Get to Know... Atomic Fiction
We had the opportunity recently to sit down with Kevin Baillie, co-founder of Atomic Fiction. He and Ryan Tudhope started the feature film and television visual effects company in 2010. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., Atomic Fiction is in the midst of opening a second office in Montreal. The company has created award-winning visual effects for projects that include “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey,” “Need for Speed,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Boardwalk Empire” and many more. When we spoke to Kevin he was working on set as the VFX Supervisor on Robert Zemeckis’ film “To Reach the Clouds,” about French high-wire artist Philippe Petit’s attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

Why has Atomic Fiction been so successful?

We’ve taken a very modern approach to VFX and kind of thrown out the conventional way of thinking. We have smaller teams of people who are at the top end of the talent pool, so, while we focus on hiring talent across all fields of expertise, our main sights are on high-end talent. On the technology front we really don’t have much local infrastructure; we use Google cloud for everything rendering-wise and have written our own in-house render queue management solution that interacts with Shotgun and oversees all of the rendering work we do. We have 20% of the technology footprint of a normal visual effects company, but have access to as much, if not more, render power than anyone else out there.

What’s a day in the life of Kevin like?

These days I’m both on set and in the office -- but mostly on set in Montreal. I’ll get to set at 7AM, which is not the easiest thing for me. Once the caffeine settles in, it’s all about working with Bob Zemeckis to figure out how to most efficiently capture the VFX shots of the day. I work with everyone from the grips to the art department and Bob to make sure everything is going as planned. We take a ton of reference photography, and I work closely with the data wrangler, making sure we have all of the information we need to get the effects to look as good as they can, as efficiently as possible. We wrap 13-17 hours later. When I’m not on set, I’m focusing a lot on the expansion of our Oakland office and the build-out of our office in Montreal. So I’m working on growing the business from both a physical standpoint and a business development standpoint. It’s pretty nuts at the moment, but the good news is we that brought Mark Sadeghi on board as President of VFX, we’re bringing on a dedicated finance person, and we’re really expanding our executive management team to make sure our growth happens responsibly and is successful. 

We’re also slowly working toward adopting Shotgun Toolkit as our asset management solution and our Montreal division is pushing that effort forward. It’s all possible thanks to the amazing people we have working behind the scenes. My partner at Atomic Fiction, Ryan Tudhope is in Los Angeles on set as the VFX Supervisor on “Boyscouts v. Zombies.” Atomic Fiction is the lead VFX house on that film; we’re doing about 1/3 of the shot count on “The Walk.”


What are the three most important things in your office?  

Number one is the people. I’ve seen companies with amazing tools that don’t have the right people fall flat. So by far, number one is the A+ team. Other than that, the Internet connectivity that we have, it’s very fast and that’s very important from a workload perspective so our connectivity to the outside world is not a bottleneck to our artists. And third is our espresso machine to keep everyone fueled.

What tools do you use in-house at Atomic?

We use quite a wide range, we really focus on hiring the best people, and sometimes in order to work at their best they need to be working with the tools they’re most comfortable with. Those include: Maya, modo, and we’re starting to integrate Katana. We also use some 3ds Max, Nuke for compositing, After Effects for motion graphics and then we have our own internal render management solution for render queue and also the cloud management side of things, and Shotgun, of course, for production tracking.

Which in-house tool are you most proud of?

Our render management solution is called Conductor and it’s what we’re most proud of. We had been working with ZYNC for quite a while and it became obvious that we needed control of the development of our cloud rendering solution so we switched to an in-house system that was developed by a bright young guy named Greg Denton. We worked with him at Image Movers Digital, and within a was a couple of months he built an amazing working solution in conjunction with great support from Google. The result is a tool that we can spin up to have render farm the size of what IMD had—that was a $20 million investment, and we can crank that up for a few hours, then shut it down and only pay for what we use. It scales, it’s fast and it’s our pride and joy.

How much effort do you focus on building out the pipeline?

We have a team of people that does that; probably five or six people who really have hands-on involvement in that from a coding level. I’m heavily involved on the strategy side of it and having been at a bunch of places large and small, there are things we want to focus on and things we want to avoid, so it’s a balance because I don’t want to be a bottleneck but there are certain philosophic components to our pipeline that are key to our success.

Shotgun customization or straight out of the box?

Both. We use several features straight out of the box and we also have custom tools we’ve developed. We were working on our own asset management system, which is super faxt and user-friendly, but we’re working towards using Shotgun Toolkit as the company scales. The Shotgun API is great in that it allows us to develop our own tools while always keeping production informed, and gives the team constant ability to interact with other artists in a seamless way.

What inspires you?

To be honest it’s directors like Robert Zemeckis. From a storytelling standpoint it’s unbelievable what he can come up with out of nothing, so to be able to support him is incredible. The other thing that inspires me is how busted the industry is right now. You see well established companies having a hard time, so for us and me personally for sure is ‘what can we do to help?’ This cloud based approach, we’ve been vocal about it for some time because we think it’s the future of the industry and when it works it allows us to tie revenue to expenditure, enabling us to have a much healthier business…so I think things like that, discovering ways to make the industry more viable for the companies and artists involved is a huge inspiration.

What led you to visual effects?

“Jurassic Park” and “Back to the Future” and “E.T.” and “Star Wars” -- every movie I saw as a kid that I loved had VFX in it. So as I grew up I always knew I wanted to work in visual effects for movies. Seeing “Jurassic Park” was my ‘aha’ moment. Luckily my high school teacher Rick Mordby had 3D Studio for DOS; he let me and Ryan [Tudhope] use it and learn it, and we had the crazy, fortunate luck of both being hired to work at Lucasfilm straight out of high school.  

What is the biggest challenge in running a studio today?

For us it’s growing the studio in a responsible way. We want to keep everyone busy and grow, but do it in a way that’s sustainable. The nature of the industry is that you have a relatively small client pool and relatively few, albeit very large payments coming in. It’s hard to keep cash flow in line with expenditure. The way that we work with tools on an on-demand basis, and cloud rendering has been truly transformative for us in that regard. So cash flow is definitely the industry’s biggest challenge, but it’s one we’ve been tackling head on since inception.


Thoughts on Shotgun joining Autodesk? 

I think it’s going to be a great thing for Shotgun and its users, I know that one of the challenges of running a small business is how to take limited resources and spread them across all of the high priority development tasks you have as a company. Especially when you have customers all clamoring for different things. It’s hard to satisfy the high priority stuff and keep all of our clients happy across the board, so Autodesk’s involvement will in a large way help alleviate that problem by allowing them to expand the size of the Shotgun development team and maybe even take some riskier moves since they might be able to devote resources to more long term strategic development. So I can relate to it as a small business owner and think it’s an awesome thing to have the muscle of Autodesk backing Shotgun.
Meet the Team: Review & Approval
Not quite two months ago we joined with Autodesk – a move that tripled the size of our engineering team. As Don noted at that time, our goal was (and is!) to move faster; to bring you new tools faster. We’re able to do now because we can focus on all of the major areas of functionality at once without having to split our efforts. We have full teams on Production Management, Review & Approval, Pipeline/Asset Management and the Platform itself.

Those teams have come together – and delivered – in the past weeks, and we want to introduce everyone so you know who’s behind the scenes working on your stuff. In the next few weeks we’ll post the roster for each team and tell you what we’re focusing on. I’m happy to kick things off by introducing the Review & Approval team.

For those that I haven’t met yet, I’m Johnny Duguid - the Product Manager for the Review & Approval team. My charge is to drive our roadmap based on feedback from our clients or those interested in using Shotgun. If you’re looking to talk review, I’m your guy. I also work closely with the team to help prep, turnover, and drive development.

Over the next few months, the Review & Approval team will be focusing on three main areas - improving the browser review experience, building upon Shotgun Review for iPhone, and revisiting our Screening Room for RV setup - with the goal of turbo-charging your review collaboration.

But who are those mysterious heroes that will help us deliver? Let’s meet them...

                         Alexandre Jean Claude - Montreal, Québec
A favorite among the team for his penchant for providing chocolate and cookies for long meetings, Alex keeps the team focused, on track, and on schedule as the team’s Development Manager. Despite his manager title, Alex isn’t afraid to jump in and get his hands dirty when it comes to coding. In fact, Alex has already shipped a bug fix related to the Client Review Site.



Beau Roberts - London, England
Beau serves as one of Shotgun's UX/UI Designers. Armed with a quick wit, Beau has been responsible for helping modernize Shotgun’s UI with the Media App and Client Review Site. Beau was also in charge of design for our award winning Shotgun Review for iPhone app. On top of all that, Beau know’s the London food scene like the back of his hand and is always willing to help out of towners experience the best the city has to offer.


Dan Allum - London, England
Dan provides QA testing for every Review-related piece of code we release - helping ensure that each release is as stable and bug-free as possible. Dan has been with the Shotgun team for about two years now and - in that time - has helped shepherd countless releases out the door and into your hands.


                         Daniel Beaudry - Montreal, Québec
A man of subtlety, Daniel brings a tremendous amount of experience to the team through his storied past. Daniel has picked up the Shotgun Review for iPhone torch - helping patch two critical issues prior to the big launch and spreading the knowledge to the rest of the team. Prior to jumping into iOS, Daniel knocked out two bugs related to the Media App.



Eric Cabot - Montreal, Québec
Like Daniel, Eric brings a ton of software experience to the team. His robust history in development makes him a great resource for breaking down large projects into manageable pieces. Since joining the team, Eric has shipped two bug fixes and one highlighly requested feature (the ability to copy text from within the Screening Room for RV Info Pane). Eric’s also has a unique ability - and pleasure - to keep the family happy and chaos free at home.

                        Luc Bolduc - Lac-Beauport, Québec
Luc’s list of accomplishments is overwhelming and it’s easy to see why. Always one to bring new ideas to the table, Luc has already shipped four bug/feature updates. Luc also has the honor of tackling the first Screening Room for RV bug on the team - resolving an issue related to keyboard shortcuts. In his free time, you’ll find Luc out and about flying his chair.


                        Sylvain Lavoie - Chambly, Québec

Rounding out the QA team, Sylvain’s background as a compositor and art director gives him an advantage when it comes to testing out our latest offerings. Since he’s familiar with the work you’re trying to do, he’s able to obsessively focus on the workflows important to you to ensure the best, most stable performance. Sylvain’s claim to fame is an uncanny ability to blow (play?) his nose like Louis Armstrong on his trumpet - an incredibly helpful skill in those long planning meetings.


Xin Liu - Toronto, Ontario
Sporting a stellar taste in film (Shawshank Redemption and Die Hard!), Xin has no problem diving head first into a challenge. Out of the gate, Xin tackled one of our first new features - better handling of Versions without playable media in the Media App. Not to be outdone, she then jumped over to Shotgun Review for iPhone where she has already knocked out multiple small features and bugs.


Finally, a shoutout to one more member of the team who is no longer with us, but deserves some recognition for a job well done. Laurens Coderre was with the Review & Approval team until last week when his internship ended. In his time with the team, he released three fixes - including a super quick turnaround on an issue that popped up in last week’s patch. We’ll miss having you around, Laurens - be sure to stay in touch!

And there you have it - the brand new, fully charged Shotgun Review & Approval team. Everyone’s eager to deliver on our promises and blow your minds. We hope you’re excited by what we have planned and if you’d like to share your ideas when it comes to review in Shotgun, drop us a line at support@shotgunsoftware.com. We’re listening!
Pipeline Awards: Congrats!
Yesterday at our User Group we had the honor of recognizing members of the Shotgun community with the first-ever Pipeline Awards. We set out to identify excellence in pipeline tool development, integration, engineering and usage – tools that save loads of time and mix creative genius with a clear grasp of how to make a laborious process better and faster for humans.

Pipeline Hero Award winners and Shotgunners at the Pipeline Awards

We got submissions from all over the world – input that brought to our attention not only cool tools, but also, people who have had an impact on the pipeline community. Because of their personal involvement, contributions, and generous sharing of ideas and best practices, we expanded our categories a bit. Without further ado, here are the winners -- and take a look at the short videos that describe what they’ve built.

Pipeline Shotty Awards – For the top pipeline tools of 2014

Motion Capture Tool – Capture Lab (Yanna Kang)

The Capture Lab has built a client-facing order tool that takes the pain out of selecting and ordering motion capture animation for its clients.


BB Gun – Laika (Tony Aeillo and Owen Nelson)

This tool is an essential part of Laika’s production scheduling workflow and allows multiple departments with different requirements to use the task scheduling capabilities of Microsoft Project to publish task updates to Shotgun where everyone can see them.

 

In-App Artist Tools – Park Road Post (Dave Alve, Siobhan Durkin, and Pete Black)

Park Road has built many tools, including an Info Panel in Nuke, Time Log Tool, Reference Viewer, Asset Manager, QT Reference Importer, Screening Room enhancements and integration with SGO’s Mistika environment.

 

Rhino Engine – Burrows

Burrows took the Pipeline Toolkit and ran with it, creating a comprehensive workflow for their CAD centric / car marketing material that includes a great artist-facing tool. Their customization of Toolkit asset management makes browsing, loading, and publishing the multitude of components which make up an entire vehicle (and all of their variants!) a breeze. All of this runs on top of a custom built integration with Rhinoceros, the first of its kind for Toolkit.


Pipeline Hero Awards – For people who have built amazing things, are super active on the dev list and have collaborated closely with us and with the Shotgun community over the years:

Tony Barbieri, Psyop
Armando Ricalde, Cluster
Mike Romey, Zoic
Patrick Wolf, Pixomondo


It was no easy task to choose from such a top crop of tools and we are totally grateful to all who took the time to let us know about these tools. We’re sending a Pipeline Hero t-shirt to everyone who submitted as a small token of appreciation and recognition of the development happening in the pipeline community all over the world.
Shotgun Review: Now Available on iPhone
We’re excited to announce our first iOS app, Shotgun Review. You can use it to browse project media, review notes, and give visual feedback--all from the palm of your hand.

Get it now for free.
  



Here’s what you can do with it:

- Browse media and playlists in all your projects
- Play back images and movies
- Give feedback with comments, annotated frames, or camera images
- See history on related versions and their notes

Designing for the iPhone was an interesting challenge that required us to focus on simplicity, speed, and usability. During the early design phase, we spent lots of time exploring different directions: Should we put tasks on the phone? Notes? Shots, assets, and other things you track? In testing the designs with users, it was clear that different people wanted to do different things with Shotgun on their phones:

- Supervisors wanted to stay in the loop on work in progress and give artists feedback
- Artists wanted to see their tasks and stay up to date on activity happening around them
- Producers wanted to see status reports showing the progress of all of the work

Instead of cramming all of the possible uses into one app, we set our sights on developing one focused app that would be awesome for a particular group and set of tasks. Of all the people we talked to, one group was especially passionate about a mobile app: the supervisors. These individuals are away from their desks most of the day. They’re either in meetings, traveling for work, or on set with the director. Meanwhile, back at the studio, their teams are cranking out work and waiting for feedback. Often, supervisors can’t look at the work until they’re back in their hotels or offices late at night. This means the time between an artist submitting work and a supervisor reviewing it could stretch beyond 24 hours. If you add that up for all of the artists, that’s a lot of lost time (and money).



With Shotgun Review, our goal was to help supervisors feel free to leave their desks without fear of missing an opportunity to give feedback. We anticipate that this in turn will help artists do their work faster (because they’ll get their notes sooner), producers deliver projects sooner (because artists move through iterations more quickly), and coordinators save time (because they don’t need to ship media to supervisors via FTP when they’re off site). We hope all of these people find value in using the app as well. After all, at the end of the day, the movie, game, or TV show is made by a team working together -- and everyone cares about the final product -- so everyone should have easy access to the project in a secure and simple way.

We’ve been using the app constantly ever since the initial build, polishing the visual design and interaction for weeks. We hope you enjoy it and can’t wait to get your feedback.

NOTE: Shotgun Review requires a Shotgun site. Those new to Shotgun can sign up for a free 30-day trial to give the app a spin. To learn more using the app and and getting setup, visit our support site.

UPDATE: We're honored to report that Shotgun Review has been recognized with a Silver Edge SIGGRAPH 2014 "Best of Show" Award from Computer Graphics World.


MARI Integration and Maya/MARI Round-Trip Workflow
Unlock your texture artists’ workflow with the latest Shotgun integration – MARI. Through close work with our friends at the Foundry as well as a number of our insightful client studios to identify best practices, we’re pleased to announce that we now offer MARI integration in Pipeline Toolkit, which includes a Maya/MARI round-trip that connects modeling, textures, and lookdev. It’s a major step forward in our continuing efforts to supply your team with the building blocks you need for a complete end-to-end pipeline.


Expanding Workflow Possibilities


The full suite of our Pipeline Toolkit apps are ready to go in MARI. Texture artists can now quickly create a new MARI project from the latest model, publish via the Shotgun Loader app, and paint instantly. As other artists on the team make updates that affect their work, the Breakdown app is there to swap them in seamlessly. Sharing textures has never been easier as the Publish app automatically exports them in a pipeline-friendly way, with names and formats you choose as well as the option to archive if desired. Because our MARI engine also tracks metadata within the application, the links between Shotgun and each MARI project are maintained behind the scenes so everything your artists create stays organized and accounted for. Finally, Maya support in both directions enables you to push out models for MARI work and load textures back in for lookdev with the click of a button.

Jack Greasley, MARI Product Manager at The Foundry, said, “The Foundry and Shotgun share a strong commitment to improving the experience of all of our clients, and it's great to be able to make processes more efficient for them by integrating the tools they use every day. With Shotgun’s native support for MARI we’re streamlining a process that’s very common for texture artists in film and commercial work by enabling them to snapshot and publish files directly from within MARI."

Thanks to the Shotgun Community

The MARI engine is another gold star for our amazing Shotgun pipeline community. Huge thanks go out to Tim Chauncey and Daragh Casey at Windmill Lane VFX in Dublin, Ireland, the team that kickstarted the MARI integration and shared it back with us and the rest of the community at large. We remain in awe of all the work our clients get through and love to see collaborations like this become official releases!

More on the Way


The full power of MARI has much to offer and this is just the beginning of our integration. We’d love to hear more about how you work with MARI and how we can do more to enhance your creativity. What would you like to see next?

As with all of our pipeline code, source is available on Github.

MARI integration is available now and included as part of your Shotgun subscription. As always, email us at toolkitsupport@shotgunsoftware.com with any questions, suggestions, or feature requests.

Find out more in our Mari docs and sign up for a free trial at shotgunsoftware.com/signup.

Introducing Shotgun Desktop, a Native App Shelf for Artists

Shotgun is on a mission to productize the pipeline – to make it super easy for artists to access productivity tools and for developers to deploy them to artists. Today we present Shotgun Desktop, the artists’ front-end experience of that ecosystem.  A native application framework, it sits on the artists’ desktop and provides quick access to key pipeline tools directly from the menu bar.  There’s no need to go back to a browser, remember different installation and startup steps for every application, or deal with command line processes.


Artists: Start new work, get to where you need to go faster

With Shotgun Desktop, everything you need is just a click away.  Log in, pick a project in the tray menu in the toolbar, and off you go.

To launch Maya, Max, Nuke, Photoshop, Houdini or other creative tools, the process is the same – a single click. There’s no need to install anything extra because Shotgun Desktop supplies what each application needs automatically under the hood.


If you’re working in a creative app and want to change tasks or open something new, pop open the desktop tray and launch what you want pronto.

Anyone in the studio can use Shotgun Desktop – it’s not just for launching creative applications. Producers can run reports from it the same way FX artists call up Houdini. Any app that the studio chooses to make available can be accessed, be it a 3rd-party product, an in-house pipeline tool, or something from the growing list of Shotgun apps we’re building and delivering.

With Shotgun Desktop there are no rules to remember extra steps to get to where you need to go. Just focus on creating and let Shotgun handle the details.

Developers: Deploy productivity tools quickly and easily 

Shotgun Desktop makes developers’ jobs easier and more efficient as well, supplying a high-quality, productized app framework with a polished, artist-friendly UI that works across Linux, Mac and Windows.  Our framework bundles Python, Qt, and PySide, meaning all three are always available. So if there’s something we integrate with that has missing dependencies, like Photoshop, Shotgun Desktop is the fallback so you don’t need to install or compile anything else for things to “just work.”  It also means you can rely on everything being there for your own apps that you call from Shotgun Desktop and deploy through Pipeline Toolkit, letting you focus on advancing your pipeline without the hassle of pushing out the right libraries. For those following the VFX Reference Platform initiative, the library versions we distribute are in line with what’s planned for 2015 and we intend to support it as our target going forward.

Launching applications through Shotgun Desktop relies on the same configuration we use through the web, so you have full control over what to launch and how to launch it. We’ve also improved onramp with a step-by-step wizard installer that takes care of both the initial setup as well as project configuration, to help take the guesswork out of rolling out the pipeline for a production.


Shotgun Desktop is a simple, visual interface that puts the power of the Pipeline Toolkit at artists’ fingertips in a friendly, familiar menu tray. For developers, it’s a productized framework ready to help deploy productivity tools that can be used from person to person and project to project quickly and painlessly.

Shotgun Desktop is available now and included for free as part of the Shotgun subscription for all clients.  For download links and instructions on how to install Shotgun Desktop, please click here.


See What Our Partners Are Building!
We’re here at SIGGRAPH showing not only the latest developments coming out of our own lab (which we’ll announce tomorrow), but also some really cool and superbly useful integrations that our partners – tool developers and service companies alike – have created to knit together workflows across the spectrum. If you’re here too, pop over to booth 741 to see...

The Foundry – FLIX

FLIX Product Manager Yiotis Katsambas is joining us Wednesday from 3-4 to preview a feature that enables production teams using FLIX to manage story development to easily publish a sequence into Shotgun. FLIX will automatically create and update shots in Shotgun to mirror exactly what is in FLIX. This allows seamless flow between the story an production teams enabling them to start planning much earlier. Yiotis will demonstrate the one way push of data from FLIX to Shotgun. The teams will be seeking input and feedback from customers and prospects as to what further functionality clients would find useful in this integration.

Thinkbox – Deadline/DraftWednesday from 1-3 Jon Gaudet will preview Shotgun integration with the Deadline render manager, adding functionality through Draft that enables users to generate streaming web content as well as other local files, working seamlessly with Shotgun’s Media App and Client Review Site. With this feature (which will be part of the Deadline 7 beta later this month and ship this fall), artists can automatically create and upload movies and filmstrips when tying a Shotgun version to a Deadline job. They simply click a checkbox when submitting a job and Deadline/Draft handles the rest. It reduces the amount of work required to access more of Shotgun’s functionality when working with Deadline, while keeping things simple.


Company 3/EFILM – Metatrack Portal

On Wednesday 9:30 – 12:30 EFILM’s Weyron Henriques will demo the Metatrack Portal -- a simple, easy-to-use web content management portal that provides Company 3/EFILM clients with an easy mechanism to access and control the distribution of their content to specific VFX vendors while hiding the complexity of content management under the hood. With Shotgun integration, VFX production can identify and request plates they need scanned, and the Metatrack Portal receives all information on the request and automatically fulfills the order notifying the VFX vendors upon completion, thus shaving significant time off the typical process and reducing opportunities for error. The integration contributes to an end-to-end process for clients that flows between dailies, VFX and DI. Visitors can also get a look at the wider capabilities of the Metatrack Portal.

Tweak – RV
In keeping with our SIGGRAPH tradition, Seth Rosenthal and our friends at Tweak will be with us throughout the week showing RV, the next generation image and sequence viewer for visual effects and animation. RV powers high-quality review from the artist desktop to the screening room and supports collaborative workflows with remote synchronization. Tweak folks will demonstrate RV 4.2 and Shotgun Screening Room integration.


Cospective - cineSync and FrankieRory McGregor will be on hand Tuesday 10:30 - 12:30 showing cineSync, the Academy Award-winning solution for remote review and approval of film and television productions, and Frankie, Cospective’s browser-based solution for interactively reviewing stills and video in advertising, music videos and other short form production. Rory will also showcase cineSync Pro integration with Shotgun.
Milk Keeps Projects Flowing with Shotgun
London-based boutique VFX company Milk just celebrated its one-year anniversary; a year of creating innovative and complex sequences for high end TV and feature films. When the studio first established its VFX pipeline, they brought Shotgun in at the heart of their workflow, and they continue to increase the level of integration. Today nearly all of Milk’s 80 staff members use Shotgun daily across production, administration and pipeline teams.



“Starting from scratch was somewhat of a luxury, since it gave us the opportunity to tailor our pipeline to fit our specific needs,” said Milk CEO Will Cohen. “Shotgun is the industry-leading tool for production management and is unwaveringly reliable. From a hiring standpoint, most people already know how to use Shotgun or can get up to speed on it quickly, which means they can dive right in and spend little to no time learning a new system. Shotgun has really become the driving force behind our entire pipeline, making it easy to share work.”


The tight-knit team of industry veterans at Milk is already earning industry accolades, having taken home the 2014 British Academy Television Craft Award for its outstanding visual effects work on the BBC’s “Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special: Day of the Doctor.” Other recent projects include Fox’s series event “24: Live Another Day” as well as the summer feature “Hercules” and the eighth season of BBC’s “Dr. Who.”

Milk Head of Pipeline Benoit Leveau began testing Shotgun in August 2013, then successfully rolled it out into production in October of that year. Currently, Shotgun is used to manage all productions, feed assets to the team and for scheduling. Milk also leverages Shotgun’s Pipeline Toolkit to hook into proprietary tools for ingest and file generation as well as to content creation tools such as Autodesk Maya and Mudbox, The Foundry’s NUKE and MARI, Side Effects Software’s Houdini and Thinkbox Software’s Deadline. The studio is also considering plans to start using Shotgun’s client review feature in the future.

“I’m a big fan of the Pipeline Toolkit because it provides us the freedom to define and augment our workflows. I also love that it’s open source so anyone can contribute, and the Shotgun support team has been very quick and detailed across all interactions,” Leveau explained. “I believe that we are just beginning to scratch the surface on what can be done with Shotgun.”

Milk producer Liam Tully added, “With Shotgun, we can assign and manage tasks, track deliverables through the pipeline, communicate task priorities, trace feedback, and generate status reports. Having direct access to that wealth of information and the flexibility to customize our interfaces helps us better allocate resources and stay organized for jobs of all sizes.”

Milk’s Head of Production Lorna Dumba also shared a thought on the news of Shotgun’s joining Autodesk. “Shotgun has already proven an incredibly useful tool, so we’re excited about the prospect of accelerated feature development that we would hope to see with the merger.”

Learn more about Milk and see their fabulous work here: www.milk-vfx.com.
Thanks for Taking Shotgun to the Movies This Summer!
We’re huge movie fans here at Shotgun and it’s always exciting when we learn that our software played a role in helping our clients deliver their amazing work. Digital Domain, Milk VFX, Framestore, Method Studios, Double Negative, Atomic Fiction, Image Engine, Rodeo FX, and Factory VFX are among the studios who used Shotgun in the production of some of this summer’s top films including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Giver, Hercules, Lucy, The Maze Runner, and others.

One of DD's cool shots from  X-Men: Days of Future Past
© 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
X-Men Characters and Likenesses TM & © 2014 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.

Digital Domain has been using Shotgun for more than five years, relying on it recently to manage VFX workflows on features including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent and Into the Storm, releasing this August. Kevin VanderJagt was the company's Digital Producer on X-Men: Days of Future Past, on which Digital Domain completed more than 430 shots ranging from the 1970s Sentinels to Mystique’s shape-shifting transformations.

© 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
X-Men Characters and Likenesses TM & © 2014 Marvel Characters, Inc. 
All rights reserved.
“Shotgun was vital to our workflow on X-Men,” said VanderJagt. “It's the backbone of our production and daily communication structure and is especially important when we have artists at multiple locations working together as one team. We rely heavily on Shotgun as the central database for all shot information – everything we ingest from our clients, from our set survey, camera reports, lens information and plate data to our turnover notes and editorial counts all live in Shotgun. Our review notes, both internal and external, as well as our shot status and client reporting are all driven directly from Shotgun as well.”

Shotgun is also at the heart of Milk VFX’s state-of-the-art pipeline, which was custom built to leverage specific Shotgun features including the Pipeline Toolkit. For this summer’s Hercules, Milk VFX depended on Shotgun to track artist progress on a demanding range of shots. “With Shotgun we have instant access to every piece of information associated with a given shot and its status. On a massive show like Hercules, we relied heavily on Shotgun to keep our VFX pipeline running smoothly and ensure efficient collaboration across our artist and production teams,” said Will Cohen, Milk Co-Founder and CEO.

Framestore taps Shotgun for its feature VFX productions, enabling easy collaboration and tracking for hundreds of artists across multiple facilities on features including Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Tom Cruise thriller Edge of Tomorrow. Other studios using Shotgun to manage VFX pipelines on the season’s studio features include Method Studios (Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Maze Runner, The Giver), Double Negative (Hercules), Atomic Fiction (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Image Engine (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Prime Focus (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Rodeo FX (Lucy), and Factory VFX (The Maze Runner).

If you haven’t seen these movies, grab some popcorn and get ready to be blown away. Thanks for bringing us along!

Edge of Tomorrow
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules
Into the Storm
Jupiter Ascending
Lucy
Maze Runner
Sin City
The Fault in Our Stars
The Giver
Transformers: Age of Extinction
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Siggraph Party!
We're throwing a Siggraph party for all of our friends, and we'd love for you to join us.



Fill up on Vancouver’s best barbecue and local brews and wines and get primed for later-night fun. Capacity is limited so be sure to RSVP.

Tuesday August 12th, 5-10pm

Vancouver Rowing Club, 450 Stanley Park Drive

Hope to see you there!

cheers,
The Shotgunners
<< Older Posts    

Our Story

We are industry folk who love production. A handful of us met while building...
Read More
Subscribe to updates via email

Follow Us