Call for Entries: 2nd Annual Pipeline Awards

Last year we introduced the Pipeline Awards to recognize those far behind the screen; the heroes who mix creative genius with a clear grasp of how to make laborious processes better/faster/happier for humans, and help studios thrive within new business models.



We were blown away by the quality and variety of submissions we got, and it was awesome to be able to hand out trophies that folks could bring back to their studios to spread some pipeline pride. We aim to keep highlighting this innovative work for the whole industry to see, and we’re excited to bring the Awards back this year!

Nominate cool tools, pipeline heroes

If you know about tools, integration projects or people we should consider for a Pipeline Award – either yourself, someone in your studio, or anyone/any tool you’ve come across that impressed you – let us know. Email your nominations to pipelineawards@shotgunsoftware.com by July 6. Just send us a note indicating whether you’re nominating a tool or person (hero), and either a description of the tool or a brief writeup of what the person has done that demonstrates Pipeline Hero-ness. Everyone who submits will receive a Shotgun t-shirt.

What we’re looking for

Pipeline Shotty Awards recognize excellence in pipeline tool development, integration, engineering and usage (whether or not it involves or uses Shotgun). Maybe you have a tool that lets storyboard artists use Unity to set a camera then push out the image to a storyboard panel. Or a mobile app that lets artists know when it’s time to head to the screening room. Or a super-visual animation pose library right inside Maya that the animators loved. A tool developed to facilitate VR or mocap, to help track business-side info for ROI purposes, or streamline review. Or just a super cool hack. Pipeline Hero Awards recognize those who regularly share best practices on the dev list or forums, or who have developed tools that have been adopted widely across the Shotgun community.

We’ll present the Awards at SIGGRAPH, during the Shotgun User Group (Tuesday, Aug. 12, details to come), and toast them at our annual SIGGRAPH party. We’ll also announce them here, so you don’t have to be at SIGGRAPH to check them out.

Looking forward to your submissions!
The Shotgunners
Call for Footage!
Our client community is what makes Shotgun, Shotgun. Our tools are successful only as much as they take roadblocks out of your way so you can get on with creating. When we have an opportunity to showcase Shotgun (at events like Siggraph), along with our technology, it’s important to us to showcase the great work you create when you use them. We’re getting ready to cut our Siggraph client reel and would love to include your work. Would you consider sending us some footage to include by June 5th?

How we’ll use it:

We will show the Shotgun client reel at Siggraph 2015 in Los Angeles, running it in our booth (#317) between Tuesday, August 11 and Thursday, August 14, 2015. We will also use the Shotgun reel in our marketing after Siggraph.

Type of material:

We’re looking for finished clips and/or making-of clips from feature films & shorts (live action and/or animated), TV shows, games, commercials, trailers -- whatever you’ve created that utilized Shotgun in some way.

How it will be credited:

If you’d like to put your logo bug on footage you submit, please feel free, and we’ll include your clip with your bug. Many clips will appear without logo bugs. We will credit all work featured in the reel by including a simple credit list of company names at the end of the piece.

Format:

Please send us ProRes HQ QuickTime movies if possible.

Submission channels:

-Please send your footage on a drive to ℅ Rachel Knight, Shotgun Software, 210 Main St., Venice, CA, 90291, USA, (we will return it!) or

-Upload your footage to a dropbox folder. Please email support@shotgunsoftware.com for uploading info.

Thank you for considering it! We know this is extra work for you and appreciate VERY MUCH anything you can share. We’d love to showcase your work at Siggraph!

Cheers,
The Shotgunners
Shotgun Helps NASA CILab Review Space Mission Animations
Conceptual Image Lab (CILab) is the arm of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center that produces animations to illustrate the organization’s missions and findings. CILab supports all four of NASA’s science themes: Astrophysics, Heliophysics, Planetary and Earth Science across all of their centers and affiliated institutions. CILab is made up of a team of four contracted artists that work closely with NASA scientists and engineers to communicate complex concepts in digestible short animated clips released to the public.


The studio produces anywhere from 40-50 animations per year, with each artist working independently on two-to-three different projects at any given time. With this high volume of content produced by a small team, artist Michael Lentz was looking for a solution to simplify project review processes with NASA scientists who are often based remotely yet need an easy way to collaboratively deliver feedback on the animations.

“We brought in Shotgun about a year ago, and it has completely transformed the way that we work,” said Lentz. “Being able to easily publish a playlist to the Client Review Site that our scientists can access via a single link to review, provide feedback and annotations, has saved hours of time in our production cycle.”

While the artists at CILab don’t regularly collaborate on projects, each artist runs their projects independently through Shotgun to keep track of the latest assets, versions and approval status. “I know that we’re really just scratching the surface of what Shotgun is capable of—but getting really easy and fast client review with Client Review Site makes adopting Shotgun worthwhile, and we look forward to diving into additional features in Pipeline Toolkit later this year,” Lentz continued. Animations at CILab are produced using Maya, composited in After Effects and edited in Final Cut Pro.

Recent projects completed by CILab include “Bennu’s Journey,” a six-minute animated movie about NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission, Asteroid Bennu and the formation of our solar system, and “Mars Evolution”.

FMX
Shotgun will be at FMX this week talking art, technology and business with 3,000 of our industry friends. We’d love to meet up if you’re there too!



Here’s where we’ll be:




Presenting: “Accidental CEO - Lessons learned at the Shotgun helm, from start-up through acquisition and beyond, and reflections for those starting a similar journey.”

Tuesday, May 5th, Bertha-Benz-Saal, 14:00 – 14:30 http://www.fmx.de/program2015/event/5608

Don tells the full Shotgun story, good and bad, from Shotgun's early bootstrapping start-up days, through fundraising successes and failures, team building, product development, marketing, board development, team alignment and motivation, and why so much of what he learned working in restaurants through school helped him and the team work their way through building a multi-million dollar business.

Join us for a beer at Waranga!

Wednesday, May 6th, Waranga (Kleiner Schloßplatz 15, 70173 Stuttgart, Germany), 18:00-20:00

We'll be hanging out at Waranga on Wednesday, so be sure to come by and enjoy a beer (or two) on us.

See you there,
The Shotgunners
Available Now: Shotgun 6 & RV 6 - Now Including RV for Free!
We’re excited to officially release Shotgun 6 and RV 6, which now includes RV native review player at no extra cost for all Shotgun subscribers and set up easier than ever before.

With Shotgun 6, RV 6 is now included at no additional cost. Subscribers can now download, activate, and connect RV 6 with their Shotgun account within minutes - without the need for any manual configuration. We've also unified the Shotgun menu, added support for multiple site connections for those working with more than one vendor, and added RVIO support when submitting a version from the RV Submit Tool.




More goodness in Shotgun 6

Shotgun 6 is also full of new features to boost production efficiency and integration with the tools you use every day.

New Project Templates - Manage different workflows for different projects such as films, episodic TV series or games. You can create your own templates then use them to create new projects in a consistent way.

Easier Navigation - a new navigation widget helps you browse your project info faster.

Customizable Hierarchy - Choose how you want to navigate items you're tracking based on their relationships; Shots by Sequence in your film projects, or Shots by Sequence and Episode on your episodic TV projects, for example.

Improved Flame Integration - Generate both high resolution and web resolution media, so you can get higher quality exports out for review faster. Learn more.

Updated Loader - Find and load your files faster directly from inside of your creative tools, such as Maya, 3ds Max and Nuke, with the new list view in the Toolkit Loader app. Learn more.

Read the full Shotgun 6 release notes here.

New in RV 6

Shotgun Login- A new licensing option allows users to access RV using their Shotgun username and password.

Built-in RVX Functionality- RV now includes features previously only available in RVX such as the ability to author image-processing operations - everything from simple color transforms to multi-input compositions and editorial transitions.

Export using RVIO- Users can now export movies or frame sequences with RVIO while running RV. No need for a separate RVIO license.

Read the full RV 6 release notes here.
90-Second Beer Poll: Cloud Rendering
I participated in a panel at NAB on cloud rendering and thought it would be interesting to ask our clients their thoughts on the subject.  Are you rendering in the cloud?  Do you think you will?  What's getting in your way?  I wasn't sure, so I figured I'd just ask via a survey.

The problem is that surveys suck are boring.   Maybe we can rethink that.  In this case, we promised to keep it lean (90 seconds to fill out) and we said we'd get the results back to everyone for review and discussion.  And we promised beer.  That combo seemed to work: 125 different studios responded.

Here are the results from our first "90-second beer poll" on Cloud Rendering.

Planning to render in the cloud?


There is clearly a lot of ambition amongst our community to move rendering into the cloud within 5 years.  But after looking at the results, I wish I had asked if this was "all" rendering or "some" rendering.  Will studios only look to the cloud for burst rendering to handle those production spikes?  Or perhaps it'll start there with studios slowly migrating as local nodes need to be replaced?  Or maybe we'll see some big jumps?  Either way, it looks like studios are planning to invest here.

What's getting in the way?


I saw many comments here that security could mean two things:  internal requirements and comfort around cloud security vs. client requirements (the major studios or others paying for the work).  Either way, clearly security is an issue.

I was expecting the "Cost" answer, as I've heard many clients say they keep running the numbers and it still doesn't make sense for them to do all rendering in cloud.  However, Kevin Baillie from Atomic Fiction has a killer response to this in our panel where he argued it's actually cheaper.  I'll try to get him to do a guest post here to run you through that logic.

Here's some keywords that floated to the top in the "Other" 40% category:


What render queue system do you use?


No real surprises here for us.  I do think it'll be interesting to keep an eye on what these local render queue systems do about rending in the cloud.  Deadline has some interesting new features in this area, for example.


And that's all that fit in 90 seconds.  I think I owe about 500 beers (I did not specify one per person), and I'll happily oblige (will host drinks for those of you going to FMX next week... details to come).

We'll look to do more of these beer polls in the future.   Let me know if you have any ideas on what we should ask about or any questions about the data we collected here.

Interested in pipeline discussions with 100s of pipeline developers?  Join in the Shotgun dev community here.
Get to Know... Stoopid Buddy Stoodios
We recently had the chance to chat with Laura Allen, production manager at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios in Burbank, California. Stoopid Buddy Stoodios is an animation studio specializing in stop-motion and responsible for projects like Robot Chicken, Mattel’s WWE Slam City, L Studio’s Friendship All-Stars of Friendship, MAD’s Spy vs. Spy, and many more. We discussed the stop-motion process and how Shotgun helps keep track of assets from puppets to VFX.

Production Coordinator, Todd, updates a shot database in
Shotgun with info from a Robot Chicken edit.
Tell us about your company and the type of projects you work on.
Stoopid Buddy Stoodios is California’s largest studio specializing in stop-motion animation. Robot Chicken is the big project that we do here, and it’s the longest-running stop-motion show on television. We have other stop-motion projects going on as well, plus some 2D animation and live action projects here and there.

Is your team working in multiple locations? If so, where are they based? How many people in your studio are using Shotgun, and how?
Stoopid Buddy Stoodios is in Burbank, and about 150 people work at the studio. Shotgun is primarily used by our VFX department, and coordinators in our character fabrication department and set department also use Shotgun to track assets. Shotgun is also used on our stages – the camera crew logs what equipment they use for certain shots so that they can refer back, and the stop-motion animators put in notes for the VFX department in case anything needs to be fixed or enhanced in post. So that’s the overview of how we’re using it.

How did you first hear about Shotgun?
About three years ago we started looking at options for managing our data, and Shotgun seemed to be the right fit for us. We first started actually using Shotgun about two years ago, going into production for the seventh season of Robot Chicken. At that point it was primarily used in VFX, but we’ve started rolling it out across pre-production and animation as well to keep track of puppets and sets. We really want to use it across the board. Robot Chicken is crazy – there are hundreds of sets and hundreds of puppets that we have to track. One sketch might only be five seconds long but it still has to have a full set. Each episode has around 45 sets and 100 puppets, so we definitely have a lot of assets to track! We use Shotgun on other projects as well, and we’re just now gearing up for the eighth season of Robot Chicken, so in preparation we’ve been in touch with Shotgun to help us build it out even more.

A "Shots" page for a Robot Chicken sketch. The info on this page informs productions how many frames have been animated and lets the post department keep track of which shots are approved and ready for visual effects.
What content creation tools do you use in-house?
We primarily use Dragonframe which is a stop-motion software, and we also use After Effects, Storyboard Pro, and Zbrush. For a typical project we start with the script, then we voice record here at the studio and simultaneously storyboard, then we go into animatic which puts the boards and the voices together. The animators use that as a tool to figure out how to do each shot and how the characters will move. Once animatics are done we build the sets and the puppets, and then everything goes to the stage and the animators bring it to life. Then it goes to post, where we typically have to do stuff like rig removal and cleanup, and we add the occasional effect or explosion. Finally we finish it with mix and sound.

What are your favorite features of Shotgun?
The VFX department really likes the media player. When a new version of a composited shot gets uploaded they can watch them and give notes in Shotgun which is really nice. In terms of customization, for animating in Dragonframe, when we go to conform it prompts a script, and the script funnels information into Shotgun. That’s the only customization we have at the moment, but we want to get some things more automated for our VFX department as well. We’re also excited to experiment more with the playlist features – it seems like it’s an easy way to get more info in front of the directors.

Shotgun is a big part of what we use, there’s nothing else like it that we use.

The heads of the VFX department use the Media player to easily view and annotate the most recent versions of VFX shots.
What’s a typical day like for you? 
I would say a typical day involves overseeing the various departments, puppets and sets, animation and VFX, and using Shotgun to track information and report progress. As part of the production staff, Shotgun is so important to me to keep everything moving. We’re a smaller studio so every day is a bit different, but production is the glue that holds everything together and keeps everything on track.

How much effort do you focus on building out the pipeline?
We don’t have a dedicated pipeline person – I mainly manage it along with my production coordinator Todd and production assistant Ryan. We try to use mostly off the shelf tools.

The visual effects department uses this view to give notes on VFX versions of shots and to assign shots to individual VFX artist.
How do you do to stay connected to the artist community?
We’re pretty active with the TV Academy, we have a few members here at the studio. Stop-motion is a small industry so everyone is connected to the larger community. We do a lot of student outreach with some of the local schools. We’ve also been doing some art shows; we’ve done three art shows in the past with iam8bit. One was a Robot Chicken/DC Comics art show that emphasized a special we had coming up, Villains in Paradise, so that art show incorporated both DC Comics characters and Robot Chicken characters.

What led you to stop-motion?
Previously I was working in 2D animation at Cartoon Network. An opportunity came up here at Stoopid Buddy and I decided to take it. Stop-motion is such a different world; it’s like mini live action almost, and it’s a really neat process that I wanted to experience.

What are the biggest challenges for studios today?
I play with toys for a living – what challenges?! There’s always the deadline crunch, but we’re now in the eighth season of Robot Chicken so it’s a pretty well-oiled machine. But there are always ways to improve and become more efficient. That’s one of the reasons we initially adopted Shotgun, and one of the reasons we’re working to expand it across more departments now.
Shotgun 6 & RV 6: Unveiling at NAB!
We're here at NAB in Las Vegas today, and excited to unveil Shotgun 6 and RV 6! We'll be showing what's new all week at the Autodesk booth #SL-3317, so if you’re here, come by and see them both in action. If not, Shotgun 6 will roll out to all Shotgun users by the end of this month, and RV 6 in the same timeframe. What’s super exciting is that with Shotgun 6 and RV 6, RV is included at no cost for all Shotgun subscribers and we’ve made setup easier than ever before.

Shotgun 6 is full of new features to boost production efficiency and integration with the tools you use every day.

The big news: RV is included in Shotgun, and the workflow is super simple

With Shotgun 6, subscribers can download, activate, and connect RV 6 with their Shotgun account within minutes - without the need for any manual configuration. We've also unified the Shotgun menu, added support for multiple site connections for those working with more than one vendor, and added RVIO support when submitting a version from the RV Submit Tool.



Even more in RV 6

RV 6 also includes features previously only available in RVX, such as the ability to author image-processing operations; everything from simple color transforms to multi-input compositions and editorial transitions.

More Shotgun 6 Goodness

New Project Templates -- Manage different workflows for different projects such as films, episodic TV series or games. You can create your own templates then use them to create new projects in a consistent way.



Enhanced Navigation and Browsing -- Navigating between items you track in Shotgun just got easier, with a new navigation widget and interface.

Customizable Hierarchy -- Choose how you want to navigate items you're tracking based on their relationships; Shots by Sequence in your film projects, or Shots by Sequence and Episode on your episodic TV projects, for example.


Improved Flame Integration -- With optimized Flame export, you can run your Shotgun updates in the background and generate both high resolution and web resolution media, so you can get higher quality exports out for review faster. Learn more here.

Updated Loader -- Artists can now find and load files faster directly from inside of their creative tools, such as Maya, 3ds Max and Nuke, using the new list view in the Toolkit Loader app.



If you’re in Sin City this week, come by and check out all of the new stuff!
And be sure to stay tuned for more info coming with the official release later this month.
Cheers,
The Shotgunners

Labels:

cineSync Brings Out The Big Guns
Hi, this is Rory McGregor from Cospective, the team behind cineSync. We've been working with the team at Shotgun Software for some years now and building some cool integrations between our products.

At NAB 2015 we'll be revealing a brand new integration between cineSync and Shotgun and I wanted to give you a sneak peak.



Unlike previous integrations that required a separate install, this new integration comes bundled with cineSync Pro and it's way more powerful than anything we've done before. It's all been based on comprehensive feedback from both cineSync and Shotgun users and it'll change the way you use both tools. So - what does it do?

The new integration allows you to browse Shotgun right from within cineSync. We've added a new dedicated Shotgun menu that will let you launch a Shotgun Review window that's completely controlled by cineSync. You can browse any available Projects and select any Playlists or Versions for review - then it's just a simple matter of clicking "Add to Session" and your files will automatically be added to cineSync.

During the cineSync review, you can use the inbuilt Shotgun Review pane to browse for alternate or previous Versions, to view all previous notes on Versions and to add new Versions for review at any time, without having to leave cineSync.

We've also upgraded the notes tool in cineSync, with thumbnails updated live and notes created on the fly, making note taking quick and easy.


Once the review has been completed, things start to get really exciting.

Previously, one of the regular pain points for co-ordinators has been ensuring all the information in a cineSync review is accurately transferred into Shotgun. Previous integrations have solved some of the problems, but didn't handle the case where notes had been taken in Shotgun's Notes App, while drawings were made in cineSync. That issue is now comprehensively solved!

At the end of the review, you can now select "Preview and Publish Notes". This will bring up a preview pane, showing you all the notes that have been made and all the associated marked-up frames. If everything is as it should be, then you can hit publish. However, you can also choose to either edit your notes, remove any redundant frames, or you can choose to merge notes with any other notes taken separately in Shotgun. Any merged notes will show up in the preview live, so you can see what's going to happen before you publish.

So now, all your cineSync data will end up in Shotgun, in exactly the place you need it to be.

We'll be showing the new integration at NAB 2015 alongside the Shotgun team on the Autodesk booth (SL3317). We have some specific slots for presentations at the following times:

Monday - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Tuesday - 10:00am to 11:00am

Wednesday - 11:00pm to 12:00pm and 3:00pm to 4:00pm

I'll be there, along with our Head of Engineering Neil Wilson, so we can answer any questions you have.

Initially the integration will be offered as a private beta, with a full rollout expected in the weeks following NAB. If you're interested in signing up for the beta, please feel free to email us at cinesync@cospective.com.

We're looking forward to seeing you at the show!
Shotgun at NAB!
We’re a couple weeks away and getting ready to show you a bunch of new things at NAB 2015. Visit us at the Autodesk booth SL-3317 to see our latest developments in production tracking, review, and asset management/pipeline tools. We’ll be highlighting Shotgun and RV integration, optimized Flame integration – and a few surprises that we’ll unveil at the show ::wink::


Here’s where you can find us:

- In the Autodesk booth SL-3317: Throughout the week we’ll be showing Shotgun overviews and Shotgun/Autodesk creative suite integrations, and cheering on Shotgun clients who will be giving presentations.

- Speaking: Rendering in the Cloud – Wednesday April 15, 2:00, S219 bit.ly/1xjX5Gt

- In the AJA booth – SL2505 : We'll be showing RV in the AJA developer partner area all week.

Be sure to come by and say hi to the Shotgun and RV crew!
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