Monday, October 26, 2009

Creation Flow: web based visual review collaboration for video and images.

We at "El Viaje Imposible", my production company, are working on a quite complex short film. I have casually discovered a great tool that we are using to review videos remotely:
1) The artist uploads a video that needs to be reviewd.
2) The supervisor (the "boss") can play it, stop it anywhere, and paint over any frame adding some text.
3) The artist can later click on a comment in a list to access that frame directly and read the information, and then upload a new version of the video on top of the old one, to keep the old comments.

We are using it to fine tune the animatic of the short movie, while in preproduction, and it works great.

"CreationFlow is a web-based collaboration software for digital art production which aims to manage the review workflow between designers, bosses and clients thorugh visual reviews over images, videos and pdf files using a built-in mark-up tool." (edited partly, from their web).

If you are interested in this tool drop me a line and I will let you know about an interesting introductory offer that you can get through us.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Comment left on "Software in the Animation Industry Data Base" article

Hans-Christian Jehg has left a new comment on the old (2006) post "Software in the Animation Industry Data Base", stating that HoBSoft responds very precisely to the point of the article.

Thanks Hans!

GI Joe Asset Management

Miguel Angel, our most prolific collaborator, has sent the following information:

" FX Guide videopodcast # 67 is about G.I. Joe FX. Specifically starting in 7:24 it explains the Asset Management system they developed, and the automatic scene setup. All fully illustrated and in 3DS Max!

Thanks as always, Miguel Ángel

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shotgun is now in private beta.

Shotgun initially focused on "production tracking" and has evolved into "a powerful web-based collaboration tool for digital studios of all sizes".
After 3.5 years working in "stealth mode" keeping a low profile while collaborating closely with a cross section of studios, they have more than 2,000 people from the visual effects, feature animation, and video game industries using their software every day in production.
Some relevant features are:
- Web-based, Cross Platform. It runs right in a browser.
- Constant access to the latest project schedule for everyone.
- Integrated Messaging with Shotgun Notes to replace emails.
- Issue and Bug Tracking
- Highly configurable, with customizable fields and flexible python API to let you integrate into your pipeline.
The software is now in private beta, looking for studios and individuals who are interested in what they are building and would like to take a closer look.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Celtx 2.0

Celtx has appeared a couple of times in this blog. I have started using it for a project where the script-writer is offsite. Google Docs is quite OK, but it is a hell to keep the script in format.

In short, Celtx is an "all-in-one media pre-production software. It has everything you need to take your story from concept to production. Celtx replaces 'paper, pen & binder' pre-production with a digital approach that's more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share."

Celtx is free, has a hybrid desktop-web architecture, with versions for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It has presets for different types of media, covering the entire pre-production process (scripts, storyboard, development, breakdown, schedule & reports), allows for collaborative remote team work and also to share your project with the world through Project Central.

Version 2.0 was released some time ago, adding among other things the possibility to use Celtx Studios, a paid project account central providing mass storage, collaboration and e-commerce.

Mogware set of tools

I found an ad in ANIMATION MAGAZINE about an asset management system called FileHamster, a free version tracking application for content creators which "enables you to monitor specific files on your hard drive and automatically create incremental backups whenever those files are modified".

However, since the software is only for Windows I haven´t had the chance to test it and see how useful the core app is without any of the several optional plugins that you can purchase separately: Team, Replication, Script, FTP, Report Window, Notes, Diff & Zip.

The company behind it, Mogware, claims to have "spent years developing a comprehensive suite of products designed specifically for complex data management and workflow automation. Any data pipeline will be sure to find Mogware's comprehensive suite of products complimentary to their existing adhoc tools improving their team's workflow."

They have other products that seem slightly more oriented towards console videogame development:

- Mog Pipeline's: Workflow Process centric asset management system, "a mixture of traditional asset management, worflow automation with a light twist of version control. Projects using the Mog Pipeline can reduce many tedious processes to a single click; greatly reducing the technical requirements asked of the artists."

- Mog Library: "A simple yet elegant version control solution without an overly complicated programmer-centric interface. Built specifically for the version control of binary data (...) offers immediate feedback to artists showing them who is working on each asset and why. Using a simple checkin/checkout paradigm artists can quickly interact with their binary files and avoid the delays associated with a full sync"

- MogBox: "Advanced data conversion tool. The MogBox is a powerful processing chain with a visual flowchart-style interface for building complex data conversion scripts enabling you to more easily manage and automate your 3D data conversions"

As always, your comments and news are welcome and needed!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Some links about Crowd-sourcing

I have been doing some research on crowdsourcing ( businessweek definition: "the practice of using large, distributed and minimally directed groups to accomplish tasks") and its applications on 3D animated production.

Check Mass Animation to get an idea of what is coming just around the corner. Scary, isn´t it?

So what do you need to set up your own film studio for free? Well, not much, one might think after visiting Wreck a Movie :" a collaborative film production platform, where anybody can come and set up their own film production, and find a community to collaborate on, or find an interesting film productions and become a collaborator". It is free for everyone, serves all kinds of audiovisual productions, from short films and music videos all the way to feature-length films.
The founders are a group of filmmakers from Finland.

This cnet article about Open-source films gives a wider scope on the subject.

More links pointing in the same direction:

Film Riot, a project by Cambrian House

Media Silo, a site for media-related collaborative work

GlobeShooter an upcoming network and production company to connect commercial producers with UGC filmmakers, in the space of merging online video content to produce original clips at a fraction of the price.

Genius Rocket: A marketplace where companies seeking a new ad campaign and artists can meet and collaborate.

Vator has even more more business ideas

http://www.triggerstreet.com community of peers helping each other with their creative works. The service allows writers or film producers to submit their works for review by other like minded people.

http://www.zoetrope.com Francis Ford Coppola started a site where you can submit film scripts, film sets, designs, stories, images, etc., for peer review, and for professional sale.

The WorkBook project gives many more ideas on all the related issues to making your film.

Funding-related ideas:
Gathering funds: Fundable and Chipin
Personal loans: Prosper
Inducement prices: Big Carrot

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rendering and Pipeline Management forum on CGTantra

Miguel Ángel has found this CGTantra forum , to "Discuss topics on Scene optimization, Rendering Management, Pipeline Management and IT Infrastructure and Studio Setup."
It is organized in three subforums:
- Render Management
- Pipeline Management
- Studio Setup and IT Infrastructure

This particular forum is powered by DUX Soft Pvt. Ltd., "
a unique company created to address the growing needs and demands of the Animation, Gaming & VFX industry. Dux brings to market over 14 years of experience in setting up from scratch and managing the IT infrastructure of major Animation & VFX studios." who claims to have "delivered services like "IMS" "Studio Design" "PipeLine" Rendering" "Data center Design" "Optimization" to almost 45 Studios across India & Asia."

In their web you can find, among other things, an unfinished "Knowledge Zone" with tips on Data Center , Storage , and Render, as well as a slideshow with a simple definition of workflow.

Thanks, Miguel Ángel.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dropbox

Make sure you don´t miss Diego´s comment under this old article about foldershare, he points to this multiplatform substitute which offers a richer number of features.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

On November 2007, Eskil kindly answered my generic request for information on the subject of this blog, but then I simply forgot until today, when I found the emails I exchanged with him.

I can only recommend you to have a look at it.
I think the implications are immense.

He mentioned Verse, "a network protocol for 3d graphics". This might sound a bit abstract, but if you dig a little deeper, you get to the fascinating part, for instance, this introduction comes from his own site, Quelsolaar:

"Verse is a network standard that a allows graphics applications to share data in real-time. It means that two or more independent applications can share the same data. If you make a change in one you immediately see the change in the other. It is a free and open source system that can be integrated in to any graphics application to allow them to share data. You can collaborate with other users over the Internet, use it for content pipe-lining, games, VR, simulation and much much more."

"There is also a lot of interesting stuff about verse in the Collada forums. You can find some interesting stuff about how verse can be used for game creation there."


Just google to find out how he uses Verse to create his own MMO game "Love".

He showed some of the stuff at SIGGRAPH in 2006, at GDC in 2007, etc.
Just Google around to find the last news.

I wanted to know more about the project, to put in context aproppriately, so I asked if he had some info on its use for 3D production (other than videogames)?
"You are talking about fx/animation? Well not much, the Orange project used it to paint texture maps in Gimp and see it on the model in blender. Verse is in no way designed for just game development it just happens that I work in games and many game developers are interested in using verse. If more fx/animation people would contact us we would definitely work with them. I think that when we get more verse support in to apps many more uses will come along."

It sure looks very promising but I would like to see it in some real case.
"I have been working on a game using a full verse pipeline , but this game has been under NDA so i haven't been able to publish anything about it.
Right now how ever i am working on another game that will have a verse pipeline and it is not under NDA, as soon as i have gotten a little further i can publish that.
"Otherwise the Verse - Collada project shows you pretty well how it would work. It shows you how to collaborate using verse and a non rendering technology specific data set and the output it to specific platforms."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Research on visual effects production databases

I was checking this interesting Research on visual effects production databases by Jan Heinze, commenting on Showrunner, shotrunner, Missing Link & Mathilda, and stumbled upon another software in the comments section: Cinesoft´s Cerebro ("a complete visual project management solution") and Duma ("a sophisticated render farm management system").

Later, Konstantin, from cinesoft, left a comment with a link to his even more complete listing.
In his site you can also see two other lists:
- Remote review and approval tools
- Multiplatform Render Management Software

Thanks Konstantin!