Pipeline scripting development

As demonstrated by the major VFX facilities of the world, pipeline scripting is one of the major areas where studios of all shapes and sizes can drastically increase their output for the head hours invested. In addition to the increased productivity, scripting any "non-human" jobs, will cut down on process errors and general mistakes made by introducing artists to the process. The benefits are not all business side either. If repetitive jobs can be automated, artists can spend more time doing the jobs they love and less time renaming files or sorting out servers. 

Below are some examples of pipeline scripts that I have developed with these outcomes in mind:

 
 

Bulk retail image processing

As part of my role as Head of Retouching and CGI, I am required to manage a pipeline that handles over 18000 images per year and passes data through the hands of many artists and support staff. 

The issues to be solved:

- Filenaming inconsistencies

- Server saving reliability

- Server cleanup and maintenance

- Multiple save locations for single files

- Accidental duplication and overwriting of file names

- Access of files in various departments in a timely manner

- Quality control of outputted files

To create an encompassing solution to solve all of the problems and still allow all artists the access the data at any step of the process, a combination of Javascript actions and droplets were written to work in correlation with Adobe Bridge and Adobe Photoshop. The flowchart on the left shows the data workflow.

The power of this workflow really comes in the levels of redundancy with the initial scripts setting up and checking the filename and folder structures to allow the later scripts in the process to execute complex procedures without the need to account for invalid data. Over 18000 images it is estimated that this workflow saved minimum 600 head hours over the manual process.


E-commerce website content development

With the growing reliance on e-commerce in the retail sector, there is a corresponding growth in the need for content to be produced in an efficient manner which suits a pre-exiting template. With products going on sale, being updated and selling out daily, simply keeping websites up to date is hard enough with need to be toiling over content production.

The issues to be solved:

- Images need to be dynamically linked to a library to allow for automatic updating if new packaging or photography is created.

- Images must be able to populate into an automatically created inDesign document including resizing and framing into the centre of a template sized file. 

- The indesign file must be able to automatically export files based on a predefined naming structure and server location to ensure that old files are overwritten and removed. 

- The save times of the files must be checked and compared to the original files to ensure that the save process has been completed successfully. 

- The process should take a job which currently takes 2-3 hours for 300 shots and cut it to under 5 minutes. 

Javascript scripts that can work between Adobe inDesign and Adobe Photoshop were used to create the solution to solve this problem. The flowchart on the right shows the workflow of the final script.