Saturday, June 6, 2009

Production Asset Management (ProdAM) & Shotgun

I found that they call Production Asset Management (ProdAM) System to the systems that we need for our animation studio to track the files, collaborate each other and schedule the tasks.

I've red a lot of books about asset management systems last two months. Most of them were explaining the systems those has been used for the media companies, like systems that works like a librarian for you and find the media (image, video etc.) that has the keywords you've entered, but doesn't essentially track the new versions of it and doesn't have any collaboration or scheduling functionality.

One of the books was "Implementing a Digital Asset Management System". It explains how to choose a right system, and prepare your staff for it. Although, I first thought that it is going to explain how to write one :). What the book offers for an animation studio is simply to use AlienBrain. There are examples of studios who implemented their own solution, like ImageWorks and their TrackIT system.

Because AlienBrain is a high cost solution for our studio, I searched for other alternatives. Eventhough, there is not many alternatives on the market, I found Shotgun. Which is still in development, but there are around 20 studios like Pixar, Framestore, RisingSunPictures, Digital Domain etc. that tried this system and simply loved it. I loved it too. But the cost is not defined yet. So I don't know if we want to spend that money.

What Shotgun offers is, to supply a platform for Scheduling, Tracking, Collaboration and Implementation. It's very powerful, cause you can track any data you need while completing the project. So you have the eagles eye over your project to see how it is going, where are your files, who is dealing with what and many many other things.

Shotgun is based on open source projects like, Ruby, Rails, Appache, PostgreSQL etc. and it is a web based application, so it works on any OS. It uses Python as the API language. Go and watch the tour video on their site.

Shotgun gave a lot of ideas to me and because they are honest enough to show the open source projects that Shotgun is built on, I've got the feeling that I can write a simple version of it.

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