Apr 26 2013

Modular Asset Pipeline Flow (Standards And Practices)

One of the main interests in my career has been developing a way in which I could optimize the process of creating and revising animated content in 3d through uniform standards and practices. My interest in this topic is rooted in my experience as a Character Technical Director (TD). A Character TD collaborates with many different departments. For example, he is the one that makes sure that models are technically sound for rigging. He also has to collaborate with animators to ensure that the animation set-ups are simple yet powerful enough for the animator to be able to achieve the desired performance. A Character TD interacts with lighting and effects to make sure that the animated performance transfers from animation department to the lighting department without breaking. He is usually in charge of adding more animated detailed to assets via simulations like hair and cloth. These are just a few of the responsibilities of a Character TD,basically, he has his hands in everything. Owing to their work responsibilities, most Character TDs frequently assume some of the responsibilities of pipeline development.

While I’ve been fortunate enough to work at studios that have had well-designed asset-based pipelines, I have worked at others that have failed to develop the standards and practices necessary to implement such a pipeline. I have drawn on these professional experiences in both kinds of studios to develop a specialization in writing 3D pipelines and developing this, often missing, set of standards and practices. The link below is an image of an up-to-date concept map of how assets should flow and can be developed through a pipeline. There are many benefits to implementing this kind of pipeline. A few of the most notable include:

  • Modeling, rigging, shading, lighting, effects, and animation can evolve parallel to each other rather than being linearly dependent. This monumentally increases the speed with which people can accomplish work by eliminating a known bottleneck.
  • It facilitates the tracking of different versions of a resource that form an asset and even allow roll-back. This ensures that artists always have the correct versions of resources on which their work depends.
  • It eliminates the need of transitioning from previs to postvis work. This avoids a common redundant step in many small studio pipelines.

This standardized asset flow allows for a very simple database model which is able to track and manage the work greatly simplifying the development of a PTS system (mango pts).

Hopefully, I will be able to blog in more detail about this soon.

Until next time!


Modular Asset Pipeline Flow


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