Sep 1 2013

Mango Phase 1

Some time has passed since my last Mango related post. Thankfully, I have made significant progress. I’m glad to announce that Mango Phase 1 will be completed in the next few weeks. There are three important developments which I will address in this post: resource-tracking, the Software Launcher, and user applications and tools (stand-alone and software-integrated).

 

Mango’s Resource-Tracking

Mango Phase 1 has been about setting up the structure on which the entire pipeline is based. I implemented base APIs that will support all of the core stand-alone applications and software-integrated tools. The two most significant APIs in this stage of development are:

  • versionTracker (API for versioning of resources with database backend)
  • namingAPI (API for generating the folder structure that host the files that make up the files associated with versions made by versionTracker)

These two main components come together to create a resource-tracking system. In Phase 1, the development of the resource-tracking system has been focused on the needs of smaller studios in rapid production environments. This focus allows smaller studios to start using resource-tracking without being overly intrusive or creating a bottleneck for the artist by over-departmentalizing the process. To achieve this implementation, Mango Phase 1 concentrated on establishing the standards and practices necessary for creating and tracking the main resource types that are the most important in the “generalist” environment. In particular, I have focused on artist “work files”, “render elements”, and “shot plates.” In Phase 2, I will move toward more detailed resource-tracking and implement new resource types for “models”, “rigs”, “animation caches”, “cameras,” and “shaders.”

Mango’s Software Launcher

The Software Launcher is the common entrance to the pipeline. It is a stand-alone application that allows supervisors to control the software configuration by creating unique profiles for their projects. These profiles control which software, plug-ins, third party tools, and extensions are used by artists on their projects. Profiles allow artist to jump between projects, while guaranteeing that every artist under the same project has the same set of tools. Moreover, this profile mechanism allows supervisors to adopt new software or plugin versions without unintended negative effects on concurrent projects.  The Software Launcher and its profile mechanisms means that studios no longer have to rely on IT to push plug-in installations over large networks via more traditional time-consuming means that can be unreliable (e.g., MSI, Psexec, manual installations).

The connection between Mango and the artist’s software relies on the modular plug-in distribution system of the Software Launcher. Mango and its tools get attached to the target application via the “LosPipeLine” Software Launcher module which should be part of every Software Launcher profile. The Software Launcher also offers and optional command line mode. This mode is used to apply the profile-based software configuration approach to network rendering solutions, such as Thinkbox’s Deadline.

User Applications ( stand alone and software-integrated)

Additionally, the deployment of Phase 1  focused on the “hand off” of  resources across the different disciplines of the shot creation process (e.g., how a lighter hands off lighting elements to a compositor). Mango is composed of several applications and tools, both stand-alone and software-integrated. These tools are easy-to-use interfaces for artists, supervisors, and managers to facilitate the adoption of the Mango workflow. Here’s a list of the initial set of applications and tools that are bundled with Mango Phase 1:

  • Project Manager (stand-alone)
    • Simple interface for quickly creating the base directory for a new project
    • Allows for adding sequences and shots at anytime to any project

 

  • Workspace Manager (Integrated with 3ds max, maya, and nuke)
    • Simple interface for creating and navigating artists’ work areas, work files, and snap shots

  • Render Element Farm Submission Tool (Integrated with 3ds max via custom render pass manager)
    • Integrated element publishing and dependency tracking

  • Comp Central (Integrated with nuke)
    • Interface for browsing, importing, and updating render elements, plates, and cameras related to a shot directly from nuke

  • Element Publish (Nuke)
    • Publish comp, precomp, paint resources out of nuke
    • Automatically configure and version up your read nodes
    • Local or farm (via Deadline) publishing

  • Version Viewer (stand-alone)
    • Tool for quickly listing, navigating, and filtering all resources and their versions for a particular project, sequence, or shot

  • Plate Ingestion Tool (Integrated with Version Viewer)
    • Quickly publishes plate resources into the pipeline along with any other auxiliary data (e.g., camera information, hdri data, lens distortion, and LUTs)

2 Responses to “Mango Phase 1”

  • purest Says:

    Are you selling this system? Are you open sourcing it?

    • Los Says:

      At the moment I’m licensing mango to my clients via gpl agreement.
      I do charge a deployment and training fee, and will more than likely make updates available through some sort of subscription.
      If you have questions about pricing feel free to contact me via the contact form :)

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