HD workflow on a slow server.
I am working on a rather large project where multiple AE artists will be working in a common project file structure on a local server. The network is slow, too slow to handle multiple users accessing large psds and image sequences for HD manipulation within After Effects.
Added to this problem is the fact that artists and designers will be updating assets and uploading new media as we work.
The server needs to be updated to handle the traffic, and will be, but not in time for this upcoming project.
Now normally I would say "Everybody version up Every change, and email/im the next person in the assembly line of the status." All AE people would have a local folder structure similar to the server, and keep their shots manually updated.
AE projects could then be moved to a similar folder on the server, reopened and saved, and sent to the network watch folder for rendering.
The owner and techs of the company embrace automation, and see this having too many factors in it for operator error. I agree it does need some conscious file monitoring, but do not have a better idea.
Any ideas from you knuckleheads for improved workflow? Checkin/cCheckout apps? proxy automation? or a firm stance and a strong resolution toward my current plan?
Assuming you don't have any other project or pipeline management in place -- or a human to act as the coordinator -- you might consider sharing a Google Docs spreadsheet (or similar) among all your artists, with rows for assets and columns for your AE projects. Add an extra column up front for the current version number of assets.
The version number in the current asset version column is updated by the artist responsible for the asset. Any time an AE artist uses an asset in their project, they update that cell for that asset in their column with the version number they've used. This will let the asset artists see where the assets are being used (and who to notify for updates), and let the AE artists see the status of all the assets they've used in their project.
The downside -- everybody needs to participate consistently, or else it's worthless. This is far from a perfect solution, but it's a quick and dirty way to keep everyone on the same page.
On the technical side, I think that using proxies (stored locally) from the networked assets is a good approach. There are a couple scripts for AE that allow you to create proxies for multiple items with just a few clicks.
Also, if your network is really slow, a networked watch folder render will be slow.
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Walter- thanks for the feedback
I totally agree with everything you said- Google Docs spreadsheet is great tool for multiple individuals to update the status of every shot. And yes, as project manager you have to keep tabs to make sure everybody is updating the projects they own.
I'll look around for these proxy scripts you were mentioning. Maybe that will appease my coworkers who look towards automation as a solution to all.
And yes, rendering to the farm over the network would be slow. I guess since they have a farm i was thinking of some way to use it.
Thanks for the reality check.