*obligatory Junior Burger Jr. quote, for the sake of Deebeemonster
I fell behind a little bit on this blog due to a hard drive failure on my laptop. Fortunately I was able to transition my work and programs to my wife’s laptop so I was able to create my most recent 1up piece with relatively little down time. I have had 3 external hard drives crash on me and have learned some lessons about preparing for the Worst Case Ontario. This may or may not be remedial but trust me, there’s things I wish I knew to do a while back otherwise I’d still have all of my PSDs from the FedX2k era.
These are just recommendations and not how to live your life, I’m just saying these things help.
External HDD - You can get a good SOLID state one for $100 depending on what you need. Avoid the old style ones that run off of a AC Adapter like SARS, those are literally just a usb-capable shell surrounding a regular hard drive. One time of plugging in the wrong adapter, you’re out money. You *can* pop it apart and hook the hard drive to a new USB shell or install it in your desktop but that defeats the purpose. The solid state ones are strictly USB powered so no worries there.
IF you can, having a fireproof security box is great. I don’t know about you guys but when I draw bewbie art, it’s as important to me as my birth certificate and passport, but I’ve got a really fucked sense of priorities. Depending on your workflow, a once a month save is a good marker. You can do DVDs loaded of your work to/or as an extra layer of security if you’d like.
General Organization - You don’t have to do this, but I’ve found keeping EVERY artwork related document on your hard drive in one master folder makes sense for quick back up purposes. Windows 7 seems to be geared toward doing all of this with pictures, videos, etc anyways. I have one called “The Work” that contains all of my work, and it is broken down into folders for Manga Studio file, BMPs, PSDs, RS files (rusty shackles - general art work), and one called “printwork” which contains individual folders for each client, and so on, and so on. ALL of the work done and files for them will be in their individual folders
I do this because a lot of times people will need artwork down the road if they are doing another round of prints or a new CD pressing. Within 3 folders I can access everything for a client and e-mail them without stressing about having to track it down. That leads us to -
PARANOIA PAYS - In that same general folder I have all of the latest installation EXEs for my main programs, and hardware like my tablet. I only use 3 things, manga studio, photoshop and my wacom, so I have access to install them w/in minutes if needed.
I also have a copy of my tool settings, as well as my action macros. You can do this by opening up your tool preset manager and saving tool presets. For actions, select the action and then go to the tab and save actions. I don’t like having to reset everything in photoshop so this makes it a matter of dragging and dropping once you’ve done a new install. Export ANY relevant setting you can such as workspace, and keep a spare copy of any installed effects in the tool settings. Adobe’s location of filters and plug-ins seems to be more and more difficult to locate in their newer iterations.
On my personal site I have a file that is not listed as the correct file type containing my serials for purchased programs under unique names. It’s just a matter of downloading it and converting it to the correct file type to retrieve those at any time. I could just email these to myself or write them down somewhere but, again, PARANOIA.
FONT MANAGEMENT - I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this until recently, but keep every single downloaded font you obtain in a folder named “FONTS” in your art folder. Or at least the zips. I got real anal about this when I started throwing money at blambot and comicraft and realized I’d really rather not try and dig through windows font folder to find them again.
This is just general advice for digital artists who can be taken out by a bum hard drive or stray lightning strike. With these I was able to get up and running at 100% capacity in under 2 hours on another computer. I hate for this to happen to anyone, so hopefully these practices will help you prevent losses!