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VFX plate names should be consistent, with a format that allows them to be identified as VFX plates and also allows them to be versioned up if re-pulls are required.

Plates are named by adding a Plate Number and a version number to the end of the associated shot’s name. Plate files also will include frame numbers and a file extension.

For example, if a version were named AGM_104_065_010_comp_NFX_v005 the associated plate for that version may have been named: AGM_104_065_010_PL01_v001.[1001-1058].exr


Elements of a Plate Name

Plate Number

Example: PL01

Usage: The number increments for each plate added to a shot.

Note: Typical padding is 2 letters and 2 numbers (PL##). If using Advanced Plate Naming (see below), some projects may elect to use 2 letters other than “PL” or more than 2 letters (examples: FG01, BG01, EL01, RF01, smoke01, snowfall01, fire03, rain01, muzzleflash02).



Plate Version Number

Example: v001

Usage: This number increments if the plate that was already pulled needs to be pulled again.

Note: Versions must start with a ‘v’ and typical padding is 3-4 numbers (v### or v####)


Frame numbers

Example: The file for plate frame 1023 would be named AGM_104_065_010_PL01_v001.1023.exr

Note: Typical padding is 4 numbers, but special circumstances may require additional frame number padding (####)


Legal characters: [ a-z ], [ A-Z ], [ 0-9 ], [ . ], [ _ ], [ - ]

ILLEGAL: spaces or any other symbols/characters

ILLEGAL: Duplicate files and folder names


Incrementing Plate Numbers and Plate Version Numbers: Some Scenarios

Assume the first plate was named: AGM_104_065_010_PL01_v001

A new pull is needed to add more frames at the tail of the VFX shot

  • Do: Increment the Plate Version Number
  • Don't: Increment the Plate Number


Note: For a head or tail extension, the new plate should comprise all frames required to complete the shot work - not just the new frames. If pulling only the added frames would result in significant cost savings, the plate can keep its original name and new frames can be added to the pre-existing plate.


A transcoding glitch that can be corrected with a re-pull

  • Increment the Plate Version Number
  • Do not increment the Plate Number



Incrementing the Plate Number

A new foreground element needs to be added to the VFX shot

  • Do not increment the Plate Version Number
  • Increment the Plate Number



The editor has selected a completely different take to be used for the VFX shot

  • Do not increment the Plate Version Number
  • Increment the Plate Number


Note: This guideline is somewhat subjective. The Plate Version Number could be incremented instead of the Plate Number, but follow the rule one way or the other to help maintain consistency.


Advanced Plate Naming

Some projects prefer to further describe plates within the naming convention to help the editorial and VFX departments quickly identify whether a plate is intended as a foreground, background, element, reference, etc. Instead of using PL01, PL02, and PL03 for a single shot that includes all of these elements, the three plates may instead use FG01, BG01, EL01, RF01, or another designation (such as CH for chromeball).


Plate Number Examples

  • FG01 (foreground)
  • BG01 (background)
  • EL01 (element)
  • RF01 (reference)
  • BS01 (bluescreen)
  • GS01 (greenscreen)
  • CC01 (color chart)
  • LG01 (lens grid)
  • CP01 (clean plate)
  • smoke01, smoke02
  • snowfall01, snowfall02
  • fire01, fire02, fire03
  • rain01
  • muzzleFlash01, muzzleFlash02, muzzleFlash03, muzzleFlash04, etc.

Advanced Naming

  • Foreground: AGM_104_065_010_FG01_v001
  • Background: AGM_104_065_010_BG01_v001
  • Element: AGM_104_065_010_EL01_v001
  • Reference: AGM_104_065_010_RF01_v001
  • Smoke Element: AGM_104_065_010_smoke01_v001

Standard Naming

  • AGM_104_065_010_PL01_v001
  • AGM_104_065_010_PL02_v001
  • AGM_104_065_010_PL03_v001
  • AGM_104_065_010_PL04_v001


Each plate number type can be incremented independently using the same guidelines as described above for the PL01 plate numbers. If you use advanced plate naming, consider compiling and distributing a list of plate type definitions to help your production team members and vendor partners share a common understanding of the various plate types.



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Change Logs

  • 11/18/2021: Added all Language Translations



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