Creating animation that mesmerizes people requires imagination, creativity, innovation along with a lot of hard work. But animators are not the kind of people who work in seclusion and who just keep on creating things they like. They have to create some great pieces for their clients and audiences. And they have to work as per their clients’ suggestions and instructions for creating these.
Client requirements change
The most difficult part that the animators have to deal with is that the clients’ requirements keep on changing with time as they keep on coming up with new, creative and innovative ideas. Animators need to accommodate these ideas in the original script. This requires changing and modifying the script again and again to keep it updated with the changed client needs which would incur more time and effort. This can delay animation projects and push costs over them. But these projects have to be strictly managed within allocated time and budget and how to effectively achieve this, remains a big challenge for the animation experts. For proper, scheduled management over projects and for attaining more control, flexibility over them, the right tools are needed.
Lots of data to organize
Animators, while producing even the shortest of films, have to deal with a lot of data, references, images, textures, scenes, etc. which they find it hard to organize and manage. They are forced to spend a lot more time and effort in finding the needed elements as these are strewn all over the computer. The better arrangement would be to place each element correctly at a specific place along with its associated elements.
In the middle of a production, animators are at ease if they know exactly where their files lie. Psychologically it satisfies them more if they happen to work on a system that is clean. This is less burdening for them as they can focus more on doing their work rather than looking for it.
Why a project management tool?
Web based project management softwares are quite useful in this regard as these enable streamlined and systematic management over animation projects. A project management tool is the best fit for the animation industry where imagination and innovation holds the key to creative success and where deadlines need to be strictly adhered to. With this tool, animators can effectively manage their multiple projects and complete, delivering them as per schedule. They would be able to gear themselves up to any unanticipated changes taking place during the creative development process.
Animators have to proceed in an orderly manner for planning and executing their projects using project management softwares. At every step, project management solutions enable animators to divide a process into distinct stages. For example, creating a single shot can be divided into five distinct stages; layout, modelling, animation, rendering and compositing. The duration of these stages can be set and progress of each stage needs to be tracked.
The features of a project management tool for animation projects:-
Create project. Almost all project management softwares available in the market allow creating multiple projects.
They need to discuss the project with the members of their team scene-by scene and break down the production into tasks and sub-tasks, make rigid estimates about how much time each scene would take in getting completed.
Creating separate tasks lists like pre production, production and post production helps to manage and track all the production elements easily. Use a pre production task list for assigning all tasks related to storyboards, sketches, scripts, blueprints, planning and others to respective team members.Use a post production list for managing and storing post-production elements by naming them as compositing, editing, sounds, music, voices, websites besides others.
Adding all the related tasks in the task lists with their specific start date and due date.
Attaching related files for easy reference.
Assigning labels like urgent, high priority, in progress to all the elements for their improved organization and management.
And the most important is a Gantt chart. Animators need to take a completed schedule and turn it into a Gantt chart. Web based templates are available for building Gantt charts but I’d say, they should actively consider using a web based project management tool like dotProject a freeware or ProofHub, Zoho, Asana; commercial tools as these tools have got inbuilt Gantt charts. By placing the production schedule and the related project plan in a central and easy to access location, keeps everyone in the team on the same page about delivery dates and performance expected from team members. So every member can make the required adjustments on the fly.
Proofing tool in a project management software like ProofHQ and ProofHub helps members to invite fast and accurate feedback on designs from clients and reviewers. A design can be easily uploaded by a designer on which a client can provide his suggestions through text, drawing shapes and adding colors. This helps the designer know what corrections are needed in the design and he can redraw it correctly. This redrawn design then gets approved by the client. So the designs can be proofed and approved fast. In this way design projects can be completed and delivered within time and budget. A proofing tool supports PDF, DOC and other file types for sharing and transfer of files. It imposes no limit on the size of files to be shared.
Document management is the other important aspect which can be easily managed in a project management system, animators can upload documents like images and videos that can be used as a reference in sketches, storyboards, blueprints, planning, scripts and others.
To stay ahead at their work, animators need to change their approach. They would not achieve much by just reacting to changing schedules and workloads. By being proactive, they would be able to plan better for the unexpected changes coming their way. This will impart them the confidence to deal effectively with such situations in case they arise. A project management tool helps them to proactively deal with such changes.
Animation companies looking for organized and effective management over their projects can bank on a project management solution for the same. With it, they would be able to better manage their multiple projects in cramped time schedules and come out with flying colors by delivering projects on time to their clients.
Images: ”Laptop with reel/ Shutterstock.com“
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