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RedCurrant high-level requirements

Introduction

The RedCurrant project should become a tool to help us manage the Gooseberry Pilot project assets and processes, gain insight into the current state of the project and engage the community.

This document defines the high-level requirements for this platform with the goal of validating them. The proposed process is:

  1. Validate the high-level requirements within the Gooseberry teams.
  2. Validate the high-level requirements within the Blender community.
  3. With this feedback, further specify the requirements.
  4. Validate the specific requirements within the Gooseberry teams.
  5. Reach out to open source software developers for package selection.
  6. Reach a ‘make or buy’ decision.

High-level requirements

RedCurrant:

  1. Supports the entire movie making process from storyboarding to asset creation and render farm management.
  2. Manages versions of digital assets (which are not limited to Blender content only) and their relations.
  3. Has a ‘Player’ to review the current state of the project. It allows browsing into shots to access all related assets and their current or previous versions.
  4. It allows for conversations about assets and to ‘subscribe’ to them to be notified of future changes.
  5. Is easy and fun to use for artists and encourages status updates with the community.
  6. Offers light weight project and task management, and gives artists a list of task/assets to work on.
  7. Supports ‘virtual teams’ or remote team members, and allows artists to work offline.
  8. Has a web-based frontend which is integrated into the Blender Cloud. It also offers asset management tools inside Blender and a local client for efficient checking in and out of large files.
  9. Supports multiple simultaneous projects and team formations.
  10. Is entirely built using Free/Open Software components - freely shared via our site.

Requirements notes:

2: Examples of other asset types are scripts, reference videos, scans of drawings, inspirational material, sound files, notes etc. In addition, RedCurrant supports ‘derived assets’ which can automatically reprocess assets such as automatic (low-resolution) rendering of scenes upon their check-in. Alternatively, it can trigger an artist to reprocess an asset upon check-in by creating a task for him (for example to manually create a new low-resolution proxy of an asset).

3: The Player automatically compiles a playlist of all scenes by using their currently available material. This results in a mixture of storyboards, shots in different stages of completion and final material. Each scene can also be replaced by its previous versions, so as to better understand how a shot or asset is developing over time. The Player also provides insight into the progress of the project as a whole: a list of all assets and their completion, task assignments etc.

4: Assets can be set to ‘public’ or ‘private’. Both team members and the community can have conversations and subscribe to assets (with the community being limited to public assets only). These conversations can include different media (like a screenshot with annotations). The community’s conversation will be on a separate page/tab though to not interfere with the team’s work. This way the community can closely follow the creation of an asset, create their own versions, and propose their work to the team.

6: RedCurrant does not aim to provide a full-blown project management system; implementation of these is very much dependant on the preferences of studio managers and is left to them to do. It does offer basic functionality such as sharing project milestones with the team, and attaching sequential tasks to assets and assigning them to individual artists.

7: Movie libraries typically become very big. Working remotely or offline therefore requires RedCurrant to selectively check out only the required assets for a task (which can be determined by including all the related assets). Artists always have the option for a full checkout of the project. For larger projects that involve multiple studios, these studios can set up a local repository which is kept in sync with the main RedCurrant repository.

9: This is a lower priority requirement; we can launch RedCurrant with support for a single project, Gooseberry. In time the system must be able to offer project space for Blender Cloud users as well though.