14 Replies Latest reply on Mar 1, 2010 2:59 PM by TenaciousG3

    Animation art database help needed - Help!



      Animation art database help needed - Help!


      Hi All,


      I'm fairly new to Filemaker, and this forum, so please go easy on me!  I tried searching for what I was looking for before posting this, and some things seemed to fit, but it's such a specialized application it's tough to get the full answer I need.  Hopefully you out there in Filemaker land can help.  It's a bit tough to explain so I hope I make sense:


      I'm creating a database to track art for an animated TV show. There are 2 kinds of art that need to be tracked, black & white line art and colored art and each needs to include a preview image.  Each piece of line art has its own unique serial number which is retained for each episode that same model design appears in throughout the series.  The line art record is the "anchor" record to which any color art variations would need to relate to.  Multiple color variations of that line art model must link to the same line art record with the same serial number in a way that also allows me to retain certain information from the "anchor" record, create color variation specific information (like scene numbers) and also print, track, view, and create reports utilizing all the color variations individually. A lot, I know.


      For example, say I had a model of Homer Simpson in his normal costume and the serial number was 1001. We have 10 different color variations of that "1001" model: a day version, night version, firelit version, etc. that all appear in different episodes. With the line art record as the anchor, I need to be able to do a few things:


      1. I need all the color variations of Homer in that same costume be viewable from the anchor record as a preview.

      2. I need to be able to click on the preview of an individual color variation and have it take me to the record for that variation.

      3. I need to retain certain information from the anchor record in the color record (like the serial number).

      4. I need to add new information to the color record, independent of anything appearing in the line art anchor record (like scene numbers, color variation name, etc. that are specific to that color record)

      5. I need to generate reports to track the line art record and each individual color variation record separately.

      6. I need to print all line art for an episode and all color variations for an episode separately.


      The way I have it set up now is, I have a tabbed field with tabs for the line art, and then 10 more for color variations of that same model.  That works fine to have individual information for each color variation appear on each tab and also to retain select common information, but it doesn't work when trying to create individual outputs for color when printing or generating reports. For example, when I do a search for all records that contain serial# "1001" it brings up the main lineart record, but it does not allow all the color records to print or report individually.


      I realize this is a lot to ask, but if anyone has any insight on how I could achieve what I need more efficiently (portals maybe?), even just pointing me in the right direction, I would be most appreciative.



        • 1. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

          A common tangle that many new filemaker users get ensnared in is that they keep adding more and more fields to a single record instead of setting up several tables with multiple records to accomplish the same thing, but in a much more flexible fashion.


          Just to get started, In your case you need a "models" table where you would store the serial number and any information common to the entire series of art with the same serial number. Then you'd have an "Art" table where each different art file is stored along with any information unique to that one copy of the art. You'd link a model record to it's series of art records by the art serial number or (better yet) an internal filemaker serial number with the art serial number stored in your Models table.


          That's just a for instance of a basic idea. What you do form there could take you in many different directions. A book on filemaker, a training video or other tutorial migh also help you fill some blanks in your understaning of filemaker. And you can certainly keep posting questions here!

          • 2. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

            You should use two tables, say Art and Variations, related by ArtID (serial number in the Art table). You can view the variations in a portal on a layout of Art, and use Go to Related Record[] to view any one of them in detail.


            If a variation can be used in more than one episode, you shouldn't be entering this information in the Variations table.

            • 3. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

              Great information guys, and FAST too!  As a new user I was sure there was a better way than creating a million fields to get the job done.  I thought I might need to explore the tables & portals a bit more to solve my problem, and that seems to be the way to go based on your answers. 


              One thing that was said, "If a variation can be used in more than one episode, you shouldn't be entering this information in the Variations table." confuses me a little though.  A color variation can and definitely will be used in multiple episodes.  Same thing goes for the line art.  In the past, what we've done is create a duplicate record, and then just assign new information to that record, but retaining some.  For instance we'd duplicate the lineart record, retain the placed preview image, serial number, model name, etc.  and then input new show number, act, scene, etc. information as needed.  So couldn't we just follow that same logic for the color variations, creating a new record that retained the same serial number, so it would refer back to the line art record?

              • 4. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                If a variation CAN be used in more than one episode, then episode is NOT an attribute of a variation (read as 'episode is not a field in the Variations table').


                Using the same priciple as with Art and Variations (one art has many variations), you should have another table to record the usage (one variation - used in many episodes).

                • 5. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                  OK, I'm starting to get it now, though still scratching my head a little. Most of the information out there, in books or on the web, tends to address more "typical" databases with names, addresses, dollars, calculations, etc. so getting information specific to an art database is tough.  I understand certain types of data and their relationships can behave similarly, but I still have a tough time making the connection sometimes with such differing information.  So short of just asking for someone to write the darn thing for me, are there any books or online courses you'd recommend? I've made it pretty far over the years altering existing databases and even creating fairly simple ones myself, but now I'm starting to get into what I consider more "advanced" operations.


                  I have a subscription to lynda.com, and I've heard good things about the "Missing Manual" book.  Any thoughts?


                  I'm using Filemaker 10 Pro Advanced for Mac, running OSX 10.5.8





                  • 6. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                    Actually, your structure is very typical:


                    Art -< Variations -< Usage >- Episodes


                    is practically the same as, say:


                    Customers -< Invoices -< LineItems >- Products


                    except you don't need to deal with price lookups.

                    • 7. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                      I'm sure you're right, but since I don't have the greatest understanding of how linking separate tables together works or how to get the exact functionality I need out of them, I'm still a bit out of the loop. (yes, I know, I'm annoying). Up until now I've used separate fields from the same table to get the individuality I needed.  For example, if I needed a field for artwork comments specific to the line art version and each color version, I made separate fields for each one, so I ended up with 11 individual fields altogether for comments.  The diagram you used: "Art -< Variations -< Usage >- Episodes" though very simplified still leaves me a little in the dark.  So "art" is one table, "variations" another, Usage another, Episodes another, right?  What do the arrows in your diagram represent? Also, is it correct that "art" would be the parent table, then the others would be child tables?  Would the variations table be only for color and only have the placed jpegs of color images, and then the usage and episode data would be on the other tables?  Is the episode table simply a list of episode numbers or does there need to be more robust information there? What kind of information would be in the usage table? 


                      Lots of questions, I know - but I am a newbie so I know very little. :)


                      Thanks again for all your time.



                      • 8. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                        Have you watched any of the videos at Lynda.com about table creation and relationships?

                        Stopping the video and do a simple database step by step by the video's steps may get you farther than text answers in a forum. 

                        This Google "filemaker table site:lynda.com"


                        • 9. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                          Basically, anything you have many of, you'd put into a table where each one is a record. This is mainly because records can be found and sorted - but individual fields cannot.



                          I use the notation -< to indicate a one-to-many relationship (you'll see a similar thing in the relationships graph). So in:


                          Art -< Variations -< Usage >- Episodes


                          Variations is a child of Art. Note that Usage is a child of both Variations and Episodes - this is a called a "join table" and is commonly used to break up a many-to-many relationship (such as between Variations and Episodes) into two one-to-many relationships:




                          TenaciousG3 wrote:


                          Is the episode table simply a list of episode numbers or does there need to be more robust information there?

                          It depends on what you need. But any information that describes an episode by itself would go into a field in the Episodes table.



                          TenaciousG3 wrote:

                          What kind of information would be in the usage table?

                          Anything that describes the unique join of a variation and an episode. At minimum, such table would have the VariationID and the EpisodeID (and often nothing more). But if you wanted to note, for example, that Variation X has been used in Episode Y for 45 seconds - this would go into a Duration field in the Usage table.

                          • 10. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                            Thanks for all your feedback everyone, I think I got it down now but I'm still having some difficulty which maybe you can once again assist with.


                            I set up different tables as suggested and created my relationships.  I've attached an image showing how I set up the relationships.  I went through all my fields in layout mode and set them to the "new" fields.  I noticed that it put 2 colons (::) before each field name inside the field, and when I exit layout mode and attempt to enter data this is what happens:  1. All the fields on the entire page say "unrelated table" and 2. when I try to enter data into any of the fields I get the error message that says "this action cannot be performed because the required table is missing"  OK so what did I do wrong this time???  I double checked to make sure the fields in the layout are pointing to the correct fields in their respective tables, and I THINK I have the relationships done right, so once again I find myself scratching my head.  Any thoughts?




                            • 11. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!


                              TenaciousG3 wrote:
                              All the fields on the entire page say "unrelated table"



                              It sounds like the layout belongs to the wrong table.



                              It's hard to tell from the picture alone, but your relationships don't look right. What exactly is the SERIAL_NO field in Art_Color? Each table should have its own serial ID, and - if it is a child table - ANOTHER field to hold its parent record serial ID. For example, the relationship between Episodes and Usage should be based on the episode's serial ID alone. The way you have it now, if you rename an episode, the relationship will break.

                              • 12. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                                OK - well the serial number is assigned to the line art, and that number is used to link all the information in all the other tables.  For each serial number, I need to separately track multiple usages - what episode, act, scene, etc.  I split it up initially into tables at the suggestion that I needed to separate like information.  But perhaps I did misunderstand. Do I need to have all the fields in one main table that THEN relates to fields in the other tables?  Like in my situation where I have fields in various tables for act, scene, episode number, title, approvals, etc.  Do I need to have one table that has ALL fields listed in it and then link each individual field in the main table to EACH individual field in the additional tables?


                                (Oh and before you ask - yes I did buy a Filemaker book and I'm reading it right now!)  :-P

                                • 13. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                                  I suggest you take a look at the file I have uploaded here:


                                  • 14. Re: Animation art database help needed - Help!

                                    The original model you gave me, now that I have had a chance to work with it a bit more, made the most sense.  I ultimately ended up using a variation of this:


                                    Art -< Variations -< Usage >- Episodes


                                    I tried viewing that image you posted, but my work blocks most of the image upload/storage sites so I couldn't view it.  Thanks for all your help, and for putting up with my newbie-ness!