You Asked, We Listened. Introducing a New Way to Manage Tags
We know that when it comes to a full-blown production - whether feature film, episodic TV or games - there’s a lot to keep track of. As productions progress, the number of assets, shots, and versions can become insurmountable, making it sometimes difficult to find the exact thing you’re looking for in a pinch. Our answer to that was Tags, which can be attached to anything you’re tracking in Shotgun so it’s easy and fast to find them later on. 

Since adding Tags, many of you asked for greater flexibility when it comes to correcting misspelled Tags and removing unused ones. We heard you loud and clear, and are excited to introduce a new Tag management page!

This page allows you to:
- Browse all existing Tags
- Edit Tag names
- Delete old Tags

Learn more about the new Tag management page here.

We’re always looking for feedback on what you’d like to see us add to Shotgun next. Got a good suggestion for something you’d like to see in Shotgun? Share it with us on our support site.

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Call for Entries: 4th Annual Pipeline Awards

We're excited to announce that we're bringing back the Pipeline Awards for the fourth year in a row! The Pipeline Awards are our way of shining a light on the heroes far behind the screen that make laborious processes better and faster at studios of all sizes, regardless of whether they use Shotgun or not.

Nominate cools tools & pipeline heroes
Know about tools, integration projects, or people we should consider for a Pipeline Award? Let us know! You can nominate yourself, someone in your studio, or any tool you've come across that impressed you. Email your nomination to pipelineawards@shotgunsoftware.com by June 19. Just send us a note with the following information:
    1) Indicate whether you're nominating a tool or person
    2) Include a brief description of the tool or write-up of what the person has done that demonstrates their Pipeline Hero-ness
      What we're looking for
      Pipeline Shotty Awards recognize excellence in pipeline tool development, integration, engineering and usage (whether or not it involves Shotgun). Maybe you have a simple, sophisticated tool that takes menial tasks off of artists' plates, or a tool developed to facilitate VR, track the ROI of your projects, streamline review, or just a cool hack!

      Pipeline Hero Awards recognize individuals who regularly share best practices on the dev list or forums, contribute to the wider community by speaking at tradeshows or publishing articles on the subject, or have developed tools that have been widely adopted by the industry.

      Check out the 2016 Pipeline Award Recipients

      2016 Pipeline Award winners Allan Johns (left) and Janice Collier (right)


      We'll present the Awards at SIGGRAPH again this year (details to come) and announce them right here on the blog.

      Looking forward to your submissions!


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      First Steps Towards an Easier to Use Shotgun



      This week, we introduced new features designed to make Shotgun easier and faster to use. This marks the beginning of a series of updates that will bring a faster user interface, streamlined workflows, and a user experience that is designed to be intuitive for everyone at the studio.

      For over 10 years, Shotgun has helped studios collaborate together on some of the largest, most ambitious productions in the world. It has evolved into a powerful product that’s now used at over 1000 studios. But, we aren’t stopping there. We want to enable any studio in the world working on amazing media projects to track and review those projects with Shotgun. To follow through on that goal, we need to make our app as easy and intuitive as possible. While watching new studios adopt Shotgun, we’ve learned that the first experience getting it up and running can feel like a big task, especially if your team is small. This can also be the case for people joining studios that have been using Shotgun for years. Stepping into Shotgun can feel like stepping into an airplane cockpit: lots of power, but also lots to learn right away. That’s why we’ve decided to invest heavily in making Shotgun easier to use, for all studios, without sacrificing any of the power that’s already there.

      This release introduces a new Projects page. The Projects page is a great place to start your day: it gives you access to all the projects you’re working on so you can quickly navigate to the one you want. You can use the page to create and manage projects, see recent projects you’ve visited, favorite projects you frequently access so they appear at the top, and search. The page is built using modern web technologies so it loads fast, and the its overall layout and style shows the beginning of a new visual language for the app. We also offer a light and dark theme for the page so it looks good in light or dark rooms.

      "[I'm] loving the new look and feel of the Projects page. The process is now quicker and easier to create, edit, and navigate projects" says Iskander Mellakh, Creative Director at ICM Studios.

      If you’re already using Shotgun, you can navigate to this new page from the Projects menu. If you’re not using Shotgun, there’s never been a better time to try it! You can sign up for a free 30-day trial right now at www.shotgunsoftware.com/signup

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      Meet the Studio: Parasol Island
      We recently had the chance to visit Parasol Island, a creative digital studio based in Düsseldorf and Berlin, that had been looking for a way to cut time spent managing projects. Now, with Shotgun in place, they have a tool that makes communication across the studio easy and keeps artists motivated every day.

      Watch the video on Vimeo

      https://vimeo.com/215028715

















      Check out more client stories: shotgunsoftware.com/client-stories


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      Introducing a More Powerful Shotgun for Facilities Around the World

      We're excited to announce an improved experience for clients around the world with new, multiregion hosting. Our clients span the globe, and one thing that they all share in common is the need to access and retrieve media fast, from anywhere. The daily volume and size of media is only growing, and we know that in time-critical business like post-production, speed is everything.

      This year, we set out to address the challenge of making Shotgun faster for everyone, regardless of location. As a first step towards this goal, we are now offering storage options outside of North America, bringing media closer to home and helping to mitigate possible delays when media is hosted in another region. You can now enjoy the same fast speed and performance with hosted files whether you're based in Europe, Asia, or North America.

      Powered by Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration, new multiregion hosting allows you to choose the S3 region closest to you for storing media. The latest updates also accelerate the transfer of media, page loading when thumbnails are present, and cloud transcoding in supported regions.

      We're excited about this update and hope you are too. Have questions? Feel free to reach out to us at support@shotgunsoftware.com


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      Watch the Demo: Shotgun & Foundry in LA
      We recently had the pleasure of hosting two events with Foundry in LA and San Francisco, to showcase how our tools work together. For those of you that were unable to attend them in person, you can now watch a full recording from the LA event right here!

      In this demo, Foundry’s Terry Riyasat and our own Ken LaRue demonstrate how Shotgun integrates with Nuke 10.5, connecting entire studios and enabling artists to stay focused on the creative work. Google’s Todd Prives also shares an update on the latest from Google Cloud Platform.

      Shotgun & Foundry in LA on Vimeo


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      Meet the Studio: The Molecule
      We recently had the chance to visit bi-coastal VFX and motion graphics studio, The Molecule, to chat about everything from pushing boundaries in VR to using Shotgun to collaborate between facilities.

      Meet the Team
      The team talks about creating eye-deceiving invisible effects for episodic TV, feature film, and VR.



      Connecting Studios with Shotgun
      With offices in NYC and LA, The Molecule needed a tool to make collaboration easy and effective. In part 2 of this series, they tell us how Shotgun has transformed the way they work. Deep integration with Nuke means artists "rarely even actually go to the Shotgun interface."

       

      Check out more client stories: shotgunsoftware.com/client-stories

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      Foundry and Shotgun Head to San Francisco & LA

      We're joining forces with Foundry for a two-city tour to showcase how our tools work together.

      Foundry Creative Specialist Terry Riyasat will join our own Ken LaRue on stage to show how Shotgun's review and production tracking tools integrate with Nuke 10.5, connecting entire studios and enabling artists to stay focused on the creative work. 

      We'll also be joined by Google's Todd Prives who will update us on the latest from Google Cloud Platform. 

      Cold beverages and food will be provided. This is a free event, but capacity is limited so be sure to REGISTER HERE.

      San Francisco
      When: Wednesday, March 29th, 6-9pm
      Where: Autodesk Gallery, One Market Street, Floor Two, San Francisco, CA 

      Los Angeles
      When: Thursday, March 30th, 6-9pm
      Where: Google LA, 275 Sunset Ave (event entrance), Venice, CA

      We hope to see you there! 


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      Photoshop integration, updated
      Hi all!
      We’re happy to announce that we’ve rewritten our Photoshop integration from the ground up to be compatible with the latest versions of Photoshop (from CC 2015.5 to CC 2017). The updated integration brings the full power of Shotgun to Photoshop, from automating where artists save their PSDs to making it simple to write custom publish hooks, using Python with full access to the Photoshop API. Now you can easily include Photoshop in your pipeline and give more artists tools to work faster.

      This release also provides a foundation for integrations with other Adobe Creative Cloud products. If you are interested in collaborating with us on tools for another CC product, such as Premiere or After Effects, let us know at support@shotgunsoftware.com.

      You can follow the instructions here to get started with our integrations. If you are already using our old Photoshop integration, here are instructions on how to upgrade.

      We’re excited about this release and hope that you enjoy it too.
      Get to know... Jellyfish Pictures
      Matt Plummer, 2D Lead and TD at Jellyfish
      Established in 2001, Jellyfish provides a full range of visual effects, animation and motion graphics services and has earned BAFTA, Emmy and VES Award recognition for its work. We spoke with Jellyfish Pictures’ Matt Plummer, who handles both 2D Lead and TD responsibilities out of the studio’s Brixton location in South London. Shotgun has been part of Jellyfish’s workflow for a while, but Matt recently integrated it more deeply using Shotgun’s Pipeline Toolkit to automate repetitive tasks, free artists’ time to create, and enable more iterations.

      Tell us about Jellyfish and the type of projects you work on.
      Jellyfish has two sides. The Noho studio on Margaret Street mostly handles live action film, TV and advertising projects, working on notable entertainment like “Star Wars Rogue One”, “Black Mirror” or “Outlander.” Our Brixton studio specializes in animation, largely for children’s TV. We’re currently working on “Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed (Dennis the Menace),” along with “Bitz n' Bob” for the BBC. Last year we worked on a kids series called “Floogals,” which is now available in the US. We also just opened a third studio – the Oval office, which is an extension of the Brixton studio.

      What content creation tools do you use in-house?
      We are entirely Maya-based, with a little bit of Mudbox, MARI and Zbrush. For compositing, we use NUKE; motion graphics is done in After Effects and editorial is done in Premiere.


      How did you first hear about Shotgun?
      I’ve been a compositor for many years so I’d used Shotgun for shot management at previous studios. When I came to Jellyfish, they were using it for basic production, but I was an instigator for using it more heavily and leveraging Pipeline Toolkit as a pipeline configuration. Now I write a lot of applications and systems for publishing from Shotgun, then doing the review process through RV and Shotgun.

      What prompted you to move towards the technical side of VFX?
      It was kind of organic. I did Codecademy and learned Python two years ago. I joined Jellyfish as a lead compositor for “Floogals” and during the project, I wrote the pipeline for comp. That’s expanded to me setting up Pipeline Toolkit across every project and multiple parts of it.

      Which aspect do you enjoy more? Or is there a comparison?
      I think they complement each other. For example, part of what we were doing on “Floogals” was assembling bash comps automatically through Shotgun. Lighting would publish passes to Shotgun and I’d coded a template system that reads those passes and tries to create a composite of them. If you’ve got 150 shots in an episode, you can create a first version super quickly with that level of automation. I’m quite surprised how much I’ve enjoyed the programming side of VFX, but it’s a completely different satisfaction than you’d get from comping.



      How does your background as an artist inform your work as a TD?
      Having experience using the application you’re writing software for is always going to be a huge help. Instead of trying to interpret what someone might want, you know exactly what works best for their needs.

      “Shotgun is a lifesaver for every project… I can’t imagine doing another season of “Floogals” without Shotgun; we wouldn’t be able to do it.”

      What’s a recent project that Shotgun was particularly useful for?
      Shotgun is a lifesaver for every project. If you have to deliver 52 episodes with 150-200 shots per episode, and you’ve got animation, lighting and composting, it’s immensely helpful to be able to track statuses of several assets used in those shots, the actual progress of those shots, which asset is used on which shot, and generally automate processes for those shots and assets. Having Shotgun means it’s all organized and it’s all easy. Instead of opening a Maya file and exporting an OBJ every time it’s needed, I can write a Shotgun application then a right click automatically publishes those OBJs. I can’t imagine doing another season of “Floogals” without Shotgun; we wouldn’t be able to do it.

      What are your favorite features of Shotgun?
      We started out by just using Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit for Maya and had our own pipeline for NUKE, and in the last six months or so, we’ve added Pipeline Toolkit for NUKE and Photoshop, and soon we’ll be adding MARI. Pipeline Toolkit provides a lot of free useful features that remove tasks you’d normally have to work out yourself – like where work files are located on disk, how it publishes, generating QuickTimes for publishers and what it’s actually publishing. It handles all the little things really well, which is especially great for someone like me who is still learning Python. I only need to configure the high level bits and pieces rather than manually coding them. I think my favorite bit about Shotgun is that you have so much access to its inner workings through Pipeline Toolkit and the Python API. You’ve got a lot of power to make it do what you want. It’s made my life a lot easier for sure; that’s my favorite feature.


      How much effort do you focus on building out the pipeline?
      It depends on what you’re setting up that pipeline to do. In terms of just installing Pipeline Toolkit and getting the basics, it’s super easy. Building custom applications depends on the difficulty of what you’re trying to make it do, but if I can learn Python and get full studio pipeline working, pretty much anyone can do it.

      “By automating parts of your pipeline or your general workflow, you’re freeing artists’ time to create.”

      Would you encourage up-and-coming artists to learn Python?
      If you’re using NUKE or Maya, Python is the programming language to learn. I’d encourage people to at least have a very basic knowledge. If I had learned Python earlier, it would have saved me a lot of time. I didn’t realize the time I could have saved. I think almost everyone’s had to do a simple but tedious task at some point and thought, ‘a robot should be doing this.’ Learning to code is how you build that robot. By automating parts of your pipeline or your general workflow, you’re freeing artists’ time to create.

      What’s a typical day in your life?
      I start the morning by looking at my task list, then tackle the biggest problem or the largest new piece of pipeline, or design a tool around a short-term problem and proceed from there. Most of my day is currently spent programming, but I’m also involved with meetings to organize workflow, pipeline and on-set supervision for upcoming TV shows. It's a mixture of pipeline coding and preparing for new shows’ compositing. There’s also normally fried chicken once a week – my current favorite is from a place called Chicken Liquor.

      What inspires you creatively?
      I’ve found that I’m strongest when responding to other people’s work, not just in visual arts but writing as well. That serves as a sort of springboard for my own ideas. I don’t think artists can live in a vacuum and art, whether music, film or other visual media, is always a reflection of either the world around someone or the influence of someone’s environment.



      How do you unwind?
      I try to listen to three new albums each week. I grew up listening to metal, rock and some electronic music, but in the last five to six years, I’ve branched out to almost anything. I think virtual reality (VR) and the future of that technology is super interesting too, so I try to keep up to date on it. I also read an awful lot of books, mostly science fiction but not exclusively. And I play guitar, but horribly.

      What are your general predictions for VR?
      People are only going to be content staring at flat movie screens for so long. I don’t think VR will replace film, but there are logical evolutions to visual media that involve VR or VR might be a stepping stone towards what’s next. It’s tough to predict its level of success because the entry point is so expensive at the moment, but I think it’s fair to say there’s a future for immersive digital content. I don’t know if that’s within 10 years or 100 years, but it’s great fun.

      What led you to visual effects?
      It started out as a hobby. During university, I had a friend who directed short films and I became his FX guy. I was constantly messing around with software and making things explode in his films. I was also part of an online community called FXhome, which is now HitFilm. While earning a Digital Arts degree, I discovered there was a VFX industry in London. I had naively assumed it was all in Hollywood. I got a job as a runner at a production studio and learned NUKE through FXPHD.com in my spare time. Eventually, I got a job as a roto artist working on “Prince of Persia” and it sort of went from there. I kind of got lucky really.

      What’s your advice for someone wanting to get into VFX?
      A big part of your daily job is knowing software, but software will only get you so far, so learn technique. Also, work out exactly what you want to do in VFX and then specialize, whether it’s in compositing, editing, animation, modeling, lighting, etc. These are all components of a very large pipeline and its good to know early on that you should focus on one aspect of it rather than trying to be the whole show, because that’s how most big studios work. Try to get involved with global or local VFX communities because you should have an understanding of your prospective employment environment. It can also be helpful to seek out a trainee finder or skillset recruitment program that will place you into a facility.


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