Tasks and Pipeline Steps

Pipeline Steps and Task Creation

Before you dive in and create Tasks, you should first define a Task Pipeline.

A Task Pipeline is a set of Steps that define a workflow for making something (eg: Assets, Shots, etc.). Because the workflows for building different types of things will naturally have different steps, you’ll want to define Pipelines per the different things that you are tracking. 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. In other words, Pipeline Steps are containers for Tasks—once all Tasks within a Pipeline Step are complete, the Pipeline Step is considered complete.

“Hyperspace Madness” has a Shot Pipeline consisting of 5 steps (Layout, Animation, FX, Lighting and Comp).

Shot pipeline

Each Shot 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 collapsed 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)—all configurable.

Tasks

Editing a Task within a Pipeline Step

You can edit a Task within a Pipeline Step the way you would edit any other Task field: double-click into the field, and then change its value.

Editing Task

Creating Tasks

When you create a Task and assign it to someone, you're not only creating a schedule, but you are also sending that Task to the assignee and making it possible for your team to collaborate. Tasks will appear in their My Tasks page automatically, with links to all the information needed.

Typically, you'll want to create a Task for each step in your process where you need to track something or see status reports. If someone is going to ask you, "what's the status on that?" you'll probably want to make that a Task.

There are four main ways to create Tasks.

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.

Create 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 Asset or any other item you are tracking that has Tasks).

Note: the "Link" field is only automatically populated when creating a Task from its parent’s detail page.

New Task

2. Importing your tasks.

We touch on the importer in Chapter 4 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 button on a Schedule page.

Import tasks

3. Task Templates

Task Templates are a great way to quickly populate your schedule and keep things consistent in your Project, and throughout Projects. Admins 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.

Basic template

More information on how to configure Task Templates can be found in the Admin Guide .

4. Creating Tasks within a Pipeline step.

You may find yourself looking at a Shots page referencing 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.”

Create task in pipeline

Pro Tip: You can add a Task to multiple records by selecting multiple records prior to clicking on the “Add Task to Selected” menu item. Doing this creates a unique Task per selected record.

Pipeline Steps and 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. This helps keep views consistent with what you are looking at.

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

Display setting

Pro Tip: 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

On “Hyperspace Madness,” I’d like to add the Layout Pipeline Step to my Shots page, and Remove the Compositing Pipeline Step. I click on the Pipeline button, and then choose Layout and Compositing. When you add a Step, the Step column (in its default layout) will appear in the far right position of the grid.

Layout

Showing all Step Columns in a layout

Likewise, 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.

All Tasks

Pipeline Step display modes

Displaying information within your Pipeline Steps will enhance your reporting. For instance, you may want a summary of how many Tasks are final within a Pipeline Step visible. On “Hyperspace Madness this is the case—we’d like to see a percentage to final summary of Tasks within the Layout Pipeline Step. 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.

Summary

  • Show Details Only: Allows you to view and edit each Task within a Step for each thing the Task is linked to (such as a Shot, Asset, etc). This is the default view where we see each Task within a Step.
  • Show Summaries Only: Allows you to view summary values for all the Tasks for each thing the Task is linked to (such as a Shot, Asset, etc). 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. In “Hyperspace Madness,” we use this display option when we only want to see a percentage to final summary without any Tasks displayed in the rollup.
  • Show Details and Summaries: Allows you to view both details and summaries. This is also more commonly used in “Hyperspace Madness,” so that we can see a report of the Tasks rolled up, along with the summaries displayed for the percentage to final.

Final percentage
Showing Details and Summaries on “Hyperspace Madness”

More details on how to update Pipeline Step Layouts can be found in the User Guide.

The All Tasks view

In many cases you’ll want to access all the Tasks at once instead of going through all the Steps. 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.

In “Hyperspace Madness”, I want to continue with my Pipeline Step percentage summaries, but this time showing my team all tasks on an asset, instead of just Tasks within a particular Pipeline Step. After adding the “All Tasks” step, I can achieve this by adding “Showing Details and Summaries” on the Status field.

23_show_details_summaries.jpg

Also within All Tasks, I want to be able to filter down results. So, after adding the Step called “All Tasks” I can see the Asset is linked to five tasks, all of which are visible and editable from the “All Tasks” Pipeline Step.

All Tasks filter

You can filter on “All Tasks”:

  • Finding all Assets where at least one linked Task has a start date of “Tomorrow”:
    Tomorrow start date
  • Finding all Assets where at least one linked Task is assigned to me:
    Task includes me

Linked Pipeline Steps

Linked Pipeline Step fields allow you to see summaries of Tasks on the things linked to what you're viewing. In “Hyperspace Madness”, while we’re viewing an Asset on an Assets page, we can see the status of all the tasks on all the Asset's linked Shots. This is extremely helpful in status update meetings.

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.

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.

Default summary

More details on how to include Pipeline Step summaries on detail pages can be found in the Admin Guide.

 

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