VFX Project Tools

Listed here, in no particular order, is my list of VFX project tools. This is a list I started in 2008 while doing my own research for a VFX project management and tracking application. I update it from time to time, if you know of some VFX management software that is not listed here, please comment!

If you are looking for my VFX Project Management and Collaboration tool, you can find it at ShotRunner.com.

Last Updated: April 2013

File Management
Simple systems for just managing collections of files on a hosted server.

  • Dropbox I love Dropbox, it just works. If I could marry software, we’d be hitched.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud (2012) Looks like an interesting new contender, the file-sharing is part of a subscription service for licensing Adobe’s CS applications, but I’ve not been able to get it to work as reliable as Dropbox yet.
  • FileTrek — From the GridIron Flow 2.0 people. See the 7-Mar-2012 press announcement.

Digital Content Management systems
These facilitate content management within a facility. They do a good job of cataloging assets, letting you search and preview assets, versioning files, and tracking metadata.

  • Hiero (2012) From the makers of Nuke, “HIERO has been designed to take care of shot management, conform and review for visual effects; enabling collaborative working with NUKE and other editorial, VFX and finishing tools.” Looks spiffy, and expensive.
  • Cinegy
  • 5thKind Core
  • Final Cut Server (No longer sold)
  • Alienbrain

Studio Management Tools
Scheduling, budgeting, library management, calendaring, maintenance schedules, equipment check-out, etc., all functions needed to run a studio.

Workflow and Pipeline Tools
These tools help organize the workflow, tracking the dependencies between source materials and work products, allowing versioning, and tracking approvals.

VFX Project Management
These tools are essentially databases for tracking all the assets around a VFX pipeline. Things like telecine transfers, plates, 3D assets, mattes, etc. I see them as “MS Project for VFX Supervisors.”

  • Shotgun is the leading system installed at several big studios. It can be licensed as a hosted system or run standalone. It is a deep system requiring significant investment to get up and running.
  • VFX Showrunner is a Filemaker database that seems to do a good job of capturing everything about a VFX production. It is complex and nerdy but a data-junkie’s delight.
  • FTrack — a new (June 2012) VFX and Post tracking application. They appear to have significant backing.
  • Cerebro from CineSoft.ru — this software is downloadable, focusing on assets. An interesting approach.
  • Project Overlordis a client/server application design to track assets and project data.
  • Compbase appears to be a database to track shots and assets. There is no real information on the site, only a PNG showing some of the forms.
  • Invisually seems to be a web-based VFX shot tracking system. Their site has virtually no details on their system, nor can I find any mention of them on the web.
  • Flowsmith is installed in at least one facility in San Francisco I know of. Sadly, their site has no information on it.
  • VFX Nexus is another online VFX project management system. Not sure that they are still active, no posts since 2010.

Review and Annotation Tools

  • CineSync is a QuickTime-based remote review and approval tool.

Miscellaneous Tools
These are plug-ins and other tools that facilitate some aspect of a VFX pipeline.

  • Foam 2.0 appears to be primarily an asset management system with task tracking. It appears to be using some kind of desktop database. Unfortunately, there is no further information on the site.
  • VFX Tracker 2008 is a plugin for FCP that reads a sequence and outputs a list of the shots you have tagged as VFX shots. It is to track the placement of vfx shots in a FCP timeline.term
  • Bold VFX is a collection of scripts, tools and plug-ins.
  • Gorilla is really a film production database, but has lots of features that apply to post-production as well.

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