As a student, you will be generating quite an amount of digital material. Even if you use a computer at home, quite a large percentage of work to be submitted must be digitised. Essays will have to be word-processed, images need to be presented, and research needs to be collated. Sound files, title sequences and edited material will also exist as vast quantities of digital material, and all these ones and zeros need managing. Burning material on to disks is costly, time consuming and inappropriate when a project is incomplete. File management becomes more difficult as you produce more and more digital material in a variety of formats.
Every piece of digital equipment in the animation studios is a shared resource, and as such must be freely available to other students. There will be occasions where you cannot get into a specific room to work independently as there may be a session running in the room, or all of the machines may be in use. If your files have been backed up to your external hard drive, you can simply copy them to a computer in another room, and continue.
No student has exclusive rights to any one computer, and can be asked to vacate a machine by a staff member if there is a booked workshop or pressure on the spaces due to a deadline.
Work stored on computer hard drives is not safe. Other users can easily gain access to your unfinished work, and alter, corrupt or move it. While the shared network drive (NAS) is an exceptionally useful file management system it is NOT infallible. Files can be moved or deleted by other users, and the system can go down, restricting access to your files for days at a time. Failure or misuse of the NAS drive will not be accepted by the University as a valid reason to extend a deadline as you are expected to take personal responsibility for your own work.
Technical staff will also clear cluttered desktops, computer hard drives and the NAS drive from time to time in order to preserve the studio as a functioning Animation capture and Production facility. It will be assumed that any work found on the machine has been backed up, and it will be deleted.
If you save your work to an external drive, you then take it away with you. If you have access to the appropriate software and hardware at home, you can continue working at home in the evenings and at weekends. In the animation studio, if you are asked to move, or if all the machines are being used, you simply carry your drive to another facility.
Computers will occasionally need to be moved around, or even removed for repairs or maintenance. If machines have to be removed for repair or maintenance work, your project will go with them if you haven't backed up.
Use an external hard drive to store your work - The NAS drive is not infallible – use it as a back-up but make sure that you keep a copy on an external hard drive also. You will not be able to claim extenuating circumstances if the NAS drive fails, as it is a useful privilege rather than a University facility.