Keeping your TVPaint projects safe

Creating beautiful animations with TVPaint is very easy, however losing your work is just as easy, because computers sometimes have issues we have no control over ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

TVPaint has been available for 30 years now, which also means that we have been providing support to users for just as much time and believe us: in our time, we have seen a great lot of computer quirks and (seemingly) hopeless hardware situations.

Here is some advice to ensure that you don’t lose all your hard work in case of a computer crash, hardware failure or power outage.

Backup your files

The easiest way to avoid losing your project is to save multiple copies of it and, if possible, not put all of them in the same place.

TVPaint has a built-in Multi-Backup feature. It can be enabled via the Save tab in the Preferences panel:

By default, the number of backups is set to 2. This means that one additional copy of your file will be made on each save within the limit of 2 backup files. The oldest copy being replaced with the newest one.

And the backups’ save directory can differ from your project’s, how cool is that?

You can learn more about this feature in lesson 1.

Save your files in the right place

Aside from your computer, they are many other devices on which TVPaint projects can be saved, mainly USB sticks and external hard drives.

We have tested many of them and just like with any product, some brands are more durable and reliable than others.

Although these are very handy to keep copies of your work, we don’t recommend saving your main, original project file directly on an external support. The same goes for servers or cloud services: it is safer to save your work on your machine first, then to copy it to the external support.

Story time: Once we had a case with a student whose TVPaint project file would corrupt. It was always with the same project, every time she saved modifications on it. Soon we discovered that she was saving this particular project directly on a USB stick which, despite being new, had a hardware flaw which made it lose some data when acquiring files.

Don’t temper with your projects’ files while they are opened in TVPaint

Like many other software, TVPaint compresses the content of your work inside the .tvpp project file. Therefore when the project is opened, TVPaint extracts what is in the file so you can have access to all your project’s content.

This is visible with the appearance of temporary .tmp files in the folder where the project file is stored. These .tmp files disappear when you close the project, because everything is compressed inside the .tvpp again.

These .tmp files must not be tempered with in any way, please do not rename them, move them around or deleted them, for this could mean losing parts of your project!

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

TVPaint allows you to literally create an entire animated movie from start to finish in one project file!

However, keeping the whole film in just one .tvpp file is not recommended:

-A larger project file means longer loading and saving times. TVPaint is a great time saver for animators but working on project files bigger than they should be isn’t.

-In case your hard drive has a fatal malfunction, it is still possible to save some data from it,
thus having your project’s data spread across multiple files improves the chances of recovering content.

-From our experience, we have seen that studios work across multiple project files, generally 1 file for 1 scene, due to the 2 previous reasons, but also to the fact that several people work on these files: they want to reduce file transfer times as much as possible.