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Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke

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harrison Schaaf
Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke
on Aug 5, 2013 at 6:12:00 am

Hi all,

I am working on an animated previz in Smoke 2013, with hundreds of shots coming onto the server every day from our animation team. Our workflow involves an edit that is evolving daily as existing shots come in, which need to be reflected in our timelines.

For example, one day I'll get shot 0150_v001, and the next day I'll have 0150_v002, and then 0150_v003, and so forth, each shot having more refined/updated animation that needs to be reflected in our previz sequences. Because they shots are all playblasted out of the same 3D event, the shot lengths are all the same with each version.

Because manually replacing each shot in the timeline would be a ton of work, my challenge here is to help Smoke understand which shots need to be updated, as per our naming convention, where shot/media 0150_v001 needs to be replaced with 0150_v002, or 0160_v003 needs to be replaced with 0160_v004.

However, often times, one day's playblast folder will have shots that are in various stages of development, and there will be v003's that need to be replaced with v004's, and v007's that need to be replaced with v008's.

I feel like there is definitely a smart and efficient way to get this done in the conform tab by dialing in the right search locations and match criteria, which would allow Smoke to replace the shots near-finished edit with their updated successors, and leave shots for which there is no successor untouched.

Unfortunately I am pretty mystified even by the most basic media unlink/relink process in Smoke 2013, so I've been unable to come up with a solution to this challenge. So far I've been a bit hard-pressed to find documentation on this media update issue elsewhere, and super clear step-by-step instructions would be so, so appreciated.

My facility does have a talented group of IT guys who could perhaps write something in Python, or whichever shell/API that Smoke has.

I hope this is as clear as possible - many, many thanks in advance, and thanks for taking the time to read.

Harrison
http://www.harrisonschaaf.com


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Grant Kay
Re: Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke
on Aug 5, 2013 at 9:35:17 am

Hi Harrison.

There are a few options available to try.

The first is using the conform tab as you mentioned. You could unlink material and tell the sequence to do a relink. If you have updated versions for the timeline, a suggestion is to do the relink using tape name and timecode. So if you have v001 and v002 using the same tapename and timecode, Smoke will flag both files for a particular segment in the edit. Can can select the latest one and relink to that. It is a bit manually intensive but possible.

Another suggestion will require a bit of scripting by your engineers. When you import material natively into Smoke, Smoke links to the file via its location and filename. If a new version is rendered, perhaps a script could be written to move the original version to an "old" folder and place the new version in its place but using the same filenames. Next time you launch Smoke, it will see the "same" files and just show that in the timeline.

The final suggestion I have is also another scripting suggestion. You can look at this information for the GATEWAY CLIP - http://docs.autodesk.com/smoke2013/index.html?url=files/GUID-5D8A2C6F-2A96-...

The gateway clip is a XML file that can be used for versioning as long as it is updated along side the new versions you create.

You would import the gateway clips as opposed to the actual version files, and when you update a new version as well as the script in the XML file, you will be able to switch between versions within the Smoke UI. It's probably the most flexible in terms of versioning I can think of. However it is still quite manual.

Have a look and see if any of these options work for you.

Regards
Grant

Check out the Smoke Learning Channel

Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/smokehowtos
or search for the Smoke Learning Channel on iTunes
Follow me on twitter @discreetuk


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harrison Schaaf
Re: Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke
on Aug 5, 2013 at 10:07:35 am

Grant, thank you so much for your quick response - the Smoke Youtube channel has been a killer resource for coming up to speed on Smoke, thanks so much for that -

I believe you are right that a script may be the way to go here, as we will also be needing/attempting to come up with a batch solution for joining stereo clips, since we are playblasting left/right/center for each shot.

How do they handle these kinds of workflows on massive shows like Pacific Rim, Transformers, ETC?


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Grant Kay
Re: Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke
on Aug 5, 2013 at 2:02:48 pm

Lots of scripting as you mentioned, human intervention as well as in-house developed software for asset management.

Managing a film pipeline is no laughing matter and there is no such thing as "it works straight out the box software".

Regards
Grant

Check out the Smoke Learning Channel

Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/smokehowtos
or search for the Smoke Learning Channel on iTunes
Follow me on twitter @discreetuk


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harrison Schaaf
Re: Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke
on Aug 6, 2013 at 3:05:51 am

Copy that Grant -

In that case, I suppose my focus should first be understanding how to re-link large amounts of media in Smoke...

For example, one of the assistants in the facility that I'm working at has created a massive Smoke project file with media in multiple locations, (some on the machine's local raid, some on facility's local server, some on a pegasus promise raid array) and I have been given the task of making the entire setup mobile for when we need to be editing on set in South China.

If you could provide absolute idiot-proof (literally) instructions for relinking media in Smoke, once all of our source media has been shuffled around...we would be extremely grateful.

Failing that - is there a way to perform a project-wide "media manage" that one might perform in FCP or PPro? In other words, to use the media library that was created in Smoke as a map to create new source media that matches our organization scheme in Smoke. I suppose what I am imagining is something along the lines of an after-the-fact cache source media -

Thanks in advance,

Harrison


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Sandeep Sajeev
Re: Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke
on Aug 6, 2013 at 4:32:21 am

I had a similar situation arise a few weeks ago. Footage in a bunch of locations needed to be consolidated on one drive for us to take off-site. I created a new Archive on to a clean drive and then opened that. That worked for me.

I don't know if this is the correct or recommended way, but it was the most straightforward solution that I could come up with at the time.

Best,
Sandeep.


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Grant Kay
Re: Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke
on Aug 6, 2013 at 8:23:43 am

Hi Harrison,

The full blown project archive with cached media will be the closest to pulling everything cached together and you can walk away and restore it anywhere and it should be a duplicate of itself.

Please keep in mind that the archiving of media will use major storage because everything is stored uncompressed even if your media was compressed. So 10 gigs of compressed media can be significantly more when the archive is completed.

You do have the ability to SPAN the archive. So you can set the default size of each archive file and than copy them to multiple drives to move them if this is the case.







Check out this video on creating project archives. It also includes a bit on restoring archives.

Hope this helps!

Regards
Grant

Check out the Smoke Learning Channel

Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/smokehowtos
or search for the Smoke Learning Channel on iTunes
Follow me on twitter @discreetuk


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harrison Schaaf
Re: Updating/Replacing Media Playblasts Workflow in Smoke
on Aug 6, 2013 at 8:49:59 am

Sandeep, Grant,

Thank you both so much - greatly looking forward to giving this a shot. Thanks!

Harrison


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