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Showing posts from December, 2006

A first look at open source, decentralized version control systems

I am having a first look at this Quick Reference Guide to Free Software Decentralized Revision Control Systems, trying to find some that has both windows and unix clients, can be used without being permanently connected to the server, or installing anything on it, and are suitable for 3D projects.
What I want is to be able to host a 3d project repository using a simple shared web hosting, which gives little more than FTP, SQL and PHP.

These are my conclusions:

Checking monotone´s links I have found A Simple Version Control System which is entirely PHP/SQL based, with file access through FTP. This looks like the best for now.

Darcs has a very interesting approach, clients can read from the repository through "file system, (...) HTTP or email", and submit patches (diffs) through email. Also worth checking.

Bazaarallows to add, commit and recover binary files and will allow you to plug in support for diffing or merging, but it is "primarily a source code control system, not a …

Jon´s open source render farm

Jon, from the Bournemouth University, sent me an email:

"(...) at present we are developing a production pipeline for our Masters in computer Animation courses (...)
You can check out my website here and you may be interested in the open source render farm I have written (click on the Render Farm link under the masters section) (...)"

Thanks for the info, Jon, and check his page for news!


Jorge just sent me a brief note:
"I Imagine you already wnow"

And I just replied
"Rats, no"

But I will have to go over it as well...

From their web:

Animation and Effects Production Pipeline openPipeline is an open source framework for managing animation production data and workflow. It's first implementation is a MEL-based plug-in for Autodesk Maya that handles specific aspects of production: automatic directory structures, file naming conventions, revision control, and modularity that makes multi-artist workflows possible.

Announcements on cgtalk and highend3d

Software in the Animation Industry Data Base

As Diego suggested, i checked AIDB site looking for existing software in this field.

There are 32 entries in the Workflow / Project Tracking section, but the info is a bit outdated and inaccurate.
Other than Alienbrain, I couldn´t find any program that fitted in the category.
Anyway, these 3 projects somehow called my attention:

Wiredrive Projects: A project-based client area used for reviewing and approving creative work and production documents.

PECS Tools Suite is a "Data Pipeline Management Solution": A software and hardware solution for the management of Motion Capture Studios, including Planning, Shooting, Team management of post production, Asset management and version control, Quality control and Delivery scheduling.

ReviewManager is an outsourced client-review tool

Question & reply to Diego García in cg-node

This is my feeble, semi-automatic, hand corrected translation of the reply that Diego García Huerta (Senior Pipeline & Tools Developer at Blur Studios) gave me in this forum

I asked him to help me with my research, with:
(A) Bibliography
(B) Software (programs)
(C) References (interviews, webs, manuals, whatever)

1.- A general approach to analyzing a business workflow. A recommended generic reference book ("The bible of...") that allows to settle a proper theoretical background to build on top of it.

2.- Detailed analisys of 3D production in different companies. I try to define a general workflow, based on real cases.

3.- Programs that allow to manage tasks, assets, processes, files, etc. Specially GPL ones.

4.- Nomenclature conventions.

Diego replied:
This is an interesting subject for a thesis, for sure, and indeed more research is needed in this field.

Obviously in order to organize a studio with over 40 persons you need some sort of help in order to speed up …

Ares own contribution

A new message form Ares brings a couple of new (to me) pieces of software. Here goes the usual translation:

An interesting production tool is "interactive storyboard for maya"
ISFM offers a fast and visual general look at the project, you can check what is already done, and what status it is in, and also what has to be done yet.
It has an obvious connection with Maya, but also with Excel (statistics), shake (postproduction), ...
The integration with Maya is absolute, allowing to run scripts on a batch of scenes, do playblasts, an FTP system, visualize the storyboard with the Maya scenes, icon view of 3D files, sound, video form other sources, transitions...
This is a ISFM workflow scheme

Another tools is Reflex, although it is not for sale yet (I think it will come out in January 2007)
- It has tools to facilitate the workflow,
- Some very useful ones for supervision and data exchange among departments,
- Some animation tools identical to Jason Schleifer´s "greasyPencil"
- …

Another software hint from Miguel Angel Sánchez Cogolludo

This software is starting to be used in some new production houses (old ones have their own software): Gdi|Explorer
The web page says it uses a widely adopted naming convention. There is a trial version.
It is quite complete, with task assignment, and it can even understand a Movie Magic Screenwriter´s "tagged script", making folders for the assets indicated in the script.

It is quite good, althought Miguel Ángel would like it to be tidier creating categories.

Juanma Sánchez book suggestion

Juanma suggests to consult some books on "project management", as managing an industrial project or software development is very similar to managing a complex animation production.
He recommends "La guía definitiva de la gestion de proyectos" de Nokes y Greenwood, Ed. Prentice Hall. (in spanish) because it is a simple and straightforward reading.

This is the amazon page of the english version.

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