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Sharing work between vendors

Asked by [ Admin ]

With the increase in the number of boutique facilities, and more off-the-shelf web based collaboration systems, work is being spit between vendors more frequently. Not just vendorA does chunkA, vendorB does chunkB. Assets, shots, and even single disciplines are being shared.

I'd like to hear thoughts on:

  • What areas of work are more or less suited to sharing?
  • How granular can you go? .. (create your own shots start to end, use another vendor's assets, share animation, share comp in the same sequence )
  • How does it affect: time, money, quality?
  • When to consider it, when not to, what type of shot?
  • How is the process helped by web based tools?
  • How do you overcome IP issues related to proprietary software and pipeline tools?
  • In what way does being at separate companies differ from being a geographically distributed team of artists working under supervision of one company.
  • Other thoughts, advantages, disadvantages, surprising gotchas...

I'd be interested to hear tales from experience and get some constructive input on how to make inter-facility collaboration work.

(it goes without saying this is a public place and you probably shouldn't mention vendors or individuals by name)


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2 answers


franssu_27 [ Editor ]

Right now, without a cross-vendor asset management system, there are few avenues that are viable.

Use another vendor's assets is feasible, for example when you have to animate using their models and rigs. This requires that you have access to their rigging tools, though.

In a nutshell, I'd say that the generation of assets (modeling, rigging, texturing), animation, the rest of the CG pipeline (lighting, FX, rendering), and compositing can be separated between vendors. I don't think you can go any more granular than that without going into huge headaches.

Software used can be a headache too, especially if your facility is attached to one particular package. For animation jobs, you'd better be agnostic and use whatever the other vendor is using to create his rigs, and have them send you their custom tools too.

Switching packages for the rest (rendering, FX) is much easier with a proper use of caches.

For compositing, it is quite the no-brainer.

NN comments

It would be nice to see some cross vendor (i.e. web based) asset management system evolve. Github for VFX assets may be a way off yet, but could be cool ;)

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hugh_gid [ Editor ]

The obvious would be to treat another company as if they were a department in a larger company (this doesn't apply for 3D departments... I'm thinking more 2D)

We've done the comping for a company that were specialists in 3D, but didn't feel that they had the compositing skills to get the final shots out - we were far more 2D-oriented at the time, and so could take their renders and put them together. In fact, as well as that, I've also done that for you, Julian! :D

Or, you could (as is often done) outsource roto/prep work - it's a relatively separate job that can reasonably easily(ish) be done elsewhere...

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