Abstract Factory Blog

The Big October

12 Aug 2013

This is what it comes down to! In October we’ll put the metal to the pedal, gear those grinds and booty our shake to the tunes of development and innovation.

Start your engines

One night, almost a year ago, as I was walking home to Holborn, London, from working at Glassworks, I had the epiphany that would one day lead me to where I am today. It was an idea for a showreel that I could use to apply for work. The work I longed for – monsters and robots and flesh and explosions, fighting it out on epic landscapes on the big-screen. The idea was simple – make two characters, a monster and a human, and have them fight it out, demonstrating various features of their technical setup as they battled. It was the perfect way to demonstrate my ability in both animation and rigging without boring anyone.

I started to work on the technological side of things.


Repetition became a big thing, so it struck me* “how about putting down some rules on things such as naming conventions and node layout within Maya? That way, it wouldn’t be too tricky to script things that repeat themselves.”*

And so it began. As I stepped further and further away from the miniscule problems at hand, looking at what bigger problems surrounded them and why they hadn’t been solved before, I realised that what was really missing was consistency and standards.

Defining a standard

There are many examples of this in recent days.

OpenEXROSLAlembicOSDPtexOpenVDB and OpenData

All great attempts to unite the many small ways we’ve individually invented in production to help manage the seemingly miniscule and unique problems we faced at the time but that were actually quite common and universal. (Bonus question: Notice what they all have in common?)

So I began thinking about how I’ve done things in the past and what it had in common with other things I’ve done. I began asking my peers how they did things and what they found repetative. I began distilling the small, seemingly unrelated problems into larger ones and began to solve them empirically.

Putting a face on that standard

This was way before Pipi btw. I didn’t put a name on this standard until very recently in fact. But as soon as I did, the emails started coming in.

"We want Pipi in our studio"

I had tapped into a bursting resource of ideas and experience. After all, artists have been making pipelines and sub-pipelines internally for many years, several times before and are essentially walking around with an abundance of ways to make such a thing work. The only missing piece of the puzzle was – a conductor.

What would happen if someone were to come along and orchestrate their ideas into one unified whole? A whole that could continue to evolve at the same pace as the rest of the industry?

We’ll, lets do it.

October is when we stop talking and start doing. Join us.

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