Today Konstantin Kharitonov talks with the heads of Moscow VFX-studio Trigraph – Arkady Dubinyn (Supervisor) and Olga Nikulina (Producer).
Let’s begin with a brief history of your company, what is your profile, what do you do?
Arkady Dubinyn: The Trigraph company was created at the end of 2004, it was established by three co-founders: Vladimir Sokolov, Sergey Zaporozhcev and myself. The first project that we had was TV series based on Michail Bulgakov’s novel “Master and Margarita”. The amount of work that we had was large enough, connected with serious three dimensional graphics: Motion Control based shootings and character animation. Later we had 2 films from “Central Partnership” (a leading film and TV series production and distribution company in Russia. Trans.), “Piranha Hunt” and “Countdown”. In total we worked on more than 40 films.
Konstantin Kharitonov: What kind of projects are you involved in now?
Arkady Dubinyn: Generally we work on feature films, sometimes on TV series. Till the end of the last year, we haven’t done any advertising videos, but in December 2011, we had decided that advertising and music videos are quite interesting business for us, so we made a couple of advertisement videos for VTB bank, with the help of DTVMA Production Company, plus we made a music video for one Russian pop-group.
In the crisis year of 2008 we had switched to a service specialization that means we did just workflow things, for example: cleanup, product placement and so on. But in the last 2 years, starting from “Generation P” (a film based on a Viktor Pelevin’s book. Trans.). Since then we had returned to the complicated high-tech effects, brought back our 3D-animation department, and in new projects we are having high-grade character animation with complicated effects.
And in what projects, in particular?
Arkady Dubinyn: For example, now we took an interesting TV-series from our old friends, a director on this project is Evgeny Bedyrev, with whom we had worked on “Tariff Novogodny”(New Year’s Tariff. Trans.) film.
This TV-Series name is “While the Fern Blossoms”- this is a 12 series film for teenagers, with some mystical elements, for this project we already have some work on characters, monsters and a large number of “magic” effects.
Great! And now again to your history: how long and on what project did you start to use Cerebro?
Olga Nikulina: We adopted Cerebro about a year ago, on a TV series project called “Hokkaido police” (UMP company). There were 12 series and 121 shot – a pretty big project, and it had to be done fast. That’s why we purchased Cerebro at that moment – we needed to boost up things and secure all possible management issues.
How much time did it take for that project?
Olga Nikulina: Two months, from scans till the final project delivery.
When did you understand that Cerebro got accustomed in your team?
Olga Nikulina: Right away. At once things became clear. Everything became so instant and more convenient.
Arkady Dubinyn: Actually the story is quite simple: during that time in our studio we had a large amount of graduates from ScreamSchool (a branch of the British High School of Design. Trans.), 10 people in total. All ScreamSchool students in our company were using Cerebro, because of that and also what Cerebro had to offer to us potentially, the rest of the office had to agree and to switch to Cerebro too. J
Which Cerebro function do you use every day and which one more rarely?
Olga Nikulina: Well, every day we use task forums for various communications, often we use commenting system – for texting and drawing in Mirada Player. The thing that we use rarer is statistics, once a month we use it to collect statistics on users.
But how often do you use Voice commenting function in Cerebro ?
Olga Nikulina: Quite rarely actually, but in general it is rather convenient.
Arkady Dubinyn: We tried to use it. When working with outsourcing, probably it is more convenient, but for now 95% of our employees are present at the studio, therefore it is not necessary to give them any voice comments, the supervisor or the artist can simply approach any performer.
Well there is such dependence: when people are more away from each other, then they are more willing to use Voice commenting in Cerebro…. But What Cerebro OS versions do you use -MAC, WINDOWS, LINUX, WEB, IPhone and IPad ?
Arkady Dubinyn: We use MAC and WINDOWS, sometimes IPhone.
Konstantin Kharitonov: Do your Clients use Cerebro in order to cooperate with you?
Arkady Dubinyn: Yes, for example on that TV series (Hokkaido Police), where we are working right now with them.
From a functional point of view, who are these people?
Arkady Dubinyn: Often it is either a producer or a director, sometimes – an external VFX supervisor.
Olga Nikulina: For example, Post-Production Producers from “Kino Direction” know Cerebro well, when needed they can log in and comment some shot straight away.
Is it difficult for new users to get used to work in Cerebro?
Olga Nikulina: Not at all, but at the same time we are lucky, all the people mentioned were quite familiar with Cerebro functions and also they had some experience using it when they came here.
From your point of view, how comfortable is the Cerebro interface to use?
Arkady Dubinyn: It depends on a task. In general, Forum is very convenient and fairly common to use, because everyone knows Facebook – therefore by analogy everything is simple and clear. But regarding the administrative functions, it is slightly more difficult….
Maybe there are some improvement recommendations?
Olga Nikulina: Well for me it is data input in the navigator fields, i.e. so that there will be no need to go into the “Task Properties”, for example to set a tag for or to change any other parameter of a task.
Arkady Dubinyn: In other words it would be nice to have an inline editing in the “Navigator”.
Maybe something more?
Arkady Dubinyn: I miss a certain initial form for creating a task, with standard fields for the entire project. At least some sort of a form editor. The same forms editor would be useful for reporting- that reports for producer would be uploaded at once in the form of a beautiful PDF file. And again, very important thing, that the first definition in a forum branch could be fixed, as the top line in Excel, for example; not to lose a task essence in the long branch of comments in the forum.
Olga Nikulina: And regarding the access rights, there are some wishes too. It would be nice that the users could have access to a specific objective, which is displayed in a separate column of a “Navigator” – similar to how the appointed performers in the assigned column are displayed now.
And in the “Task Properties”, the access rights would be displayed at once, without pressing any buttons.
Also that there will be a task color coding, connected to a tag: you choose a tag – the task is recolored in any color.
Thank you we will try to consider it for the future! And the last question:
Is there any side software that you think it would be useful to integrate Cerebro with?
Arkady Dubinyn: Useful programs-software might be: Frame Cycler or PDPlayer, also programs for Render-management and asset management.
Yes we can do that, I think. At First we will integrate Cerebro with our own render management DUMA.
Arkady Dubinyn: Thank you.
Thank you for your interview ! 🙂.