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Production Pipeline Fundamentals for Film and Games

Book Description

Every production is built on the backbone of the pipeline. While a functional and flexible pipeline can’t assure a successful project, a weak pipeline can guarantee its demise. A solid pipeline produces a superior product in less time and with happier artists who can remain creative throughout the grueling production schedule.

Walk through the foundational layers of the production pipeline, including IT infrastructure, software development practices and deployment policies, asset management, shot management, and rendering management. Production Pipeline Fundamentals for Film and Games will teach you how to direct limited resources to the right technological initiatives, getting the most for every dollar spent.

  • Learn how to prepare for and manage all aspects of the pipeline with this entirely unique, one-of-a-kind guide.
  • Expand your knowledge with real-world pipeline secrets handed to you by a stellar group of professionals from across the globe.
  • Visit the companion website for even further resources on the pipeline.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Biographies
  8. Chapter 1 Introduction
    1. Section 1.1 Production Pipeline Fundamentals for Film and Games
    2. Section 1.2 How This Book Will Help You
    3. Section 1.3 What is a Pipeline?
    4. Section 1.4 Differences and Similarities Between Film and Game Pipelines
    5. Section 1.5 An Overview of a Film Production
    6. Section 1.6 An Overview of a Game Production
    7. Section 1.7 Remember: Each Production is Unique
  9. Chapter 2 The Stages of Production
    1. Section 2.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 2.2 The Economics of Film Production
    3. Section 2.3 The Economics of Game Production
    4. Section 2.4 The Stages of Production
    5. Section 2.5 Other Language Barriers
    6. Section 2.6 Pre-Production: An Overview
    7. Section 2.7 Pre-Production in the Film Pipeline
    8. Section 2.8 Pre-Production in the Games Pipeline
    9. Section 2.9 Production: An Overview
    10. Section 2.10 Production in the Film Pipeline
    11. Section 2.11 Production in the Games Pipeline
    12. Section 2.12 Post-Production or Finalling: An Overview
    13. Section 2.13 Post-Production in the Film Pipeline
    14. Section 2.14 Finalling in the Games Pipeline
  10. Chapter 2A Interlude: Previs and Related Data
  11. Chapter 3 Asset Creation for Film
    1. Section 3.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 3.2 LIDAR and On-Set Survey Data
    3. Section 3.3 Match-Moving, Rotoscoping and Plate Preparation
    4. Section 3.4 Modeling
    5. Section 3.5 Shaders and Textures
    6. Section 3.6 Shot Layout
    7. Section 3.7 Rigging
    8. Section 3.8 Animation
    9. Section 3.9 Effects and Simulations
    10. Section 3.10 Lighting
    11. Section 3.11 Rendering
    12. Section 3.12 Compositing
  12. Chapter 3A Interlude: LIDAR: Asset Capture on Set
  13. Chapter 4 Asset Creation for Games
    1. Section 4.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 4.2 Data Import and Export
    3. Section 4.3 Levels of Detail
    4. Section 4.4 Optimizing Assets
    5. Section 4.5 Creating Run-Time Animation
    6. Section 4.6 In-Game Facial Animation
    7. Section 4.7 Effects and FX
    8. Section 4.8 System and Level Design
    9. Section 4.9 Rendering and Shader Management
  14. Chapter 5 The Basic Functionality of a Pipeline
    1. Section 5.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 5.2 What Pipelines Do
    3. Section 5.3 Why Pipelines Change
    4. Section 5.4 Defining Your Goals
    5. Section 5.5 Defining Standards
    6. Section 5.6 File-Exchange Formats and Scripting Languages
    7. Section 5.7 Micro Pipelines
    8. Section 5.8 Strategies for Managing Data: An Overview
    9. Section 5.9 Directory Structure
    10. Section 5.10 File-Naming Conventions
    11. Section 5.11 Metadata
    12. Section 5.12 Building an Asset Browser
    13. Section 5.13 Versioning and Version Control
    14. Section 5.14 Good Version-Control Policies
    15. Section 5.15 Asset Review and Approval
    16. Section 5.16 Tracking Production Data
  15. Chapter 6 Systems Infrastructure
    1. Section 6.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 6.2 IT for Film: Types of Hardware
    3. Section 6.3 IT for Film: The Storage Cluster
    4. Section 6.4 IT for Film: The Render Farm
    5. Section 6.5 IT for Film: Managing the Infrastructure
    6. Section 6.6 IT for Games: The Build Farm
    7. Section 6.7 IT for Games: Version Control
    8. Section 6.8 Managing Operating Systems
    9. Section 6.9 Managing Utility Software
    10. Section 6.10 Production Security
  16. Chapter 6A Interlude: Mitigating Risk Through Regular Maintenance and Disaster Planning
    1. Section 6 Interlude 1: Planned Downtimes
    2. Section 6 Interlude 2: General Guidelines
    3. Section 6 Interlude 3: Regular Maintenance Window
    4. Section 6 Interlude 4: Incremental Downtime
    5. Section 6 Interlude 5: Roll-Overs
  17. Chapter 7 Software for a Studio Environment
    1. Section 7.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 7.2 Ours and Theirs: Approaches to Pipeline Software Development
    3. Section 7.3 When to Build, When to Buy, and When to Tinker
    4. Section 7.4 Buying In Software: Points to Consider
    5. Section 7.5 Working with Open-Source Software
    6. Section 7.6 Scripting and Tinkering
    7. Section 7.7 Developing Software In-House: the Role of the R&D Department
    8. Section 7.8 Developing Software In-House: Who to Recruit
    9. Section 7.9 Developing Software In-House: Development Policy
    10. Section 7.10 Developing Software In-House: Testing New Tools
    11. Section 7.11 Developing Software In-House: Developing a Release Policy
    12. Section 7.12 Developing Software In-House: Producing Documentation
    13. Section 7.13 Developing Software In-House: Reporting Errors
  18. Chapter 8 Diving Deeper Into Data Management
    1. Section 8.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 8.2 How Data-Management Workflow Evolves
    3. Section 8.3 Directory Structures: Flat Versus Deep Structures
    4. Section 8.4 Directory Structures for Film
    5. Section 8.5 Directory Structures for Games
    6. Section 8.6 Directory Structures: Designing for Ease of Navigation
    7. Section 8.7 Directory Structures: Planning Shared Asset Use
    8. Section 8.8 Directory Structures: Building From Most to Least Generic
    9. Section 8.9 Directory Structures: Incorporating Asset Templates
    10. Section 8.10 File-Naming Conventions: Common Syntax
    11. Section 8.11 File-Naming Conventions: Mirroring the Folder Structure in the File Name
    12. Section 8.12 Version Control: Exclusive and Non-Exclusive File Access
    13. Section 8.13 Version Control: Treating Code and Art Assets Separately
    14. Section 8.14 Version Control: Handling Special Projects
    15. Section 8.15 Metadata: Embedded Versus Extracted Data
    16. Section 8.16 Metadata: Flat Files Versus Databases
    17. Section 8.17 Databases: Relational and Non-Relational Databases
    18. Section 8.18 Databases: Choosing a Database Structure
  19. Chapter 8A Interlude: Metadata
    1. Section 8 Interlude 1: What is Metadata?
  20. Chapter 9 Asset Management
    1. Section 9.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 9.2 What is Asset Management?
    3. Section 9.3 The Goals of Asset Management
    4. Section 9.4 How Asset Management Differs Between Film and Games
    5. Section 9.5 Dependency Tracking: What is Asset Dependency?
    6. Section 9.6 Dependency Tracking: Upstream and Downstream Dependency
    7. Section 9.7 Dependency Tracking: Manual Versus Automated Systems
    8. Section 9.8 Dependency Tracking: Storing Dependency Data
    9. Section 9.9 Dependency Tracking: Visualizing Dependencies
    10. Section 9.10 Dependency Tracking: Resolving Implicit Dependencies
    11. Section 9.11 Dependency Tracking: Caching Queries
    12. Section 9.12 Dependency Tracking: Grouping Assets
  21. Chapter 9A Interlude: Digital Asset Management at Laika
  22. Chapter 10 Production Management
    1. Section 10.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 10.2 Production-Management Strategies: Agile Versus Waterfall Development
    3. Section 10.3 Production-Management Strategies: Maximizing Efficiency
    4. Section 10.4 Production-Management Strategies: Finishing On Time and On Budget
    5. Section 10.5 Production-Management Technology: An Overview
    6. Section 10.6 Production-Management Technology: Tracking Assets
    7. Section 10.7 Production-Management Technology: Managing Notes
    8. Section 10.8 Production-Management Technology: Reviewing Work
    9. Section 10.9 Production-Management Technology: Scheduling Tasks
    10. Section 10.10 Production-Management: One Final Thought
  23. Chapter 10A Interlude: Color and Sound
    1. Section 10 Interlude 1: Color Management in Workflows
    2. Section 10 Interlude 2: A Day in the Life of a Motion Picture Sound File, Circa 2013
    3. Section 10 Interlude 3: Audio Differences Between Live Action and Animation
    4. Section 10 Interlude 4: The Game Audio Pipeline
    5. Section 10 Interlude 5: Game Audio: 2D, 3D, Mono and Stereo
    6. Section 10 Interlude 6: Audio Flexibility in the Game Environment
  24. Chapter 11 Tying It All Together
    1. Section 11.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 11.2 Analyze the Business Requirements
    3. Section 11.3 Process Decisions From Workflow to Mapping the Organization
    4. Section 11.4 Technical and Infrastructure Decisions
    5. Section 11.5 The Unique Considerations of Film and Games
    6. Section 11.6 Building and Proving Pipelines
    7. Section 11.7 Development Methodologies
    8. Section 11.8 Further Education
  25. Chapter 11A Interlude: Virtual Production in Film and Games
    1. Section 11 Interlude 1: What is Virtual Production in Film?
    2. Section 11 Interlude 2: Naming Conventions
    3. Section 11 Interlude 3: The Standard Phases
    4. Section 11 Interlude 4: What is Virtual Production in Games?
    5. Section 11 Interlude 5: Virtual Production and Asset Creation/Capture
    6. Section 11 Interlude 6: Future
  26. Chapter 12 Upcoming Trends and Technologies
    1. Section 12.1 What You Will Learn From This Chapter
    2. Section 12.2 Open Standards and Open-Source Tools
    3. Section 12.3 WebGL and Associated Technologies
    4. Section 12.4 GPU Computing
    5. Section 12.5 Big Data
    6. Section 12.6 Virtual Production
    7. Section 12.7 High-Frame-Rate Cinema
    8. Section 12.8 Virtual Machines
    9. Section 12.9 Games as a Service
    10. Section 12.10 Pipelines as a Service
  27. Chapter 12A Interlude: Cloud Computing for VFX
    1. Section 12 Interlude 1: Cloud Services
    2. Section 12 Interlude 2: Using the Cloud
    3. Section 12 Interlude 3: Collaboration
  28. Glossary
  29. Index