Getting Your Project Started

As we get started on our new project, let’s think back to those key questions, focusing in on:

How does our project start?

So, we have a new project called Drednots. We’ve been awarded the work from our Client. Previously we kept track of all of our Assets, Shots, and bids in a VFX breakdown; now we’ll need to get that data into Shotgun so we can refine our workflow with key people involved.

Let’s base our Dreadnots project on the Film VFX Template since it has sequence-based work. Once we create our project, we’ll land on Project details. All the important things we are tracking are visible in the Project Nav. Let’s add a project thumbnail and fill in a few key details.

We create Assets from the Assets page. Let’s make the “drednot” vehicle and the “flats” environment. Notice how there is an option for a Task template. Let’s clear for now as we’ll explore Task templates next. We can hold the option/alt key to create an asset and keep the form values to speed up the process.

Now that we have these two Assets, let’s create tasks on the Tasks page. We can create one-off Tasks, link them up to an Asset, and again hold the option/alt key to keep the form values.


What is our workflow?

Let’s think about our pipeline, and how things move through different stages of their lifecycle. For Assets, we have four different departments responsible for completing Tasks: Art, Model, Rig, Texture.

Let’s update our workflow in our Project. This also reflects the order Tasks flow through the pipeline, and we have the ability to reorder these.

From our Task page, we can assign Tasks to Artists and Reviewers, and input bid and duration information. Since these tasks need to be completed in this order, let’s create a Task Dependency chain. Let’s cover our options for dependencies:

  1. Finish-to-start is set by default, and indicates that the second task in the chain can’t begin until the first task finishes. When we set a start date on the first Task in the chain, others will cascade after. And, if one Task shifts in the schedule, others downstream will follow.
  2. Start-to-start means that linked tasks will start at the same time, but the due date may vary depending on the duration. So we may have these two tasks start at the same time using start-to-start, but then the next couple of tasks in the chain need to start after the second task is completed, so let's use finish-to-start on those remaining tasks. We can simply add couple of dependency links to this. 
  3. Finish-to-finish will make it so all tasks linked will finish at the same time, but the start date may vary depending on the duration.
  4. Start-to-finish is the opposite of finish-to-start, so when the second task in the chain finishes, the first task starts.

For these tasks, let’s make sure they’re in the right order and then select finish-to-start. Now, when we adjust a start date on the first task in the chain, others downstream will follow.

Since Tasks are typically the same per Asset, we can create a Task template, and then apply it to multiple Assets to cut down on redundancies. Thus, automating our workflow.

We can always edit the data in our Task Templates later on by navigating to Manage Task Templates, but this looks perfect right now.

Now, on our Asset page, we just expose the Task Template field via the Fields dropdown, and add the “Drednot Film VFX Asset” template to our flats asset. And viola, we now have Tasks created on these.


How does the data/information come in?

Let’s use the Shotgun importer to get the remaining data into Shotgun. First, we’ll select the “Add Asset” dropdown and then Import Assets. We can drag and drop our excel breakdown directly into the window, or copy and paste from the sheet.

Let’s match the columns, deactivate Shots from importing since they don’t exist in Shotgun yet, and then specify “Asset Name” so that asset names that already exist get updated with more information in our breakdown, like a description. Then, let’s add thumbnails to make this more visually appealing.

Note: importing may take a little while depending on thumbnail image sizes.

Now that assets are imported, we’ll apply the standard task template that we created earlier to the Assets that we just imported, where the Task Template is blank.

Let’s do a similar import, but this time for Sequences from our breakdown.

And, let’s tie it all together by importing Shots that link to the Assets and Sequences which are already in Shotgun.

Now, we have a great foundation to build from and can say “goodbye” to our manual spreadsheets and “hello” to our more automated workflow.

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