Naming Systems

By September 30, 2014 May 8th, 2016 Technical Art Applications

Part of being a technical artist involves working with programming code, lists of objects and a whole wealth of assets that pass between programmers and artists.

Naming conventions are important in order for everyone in a project to work efficiently and understand what they are working with. If something is appropriately named, it can be interpreted by a software or script easily as well as tell a user what that object is or does.

I’ve had experience of using naming systems in the past, such as in Adobe Flash, where objects are given names depending on what type they are. Labels are often given the prefix “lbl_” whereas buttons would have the prefix “btn_“.
Similarly, in Maya I will be using prefixes in the rigging process. “jnt” would be used in front of joints and “ctrl” would be used in front of control objects. “L” would represent something on the left side of the character and “R” would be for something on the right side.

For example:
jnt_L_arm_01 would be the first joint in the left arm.
jnt_spine_02 would be the second joint in the spine.

I have already seen another use for an implemented naming system, which is mirroring a skeleton onto the other side of the body. Maya can automatically name new joints by using your own system. For example jnt_L_arm_01 can be mirrored and the resulting joint would be named jnt_R_arm01. This definitely speeds things up and improves workflow.

Variables in a script need to be readable too, for similar reasons with naming things in an object.

Digital Tutors has a tutorial on naming conventions in Maya, I will take the information in that video into consideration for my project:

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