Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Downside to Digital

ftp no workyI have been mentioning how more and more...  how artwork on a production is produced digitally. But sadly... despite all the advantages.... there are various drawbacks to using new technologies.

Eons ago... artists that would work from home would use Fed-ex to ship their artwork to the studio.  But now... with the "magic" of the internet... they can simply drop their work in the studio's FTP from the comfort of their home..... assuming that everything works fine.

But sometimes.... when the storyboard artist tries to send a storyboard that is finished.... somehow.... half the pages can get corrupted sometimes. So that means for the artist a trip to the studio to bring the whole board thanks to something as simple as a USB key.... or to scan the board straight at the studio.

A little tool as simple as a USB key is something that you must always carry with you. I always have mine in my pocket... and I cannot count all the times that that little tool got me out of a jam.
Love my USB key.

Why do half the pages get corrupted sometimes?? Not being an expert... I am not sure.... my technical skills don't go that far. But to make me feel better.... even our technical director does not seem to know. Since his technical expertise is lightyears ahead of mine... I feel much better. ;)

But it seem to be something that has to do with some internet connections being too slow that after a given ammount of time.... before the page is finished uploading to the FTP... the FTP stops the upload and starts to upload the next page even if the previous page is not finished uploading. So you end up wih part if not most of the page missing/corrupted. It happens.

Another problem that we often run into is how some programs are incompatible with each other. How not only Photoshop is somewhat incompatible with SketchBook Pro.... but also how Adobe Acrobat 5 is not compatible with Adobe Acrobat 8 Professionnal.

The problem we noticed between Photoshop and Sketchbook Pro is that if we make a drawing on multiple layers with one program.... the other program will not read the layers.... or it will flatten the artwork. So when we need to work on layers for some reason..... everyone needs to use the same program.

My assistant was hoping to be able to work in Photoshop... but I had to be a cruel taskmaster and force him to work in Sketchbook Pro. ;)

As for Adobe Acrobat... if someone adds notes to a PDF document for some reason with Acrobat 8.... somehow Acrobat 5 can no longer open the document. or it can open the PDF.... but not the page with the note added on it.

So when you try to send some PDF ducument to your artists that work from home... and the artist can't read half the files... it becomes a big headache to try to get everyone to be able to read the references they need to do their work.
But the MOST important thing that you need with new technologies is.....POWER!!!

It doesn't need to be the Power Cosmic.... but power nonetheless. ;)

Sadly.... something like a power faillure can pretty much paralyse a whole production. And even when the power is restored.... it can still srew up the production if the server was messed up by the power faillure somehow.

So a power faillure can mess up your schedule and eat up a few days of your time... time which you usually have barely enough of to begin with. :(

With a power faillure... at first... some figure they could work from home..... until they realise.... no power to get the files they need from their computer. Whether they need artwork... references... heck even the scripts are in the computer.

And even once the power is back.... if your work in on the server.... and the server was messed up thanks to the power faillure... it means even more time wasted waiting for the server to be back online.

In short... new technologies can help us do our job.

But when things go wrong... it can go VERY wrong. It can pretty much crippple a production and stop it dead in it's tracks until the matter is resolved. Even when the matter is resolve.... it will mean a lot of sleepless nights in the coming days to try to catch up. Because although you could not work for a few days.... the deadline is still the same.

So you must make up for lost time and either work much faster..... or give up a couple of nights of sleep for a while.  ;)

Until next time.


swh_comicguy said...

Use FTP Software when uploading files and you won't have the corruption issue. File uploading and downloading can be resumed if there is an issue with the connection.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

We are using FileZilla...

But some of our artists seem to have a veeeery slowwww internet connection... which seems to be part of the problem.

They don't really use/need the Net... so they have the minimum in terms of internet connection.

So to check their e-mails or other simple stuff like that.... it is all that they need.... so they have no real reason/interest to get a faster connection.

Yet. ;)


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