Naming a File

September 16, 2014


I want to talk about how you name your files. I’ve had some friends and colleagues of mine send me artwork to play with and they’ll send a scan or a digital painting or something and the naming will be “1.PDF” or “AuthorsName.PDF”.


One of the first things I do is rename it for how I’m going to be storing my files.  If this is work that I’m doing, I’ll name it using every piece of information we will absolutely need to know about it to make sure it is correct.





Let me be more clear about that actually…


I do work in comic books. For these books, I need to make sure I know what stage of the process the file is in (could be inks, pencils, colors, letters), I need to know what page number it is, I need to know what issue it is for, and, , I need to know what book it is for.


Naming a file isn’t that hard.  Take what you need to know about it first. I’m going to give an example of a comic book I’m currently working on, just to keeps things easier for myself.


The first thing you’ll need to know is “What book is this for?”

Be specific when you do this. If you’re working on one of the Spider-Man books, you don’t want to put “Spider-Man” unless that is the actual name of the book. Put “Spectacular Spider-Man” or “Superior Spider-Man” or “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Whatever the ACTUAL name of the book is, that is what you’re going to write. The last thing you’ll want is to switch to a different Spider-Man book and then not know which is which.


Mine is easy. The name’s Scratch.


Okay. So we have a name, but you can’t really save all of the files as “Scratch.PDF”.


The next thing you’ll need to know is what issue the file is for.


I’m going with issue #1, so I’ll just add a “.1” to the title. “Scratch.1.PDF”


Now, what page or pages (could be a double page spread) is this?


I’m going to go with pages 11 and 12 and assume that I’m working on a two-page spread.




Okay. So that looks pretty good, but especially if you’re doing more than one part of the process, you should name what stage these files are in. For myself, I’m just going to assume that they are inked, and ready for color (either by myself or another colorist).



Once the colorist has this file, they should rename it with “colors” replacing the “inks” in the name.


If you handle more than just a single part of the process, I’d suggest having different folders for each step. I have a folder for the series, and inside I’ll have a folder for each issue. Inside each of the issue folders you can find folders for pencils, inks, colors, and letters.

I usually take this a step too far in that I also have folders for the different file structures I use. Sometimes I’ll have folders for AI files, PSD files, JPG files, and PDF files. It really just depends on what I’m working on and what needs to be completely organized.


I hope that if you’ve read this it has helped you.

The best thing is for you to find whatever structure really works for you. Since I know myself and I know that I need a strict and orderly structure in order to not waste time looking for things, this is how I handle the work. Plus, it’s pretty easy to read.



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