Overwhelmed with File Management

Hi everyone, looking for some advice on file management and workflow using multiple computers.

My partner and I run a small interior modeling business on the side and provide Vray renders. We are looking for the most efficient way to keep our files together as we have tried probably a dozen different methods from icloud drive, google drive, external SSD, one drive, trimble connect etc. and we keep ending up with multiple files and versions and copies and duplicates and honestly it’s a total mess right now.

Our Setup consists of 1 custom build desktop PC workstation at home, and each of use carry a macbook that we can use if we have downtime at our day jobs.

Does anyone have experience with using multiple devices and keeping everything organized and up to date?

The cloud drives work well enough for a while, but once our projects get large they fail to keep synced and it becomes a mess. iCloud drive was by far the easiest as we just have a shared folder with all of our materials and projects and can get them from anywhere. At least until one of the devices fail to sync and then refuses to transfer anything else. Our projects can involve entire homes with custom furniture and finishes and the files can easily get over 500MB each.

Our biggest headache is managing the custom materials for VRAY. If I were to build a material for instance on my macbook, when we move the project to the desktop PC for rendering, all the material maps are missing and need to be copied over and then to be manually re-linked.

We tried using trimble connect and I think it has a lot of potential, but we were getting confused as to where the files are actually living when we start editing them. Sometimes they fail to publish, or they crash and I’m not sure where to find the back-up files. I would guess I could just download a project save locally, and then when done re-publish and overwrite the last one? Now the next problem is managing the materials again.

The idea of using a NAS device seems enticing, almost building it like a private personal cloud. Does anyone have experience with this? Or have any that they recommend? I’ve heard horror stories with files becoming corrupted this way.

Maybe a hybrid solution? Save the skp files using trimble connect and build a local NAS to keep all the materials?

Maybe I’m [definitely] overthinking all this, but any suggestions that have worked for someone in a similar situation would be hugely appreciated!

Have you tried ‘packing’ your v-ray projects before uploading them to the cloud? That way the material files are copied into one directory no matter their original source. They still path to their original locations - which for V-Ray materials is fine as it should be the same directory for everyone. For custom Materials, you can re-path from that directory. I know it’s an extra step unfortunately there’s no other way for V-Ray to know where to look for them without pointing to their location manually.

@ggrillo - I can relate to the above. I don’t have any suggestions specifically on V-Ray but I’ve been trying to move to a ‘Dashboard’/visual approach for staying organized. Today I put together a SharePoint Site with folders, links and a planner as a test. If I like how it works, it could be linked directly to file explorer.

If you are sharing files around a home network you really need a Central File Server [NAS] to be most efficient in both file access, backup and consistency… NAS drives can be mirrored easily reducing risk of hard drive failure and backed up to external drives for snapshot or off-site backup… (can recommend freeware “SyncBackFree” )

I am speaking from PC world experience here but I am sure the same applies to the MAC world…