting in each episode folder;

/After Effects
/Audio
/Background Art
/Character Animator
/Final Compile
/Premiere
/Puppets
/Renders

AFTER EFFECTS
Contains the our After Effects project files.

AUDIO
Audio is where we keep all our audio files. Inside the Audio folder I have;

/Edited Audio
/Music
/Raw Audio
/Sound FX

These are all pretty self explanatory.

BACKGROUND ART
This is where I keep any background images, as well as unique props and objects.

CHARACTER ANIMATOR
This is where I keep my Adobe After Effects project files.

FINAL COMPILE
This is a folder where I place the final rendered version of the episode. No Final_Final_This_is_it_Final.mp4 file to go and find somewhere!

PREMIERE
We do our editing in Adobe Premiere Pro. This is the folder where we keep the project folders for that.

PUPPETS
We copy our .puppet files and place them here. That way the puppet won’t accidentally get moved and throw everything out. Also, you may have to make changes to the puppet for this episode. So any changes are kept isolated here.

RENDERS
Here is where we keep out rendered work during the process of making an episode. We may need to render something from Character Animator, Premiere Pro or After Effects. We put everything like that in here (except for the final render which gets moved to the Final Compile folder.

PROCESS
Wow – that is a lot to remember. So here is one last little trick we use, so you don’t have to remember.

At the start of any new project, we copy and paste a pre-made, blank file structure into our project. We then modify the names to suit that particular project – saving a whole lot of time and keeping everything consistent across all our work.