Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pipeline in a Box summary and Evaluation

Hi everybody,
Rob had me research a pipeline tool created by Adam Sidwell, a former BYU grad. The pipeline is a tool that comes along with the book "Body Language," which is a pretty nice rigging book. We are thinking about implementing it for our next project, but need to decide if it is worth it. Here is a brief summary of it:
1.) Automated project setting which has referencing tools that run off of it. In essence, by setting your project (similar to setting project in Maya) all the referencing of needed assets is automatically set up for you. (i.e. no "what asset was needed in this shot???")
2.) File system broken up by show-sequence-shot.
3.) Ability for a pipeline TD to "force" people to use a certain asset such as texture or rig. (One example would be: lets say you have a character that has a certain texture, but for one scene this character needs a muddy texture because he fell in the puddle. The TD would be able to force that texture for the shot without anyone else having to think about it.)
4.) shotinfo.info files- Using an extremely simple syntax, the pipeline TD is able to type in a text document what assets are needed for a shot, and Maya and the pipeline tools will automatically read, parse, and execute those assets to be referenced.

That is what I understand of the pipeline so far. As you can see it has several positive aspects. Here are some things that I felt were negative about it.

1.) This pipeline seems to be geared towards a film-type production. (Animation-heavy work) The tools in it were created to make referencing different rigs and textures for the same character. Im not sure that the projects we do at the CTL are that in depth to have seperate rigs and textures for each object/asset.
2.) One of Robs main concerns was not knowing where some people have put their files. In this pipeline, File placement is crucial and its a little bit convoluted at first. Getting everyone to know where to put their files would be fairly difficult, so one of us (or two) would need to be in charge of the pipeline and placement. If this person was gone, things could get slow and progress could be halted.
3.) Right now, we don't set projects when we open up Maya. We just open up the mb file and work on it. With this pipeline, setting your project is another very crucial aspect and im not sure what would happen if you were screwing this up, because I havent had much experience with it yet.
4.) A designated Pipeline TD **MUST** keep up on everything. Like, this person has to know everything about every shot, because he is the one that sets up the files that are needed. If you do it ideally as well, the TD would also be setting permissions on folders. But thats not totally necessary.

My evaluation-
I think that although some aspects of this pipeline are complicated and Im still not 100% knowledgeable about this certain pipeline, I think it is worth trying out. Just for the experience, really. The reason for this is because it is good experience to work in an actual pipeline because that is what they do in the industry. It will also give some of us the opportunity to put "pipeline TD" on a resume. File organization is so important with a production that any hands-on experience with setting this up and keeping it working will give someone a definite edge if this is something they are interested in. Also, this thing would be easy to scrap if it wasn't working out for us.

Sorry that was long, please let me know what you think and any problems you think our current pipeline has! I havent been here long so I dont know much about that.


Dan said...


Rob Allen said...

I worry about -2

thinking about it though