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Aaron Scott

Project management software?

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Does anyone have any recommendations for project management software? We were using Basecamp until recently, but there were certain aspects of it that were either too simple or two cumbersome. We need something so people can see the status of various aspects of a shot at a glance (artwork status, animation status, review status, notes, and so on), as well as pages for people to see an (editable, ideally) list of shots currently assigned to them.

 

A lot of the project management software we've looked at seem to be overkill for what we need, though. We only have around a dozen people to keep track of, and scheduling is pretty fluid. Mostly, we just need a place for people to keep track of a shot's status and notes, not its schedule. Basecamp was almost great, but now that a handful of different people work on the same shot at different stages, it kind of broke down.

 

Our current system involves the mother of all Google spreadsheets, but that's coming with its own issues.

 

In a nutshell, the ideal management system would look like this:

 

[ Shot name / number ]

Artwork
Artwork status
Artist name
Notes
Mocap
Mocap status
Artist name
Notes
Animation
Animation status
Animator name
Notes

... and so on. So, you could see at a glance how a shot is doing, but you could also see all the shots currently assigned to someone. And as the shot is worked on, the artists and animators could update the status themselves. Simplicity is key.

 

What are people using? Is there something that exists in the void between Basecamp and Shotgun?

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About ten seconds later I realised that if each shot was a to-do list, instead of each episode being a to-do list of shots, it does pretty much everything we want. I just never thought about breaking stuff down that way.

 

Still, though... what do people use?

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Catch.com is handy for organising collaborative data. You might be able to set up the structure you need using streams and hash tags. It's handy in that it's accessible by web / android / iphone. There's a 3 stream limit in the free service so it will probably mean you'll need to pay a subscription fee to get the most out of it.

 

There are a few other services out there doing the same thing. I like Catch mostly because it's got a nice clean interface.

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We use ActiveCollab with a few third party modules (like a video module)

 

Because of all the customization, we haven't migrated to v3 and don't think we will. I checked it out and while it is far better for internal project administration, its not quite as client-facing friendly. I spent quite a bit hacking at it to feel more like a traditional 'client area' than a project management software.

 

I do highly recommend it though. If you have experience with basecamp, its an easy transition.

Edited by AromaKat

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If you can, I would advise to stay away from SaaS solutions. Every organization's workflow is different, and being able to hire a programmer to tweak things to perfectly fit your workflow is extremely valuable.

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I'm in a startup trying to fix this problem. our solution is called WIP. www.wipvideos.com

 

Upload your work-in-progress videos securely to the WIP cloud, privately invite your team and clients to give feedback, and watch as the comments pop up right on top of the video. The comments are then automatically collated into a to do list for you to work from.

 

We have a free working prototype you can work with right now. Sadly we don't yet support Firefox (they can't use H.264).

 

Let me know how you go, we are at a huge learning stage and any ideas are super welcome!

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Our current system involves the mother of all Google spreadsheets, but that's coming with its own issues.

 

What was the problem with Google Docs? I hate to sound like the devil's advocate, but I'm just wondering.

Warning to anyone basecamp prospecting. Basecamp really sucks. I used to use it at a larger company and then we abandoned it. Maybe they redesigned it but it was clunky as fuck.

 

 

 

Honestly from my experience project management software seems like overkill for smaller shops. Unless you are doing a feature film, I just don't see why a spreadsheet or tables can't do the trick.

 

Lazy producers???

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We're a small shop with 5 people doing various post related tasks with two producers. I did a ton of research and never found anything that was comparable to Shotgun but cheaper without some of the extra features. Never found anything worth it, ended up going with Shotgun at $19/user price, which is no longer. Now it's the $49/user tier for everything which is good on one hand but expensive for smaller places. Would be great if they offered a lower flat monthly rate up to X number of users.

 

It's amazing at tracking shots/sequences/edits/assets/whatever. So much customization so it takes a minute to set up a workflow that you like, but once you have it going it's pretty smooth. I would love to get the API access to really tie it into our workflow and make it easier for us, but too much money/time.

 

 

 

 

Honestly from my experience project management software seems like overkill for smaller shops. Unless you are doing a feature film, I just don't see why a spreadsheet or tables can't do the trick.

 

Lazy producers???

 

 

Seems like a lazy comment…we're small and Shotgun saves us time. No messy email chains that take forever to read through. No shared spreadsheets to dig through. That shit takes time to manage, lots of it in fact, why not make it more efficient.

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We're a small shop with 5 people doing various post related tasks with two producers. I did a ton of research and never found anything that was comparable to Shotgun but cheaper without some of the extra features. Never found anything worth it, ended up going with Shotgun at $19/user price, which is no longer. Now it's the $49/user tier for everything which is good on one hand but expensive for smaller places. Would be great if they offered a lower flat monthly rate up to X number of users.

 

It's amazing at tracking shots/sequences/edits/assets/whatever. So much customization so it takes a minute to set up a workflow that you like, but once you have it going it's pretty smooth. I would love to get the API access to really tie it into our workflow and make it easier for us, but too much money/time.

 

Seems like a lazy comment…we're small and Shotgun saves us time. No messy email chains that take forever to read through. No shared spreadsheets to dig through. That shit takes time to manage, lots of it in fact, why not make it more efficient.

No you're right. This looks good. Cheaper than I expected too. The price of these things has come waaaay down, in just a few years.

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Seems like a lazy comment…we're small and Shotgun saves us time. No messy email chains that take forever to read through. No shared spreadsheets to dig through. That shit takes time to manage, lots of it in fact, why not make it more efficient.

Not lazy time is money. Would every artist need to be their own user or just producers/managers? Too bad they raised the price for 19$/user I'd have given it a try without a second thought at 49$ starts to add up.

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What was the problem with Google Docs? I hate to sound like the devil's advocate, but I'm just wondering.

Warning to anyone basecamp prospecting. Basecamp really sucks. I used to use it at a larger company and then we abandoned it. Maybe they redesigned it but it was clunky as fuck.

 

The only real problem is that we can have up to 20 artists and animators working on a project, and having all those people mucking about a spreadsheet can make things get crazy really quickly. It also becomes a problem when you're trying to track shots with three or four distinct stages, with each of those stages having multiple revisions that need to be individually commented on. Google Docs has worked great when we've limited its use to only the director, producer, and animation and art leads.

 

Since I originally asked, we've been using Google Docs, Basecamp, or Shotgun, depending on the project. It's been kind of silly to keep jumping between them, but we still haven't found something we're totally happy with for both large- and small-scale projects.

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The only real problem is that we can have up to 20 artists and animators working on a project, and having all those people mucking about a spreadsheet can make things get crazy really quickly. It also becomes a problem when you're trying to track shots with three or four distinct stages, with each of those stages having multiple revisions that need to be individually commented on. Google Docs has worked great when we've limited its use to only the director, producer, and animation and art leads.

 

Since I originally asked, we've been using Google Docs, Basecamp, or Shotgun, depending on the project. It's been kind of silly to keep jumping between them, but we still haven't found something we're totally happy with for both large- and small-scale projects.

Yeah looking at the work you do, and the amount of it, you definitely need something. I feel for you. :P

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Not lazy time is money. Would every artist need to be their own user or just producers/managers? Too bad they raised the price for 19$/user I'd have given it a try without a second thought at 49$ starts to add up.

 

Every artist would be a user. They recently did a survey and from the results of that survey they decided on the one price model. One one hand there are some benefits, on another it gets pricey for smaller shops.

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The only real problem is that we can have up to 20 artists and animators working on a project, and having all those people mucking about a spreadsheet can make things get crazy really quickly. It also becomes a problem when you're trying to track shots with three or four distinct stages, with each of those stages having multiple revisions that need to be individually commented on. Google Docs has worked great when we've limited its use to only the director, producer, and animation and art leads.

 

Since I originally asked, we've been using Google Docs, Basecamp, or Shotgun, depending on the project. It's been kind of silly to keep jumping between them, but we still haven't found something we're totally happy with for both large- and small-scale projects.

 

Have you managed to find a solution?

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Right now we're using Shotgun pretty exclusively. It's not perfect--it's clearly designed for larger studios. But the feature set is incredible, and it's certainly made to do exactly what we want it to do. It just takes pretty constant maintenance.

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Thought i'd add this to the discussion. Cgtuts recently started using it. and i just decided to try it out on a project. and I LOVE it to bits.

 

https://trello.com/alekseyvoznesenski2/recommend

 

(if you sign up with that link i get a month free of gold membership) .

 

Its really great. you throw cards in to lists which are on a board. And the cards can have pictures, comments, lists.

 

just try it. It's super intuitive.

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Does anyone have any good Google Docs templates for cg asset management? Watched a few Shotgun videos and while very cool, it might be overkill for personal projects and smaller shops at $50/month/user. Found some free Google Docs shot list templates for on set production but looking for something more post production/mograph/vfx oriented.

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Thought i'd add this to the discussion. Cgtuts recently started using it. and i just decided to try it out on a project. and I LOVE it to bits.

 

https://trello.com/alekseyvoznesenski2/recommend

 

(if you sign up with that link i get a month free of gold membership) .

 

Its really great. you throw cards in to lists which are on a board. And the cards can have pictures, comments, lists.

 

just try it. It's super intuitive.

 

We use it at work too. It's actually pretty damn good, and it integrates with Toggl for time tracking which is really handy.

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I use a wordpress installation using a free plugin to manage permissions and client areas. It is damn handy to be able to have everyone access stuff whenever via their own login in a system that I control.

 

Admittedly this probably isn't for everyone (I do more web based stuff than static visual assets anymore), but keeping everything under an easily controlled database keeps things easy to manage.

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