Creative version control

Creatives around the world use Snowtrack to iterate on projects, restore former progress and deliver quality work. But what does that actually mean?

3 minute reading time

My dev talks about Git and Perforce

Typically the first thing engineers do before they start a project is to create a Git or Perforce repository. No line of code is written that is not secured and versioned with these tools. This practice did not translate well into the creative world.

Based on our experience and countless drunken conversations we have had with our colleagues (programmers, artists & production) we have a slight suspicion why that might be.

Difficult initial setup

The IT department sets up a local environment on the artist's machine and a remote server or NAS somewhere on premise. There's typically lengthy guides on what to install and how to connect where. Often times these guides include various steps in UI clients and the command line.

I have yet to meet an artist that has a Git setup on their machine for personal projects or yet to meet an engineer that has a full Perforce environment running at home. These things are built for enterprises and assume the existence of dedicated IT departments.

Typically the first thing engineers do before they start a project is to create a Git or Perforce repository.

Unintuitive interaction when things break

After the IT department sets up the machine everything works great. Until it doesn't. Which is the next hurdle in this adventure. Version control systems are impressive beasts, but they aren't magic. At some point we have to deal with conflicts and these are never simple.

In my experience no version control system offers the tools to have the actual end-user "fix" whatever is going on. In fact, most times I see people get nervous or discouraged when diverging from the "Get latest", "Change files", "Submit changes" cycle. Artists, producers as well as engineers prefer calling in the cavalry in form of a technical lead or IT specialist to take care of whatever is going on.

Technical problems

Personally, I believe this to be a rather moot point, but I have heard strong opinions about this, so I might as well include it. Patch-based systems seem to struggle with versioning single large binary files and row-based systems seem to struggle versioning an onslaught of large binary files.

Now, I will say there are great tools that do a good job of mitigating these circumstances, and I have seen some impressive setups built with those. Truthfully, though, you cannot use the same versioning approach for code and art. This approach is doomed to fail.

Snowtrack tackles these issues by building a version control system for creatives. We are not trying to replace Git or Perforce but we are building a compatible equivalent system for artists.

Version vs Submission

In the creative industry the jargon of versions or revisions is tightly coupled with submissions that are reviewed. This is not the case in software engineering. In fact, a programmer might create twenty versions of their work over the day before they submit it for review.

This is what we are bringing to the art world. Snowtrack does not replace current submission tools, but aids the artist in their iteration process. Any change or exploration is versioned immediately without the need of suffixes like `_v2_red` or `_for_comp_final`.

Having the ability to jump to any state at any point frees the creative spirit. The system also unblocks artists when the supervisor is late for dailies. Create a review version and continue working. When the supervisor shows up, revert to the "review" version. Afterwards, revert back to your current work and don't lose a minute of progress.

Snowtrack does not replace current submission tools, but aids the artist in their iteration process.

This sounds cool, when is it out?

Now. It is out now. Our public beta is available for everyone and anyone and can be downloaded at We also share Insider builds containing latest features and fixes with our community on Discord.

We are actively working on the product and try to incorporate user feedback as quickly as possible. Try it out and if you find something that sucks, let us know on Discord or write an email to [email protected].

Learn more

Curious to see what's next?

Snowtrack is being developed hand-in-hand with our community. We are only as good as our feedback. If you are curious about our roadmap or have a feature request, join us on Discord.

Join our Discord