This month we talk with Alex Duk
director of visualization departament company Vedis
Could you please tell me about the history of your company, about your department?
We are a part of a large residential construction corporation in Moscow. Our particular department specializes in computer graphics, architectural visualization, and advertising for Vedice Corp. The major part of our work is in architectural visualization but recently we have been working on commercials quite a lot.
Were there any projects that might be familiar to a wide audience?
Well, yes, there was a fairly large marketing campaign for Marfino and Nakhimovo residential developments – everyone who follows the market for inexpensive residential real estate would have heard of them.
Why did you decide to use Cerebro and what had you used before that?
We had not used anything before we started using Cerebro. We did not have a dedicated project management system. We had a database, the supervisor just told people what to do, and he was the only one who had this information – we did not have a centralized system. Our department is quite small, so it usually didn’t cause any problems. But we still thought that we should fix it because from time to time things would go awry: someone would forget to do something or wouldn’t do it on time; sometimes a task would be set, but whoever was supposed to carry it out didn’t know about it… That was the first problem.
And the second thing was that as head of the department I used to spend days and nights in the office and so everything was under my control. But know the situation has changed somewhat, I have to spend a lot of time out of the office, but I still need to know what goes on there. For example, conflicts in schedule can mean that nothing gets done: when my employees come to the office in the morning, I am not yet there and cannot give them any tasks, but when I get to the office they have already left and, again, I cannot give them any tasks. Now, I do not have to meet someone in person to set a task, I can do it when it is convenient for me. Now I know who does what, what stage they are at… Functions like Dailies are very convenient, very useful: I can track what tasks my employees are working on right now.
Which Cerebro client are you using? Mac OS, Windows, Linux, Web-based or maybe the iPhone app?
We use the Windows and 64-bit Mac OS clients, as well as the iPhone app.
Do you have any clients who work with Cerebro?
We do not have any clients like that at the moment, but our holding company does not share a building with us, and we some internal clients there. We still have not done it, but we are planning to implement a client account, so that customers can see what goes on inside our company.
How long did it take your employees to switch to the software?
Not long at all, literally abour three days. First, I created a template structure for all projects, and the next day we began to use. On the first day people had some questions, then we switched on the Dailies function, which also took a bit of time to get used to, but then everyone got to grips with it.
What about the audio-visual commentary? Do use this feature often?
Most of the time I use text and pictorial comments, that is, about 80 per cent of the time I work with comments in images and video, and I am not always comfortable with audio comments. I use voice and actions in maybe 20 per cent of my comments, so that is where audio-visual commentary comes in, and I do not use the text comments on the forum at all. I love how you can make a comment right on the image or in the video, I do not have to explain that the third guy from the left should have a larger nose. It is easier to just write: “Make the nose larger”, and draw an arrow to the nose.
How convenient do you find the interface?
The interface is horrible, it really needs to be simplified. It is not intuitive, and thank God that most users do not have to work with it that deeply, so people usually get what they need to do quickly. But the interface is not intuitive. But I would not say it is really unbearable, once you get used to it, things get easier.
Do you have any wishes for future releases?
In general, the software does everything I need. But it would be more convenient if the computer client had the same function which the iPhone app has: the ability to work off-line. Sometime this is really necessary: when you do not have access to the Internet, and all the data is on your hard drive, but you have to go and search files out by hand just to use the software. This is probably the only things that is missing for me.
How often do you use Mikogo web-conferencing and Wacom tablets when working with Cerebro?
I have never used Mikogo, and as for the tablets… A few times, maybe, I usually draw with a mouse.
Are there any other programs that you think should be integrated with Cerebro workflow?
We would be very interested in integration with Duma, since we use both programs a lot. It would be nice if task description or the final render could show up in one of them. For example, if you could start a render in Duma, tick a box and then see the result in a Cerebro task. I tend to use Cerebro as a file management system, too, I do not even know where project files are stored: I always ask people to attach their work to Cerebro, so that I do not have to sift through folders.
Thank you for answering my questions