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June 25, 2012
SmokeVideo Editing

Understanding Autodesk Smoke 2013 Project Files

Where are my Smoke 2013 project files stored & how do I access them?

Autodesk Smoke 2013

In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at how Smoke manages project files, a must-know for any serious Smoke user!  We’ll go beyond the “Create New Project” screen to see how Smoke project files are organized and stored.

Create New Project Autodesk Smoke

The Smoke Project Folder

Autodesk Smoke project files are not like the project files in Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer. The metadata that makes up a project is stored in 2 places.

  • /usr/discreet/project
  • /usr/discreet/clip

Smoke Project Path

Inside of this main folder, /usr/discreet/project… you will see all of the projects you have created on Smoke that are available.  There is also the main project.db file which contains the database for all of the projects so that they get listed in the project selection box when you launch Smoke.

Smoke Project Folder

The ‘project’ folder contains the projects effects setup files. Inside the main project folder (“My Smoke Project”) are sub folders for each of Smoke’s various effects nodes.  For example, if you saved a TEXT effect it would be saved in [ /usr/discreet/project/text ] by default.

You are free to save effects anywhere you like, but the default settings are kept in the projects sub folders. This is also the location seen in the [SETUP DIRECTORY] portion of the Create New Project screen. So it is possible to create a unique location for one project or for all projects to share any saved effects setup files.

Smoke Project Sub Folders

The Smoke Clip Folder

Now, copying just the project folder and saving it, will not secure your project metadata as Smoke uses a more intricate database system for project management.   Inside /usr/discreet/clip… is where the Media Library information is saved. The Media Library would contain the metadata for all of your project library folder names, clip organization, sequence information, effects history, and workspace layout.

Smoke Project Clip Folder
The Media Library workflow and structure has changed in the Smoke 2013 release from previous releases. The ‘VICStopshere.clib’ file is the main library file and it contains all of your clip metadata including pointing to the actual media frames in your Autodesk Media Folder. Without these .clib files, your project would have no information as to where your media is, and you would see red invalid frames in your project.

The ‘workspace.wksp’ folder is new to Smoke 2013. It’s inside here where each of the Media Library folders are broken down and the metadata for each is stored, as well has some effects history.  You will also notice that there are multiple backup files that get created. These are automatically created by Smoke, and are useful if you have a catastrophic project corruption, as you can use them to restore your media library information. However, project corruption is very rare in Smoke.  I have had to fix a corrupt Smoke project library about 4 times in 8 years, under 40 hours a week heavy use.

The .000 files are the current used file. The .001, .002,.003 files are the backups:

Smoke Clip Folder Expand

Under normal uses, you shouldn’t have to mess with the Smoke project folder or the clip folders.  All Smoke project management is controlled through the app interface.  It is there that you create, delete, and edit projects. However, it is always good to understand what is going on under-the-hood, so that you fully understand how Smoke works.

Try Smoke 2013 for Free!

The Smoke Pre-Release Trial is currently ongoing and will be free and useable until September 15th.

You can download Smoke here: Smoke 2013 Pre-Release Trial.

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  • Smoke Tutorials

    Great resource Brian… thanks. Mike Roy

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  • Emilio

    hi, by mistake i delete the half of my entire timeline and close smoke autosaving the project. how is the best way to back in to previus version of the entire project. I really aprecciate your expertice in smoke!

  • Maurizio

    Hi, I’m taking a Smoke class at school but I want to do the homework on my setup rather than spending extra hours at school. Smoke 2013 educational works great on my mac, though what I want to do is to keep both the Media Folder and the project files on a (fast) external drive in order to be able to bring the project from home to school back and forth. So far I tried to play around with the media folders without success as Smoke cannot see my project file. Though through this article I now understand that project files are saved locally in usr/…. etc. Can I set up smoke to save everything (including projects, clips, etc.) on my external drive where the media folder is? If so, how do I do it? Thanks!

    • Brian Mulligan

      Maurizio, you are going to have to do an Archive of the project. And it depends on the rest of your workflow.
      1. Where is your media? Linked or Cached on import? Is it on a portable drive?

      If your media is linked(non cached) you can set up a project at school, then when you are done, you can archive that project to a portable drive and unarchive it at home.

      Since the source media is portable you can go into CONFORM and relink all of the clips once you are at home. You will need to unlink and relink your sequence. All effects will remain. Your source material won’t relink however.

      You can workaround this by re-importing the source material and relinking the CONFORM to the imported media.

      Your Archive must be a linked archive. If it is a cached media archive, then all of your source material will get cached and all of the media will be archived as uncomprressed. This can be 100s of gigs easily depending on media. This will however make an easy transition form system to system as all clips and info will be saved. But it’s time consuming and makes large archives.

      It’s possible, but not elegant as it could be due to the project structure and complex database system.

      • Maurizio

        Thank you, Brian. I’ll now make a few tests with the linked archive workflow.

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