Mexican Studio Boxel Scales to Meet Growing Content Demands with ShotGrid-Powered Pipeline



How the visual effects and animation studio uses Autodesk ShotGrid in production.

For over a decade, Boxel Studio’s team of skilled artisans has crafted high-caliber visual effects and animation for global clients including Nickelodeon, Disney, A&E, CW, Lionsgate, National Geographic, HBO, and Endeavor. . Amid the continued boom in content, Boxel Studio has scaled its workload capacity to meet growing customer demand with ShotGrid as its central production management tool. Under the supervision of Chief Technology Officer Andres Reyes Botello, a ShotGrid-based pipeline has allowed the team to grow to over 300 artists and provide comprehensive consulting and creative partnering services to major networks in the M&E industry.

Reyes Botello said, “At Boxel, we have a philosophy that our artists’ time should be focused on what they do best: creating stunning visuals and animations. To make this possible, it is essential that we help our creative team organize their workload so that they are able to execute their best artistic talent, while allocating time for ongoing training to foster professional growth and innovation. As the demand for content continues to grow, if we don’t help our artists organize, track and manage their daily, weekly and monthly workloads, we’ve calculated that they’re wasting approximately 30% of the time and resources that should be devoted to priority tasks. Without a tool like ShotGrid to help track and manage production, the administrative workload really starts to take its toll on artists and the studio.

Boxel’s ShotGrid UI.

Boxel Studio is currently in production for shows that require the delivery of more than 100 approved shots in 15 days, including high-end digital doubles, animations, full CG environments and particle simulations that must meet creative expectations. , technical and visual high. . “Tools like ShotGrid allow us to provide services that go beyond creating shots and partnering with networks and visual effects producers. We really strive to bring our best to the productions we are involved in, and when the shows get really tough, good organization and good communication is a must,” added Reyes Botello.

In Nickelodeon’s live-action/animation hybrid show “The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder” for Paramount+, Boxel Studio provided comprehensive partnering services for the network, ranging from initial proof of concept (POC) to visual development and in the final execution. Reyes Botello said: “We were hired to create a POC test, where our team of illustrators, animators and composers collaborated with Nickelodeon to bring the characters and likeness in 2.5D to a live action plate. . Once the test was approved and the show was greenlit, we were involved in all stages of production, including on-set supervision for hybrid animation, asset development, animation, effects and final composition. Having the opportunity to work with Nickelodeon’s executive, creative, and production team has been an incredible experience, and using ShotGrid as a production management tool has really helped streamline our workflow.

Review of a plan inside ShotGrid.

Boxel has been operational with ShotGrid since 2009, when the studio worked on “El Americano, The Movie,” its first feature film and US-Mexico co-production. Prior to this, the studio had around 15-20 artists who handled the majority of its workload through Excel spreadsheets with lots of notes. Today, the studio offers a full range of 2D and 3D animation shows, as well as high-end visual effects for series and feature film projects. Reyes Botello added: “Our studio currently has 300 artists. We’ve gone from having 20 artists with two to three ShotGrid licenses to ensuring that every artist has their own ShotGrid account. This is crucial for our operations. We see and understand the true value of investing in quality production management tools.

A robust ShotGrid-based pipeline helps Boxel Studio distribute and manage workloads, shots, and tasks; track schedules and delivery times; and plan budgets and resources. Reyes Botello said, “With ShotGrid we are able to properly assign and track the number of hours an artist has allocated to a particular task. With this level of control, we have a detailed overview of the finances for each show in production. We are able to provide this relevant financial information to our studio managers and production partners to verify that projects are on budget or trigger the actions needed to make appropriate decisions for the show.

Some Boxel assets in ShotGrid.

Reyes Botello continued, “We also have a better sense of real-life planning as to whether we’ve assigned an artist a task that’s beyond their skill set. For example, if a junior-level creative is working on a plan that’s too complex to deliver by the deadline, we have weekly reports to manage the workload distribution and make sure people are assigned to tasks they are able to manage well. If we have a difficult week, reporting allows us to rebalance the workload to be more efficient the following week.

ShotGrid further allows Boxel Studio to track projects in a granular fashion and keep productions running as easily as possible, while providing clients with detailed weekly workload reports. Executive reports provide a comprehensive overview of production status, weekly activity, and overall project health, providing studios with an effective communication channel.

ShotGird Shotlist.

“Ultimately, the visibility that ShotGrid provides ensures that we meet all deadlines, and without ShotGrid we wouldn’t be as successful as we are today,” said Reyes Botello. “It’s a very effective communication tool between artists and coordinators, coordinators and managers, producers and clients. There is a great demand for content and very few studios and qualified artists to meet that demand. It’s essential to be efficient with the capacity you have, and ShotGrid plays a vital role in this.

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Brought to you by Autodesk ShotGrid: This article is part of the before and after VFX Insight series. If you want to promote your VFX/animation/CG technology or service, you can learn more about the VFX Insight series here.

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