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Report – Panel 4: Pipelines and Workflow

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 2:38pm by Kath Shackleton

How can studios manage their assets and workflow on ever more complex productions?

The data generated by digital animation is limitless – there can be in excess of 200,000 assets on a production.

This session attempted a whistle-stop tour of just some of the tools out there to help studios to manage productions.

Andy Wyatt, from Toon Boon, a Canadian company, working across 120 countries, showcased their latest software.

Toon Boon Producer helps studios to manage assets in a user-friendly way that’s easy to set up without coding skills.

Producer integrates effectively with Toon Boon Harmony and Storyboard Pro, but it can also work with other software. It offers production tracking and workflow control. The only limit on the software is the size of the studio server. It provides a flexible and robust system to track pipelines, review tools and track revisions and approvals.

Steve Sharman from Hackthorn Innovation helps storytellers to use technology.
He helps content creators to introduce systems to save time and money, making it easier to collaborate across a team and remote locations. It’s also important to protect assets to reassure investors and insurers.

It’s easy to fail with a technology project, so be sure to make time to clarify your aims and to communicate with and train your team, as it’s only effective if they use and understand it fully.

There are lots of great tools out there being updated and extended all the time – a few of Steve’s hot tips here …
Shotgun
Slack
Dropbox
Skype
Office 365
Google apps
Vidispine

Helen Brown, from CHF Entertainment has always had to be quite organised in managing assets working in Stop Motion animation.

In 2D animation it’s been a little easier for her, but she says the most important thing still is to have consistent file naming conventions across studios and productions.  They don’t currently have an asset management system in place, with their long-form series ‘Daisy and Ollie’ and ‘Pip Ahoy’, but next year will be producing a new slate of short films, alongside their series work, so it’s something very much on their minds, as the demands on their studio teams will be immense.

Helen emphasised that no matter what systems are in place, it is no substitute for face to face meetings. Key people need to sit down together in regular production meetings to keep everything ontrack and working well. People drive all productions!

Technology will not provide robots to replace us all. Technology can just remove a few of the more repetitive and tedious tasks, giving us time to focus on the enjoyable stuff!

TIP: If you can save just 10% of time each day using these tools you can generate an extra working day every fortnight!

Kath Shackleton

About the author

Kath Shackleton

Fettle Animation, Producer

Kath Shackleton is Producer of Fettle Animation, a twice BAFTA-nominated animation production company in Pennine Yorkshire. Fettle are a service studio, making animation for broadcast, education, businesses and charities. Fettle's animated series made with BBC Learning, based on accounts of Holocaust survivors, won a Japan Prize, a Sandford St Martin’s Award and two… Read more

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