Ftrack Optimize the Creative Production

It’s cumbersome and time-consuming to produce CG. At this time, it is very necessary to have a good project management tool. It frees the artist from the tedious work and is committed to the creative work.
Today we are going to talk to a company that specializes in developing project management tools. It’s called ftrack. ftrack is the project management, production tracking and media review platform that teams in the creative industries use to collaborate. It connects people, simplifies workflows and increases studio efficiency.

CGGE: Would you please simply introduce your company to our audience?
ftrack : ftrack is a project management, production tracking, and media review platform for creative teams. It gives artists everything they need to plan projects, manage versions, and create a blueprint for their production.We create two products: ftrack Studio and ftrack Review.ftrack Studio is the fully featured version of ftrack. Using ftrack Studio’s scheduling tools, users can break down and plan what activities each department and individual team member must complete and to what deadlines. When production commences, users can track progress on each creative asset, make notes, update versions, and push the project to the finish line. Everyone knows what’s been worked on, and when, via a full activity history on each asset and shot.

Using ftrack Studio’s collaborative review tools, users can open media and discuss it with other session participants. This means annotating on frames and writing notes that are time-stamped to the frame under discussion. This visual approach makes creative feedback much more clear and precise than discussing media via email threads.

ftrack Review is a streamlined version of ftrack Studio that concentrates on the media review functionality only, but accessible via a web browser.

CGGE: For your platform, what’s the advantage of it? Why did you consider to develop such a platform? What’s the difference from other platforms like Alienbrain, Shotgun, etc
ftrack : Creative projects have always been complex when working as part of a team, and they’re only getting more complicated as time goes on. Avengers: Endgame has over 3,000 visual effects shots and hundreds of thousands of individual assets. Each of those assets needed to be designed, created, animated, lit, rendered, and more. Spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets have limits when tracking the journey of an asset through such a complex pipeline. They’re manual, inflexible, and their collaborative nature only extends so far: post-production and visual effects pipelines are inherently a collaborative effort with efficiency at its core.

ftrack was created to tackle these issues in a user-friendly, intuitive, and collaborative way. In fact, ftrack was designed within a visual effects studio itself, before becoming commercially available. ftrack was developed by artists who suffered the constraints of spreadsheets and wanted a bespoke tool that could help tackle creative projects in a more automated, methodical way. ftrack does just that.

ftrack’s benefits over Shotgun and Alienbrain are numerous, but to sum things up ftrack is known for its greater ease of use and accessibility. ftrack presents a more straightforward, cleaner user interface, which makes it very artist-friendly. (It’s essential for us that ftrack’s tools are simple for artists to use, as they’re the ones using it every day!) On the other end of the scale, our API is very developer-friendly and all plugins are are open source, which makes ftrack a uniquely customizable product. If a studio wants to code in new functionality, it can do so.

CGGE:How your platform changes the creative business.
ftrack : ftrack has three core aims designed to change the way creatives tackle their work.

Firstly, we’re acutely aware that the creative industry is made up of people, not tools. Creativity is all about working together, and ftrack is designed to connect people. Whether working internally or collaborating with clients, ftrack helps users to build out a schedule, discuss work from a top-down view or focused on a specific asset, and to communicate about work in progress. It creates a conversation around work.

Secondly, ftrack increases studio efficiency. It’s easier to take on complicated projects as ftrack makes it easy to build the blueprints that help supervisors and producers to plan out and achieve deadlines. ftrack dashboards also provide detailed analytics and reporting on projects. Studios can see exactly where time and resource is being spent, enabling them to make informed decisions and optimize their approach.

Finally, ftrack simplifies creative workflows. Users can track every stage of their production and view a history of all work completed on an asset and by whom. That makes it much easier to understand what work is needed next. Client review also makes feedback simple and clear, so there’s less iteration required as studios dial in the right look for a shot.

Overall, ftrack acts as the architect, pathfinder, historian, and intermediary on any creative project. These are necessary elements in any production, but they’re not covered by the functionality of a spreadsheet. ftrack can shoulder that responsibility for creative teams.

CGGE: Can your platform integrate the software, like adobe 3D Maya or Max; Unity or UE4?
ftrack : Yes, ftrack integrates out of the box with a wide range of content creation apps that are already in use today. This includes Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya, Unity, and Unreal Engine. ftrack also integrates with Maxon’s Cinema 4D, Cospective’s cineSync, Adobe’s Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere Pro, Foundry’s Nuke, Nuke Studio, and Hiero, and more.

ftrack’s integrations allow it to run natively inside each application. Any artists using these products can create their work inside them, then update what they’ve done in ftrack without having to leave the creative app!

CGGE: Your platform is a paid platform. Have you ever considered the free version that can let more and more companies, especially small and medium companies to try it?
ftrack : At ftrack we always consider our customers, how they’re using ftrack, and what might improve their experience. With this in mind, we provide fully-featured free trials of ftrack. ftrack Studio’s project management, versioning, and asset tracking functionality is a complete package. It features everything a studio needs to meet ftrack’s three aims of connecting people, increasing studio efficiency, and simplifying workflows. To strip out any of this functionality to introduce a free version of ftrack Studio would prevent studios from performing work efficiently and to their best standards.

Nevertheless, several initiatives currently open up ftrack to smaller and medium-sized companies. ftrack Review offers only the media review functionality to creatives, who may not require the fully featured scheduling, asset management, and versioning tools of ftrack Studio.

We provide a free trial to users who want to see how ftrack works before they purchase a subscription. The ftrack team is entirely on hand to answer questions and help out users during this trial period.

We also offer educational plans to academic institutions who wish to make use of ftrack in their curriculum.

CGGE: I see there is a Shanghai office in China. Is there any difference between Chinese customers and overseas? Will you develop a special Chinese edition for Chinese speaker users?
ftrack : Chinese speaking users can already use ftrack with Chinese localization simply by changing the language settings in ftrack.

Although there is a cultural difference between our Chinese customers and those overseas, their approach to work differs little. Our customers are all creatives who want to create engaging stories. The challenges they face and the tools that they use are mostly the same. The process of creativity is something of a universal language. All of our customers speak it!

That said, the volume of projects taken on at any one times tends to be much higher in China. Overseas studios tend to work on fewer projects simultaneously. Work on TV series also differs. Overseas, post-production and production on TV shows often happens concurrently. In China, production on all episodes is often completed before post-production begins. Some Chinese studios face up to 10,000 shots at once! ftrack certainly helps out there.

Fredrik Limsater (ftrack CEO)
We have an ftrack office situated in China, with dedicated team who travel around the country and enjoy visiting studios face to face. Head to for more information or book a meeting with the team. You can also find ftrack on WeChat by searching for “ftrack”.

By: Sophia


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