MONTREAL — Character animation, photoreal CG and high-end motion design are all a signature of the production work from boutique creative studio Shed (https://shedmtl.com). Based in Montreal, the 35-person company specializes in post production, visual effects and animation for commercial clients across Canada and the United States. Focusing on short-form work, Shed’s captivating productions have many moving parts that rely heavily on a well-structured pipeline.
Production manager and CG supervisor François Hogue joined Shed in January 2019, where he took the lead on spearheading a new pipeline solution. Hogue selected Shotgun initially for production management, budgeting and review, having previously implemented the solution with much success at his former company Moment Factory. Coming from a background as an artist, Hogue is passionate about helping creatives work as efficiently as possible. “With my experience, I have a strong understanding of the work artists do and can help structure productions so that they're at their best,” noted Hogue, “I strive to create a workflow where everyone excels, and that happens with proper tools like Shotgun.”
Prior to integrating Shotgun, Shed had no central database for storing information on frame count, shots, dailies or review notes, and communication bottlenecks among artists and supervisors often bogged down Shed’s workflows. “Information for a particular project might be in 10 different places, and verbal comments and notes taken during a review session might be lost altogether,” noted Shed pipeline developer Thibault Houdon, “By reengineering our pipeline with Shotgun, we now have a central location to store and share everything, increasing the team’s productivity and eliminating any communication difficulties by streamlining review.”
For Shed’s most recent commercial production, the studio was tasked with creating nearly 40 different deliverables for broadcast, web, social and print for a national Bud Light Flavors advertising campaign for Anheuser-Busch, via Anomaly in Toronto. A twist on classic motion design, artists created an animated time-lapse of plants growing out of a beverage can to depict the different ingredients in Bud Light’s newest flavored beer, using traditional CG workflows across departments. In order to create the multiple final deliverables in different formats, specs and resolutions for a variety of distribution platforms, it was critical for the team to manage artists, tasks, outputs and organize delivery via Shotgun. “Having a strong pipeline was essential throughout production,” said Hogue, “It facilitated a collaborative workflow for our talented team of artists and enabled us to deliver the highest quality end results on schedule. There were so many different deliverables and we needed to be able to validate and organize all of them which would have been difficult to do without Shotgun.”
In just four months since integrating Shotgun, all CG artists and supervisors at Shed are on the platform for publishing work, receiving feedback, notes and review including freelancers based outside of Montreal in the United States, Russia and South America. While nearly all other employees currently use the platform for timesheets, Hogue intends to expand the studio’s integration with Shotgun and eventually get all the studio’s 2D Flame artists up-and-running as well. Hogue also has future plans of expanding the studio’s use of RV for screening room review internally and client review site as well.
“Our pipeline is influenced by what you see in the film industry as we’re constantly aspiring to deliver work of that caliber,” said Hogue in closing. “Shotgun helps with our internal structure, assisting with better management so we are able to plan and prepare in advance for productions. By taking the pain out of production management, Shotgun keeps us organized and helps our artists create faster without needing to worry about confusing infrastructure or organization.”