Using Tasks To Sort Shot Types

Recently a user was trying to find a way to designate shots by the type of work needing to be done. Furthermore, being able to search by the type of work was also required.

We’re going to create a simple example by designating the following types of shots:
ANIMATE, ROTO, and TRACK.

For these various activities, add individual Tasks to each of the shots that involves these activities. By maintaining a consistent naming, searching becomes simple.


Each shot can have any number of Tasks assigned, and if you standardize your task names, they become easily searchable through the Tasks tab within your Project. These tasks can be added through the Shot Detail pages, or through the Add Bulk Tasks or New Task menu items under the Tasks tab.

In the case of the shot in this example, I created a Task called “TRACK,” and I’m in the process of adding another task called “ROTO.”
Task with type1
Once added, all tasks for a Project are easily listed through the Tasks-> View All Tasks menu item.

By clicking "Show Task Filters" right above the list of Tasks, you can narrow down (effectively sort and search)
by typing in the name of the activity you are looking for.  To see all shots that require roto work, type "ROTO" into
the first task box and click the Display button.
Tasks as Types Sort
This should provide an elegant way to create lists of the types of shots you have in your Project. Keep in mind that you may simultaneously assign these tasks to the Users you specify, and they can track their workload via their My Tasks page.

VFX Nexus News

VFX Nexus is proud to announce two new additions to our service: automatic, recurring billing and online documentation. If you’re a new customer, automatated, monthly billing will be, well, automatic! If you’re an existing customer, email us to get swtiched to automatic billing right away.
The only exception to our recurring billing is the SSL security option. If you wish to order this, it requires a one-time, separate transaction. After your initial setup, it’s time to concentrate on using VFX Nexus.
Online documentation: we’ve always had inline help throughout the entire interface of VFX Nexus, but now we have a separate area for
tutorial style information. Through this area of our site, you can learn how to approach VFX Nexus as a complete product. The inline help is great for a place to get a hint for day to day work, but the support section if great for admins and artists to get the big picture. It’s also completely up to date, and we can easily expand on any topic you need us to. Please hit us up with suggestions for anything you feel needs more coverage.

Communication

VFX Nexus is constantly scanning for news about and insights into project and team management. It’s especially nice to see an article that elegantly illustrates the problem we are solving. Inc. magazine has published an article titledA Little Less Conversation. In this article, Joel Spolsky discusses how trying to keep one-to-one communication going as a team expands eventually paralyzes that team as there are simply too many connections to keep up.
The solution is to centralize communication. Where this article specifies a person as the gatekeeper of the information, we like to recommend a system for holding all this information: VFX Nexus. We designed VFX Nexus to be the go-to place to find out information about a VFX project, down to the individual tasks that make up a shot. Furthermore, all those involved in one aspect of a shot still have the abilitly to communicate back and forth, but they can do so without having to distract others from their tasks. This takes the number of connections that need to be made down to their most effiecient minimum.
Please take a look at the
article from Inc. and see how it relates to your team.

Making the Switch

Today's entry is going to diverge a bit from the usual VFX Nexus product updates and news announcements and instead focus on some other issues surrounding VFX collaboration and tracking. A common comment we receive is that the adoption rate isn't always what the management would like it to be. In other words: it doesn't matter how much a supervisor likes the program. It doesn't matter that it makes coordination easier than ever, and that all the critical progress is tracked and accessible at an instant. Some artists are not playing ball and using their VFX Nexus.
I'm sure this is a common issue among any type of company. This isn't unique to the VFX industry, and it's not unique to "the artist type" of worker. It's often very hard to establish new routines.
Common complaints range from people already feeling overworked or overwhelmed to just plain laziness. Why check online if you can shout across the room to get an answer to a question?

There are a few ways VFX Nexus fights this resistance.
  • The home page for an artist is designed to get information quickly to the artist
    • at a glance an artist can see their workload, and choose where to begin their assignments
  • The home page is motivating
    • as work is completed, it disappears from the list. It's a to-do list with the goal of getting it finished
  • Artists can add their own notes to shots
    • by giving artists an area to keep all their information organized, it creates less places for information to hide
There are things managers, supervisors, and coordinator can do to make a new routine stick.
  • Lead the routine! You have to use the new system yourself.
    • Master all aspects of the software so you can demonstrate it to others.
  • Put all feedback and new information in the right place--with the shots, in VFX Nexus
    • Even if you have to visit artists for face-to-face discussion, have the notes entered for mutual reference
  • Don't let yourself become a crutch
    • If an artist has a simple question that is already answered in the VFX Nexus notes, refer them to back to the database first.
  • If all else fails, there is always the 'P-word'
    • Often considered poison in a creative environment, policies are there for a reason.
    • You're investing time and money in the product, and the results are worth paying for. Your job is getting easier!
    • Remember your crew is a group of professionals, and professionals are expected to perform at the level required for their job

Version 2.1 Overview Screencast

A look at VFX Nexus 2.1. This is a look at some of the new features as well as how existing features are utilized in the new 2.1 version.

Also download high quality versions of our screencasts in the
screencast section.

VFX Nexus 2.1 Launch

VFX Nexus is proud to announce Version 2.1. Coming to your existing VFX Nexus instance soon and for all new subscriptions starting immediately. Version 2.1 continues our tradition of refining and simplifying the complicated workflow of visual effects production. We've made it even easier and more straightforward to share updates, assign work, distribute files, determine access, and analyize your projects' progress. You'll find tiny enhancements throughout and some big features that will change your workflow for the better.
Search Shots
And speaking of changing the way you work, we think supervisors will be doing a lot of their heavy lifting here. This page is the gateway to answering questions about your projects. Need to find out how many shots are in need of review and are due in 7 days? Got it. How many shots are sitting idle because they need scans? No problem. How about any shot in any project that isn't done? And assigned to a particular artist? Also answered here.
VFX Nexus Demo | Search Results1

Printable Reports

Storyboards, shots divided by status or artist. Every shot with a list of notes attached. These are some of the printable reports you can create in version 2.1.

Tasks Have Been Retooled

This is the biggest workflow change to VFX Nexus, and we think it really consolidates the way assignments are given to artists and users. Tasks will now always be associated with a particular shot, and it is through Tasks that multiple users are put to work on one shot. Before, these were two separate activities to track; it made sense to us that we could consolidate these actions. Shots continue to have a lead artist assignment, and that same lead can be assigned to any number of tasks within that shot. For simpler shots, you may not have a need to attach any tasks at all.

Permissions and Teams Simplified

And made more powerful! We started to feel that our permissions scheme was becoming too cumbersome to be effective. We took a look at what portions actually make a difference, and how we can keep access controlled and secure. Now there are less controls used to set up a new account type, and the functionality is clearer. You can still use the built-in default account types and never have to modify the controls, if you wish. Team access settings are also easier to understand, implement, and change.
VFX Nexus Demo | User Access

A Bunch of Little Details

We refined everything from the look of the interface to the performance of the system. Here's a list of some of these changes:
  • Dashboard has been redesigned and is more graphical
  • Highlights in shot details, task lists and shot lists to distinguish user's assignments
  • File management page to lilst and edit all files within a project
  • Image thumbnails expand and overlay within the web page (lightbox effect)
  • Interface cleaned up even more — sorting controls hidden from view until needed
  • The Shot Detail page has been reformatted for optimal display of information and feedback
  • New shots can be added in one step
  • More information can be added in Bulk Shot entry
  • Bulk Task entry allows the same type of task to be applied to many shots at once
  • Menu system consolidates all similar activities to their categories
  • Menu system updated to be more responsive
  • File hosting methods tweaked for better worldwide performance
  • Project Summary page slices, dices, and presents all the stats related to the project to keep you informed

VFX Nexus Demo |

Version 2.1 Available Now
VFX Nexus 2.1 still retains all the great features and functionality from before. VFX Nexus has always been the ideal centerpiece for your visual effects workflow. With these refinements, VFX Nexus has taken a great leap forward for supervisors and artists alike to be able to dive in and take charge of their production. Be sure to sign up for the demo on this page to get hands-on with VFX Nexus immediately.

Facebook and Nexus 2.1 Screenshots

We have posted some preliminary screenshots of the upcoming version of VFX Nexus. To take a look, jump over to Facebook and become a fan!
VFX Nexus on Facebook
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Follow Us On Twitter!

We’re on that great big Internet phenomenon known as Twitter. Follow us here! Read More...

VFX Nexus Updated To Version 2.0

Hollywood, CA May 26, 2009 -- VFX Nexus has added new capabilities and refined existing features with the release of version 2.0. VFX Nexus began offering the service for visual effects studios of all sizes earlier in 2009.
“The most significant update to VFX Nexus is by far the file sharing capabilities,” announced PJ Foley, visual effects producer. “It’s great to be able to have these files to reference right along side all the shot information.” One gigabyte of storage is included with every VFX Nexus account, and more storage can be added at any time for a minimal charge. “It’s great to know that the system I am using all the time can now function as my primary file transfer service. I no longer have to direct people to an FTP server or another file sharing site,” he adds.
Read More...

VFX Nexus 2.0

Our main website is about to be relaunched with new information regarding version 2.0. We’ve been working non-stop since launching at the beginning of the year. Here’s a look at what’s in store:
Read More...

VFX Nexus Screencast 001

Presenting our newest screencast. This one features a look at all the key features of VFX Nexus.
Read More...

FAQ Updated

We’ve been receiving a number of questions since our launch, and to that effect we’ve updated our FAQ a bit. A number of people have been asking about project management features--we invite you to take a look at the answers.
Read More...

VFX Nexus Screencast 000

Welcome to our first screencast. This one features the collaboration features of VFX Nexus by demonstrating a typical feedback workflow. Read More...

Visual Effects Tracking and Collaboration Takes a Mainstream Approach

Hollywood, CA January, 15 2008 - Creating a system for tracking Visual Effects projects has traditionally been an in-house undertaking. The results are varied, proprietary and often expensive - if not in money, in terms of the time taken to build, learn and maintain. Introducing VFX Nexus, a web-based solution for visual effects studios of all sizes to collaborate and track their entire workflow. Years of VFX production experience has been married with modern web application principles to form an easy-to-use and secure system designed to keep VFX project management simple. Read More...

The Big Launch

VFX Nexus has been around for many years as a proprietary tool. During its life, it has been polished, twisted, optimized, customized, moved to a new server, given a new look, tested, and tested again. It’s lived through dozens of projects, and it’s been used across continents.

We knew we had a special toolset that other studios could start benefiting from. So, we took the initiative to turn what we generically called our “database” into a full-fledged commercial product. Read More...

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