Our Top 5

Productivity Tools

Our preferred productivity tools for CGI content creation at the complicated days of the COVID-19 Virus

We are all in this together. Global efforts made millions of people work from home, for the first time. The Coronavirus is a bitter reminder of how fragile we all are. But this isn’t about weakness. It’s about humanity. And we need it now, more than ever. 

As no company is immune to this downtime, many employees find it challenging to stay productive while working remotely. If you feel uncertain about what’s the best way to collaborate and communicate effectively with your co-workers, we’d like to share with you some of our favorite tools that we’ve been using in our Studio for the past couple of years, to make sure everyone is on the same page. They are not only tailored for the first-timers, but they can greatly benefit many freelancers who have experience working from home.

 

  1. Dropbox Business

 

Every business must have a perspective and an overview of the digital content it creates. So we tested, tested, and tested some more. Dropbox Business is the best way to quickly and securely sync all your files and share them with other team members. From its friendly user interface to its simplicity and 3rd party app integration, Dropbox is a cloud storage platform that enables remote teams to sync their work and stay organized within the pipeline.

They constantly add new features. One of their recent updates is letting users set an expiration date on the files they share and password-protect them to add another layer of security. If your business produces heavy digital files, week after week, you need to consider Dropbox Business, as it provides its users with unlimited space in the cloud. This allows businesses to use Dropbox Business as a working platform and as a backup solution. It truly is like killing 2 birds with one stone. 

Since 2014, we’ve been urging our global team to use the desktop app and keep it running at all times. Working directly in Dropbox and not locally (with file syncing later) is a rule of thumb that we take seriously. To avoid future headaches, we advise you to do the same 🙂

 

  1. Slack

 

When working remotely, communication is essential. Virtually all misunderstandings happen because one side didn’t communicate clearly enough or often enough. Say “goodbye” to endless email threads and say “hello” to Slack. An instant messaging app with dedicated channels and a myriad of features to satisfy even the most advanced power user. Very rapidly, Slack became a vital tool for remote teams, and there are many reasons for it. Every piece of information is searchable, so there are no “black boxes” when someone leaves the project. Everyone who should be involved is involved, no matter if they are on their phone or in front of their work station.

For example, whenever there’s a new production in our studio, we include the job requirements in the #jobs channel. Then our team of artists submits their availability and the team is getting built in an organic way. This is just one of the benefits of having all of our artists in one place.

In total, we have over 150 3D artists from all around the world. We use separate channels for each project, where we post frequent updates, as well as different channels for non-work related topics. This helps us achieve a strong workspace and develop long-term relationships while creating visual magic. It’s an arrangement that benefits the company, the artists and ultimately, the clients.

 

  1. Frame.io

 

Work-in-progress projects need to be reviewed and commented on. Just because you understand what your comment means, doesn’t mean the other side will grasp it. Quality production is delicate. If you are working with visual assets, you need to be able to intelligently compare revisions without being hindered by technology. It’s a great tool for clients and employees to get notified every time there is feedback. And every feedback must be accurate so there’s no room for misreading it. 

In our experience, uploading media is surprisingly fast and in our Studio, Frame.io has become an indispensable tool.

 

  1. ShareX

 

This open-source tool has an array of quick capture capabilities that work in an immediate fashion. Working with two monitors? No problem. With just simple mouse movements, you can do basic image manipulations on the fly, color-pick from the screen, and upload various types of content to a remote host of your choice. 

We use it mainly in conjunction with Slack. We screen capture images and generate GIF files with ShareX and then share them with our artists in the relevant Slack channel. It’s a simple and straight-forward way to share ideas quicker than ever.

 

  1. Loom

 

Screen recording tool that allows you to quickly send big files. We actively use it in our Studio. It’s convenient because you can capture unlimited videos with the free version and for a very small fee ($5 per month) you can access unlimited videos. Once the video is uploaded, you are given a sharing link that is ready to go.

When it comes to sending instructions, recording videos work better than video calls because the latter, don’t give artists the possibility of going over the video, again and again, to make sure everything is clear. That’s why internally we rely on Loom to send instructions to our team members for everything from explaining how our naming convention works to how an F-Curve inside Cinema 4D is used.

 

We sincerely hope that these tools add value to your working routine, even in these uncertain times due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are always searching for new artists to join our team. If you think you are a good fit, please send us your work at [email protected], so we can explore the option of working together.