Mangement & pipeline tools

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  04 April 2013
Mangement & pipeline tools

Hello everyone!

I'm currently trying to build up a case for developing an in-house toolset or buying a off-the-shelves system for shot/comment/client management and wanted to hear the community if they could share some information on how they deal with clients.
For some background info, the company I'm working for deals primary with product videos and product images combined with some arch viz for contests etc.
At the moment our primary tool for exchanging info with clients are emails and phone calls, however while it works in some cases, I often find a place where I can find all the information regarding feedback and comments from the client lacking since the clients often switch between emailing either me directly or indirectly through our 3d project manager. This often leads to fragmented information getting pooled up on different people and is often hard to backtrack through time.

Do you guys have any idea how other companies deal with this(since I don't think that we are the only ones facing this problem)?

My suggestion is developing an in-house tool which is a much simpler version of a pipeline tool like Shotgun, which is way to expensive pr. seat for our kind of business) that allows the 3d artists, 2d artists, compositors etc. commit previews/images/video to a server that then we can link to for our clients to comment on(this could also be used for internal commenting). This means that all information shared between us and the clients will be saved and able to backtrack through time in case problems arise and will be transparent for anyone working on the projects and this should lead to less information pooling. I've tried searching around but can't find a off-the-shelves tool that does that, but if anyone knows about something that does, please do tell
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  04 April 2013
I'ld avoid creating from scratch anything in-house... you (or the company) will just end up with a bigger mess down the road.

You should consider an off-the-shelf solution that is capable of being customized... something like Sharepoint can integrate easily into your general office infrastructure, while having the ability to be expanded with apps. This would allow you to pool from a large resource of developers to create pipeline integration solutions.

my 2 cents.
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  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by tswalk: I'ld avoid creating from scratch anything in-house... you (or the company) will just end up with a bigger mess down the road.

You should consider an off-the-shelf solution that is capable of being customized... something like Sharepoint can integrate easily into your general office infrastructure, while having the ability to be expanded with apps. This would allow you to pool from a large resource of developers to create pipeline integration solutions.

my 2 cents.


As it stands we actually have Sharepoint for our web-dev department and they tried for some time and push it down as a tool to solve these problems, however the general usabillity of the standard sharepoint design is(at least this has been our 3d artists experience) very bad and slow. However this might be because when we tried it the Sharepoint server was hosted elsewhere and not locally.
The solution, as you describe it, might be a very customized version that only exposes what we need and is run off our local servers.
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  04 April 2013
Hi,

How much is you developer's time worth? A quick and dirty (but functional) system might take 3 months of developer time in the first year of existence.

Using US rates and assuming a total cost to the company of $80K for a entry level competent developer, you've spent $20k for something that is dramatically less functional than shotgun.

At the basic shotgun rate of $49 per person per month, that gets you around ~40 seats for a year including constant updates and development for the same price.

Shoutgun is cheap if you're thinking of paying developers.

(edit : Replace shotgun in above statement with any of the competing products if you like)

Last edited by forelle : 04 April 2013 at 01:57 PM.
 
  04 April 2013
For the internal review and asset management the best system I ever used was a proprietary solution developed around Softimage's data management SDK. Asset status, tracking, notification and exposure was the best I've ever used. And I am using Shotgun now...which i would say such solutions always give you a bit more than you want in some areas and a bit less in others.

Oh yes for performance over a busy network (render farms et all, many users accessing the same server, etc) was by far the the fastest with the proprietary system too. Like waiting half a day to check-in an asset in the middle of the working day is *too long*. I am sure a lot of credit must go to a very smart developer for this.

I've never been in a system that was able to log and track client feedback directly however. But anything other than email requires you to have your clients install and maintain a custom software possibly. And is that really a hassle you and your clients will want? Hey what if they want to give you feedback from an iphone (on the road).
I think anything beyond standard email is probably too cumbersome IMHO.
 
  04 April 2013
Originally Posted by circusboy: I've never been in a system that was able to log and track client feedback directly however. But anything other than email requires you to have your clients install and maintain a custom software possibly. And is that really a hassle you and your clients will want? Hey what if they want to give you feedback from an iphone (on the road).
I think anything beyond standard email is probably too cumbersome IMHO.


Well the idea was(atleast for a web-based) system that commited images for client feedback would include a link you send to them containing a link and then having a normal comment like system where the client could submit feedback, so instead of sending emails back and forth, it would go on the webserver which would make it transparent for anyone working on the project. A best case scenario would be a revolver web-app like the one Shotgun features where the client could do a paint over to point out areas on images/video. So it should be very easy to do multi-platform support.
Asset management aren't really a large concern for us since we don't typically don't create the base models for our product viz.

While Forelle actually made a very good point, shotgun actually only has to save us 50 usd pr. user a month in production time for it be a feasible option, which shouldn't be a problem at all. However does Shotgun support client accounts with limited access? For it to work we should be able to create users for our clients that are limited to viewing only their projects.
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  04 April 2013
Shotgun does offer a fully functional trial for a month so you can test things out.

And yes I do think it is possible for something like that, also shotgun support is incredibly quick to answer on any questions you have.
 
  04 April 2013
in shotgun you can define user rights to a very complex level. you can give access only to certain projects and then can even restrict right so see only specific tasks and/or to have access only on specific pages.

dont know about the asset managment in shotgun called tank. never used it.

you can also try Tactic, which is similar to shotgun but is now basicaly free.

or ftrack
 
  04 April 2013
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