About clip library backups



This solution describes the concept of clip libraries in Autodesk Smoke, and the process by which the application creates backups.

What are Clip Libraries?

A clip library (bin) contains metadata that points to video frames (and audio) on the media storage device (framestore).
Clip libraries are located in /usr/discreet/clip/<storage_partition>/<project_name>/<workspace name>, for example /usr/discreet/clip/stonefs7/MyProject/workspace.smoke_078795A4-7FE4-4663-B816-70F61A58F9A7.wksp.
A clip library does not contain the actual footage (clip), but only the clip metadata. The clip library itself is not user editable, but a user can restore an older version for recovery reasons.
Clip metadata in each clip library is backed up by the application's autosave feature. The entire workspace of the active project is backed up when you start the application.

Individual library backups

Individual clip library backups are kept in the project's workspace directory alongside the original libraries: /usr/discreet/clip/<storage_partition>/<project_name>/<workspace_name>/
Clip library backups are created every time you enter the clip library and when the application autosaves the project. 3 backups are kept.
The project workspace directory contains backups of the .clib, .desk and .hist files. (.hist files are only present if history is enabled).
The backup files have the same name and extension as the original file, but with a different numeric suffix indicating the age of the back-up.
For example, a library called "MyFolder" will have four files in the workspace folder:

The file with a 000 suffix is the active library. The rest are backups: 001 is the most recent and 003 is the oldest.


  • If the application crashes, the clip library backup action is not performed in an attempt to preserve the existing backups.
  • If you have to roll back to an older clip library, clips that have been deleted can re-appear in your application.
  • Remember that the storage space occupied by frames that have been marked as deleted, could potentially be reused by the software to store new frames.

Warning: As a general precaution, whenever dealing with problems relating to corrupted clip libraries or desktops, it is advisable to make further copies of the relevant backups before entering or leaving the software - so as to prevent the potential loss of the last good version of the backup as they are rotated.

Entire workspace backups

When you start the application, project workspaces and desktops are backed up into tar files.
Only the current backup and the 3 previous backups are kept.
Project backups are stored in the /usr/discreet/clip/<storage name> directory and contain the _AUTO_BACKUP suffix.
For example, the backup directory for a project called MyProject will be named MyProject_AUTO_BACKUP.
The folder contains tar files of the project workspace and desktop.

Restoring backups

See the following Knowledge Base article for instructions on restoring clip library back-ups from an archive: Restoring clip library back-ups.