Tools & Scripts
A few of the simple scripts I've written over the years (out of literally hundreds) that I'm able to post for wide usage. There are many more that I can't post here which are substantially more complex.
While I'm not able to post the code to what I've built for 3ds Max & SketchUp pipeline tools I'll explain a bit about how I have them setup.
Currently our firm has several artist workstations that need the latest version of workstation licensed tools, a small dedicated render farm and a few dozen after-hours nodes borrowed from architectural staff. Based on the three types of nodes - the scripts / batch files do different things. For instance - the workstations receive licenses for a few commercial plugins, internal scripts, free plugins & VRay. The dedicated nodes receive the same updates but only render node licensing and will start Backburner & Distributed Rendering. The after hours nodes have a similar setup as the dedicated nodes except there isn't any need to start Distributed Rendering.
This setup has simplified deployments tremendously. Every time a user logs in I know that it has the most current version of everything in the pipeline which makes updating to a new version of VRay a breeze. I'd love to automate it further but for the scale we operate at now this is the right balance of development time relative to cost / time savings.
Much of our firms design begins in SketchUp and to that end years ago I created a deployment system to manage custom internal scripts, free scripts, plugins, materials & object libraries (called "components" in sketchup lingo). There is a main batch file that does the deployment to end user machines and a set of ruby scripts that determine user rights for contributing content, directories where data is stored & versioning so our remote offices don't need to copy down all content if nothing has changed... I also implemented a developer mode so from my username & workstation I could fully test the system with fake directories to make sure the code was right before deployment to the firm.
Every time a user starts SketchUp a file is checked to determine whether any updates are needed, if they are - the user is prompted to download, if they choose not to then no further prompts are displayed for a month. Having this system in place has been a tremendous improvement in how designers work and ensures all users firm wide have access to the same current, updated toolset.
Favorite 3rd Party Tools
Some of my favorite 3rd party software / plugins that I use on a daily basis.
- fnordware ProEXR - allows me to use multi channel EXR files in Photoshop and After Effects.
- RPManager - for 3ds Max users it allows me to create tons of different shots, each with different render ranges, cameras, settings, etc. Instrumental in animation work.
- Foldergit - great little tool that comes with RPManager or "Appware" that allows for right click explorer shortcuts in any application. We use it to quickly navigate to project folder directories from any application.
- RSMB - fake motion blur based on Velocity pass in After Effects.
- Frishluft Lens Care and Flair - awesome zdepth blurring, out of focus effects, volumetrics and more for making 3D footage look incredible in After Effects.