Tasks are used to track each unit of work that needs to be done as part of a workflow. Tasks can be linked to one parent entity in the "Link" field, such as an Asset, Shot, or Sequence. Tasks also hold schedule info, including start and end dates, and duration. Tasks are assigned to the people who need to work on them, and then automatically appear on their My Tasks page.
Pipeline Steps and Task Creation
Before you dive in and create Tasks in Shotgun, you should first define a Task Pipeline.
A Task Pipeline is a set of Steps that define a workflow for making a thing (eg: Assets, Shots, etc.). You can think of Pipeline Steps as containers for Tasks, or as a parent Task. Because the workflows for building different types of things will naturally have different steps, Shotgun allows you to define Pipelines per entity type. So for example, you can have a set of Pipeline Steps for Assets, and a different set of Pipeline Steps for Shots. You can create a set of Pipeline Steps that is very high-level, or very detailed, but the most common approach is to define the pipeline by the departments involved.
The screenshot below shows a Shot Pipeline consisting of five steps (Layout, Animation, FX, Lighting and Comp).
Each of the Shots shown in the screenshot has one or more Tasks linked to it. Each Task in turn, is assigned to one of the five Steps. Note that each of the Shot Pipeline Steps shown above is in its default closed state (showing only the Task status). When these columns are expanded, they show the detailed Task information, like who’s assigned to the Task, and the due date.
Editing a Task's Pipeline Step
Edit a Task's Pipeline Step the way you would edit any other Task field: double-click into the field, and then change its value. You can even set the value to “None.” The only hard restriction when you change the Step is that you must choose another Step for the same entity type. For example, if a Task is linked to a Shot, that Task can never be assigned an Asset Pipeline Step—it must be assigned a Step of “None” or a defined Shot Step.
It's worth taking a moment to mention one of the reasons that Tasks in Shotgun are cool. When you make a Task and assign it to someone, that's not just for your schedule, but also to send that Task to someone and communicate the work they need to do. That Task will appear in their My Tasks page automatically, with links to all the info they need. Read more about My Tasks here.
Generally, you'll want to create a Task for each step in your process where you need to track something or report on status. If someone is going to ask you "what's the status on that?", you'll probably want to make it a Task.
Here we will cover the three main ways to create Tasks so you can choose the one that's most appropriate for your workflow.
1. Creating Tasks one at a time
Navigate to the detail page of a Shot in your Project, and select the Tasks Tab [tasks tab] Next select the + button to create a new Task.
Fill in the necessary fields (required fields are bold) and choose create Task. We recommend at least filling in the Task Name and Pipeline Step. Note that the "Link" field is automatically populated with the Shot (or any other Task-supporting entity) whose Detail page you were viewing.
2. Importing your tasks
We touched on the importer earlier when looking at the people in our project; you can import Tasks in bulk the same way by selecting "Import Tasks" under the More button of a Tasks page.
3. Task Templates
Task Templates are a great way to quickly populate your schedule. You can set up Task Templates for things that tend to follow the same basic steps each time they are created. For instance, a basic digital asset creation process would typically involve Modeling, Rigging and Surfacing. You could set up a template called "Basic Asset Template" that would include those three Tasks.
Note that the Task Template field is on every entity. You can edit which template to use by clicking in the box. Below is an example:
4. Creating Tasks within a Pipeline step.
Suppose you're on a Shots page looking at some or all of your Step columns, and you want to create a Layout Task on a particular Shot. You can easily do this by using the right-click context menu item “Add Task to Selected.”
Note: You can add a Task to multiple entities by selecting multiple entities prior to clicking on the “Add Task to Selected” menu item. Doing this creates a unique Task per selected entity.
Using Pipeline Steps with Task Templates
If you use Task Templates, you can edit each Template's Tasks to have a Pipeline Step assignment. Here's how:
- Go to the Admin > Task Templates page.
- Locate a Task Template you'd like to edit.
- Click on that Task Template's Tasks field to go to that template’s page.
- If the Pipeline Step field isn't visible, go ahead and add it. Then save your layout so it'll always be there.
- For each Task that shows up in the Task Template, make sure to edit the Pipeline Step field to whatever you'd like to edit it to (e.g., Art, Modeling, Rigging, Shading).
From this point forward, each time you use this Task Template, its Tasks will inherit the correct Pipeline Steps.
Working with Pipeline Steps in page layouts
Each Pipeline has a default way of rendering its Pipeline Steps: one for Assets, one for Elements, one for Shots, etc. This ensures that every time you add a Shot Step to a page layout, its appearance conforms to something that you expect to see, regardless of the project. Examples of display settings that are stored in the Step column layout default include:
- Which Task columns to display
- Task column formatting options (such as width, position, column header color, and text wrap, etc.)
- Task column summarization options
- Default Step display mode
Note: Once a Step is added to a page layout, you can modify its layout and save your page without altering the default Step layout.
Adding and removing Step columns
Click on the Pipeline button, and then choose the Step you'd like to add or remove from the menu. When you add a Step, the Step column (in its default layout) will appear in the right-most position of the grid.
Showing all Step Columns in a layout
To show all Step columns, click on the Pipeline button, then choose “Show All.” Doing this adds all Steps for the given Pipeline to the page layout. If any Steps are already visible, all remaining Steps—except ALL TASKS—will be inserted to the right of the visible Steps, and they'll appear in their relative Step order.
To change the display mode, right-click on a Step column’s header to bring up the context menu, then choose one of the three available display modes: Show Details Only, Show Summaries Only, or Show Details and Summaries.
- Show Details Only: Allows you to view and edit each Task within a Step for each parent entity (such as the Tasks for each Shot).
- Show Summaries Only: Allows you to view summary values for all the Tasks linked to each parent entity. Each Task column within the Step can be summarized in a number of ways, but the default summarization option comes from the field's summarization option, which you can set in the Configure Field dialog.
- Show Details and Summaries: Allows you to view both details and summaries.
Reverting a Step layout to the stored default
Sometimes, you may wish to edit a Step column, and then revert that Step back to default. You can do this by hiding the Step, then showing it again.
Reverting all Step layouts to the stored default
To make all visible Steps match the stored default layout, right-click on any Step's column header, and then choose “Revert all Steps to the Default Layout.”
Saving a new default Step layout (for a single Pipeline)
You can create a new default Step layout by doing the following:
- Modify a particular Step column to the point where you'd like that Step's layout to become the new default
- Right-click on your modified Step column's header
- Choose 'Save this layout as the Default'
From that point forward, any Step within the same Pipeline that gets added to a page layout will acquire its display settings from the layout you just saved.
Updating other Step layouts to match something other than the default layout
To update other Step layouts:
- Modify a particular Step column to the point where you'd like that Step's layout to become the model for all other visible Step columns
- Right-click on your modified Step column's header
- Choose “Update all Steps to Match This Layout”
This instantly applies the display settings of one Step column to all other visible Step columns on your page, without modifying the default Step layout.
In many cases you may want to access all the Tasks at once instead of going through the Steps first. For example, you may want to see:
- a sum of all durations on all Tasks for an Asset,
- the percentage complete of all Tasks,
- or a filter for all Assets that have any Task assigned to a specific person.
You can add the special Step “All Tasks” to the page to see all Tasks, or filter through it. In the example below, you can see the Asset is linked to four tasks, all of which are visible and editable from the “All Tasks” Pipeline Step.
You can filter “All Tasks.” Common filters include:
- Finding all Assets where at least one linked Task has a start date of “Tomorrow”
- Finding all Assets where at least one linked Task is assigned to me
- Finding all Tasks where all Upstream Dependencies are approved or complete
Linked Pipeline Steps
Linked Pipeline Step fields allow you to see summaries of Tasks on the things linked to entities you're viewing. Suppose you're looking at an Asset on an Assets page, and want to know the status of all the tasks on all the Asset's linked Shots.
You can do this by adding a Linked Pipeline Step summary field to your Assets page. Add a Column, and select Linked Pipelines > Shots Steps > ALL TASKS > Status.
By default, this will show you the default summary (percentage complete) of all Tasks on all Shots that are linked to the Asset.
Adding Step Summary fields to detail page layouts
Step summary fields show summarized Task data. For example, from an Asset detail page, you can see the status summary of all the Asset's Tasks (using the ALL TASKS Step). You can also see a summary of all the Asset's Lighting Tasks (using the Lighting Step). After you add a Step summary field to a detail page, you can click on it to drill down into a detailed view of the Tasks that the field summarizes.
- Go to a detail page.
Right-click in a field’s widget and click “Configure fields…”
- Add the Pipeline Step Summary field
On the left side of the Field Properties overlay, locate the field you'd like to add, and check its box Pipeline > ALL TASKS > Status. Choose a summary calculation, optionally override the default label, and then click “Apply.”
You'll see the Task Status Summary field added to the fields widget.
- Click the summary field
This launches a focus window that shows a detailed view of all Tasks summarized by the Step Summary field. You can edit Tasks in the focus window.