Beginners fundamental workflow of working in Smoke and Flame

By - - Flame , Smoke
3 mins
Last modification: 16 Sep, 2017

My goodness!!!!!!  My very first blog!

I followed most people and did the facebook thing first.  I never thought I’d ever do blogging until some of the nice people within Autodesk asked me if I would give it a go and I thought why not!

So here I am. 

I am used to doing public speaking and presentations but not blogging so you’ll have to give me a few chances to pick up the pace.

What I would like to get out of this blog is as much user information about Smoke and Flame to you as possible.  So I have a few ideas in my head of what I would like to show but I’ll need your feedback as much as possible as to what you would like to see.  Also I am always scavenging for material so if there is anything I could use to show a point then I would be more then delighted to do so.

Let’s get started.


Beginners guide to the fundamental workflow of working in Smoke and Flame


A few questions I always get asked when someone starts using Smoke or Flame for the first time are:

“Where is the BIG save button?”
“What is the fundamental workflow for managing my media?”
“Where can I save my work where it won’t be accidentally deleted?”

Well I have my own view of how to see the different levels of the application and I have simplified it into a four step workflow.

This applies to both Smoke and Flame. 

The applications have 3 distinct levels. 

  • The bottom level is your physical storage which you should not try manually edit as it is managed by the application. 

  • The middle level is the clip library.  This is the database level where your media is stored and managed.  This includes your sources, intermediate work and finals. 

  • The top most level is the application level where the actually creative processing takes place.


Hopefully you’ll spend most of your time in the application level but the database level is equally important.


COMMON NEWBIE MISTAKE: Often users keep all of their work in creative area and think its all safe.

REALITY: It is probably the most unsafe place to store your work because you can easily delete things without a warning and if you work with other users, it is possible to assume you saved your work in the database and the other users could erase your work!!!

Always save your work into the clip library!!!

Now you can organise multiple libraries with multiple reels, folders and desktops.  How you organise your work is down to you but always save your work there.

So bearing everything we covered, there are 4 simple workflow steps I swear by to keep you in blissful happy workflow.


1.       Always load media into the clip library first

2.       Load your media to the application level and get creating!

3.       Save all your work back into the clip library

4.       Use the clip library for all your outputting & archiving.


This works with the all releases of Smoke & Flame.

This may be very basic to most users but the number of times I have seen it go terribly wrong definitely warrants a loud blogging shout!

I will start video blogging as well so keep checking back!!!!!

If there anything you don't know about and would like me to cover, please drop me a message.

I look forward to hearing from you and doing the next blog.

Signing off!!!


Posted By
  • Flame
  • Smoke
  • Tips and Tricks
  • Design Visualization
To post a comment please login or register
| 7 years ago
Very useful information if you are starting new with Smoke...
Edited by xiAISevG 7 years ago
| 8 years ago
Thanks Grant! Just starting out. This was a good place to start.
| 8 years ago
Excellent, thanks Grant my brain is in order...well as good as it can be ;) The only thing I didn't really get was that you could apply affects to a clip in Source; so I guess you could just rename it and save it back to the Library. Sweet. Getting there... Thanks Marcus
| 8 years ago
Hey Marcus, It's never a problem :) - The 'Clip Library' is the main *Library* we see in Smoke, where we import files from the HD *** You pretty much got it. The clip library is there do to all your media management tasks. From import to export in all froms. It is also the safest place to save your timelines when you're done. Never leave anything on the application level/desktop as that is your "working area" - The 'Application level' is what we call *The Editdesk* in Smoke and can be either the Source or Record area *** Correct. The "Application Level" is in fact the EDITDESK. The EDITDESK comprises of two parts. A source area and a record area. You need to have at least one of each in an EDITDESK. - The Source is purely a little stage for viewing the Library assets and enables us to drag into Record... *** You're half way there. The source area is an area where you can view your assets/clips, arrange them in an order you want like an editing bin but it is also a creative area for the desktop tools. So far example if you want to paint on a clip, you would have it on the source area and use the paint tool to paint on the clip. The result clip will also be placed back on the source area. - The Record area is our main creative area and i can save THIS back to the Library (with all FX and layers intact) *** Almost. The record area can be considered as the main creative area as it is the place where timelines in development and finals are normally hosted. When you save a record area (as well as a source area) all the effects on the clips and timelines are all kept intact. Things should always save as they were. I hope this helps... Regards Grant
| 8 years ago
Grant - right, to just get this straight for one last time (I promise)... - The 'Clip Library' is the main *Library* we see in Smoke, where we import files from the HD - The 'Application level' is what we call *The Editdesk* in Smoke and can be either the Source or Record area - The Source is purely a little stage for viewing the Library assets and enables us to drag into Record... - The Record area is our main creative area and i can save THIS back to the Library (with all FX and layers intact) Correct? Cheers Marcus
| 8 years ago
| 9 years ago
this is awesome... thank you so much.
| 10 years ago
Great idea. Wouldn't mind learning more about the Linux side of things - still thinking in Tezro at the moment. Also wouldn't mind knowing if I can connect my Mac to Smoke to help with stuff. Looking forward to reading...
| 10 years ago
Excellent Idea ! it must be something in the air because I'm also doing some posts (in french) for my company website and we're trying also some new way of communicating: blog and twitter.... I'm more focus on existing IFFFS users who can easily miss some of the features of the late releases.... My first note is a tiny tutorial to export a clip stored in the clip library via wiretap central... the next one on the R3D import process.... Your approach is very great, it makes thing easier to understand for beginners... it misses some screenshot of those amazing effect and edinting systems! look forward to read your next blogs... See you soon! Alex. twitter: postlogicfr
| 10 years ago
We are looking forward to read your next Blog Grant! If this is your First Blog, would this be the first comment then on your Blog. I would like to give the first encouragement through this Blog by saying that this would be a very good start to educate everyone. Me being on the systems Administration end have observed that the noobies who usually gets overwhelmed with the creative tools, forget the essence of file management- this is of course true in our area. I will be following your Blogs through this RSS and definitely would be an evangelist everyone i know about this (Of course I'll also evangelize about this Blog spot in General). In the future I hope you could include on your list fundamentals of Archiving, File Importing of different formats and the backend tools such as wiretap and backburner. Please keep it coming!
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