Matt Taylor, a director at the animation studio Titmouse, was gracious enough to meet with the Bluescape team to discuss remote animation production and share some of his experiences using Bluescape.
A Conversation with Matt Taylor
Matt explains that when he directed the award-winning Rick and Morty Exquisite Corpse, the global team of animators used many of the same techniques that are used for remote work today. While some coordination was involved in order to create the transitions as one animator picked up where the last animator left off, the full team never collaborated all together at the same time.
You can watch the short here.
“Once you launch, you don’t really see [your team] again,” says Matt. “You don’t want to interrupt their workflow. There’s no way to see and talk to each other at once. Just the occasional emergency video call for any big feedback. Otherwise, we mostly relied on screengrabs and red-line changes.”
When you’re removed from the studio setting, project management inevitably looks a little different. There are siloes that need to be broken down in order to keep the project headed in the right direction and a lot of piecing together assets from all different directions. In order to track progress and assignments, Matt used a “war board,” which helped him outline and track the list of shots required and their progress.
While Exquisite Corpse was created before the pandemic, it was produced by an entirely distributed team. Fortunately, animation production teams have made great strides in how to manage the production process while working from home.
Knowing that remote animation production is here to stay, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have the right solutions in place to enable smooth team collaboration.
So, what are the top benefits of using a digital workspace for remote production?
Stay on Top of the Production Process
Good luck tracking down that random sticky note you made two weeks ago with important client feedback on it.
As production ramps up, it’s important to use unified production tools that can be easily accessed by everyone on the crew.
A glimpse of how animation teams use Bluescape to collaborate while still maintaining that in-room magic.
“It feels like spinning a bunch of plates sometimes,” explains Matt. “Typically, we’ll have two dailies a week where we go over everything that needs to happen. With Bluescape, we can just bring that war board [into a workspace] and update it in real-time, which is way more efficient.
“It keeps me organized as a director to know exactly where everything is.”
Using a collaborative digital workspace cuts out all the time wasted searching through emails and chat threads for notes. It streamlines the production process by making everything accessible in one place. You can even annotate and mark up assets in real-time (even while presenting to clients) to avoid having to recall exactly what was said in a meeting after the fact.
Maintain the Integrity of Your Work
Clarity is key when you present your project to your team and your clients. While other collaboration tools like video conferencing can compromise the visual quality of your work, or provide choppy video playbacks, solutions like Bluescape create a presentation that showcases your work exactly as intended.
Bluescape doesn’t compromise the quality of your image and video files, so your sketches and animations will be presented as true to your original vision as possible.
Learn how Bluescape helps creative teams "bring it in" here.
With clarity at the forefront, unnecessary back-and-forth and confusion are eliminated and the entire production process runs more smoothly. You’ll also avoid the risk of false approvals—that is, getting a “yes” that’s taken back later because errors or details were missed during feedback rounds.
Keep Collaboration Alive
“Bluescape is way more than just a virtual whiteboard,” says Matt.
“Everyone on the crew can be on a video meeting at one time and has a workspace they can contribute to.”
Assets and deliverables are unified within a shared workspace with helpful context to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Bluescape brings your meetings to the content instead of trying to pool all your content together before meetings. It enables you to start a quick huddle within your workspace and smooth out any hiccups within the production process with everything you need to reference already in front of you.
Bluescape can also give your clients a peek behind the scenes; it’s easy to show how your animation team’s ideas evolved and worked off each other within a shared workspace.
That’s a Wrap
“An animation pipeline can totally be contained within this platform.”
“[Bluescape] speaks to efficiency, speed, and access,” concludes Matt. Everything is way more productive, which is ultimately what we want to be at the end of the day.”
With the right collaboration tools in place, the right pistons fire at the exact right moment within the animation production process. Quality and integrity of work don’t have to be compromised for the sake of efficiency—in fact, deadlines are crushed when quality is kept intact.
Thank you for sitting down with the Bluescape team, Matt! We’re excited to see what you do next.