• Shots and Tasks
    Now for the real meat and potatoes of VFX Nexus. We’ll show a couple of ways to enter new shots into VFX Nexus so you can get a feel for the various tools available.
    Be sure you are within the Project Context (tab), then click the Shots tab that is revealed within the Projects bar. This should bring up a rather sparse page with the name of your project just below the menus.
    WIthin the Shots menu is a selection for "New Shot." Select this to get started.
    The Add Shot entry form is presented. To start a new Shot, we need to name it.
    Hint: We’ve taken a look at naming conventions in several different VFX organizations, and there’s one thing we’re sure of -- there's no predicting how any one studio will want to number their shots. VFX Nexus allows any combination of letters and numbers, as well as most symbols. It sorts in a typical computer oriented numerical, alphabetical order, similar to a file listing on your computer. In other words, shot names in VFX Nexus and a list of folders on a computer file system tend to be in the same order. Here are some example names that work splendidly:

    Let’s create the first Shot now for our cheesemonger epic.
    Enter “CMF_001” in the Shot # field.
    Enter “History of Cheese Establisher” in the Shot Name field.
    The Shot Name is usually a quick summary of what the shot is about, useful for referring to a shot in shorthand.
    Choose a User from the list presented in the Lead User area.
    The lead user is not required, but presents the named user with this shot in their My Shots home page, and is also the name attached to a shot when getting lists of shots from VFX Nexus.
    For the Team menu, select Local.


    All the remaining information is optional; of course the more information you’re able to add, the more details artists have to work with.
    For the Sequence, we’re going to create a new entry by selecting New Sequence? within the menu. A new field opens up just below the menu. This shot is part of the opening montage of the movie, so it’ll be designated like so here. Enter “Opening Montage.”
    The description is for communicating more detail about the actions to occur in the shot. In this case, we’re saying it’s “camera pulls back from a wedge of cheese.” Your production may need more specific information, and this box has plenty of room for details. There are more fields further down the page for some additional, categorized information, so check to make sure you’re using the details page in the best possible way.
    Hint: if your description is covered by the entry in the Shot Name field, hit the Copy Shot Name link to the left side of the Shot Description to fill it out with the same text. You can also add to or edit the description once it copies to the larger description field.

    Frames: for our example, this is a fairly long shot. We’ll put 300 in here.

    Hint: The Frames field allows numbers and letters. This can be useful if you like calling out handles for the shots separately from the actual edited duration ( 6-288-6), or if you need to use feet and frames, or even timecode.

    Next, the Due Date for this specific shot. Enter in Month/Day/Year format, or use the calendar widget. Artists see a countdown on their home pages based on this entry. It is also used on the site wide Calendar for placing items on their due dates.
    Choose a status. One of the default status options is “Create Animatic.” We’ll select this for the Status.
    The Version is used as a point of reference pertaining to the iteration or phase of work this shot is in. Right now, the shot doesn’t exist so “-None-” is the logical choice, although no entry is required.
    Priority and Complexity are used to help artists determine in what order they’d like to tackle their Shots. We’ll leave these at their defaults for now.
    The color coding options follow. We’ll say this shot happens to feature some fresh manchego cheese, so the color coding options should match this. Open the color coding options area by clicking “Show Color Options” then select the buttons for “Manchego” and “Fresh.”
    We’ll imagine that the entirety of this shot will be 100% CG. Therefore we’ll leave the Scans menu to “None.”

    Open the “Show Notes” area to see what other data we could add to this shot.
    If we still had to place an order for the scans, the range of timecodes could be listed in the notes area within the Timecodes box. This box is also good for referencing where in the production edit a shot appears.
    Camera notes can be transcribed from production notes, or anything the Supervisor may want to point out.
    Additional fields are available -- you'll need to determine if their use fits your workflow. Some suggestions: Tape Notes is for transcribing anything of note regarding the digitization or scanning of plates or elements. Color Correct Notes are handy for referencing when in a color timing session. Delivery Notes may be good for a quick note like “on disc and shipped” or may contain a FedEx tracking number.
    Click the Add button to enter this shot into our Project.
    You are now presented with the Details Page. This is the page artists will be interacting with most often and where supervisors will leave notes and status updates.
    From this page we can add an image to represent this Shot. In the upper left corner of the page is the box for entering an image. These images are usually grabs taken from a Quicktime edit of a movie or episode, or a key image from a storyboard. Click the "Change or Delete" link next to the Image row, then select a desired file, in JPEG, PNG, or TIFF format, by hitting the Choose File button and navigating to the image on your computer. Click the Update button to upload this image.
    For a .zip file containing some sample images, click here. This will come in handy again later in the tutorial.
    If there are any additional details that need to be relayed for this shot, and don’t necessarily fit in the details area, they can be entered in the Messages area. Click the New Message area, type in the note, then click Add. The shot Version, the Author of the note, and the Date are all recorded alongside the message for reference.
    Perhaps one of the most important workflow concepts is the assignment of Tasks. You can assign multiple users to a shot by using tasks, and any number of Tasks can be added to a shot. To start, click the Tasks tab in the details area. Click the New Task link to the left, and name the task. Typical entries here are “Camera Track,” “Roto,” “Compositor,” “Mocap cleanup” and the like. Select a user in the "Assigned to:" menu and type a quick description of their role in this shot in the Notes area.
    Hint: If you don’t see the artist you intend to assign to this shot or a task listed as a selection, return to the User Access area within the Project Settings menu to associate them with this project.

    You could continue this process for every Shot in your Project. This may seem tedious for a larger project. Fortunately, there are some additional tools for speeding this process along.

    Yet Another Hint: a Shot has no problem bouncing from Project to Project. This makes for some extreme flexibility: a Project can be made for all rotoscoping work, then once completed it can move onto a compositing Project. You could also make a “wish list” Project, and once time is found for a particular shot, it can be moved to your main Project. It is also handy to keep an inactive Project of inactive shots--shots that have been cut. That way it the shot ever returns, you can move it back to the active project and have all the previous information intact.
    Our advice is to always keep it simple. Use only the number of Projects you need to smoothly track your work. Once you get a feel for how VFX Nexus streamlines these processes, you may want to add more Projects to suit your style; or you may find it entirely unnecessary or even distracting to splinter off Projects this way.

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