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GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secret.

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Chris Wells

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GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secret.

PostFri Aug 14, 2015 8:54 pm

I just got back from siggraph and I'm a little concerned about generation. I talked to several people at the blackmagic booth and only about half of them really understood what generation is. Of those about half again understood how useful it is, and it's possibilities. So it looks like blackmagic has a great tool on their hands and no real idea what to do with it or what it even is. The one mention I can find of it on the website is "Includes Generation studio wide management software for assigning tasks, tracking assets, and versioning shots."

I would also say that most the community that is growing with the new blackmagic fusion doesn't really know what it is or how it can help them. Not that I blame them like I said there is basically no info on it now.

So I wanted to do a quick video showing off what generation is.



this clip is 3 mins and just does a quick overview of how useful generation is out of the box.

However, generation is much more than that. With some python, generation becomes and amazing pipeline/project management tool. I did a video showing it's possibilities, and how we have customized it to be fantastic.



I hope that the community sees the possibilities generation offers, and that blackmagic does as well. And that they put some lovin into it.

thanks
Chris
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Chad Capeland

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostFri Aug 14, 2015 11:18 pm

Considering how Resolve doesn't even offer scripting, there's a huge capability gap that many people don't notice. They both collect and play clips, but the use cases are so different, I certainly hope Generation isn't dropped in favor of Resolve. At least not until Resolve gets a lot better and more capable.
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Chris Wells

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostFri Aug 14, 2015 11:40 pm

I really really hope they don't try to combine resolve and generation. they are two completely separate apps/ capabilities. I do hope resolve gets scripting. as there are many tasks I would like to automate in it. and have it talk to generation. but.... in no way do I want generation inside resolve. I can see no benefit that a good scripting bridge between the two wouldn't solve. But there are many downsides.. Resolve takes it's time starting up, to slow to jump in and out of. so I honestly don't want to wait for it. it is already feeling "cluttered" with editing slapped in it. you slap a project management system inside it, and it's just one more cluster of an app.

one of the great things about generation, is it is a very clean, fast, straight forward box to build on. it's very straight forward. so when you add all your scripts. they become the interface. but it's not cluttered with anything else.

I like resolve for what it is. it's great. but it is no generation, and combining them is not the answer, I really hope they aren't considering this!

I hope they are considering putting scripting into resolve, that would really make it shine. but let generation continue independent.
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Chad Capeland

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSat Aug 15, 2015 1:08 am

One thing that would help is Generation getting it's own forum. Why not have Resolve, Fusion, and Generation forums?

Another thing that would help is a separate SKU. Including with Fusion Studio is great, but offer it alone for a small amount, too, like $250. You'd lose some functionality, sure, but the separate SKU would increase visibility.
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Margus Voll

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSat Aug 15, 2015 6:19 am

Amazing stuff.

When and if Fusion and Resolve will talk in the future then Generation seems like
good option managing it all.
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Ryan Bloomer

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSat Aug 15, 2015 3:15 pm

Thanks for Posting this Chris!

The functionality and custom scripting you have between applications is really what makes switching to Fusion centric pipeline seam extremely viable to advancing smaller companies. Unfortunately for new comers switching to Fusion, like myself, this makes it really daunting to have to learn to custom scripting to obtain the functionality like you have in Generation. I hope there is more training available for this type of pipeline in the future, or the ability to purchase scripts like you'rs to help get smaller companies up and running in Generation.

Not having to deal with the OS and explorer windows would be a much welcomed change from the way we currently work!

Cheers, Ryan
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michael vorberg

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSat Aug 15, 2015 7:00 pm

great usage of generation!

nice to see someone showing what this software is capable
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Simon Dayan

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSun Aug 16, 2015 6:21 am

wow... it is a very powerful framework environment :o .

Thanks for the info & video !
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Nilscrompton

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSun Aug 16, 2015 11:36 am

Very generous of you to share your workflow IP with us all.
For me as a simple VFX freelancer that was pretty mind blowing.
http://minifilm.co
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Chris Wells

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostMon Aug 17, 2015 4:28 pm

Thanks for the kind remarks everyone.

I would love to hear from blackmagic, Can anyone from blackmagic comment on generation?
Even just to confirm they have watched the videos and are having discussions about it?
hopefully discussions on how to advertise it and make it better.

Thanks
Chris
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Chad Capeland

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostMon Aug 17, 2015 4:31 pm

Grass roots campaign? Everyone make one call over the next 3 weeks to support. Ask a really simple question about Generation. If you get an answer be very appreciative and say how much this is going to help your production out. :mrgreen: :idea:
Chad Capeland
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Chris Wells

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostMon Aug 17, 2015 5:46 pm

Chad Capeland wrote:Grass roots campaign? Everyone make one call over the next 3 weeks to support. Ask a really simple question about Generation. If you get an answer be very appreciative and say how much this is going to help your production out. :mrgreen: :idea:


not a bad idea, if that's what it takes, :D
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Chad Capeland

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostMon Aug 17, 2015 5:59 pm

Chris Wells wrote:
Chad Capeland wrote:Grass roots campaign? Everyone make one call over the next 3 weeks to support. Ask a really simple question about Generation. If you get an answer be very appreciative and say how much this is going to help your production out. :mrgreen: :idea:


not a bad idea, if that's what it takes, :D


Just don't mention it to them, it has to be a secret! 8-)
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Chris Wells

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostTue Aug 18, 2015 5:51 pm

I was asked some questions in another forum so have decided to post some of the answers here in case anyone is interested.

What about asset management?
so with asset management, kinda not really, you could, just make everything talk to a database that pulls info from generation as well as other apps, we actually have an awesome automatic time tracker I didn't show that gets info from generation and other apps, and keeps track of how much time you spent on each shot, but it would be a similar system. we are a "comp" based system. so almost all the tools are based off of that idea. not every shot needs 3d not every shot needs mocha or sytheyes. but every shot needs a comp, so that is our primary asset. maybe the easiest way is to explain how we collect assets for backup. At the end of a show, we have a project Archive script. now all this works because everything is in the right place because it was all put there by a script. so we know where to find everything. And what is important and not. so the script goes through and grabs, most the 3d stuff, not renders and not sims. everything else doesn't take up that much space by comparison anyway, then it gets to the comps. it gets the final comp, and looks inside it to see what was actually used in the final shot. goes through and collects all those assets, and puts them, if not there already, in a precomp folder for that shot. then the script makes a new comp with relative paths to them, that means all the test renders you did, get cleaned up for you. only if the render was in the final comp is it saved. now the 3d assets are still there if you wanted to go back because they don't take up much space, but not the renders. same with all the old versions of comp renders, essentially if it's not the final or in the final comp and it's a big image sequence. we dump it for backup. it can always be rendered again if needed. but not worth keeping. so as far as asset management, we know what's in a comp, and what 3d assets are in it. and where it's track came from. but if an artist updated a 3d asset, our system has no idea and it's up the the artist to let the other 3d person know it needs re rendered. we have tools that make it easier for mdd swapping and the what not. but more work could go into this area. but honestly, with a small group not a big deal for us.

what about bigger studios?
the biggest deal with generation is it doesn't scale well, because of not being able to have multiple people editing. it's an all or nothing. so if one is in editing nothing else can be changed. if they said, per shot editing that would go a very long way to making it scale to bigger groups.

what about two people working on the same shot?
as for having 3d and comp working on something at the same time, not a problem, the comp script gets newest comp, the 3d gets newest 3d, so both tools work, the issues you get into is one of them has to be on bottom. as far as playing back in the timeline. but you can easily click on the higher level and playback that it just wouldn't go to review. unless you made it it's own shot. for example, ogre look dev, as a shot, then you render a 360 turn of it. well then that would go to review. or even just a frame. but it's based on shots. so you'd just say, show setups or scene setups are shots. it really hasn't been a problem.

how long did this take?
as for development time. really hard to say, it's been me and another guy Rob Field, we got generation a couple of years ago. neither one of us really did scripting or python, I had done one successful python script before and it was basic. and needed a lot of help to make it work. We got generation, could see the potential. so decided we needed to learn python. that was a couple of years ago. so we started banging our heads against it, and over the couple years it evolved to what you see. actually there's more I didn't show, would have taken to long, but if we had to start from scratch and do it now, with the better python ability, it would probably take the two of us, 3-4 weeks. it's not as bad as people think and Rob and I aren't as good as some :) the hard part for us was, just learning python while also learning the python connections to each app. that's why even in the video some of the gui's are easygui, aka tkinter and others are pyqt. we went down the easy gui path first. actually the no gui path first, but then learned easy gui, then learned pyqt.

why can't blackmagic do what you did?
the problem is, every pipeline is different and everyone swears by their setup. So if someone brings tools to market. Say we did, well generation is included now, so no cost there. but what would it have to cost as a separate suite of plugins? because then you are talking people getting it and not wanting to work the way it works and breaking it immediately which would then cause mounds of support issues. if blackmagic wrote everything we did. same thing. everyone cries because. "Why does it save to the precomp folder? wouldn't it be better if X" we have refined ours as it has developed and I'm sure we will keep doing so. almost every show. we find a new need, a new tool that would make life easier and write it. last week, we have a client that doesn't use the client review system. just texts, "all is good" so I made a "batch change status" script. pops up a gui. you select what the status is, what you want it to be. and it does it for the whole project. 30 mins to write. and now we have it. But you do that times everyone's shows it becomes a pretty big undertaking and a support nightmare. We were just discussing how we would have to write/ rewrite all ours to make it more customizeable to any one's fancy. We could make it a lot more changeable. but at the end of the day it's the balance between, it all works because everything is done by it. it knows where everything goes, so where to find it. and If humans get involved and want to keep changing things or not following the rules. then it all falls apart.

that's why epp, was trying to be so open ended. but I don't think anyone knew what to do with it. We had already started down our road so never even looked at them.

so I get the problem and difficulty for blackmagic. the more custmized, the better the tool is, aka ours, but the less adoptable to everyone's needs. the more open it is, aka epp, the less useful it is to people.

What they can do is fix the current issues. the muilti user problems. and some other's I won't get into here. make it solid and polished.
Then they could decide what road they want to go down. if it was me it would be a slightly more customizeable our system :) I'm clearly biased though, but it just works, and works well, I think that gets the small to medium guys up and going. and if you can't script it your self, then just take what you can get and stick to what someone else thought was a proper pipeline. the medium to bigger places are going to have scripters anyway.

hope this is helpful,
Chris
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Vladimir LaFortune

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostTue Aug 18, 2015 7:41 pm

^
Awesome! Thanks for great write up.

Well BMD could certainly have some template scripts pre-installed just to showcase the power of Generation. From what I've seen you can easily turn this into Scratch Web like custom client which is huge.
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Margus Voll

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostTue Aug 18, 2015 8:21 pm

Sounds like a good plan to me. BM makes "core" and directions etc and everybody can use it on top of that.

Maybe even start a small community based script base i.e. shering them in the forum etc.
Margus Voll, C.S.I.

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Chris Wells

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostTue Aug 18, 2015 9:03 pm

So here is my dream situation between davinci and generation:

Picture a generation with scripts talking to everything like exampled, but including davinci, where you could one click take all shots marked for VFX in your davinci timeline, and send them to generation, making all the vfx pipeline/structure on the way, and have them talking so, when the shot is finished, it's a one click back to davinci, or no click for that matter, have an option in davinci to just always get what's in the final folder from generation. so editor or colorist has the newest shot. have a data base that stores general luts per shot as the looks are setup, and have it so davinci and generation talk back and forth, so I can turn on and off "davinci" look inside generation, so as an artist I can see an idea of what final color is doing. Have a "context" button in generation that would grab the shots before and after from davinci, and cache that in generation. So as an artist I can see context with none VFX shots. but not have to deal with the whole film timeline. That would be the ideal workflow for me. the speed and simplicity, and customization of generation. and then some scripting in davinci so it can talk to generation. And generation stays controlling life, not davinci... you have a small number of editors, and colorists, it doesn't make sense to put the rest of the VFX pipeline inside their tools. It makes way more sense, to beef up the communications between the two and keep the VFX pipeline streamlined.

Blackmagic... Make it happen! :)
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Rony Soussan

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostWed Aug 19, 2015 3:19 pm

This thread is awesome place to show what you have done with Generation!

That being said, there are NO current plans that I am aware of to dump that product.
I have written an FCPXML importer to generation (from resolve export) with shot creation if anyone is interested.
I have NOT commented the code yet, but I certainly can work with anyone here that needs to get going with that
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Margus Voll

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostWed Aug 19, 2015 3:22 pm

Will there be mac version ? :)
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Rony Soussan

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostWed Aug 19, 2015 3:45 pm

You had to ask that? hehe

So far, no mention of it not being in there, as the first Mac delivery will the Fusion and not Fusion studio, which is the version that has Generation.
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Margus Voll

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostWed Aug 19, 2015 3:53 pm

Yeah i had to ask :)

But good to know.
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Chris Wells

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostWed Aug 19, 2015 5:12 pm

I just spent some time talking to our davinci colorist and he had another great idea. If there was scripting inside davinci, I could have a get "mattes" button inside davinci, that would look in generation, look at the comp, and all the elements that went into the shot and then bring up a multiselect box, and I could pick what to load then into davinci, which could then be used as masks for color operation. as it is now it's all by hand, he says you put some fire in, can you get me that so I can isolate it. and we say okay. with this. all that info is known.

of course for the next mind blow imagine and deep image with buffers for all the elements build into the render so davinci could just select one and use it for a mask.

one can dream ;)
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Margus Voll

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostWed Aug 19, 2015 5:17 pm

Good dream.

I have similar dreams as i do our Resolve work and our VFX work also.
Margus Voll, C.S.I.

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Fred Pienkos

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostWed Aug 19, 2015 10:07 pm

[quote="Chad Capeland"]One thing that would help is Generation getting it's own forum. Why not have Resolve, Fusion, and Generation forums?

I think Generation definitely needs its own forum. There is a lot of development going on by users who depend on Generation, and having a place to share and discuss that would be good instead of bloating the fusion forum.

We have built a pipeline around Generation, and of course there are some small things I hope we can get worked out in the future, the product is one of the center most used tools in our facility. Thanks to Chris for a great demonstration for what the powers are under the Generation hood.

We use generation with the help of a python script to extract plates from our camera masters. It is almost a completely automated process of reading in an edl, and exporting out all elements for all shots, into folders and filenames that make sense. With the distributed rendering of Fusion and Generation, we can pull an edl with 100 plates in just a few minutes. This stuff is powerful. I would love to see BMD put more dev time behind this product soon.
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Mark Rasmussen

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSun Aug 23, 2015 7:24 pm

I don't know if everyone here knows, but Eyeon did some videos on Generation. Like Chris, I also have had Generation for just about 2 years, I am not extending it like he has, as I use it for personal freelance work. These videos at the time were useful.



Cheers
Mark Rasmussen
Senior Compositor | VFX Supervisor
Enigma|FX
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Jiri Sindelar

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostTue Aug 25, 2015 8:31 am

Rony Soussan wrote:This thread is awesome place to show what you have done with Generation!
I have written an FCPXML importer to generation (from resolve export) with shot creation if anyone is interested.

Hi,
I would be very interested in that script. Especially how did you solve speed changes and converted multi layer timeline to generation "slot timeline". Did you actually merged shots that overlap "vertically"?

Thank you
Jirka
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Jason Bowdach

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostMon Oct 26, 2015 7:52 am

I would be really interested in the xml import code. I assume it's limited to fusion 7 studio until 8 is officially released? Many thanks
Colorist \ Finishing Artist | www.JasonBowdach.com | www.PixelToolsPost.com
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Glenn Sakatch

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSun Jan 03, 2016 6:28 pm

Chris, thanks for showing how you are using Generation. I bought Fusion in 2013, and had no idea what Generation was. I think I have launched it twice!

I just completed a pilot for a TV series with a ton of TVset screen replacements. Generation and your workflow would have been wonderful for that scenario.

Now, if you would like to do a short tutorial on how your wrote one of those scripts.........:)

I might have to learn some scripting.
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Mikhail Korovyansky

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostMon Jan 04, 2016 2:23 pm

Glenn Sakatch wrote:Now, if you would like to do a short tutorial on how your wrote one of those scripts.........:)
I might have to learn some scripting.


simple tutorials... but with a big potential behind..



VFX Supervisor
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Glenn Sakatch

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Re: GENERATION: the best kept secret that shouldn't be secre

PostSat Jan 16, 2016 6:38 pm

Thanks...ofcourse, now I have to start learning again:)

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