The VFX Horde Roadmap
The impetus behind the VFX Horde began as a solution to a problem. Most online VFX training is a random collection of “how to” videos that does not (1) acutely represent what happens at a VFX studio or (2) does not provide a means for creating a competitive demo reel. The VFX Horde seeks to simulate a working visual effects environment, giving enrollees the training and the materials to build a high-quality demo reel.
After mapping out what is required to provide this kind of experience, it actually adds up to a huge list. The VFX Horde is an online training platform but behaves a lot like a VFX studio—getting the benefits of both kinds of organizations at the same time inheriting all the challenges. For instance, online publishers don’t need a VFX studio style pipeline that will manage thousands and thousands of training assets becuase they offer little to no training materials. The VFX Horde, on the other hand, offers a huge amount of demo reel building training material and therefore is required to develop a pipeline that will manage all those assets.
To give you an idea of where the VFX Horde is at in its development, I am providing a generalized overview with the progress we have achieved in each area. We also offer a live roadmap that gets updated regularly that you can access here.
“Learning Management System” or LMS is a software platform for delivering educational material online. Developers have created learning management systems that people can plug into for free and as a paid service but they all share a very similar training philosophy or “framework”. Because the VFX Horde has a very unique training philosophy, it does not fit into any known learning management system. And for that reason the VFX Horde has created it is own versatile learning management system to support both a stand-alone course framework and an asset-driven framework for VFX Horde Sequences. Even though the VFX Horde LMS has required a lot of time and resources, we feel it will provide users with a fantastic learning experience.
We are currently complete with the VFX Horde Learning Management System (LMS). Awesome!
The VFX Horde functions like a VFX studio in that it tracks hundreds and thousands of assets across a series of tasks towards completion. In order to manage all this work, the VFX Horde has developed a VFX studio like pipeline to automate these tasks. The VFX Horde Pipeline will do things like automatically create and sort assets into shot directories, trigger a sync process with cloud servers and create database records for every asset. These pipeline tools are essential for efficiently delivering a massive amount of training material to enrollees.
When working with so much data, it is really important to ensure the safety of that data with automated onsite redundant backups and offsite storage. Firewalls and secure socket layer connections (SSL) have been put in place to keep data safe.
Another way the VFX Horde parallels a visual effects studio is in its color workflow. In order to simulate a working visual effects environment, all sequence footage and assets are provided in a 32-bit Horde Linear color space and can be displayed correctly under Horde lookup tables (LUTs) in Photoshop, Nuke, Maya, and Mari.
There are still some pipeline tools that are still in development and some final color workflow issues being worked out.
The VFX Horde has created a “Task Management System” (Build VFX Horde) to assist Horde Artists in building training materials and Lead Trainers in constructing their courses or sequence training.
Horde Artists can request and receive tasks, download task files, upload their deliverables and get feedback on their work.
Training Leads can follow simple forms that will guide them through the creation of their courses or sequence training. The site will make all the sequence training material available while providing support and feedback for Horde Training Leads.
In-depth courses will be developed to help VFX professionals create their course or sequence training. Lead Training Courses will provide guidance on such questions as: how to structure your training, how to use the VFX Horde Color Workflow, best practices for recording audio and video, tools and software you will need and so on.
The Build VFX Horde website is up and running with some basic training complete. The next task it to start working more on the Lead Training Courses.
The VFX Horde wants to provide the best possible user experience. Users are able to access all their information through their account page including purchase history, support center tickets, bookmarks manager and user points manager.
The user has the ability to create a bookmark from any training page on the site. These bookmarks can be organized into lists that help users keep track of their progress or important pages they want to refer to later.
The VFX Horde has implemented a referral and user point system. Users can earn points for performing a variety of tasks such as inviting friends to the site, participating in forums and successfully completing quizzes. Points can be used to unlock special training and discounts. Users can receive discount credits on future purchases by referring friends with a referral code to be used at checkout.
Everything is complete in this category with the exception of some testing of the point and referral system.
As you can see from the list above, the VFX Horde has a huge to-do list. We get emails on a regular basis asking the status of our training. We really appreciate your patience and support as we build the VFX Horde training platform. With the completion of the build.vfxhorde.com site, we are now able to bring on and better track our Artists and Leads. Below you can see the status of the courses and sequences currently in the works.
Please let us know what you think about the VFX Horde and its development in the comments below. If you want to get updated on all things VFX Horde please follow this link and put in your email.
Source: VFX Horde
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