Abstract Factory Blog

Sandboxing

09 Aug 2013

I have this idea where artists are free to create new material however they please with the click of a button. That whatever they create should exist only within their own working sphere, but should still work with the rest of the framework, letting them integrate it with existing resources and tools without hassle. Such a feature would however run the risk of cluttering the global space in which everything anyone else has created resides. Especially since some of the things a user creates may never have been meant for the public eye.

This is how I solved these concerns within Pipi.

Artists will inevitably come to think of their own solutions to problems that other artists haven’t already solved. When such an epiphany occurs, Pipi attempts to support this by enabling users to create material within their own workspaces, or “sandboxes”. Their sandbox is fully integrated into Pipi and appear like any other asset of the same species but are exclusive to the author.

/studio
/assets
/public_asset1
/public_asset2
/private_asset

This allows any user to start creating their own rigs, assets, shots or even full scale projects and they will be accessible by the author and invisible to everyone else.

If the user then wants to share his work, he may submit it for approval by authenticated personell, such as a lead or supervisor. Once approved, the material is dropped into the public domain where anyone can make use of it.

By letting users experiment within the confines of Pipi, the process of promoting any user-projects into the public domain is simple since the material has been created under the supervision of Pipi all along. Pipi enforces naming conventions, location on disk, and any pre- or post-conditions that that particular species of resource require.

Everything is Private

Rigging

This is put into practice in technical departments whose purpose is to supply artists with material with which they can work.

When a rigger works on the next incarnation of a Character Setup, he will do so within his sandbox. He will publish versions he would like to try out in the context of the project, so that he may test previously animated shots with the next version et. al.

The rigger may then have special permission that supercedes the approval from supervisors which allows him to update versions once he deemes them stable enough for public use.

Down-time

A project will always have less productive moments. This is when it may be beneficial to have a pet-project to keep the engine running.

Artists may create their own projects within Pipi, using the same tools as in production, and work on it whenever or however he or she likes.

Sharing is caring

The artist may invite other artists to collaborate with him on a project.

In down-time, you may find that several users have started collaborating on a potential oscar-winner in their spare time. This is when you could bring up to discussion whether or not they should make this project public and let the studio work on it as a whole, just as if it were a commercially driven project.

Hopefully, such a system will not only encourage users to contribute to a production, but also to maintain their own personal library of material.

Everything is Personal

Whenever anyone makes anything new within Pipi, it is done within the users private sandbox. For anything to reach public space, it must either:
- A: Get approved by lead
- B: Get submitted by personnel with special privileges