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anyone found a good Generation alternative

Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 9:07 am
by wellsichris
So Generation has been dead for a while, and it is still the backbone of our productions. That being said we had that scare a before it died where it was broken by nvidia which BM fixed, but that could easily happen again, which means eventually we are going to have to transition to something else. Has anyone found a good alternative to Generation?

to us Generation was a versioning playback system with assignments, and statuses, but with python that we made shine. I haven't found anything else like it, hero doesn't really seem to do it. I don't like the shotgun approach, it doesn't seem to make life easier.

For us generation with python, we were able to create a system that made life easier, you want to use generation as it does everything for you. the by product of it keeping track of everything was just that to the user, something that happened behind the scenes, but what it really meant was artist life was better. every tracking system I have seen feels like just another, "i have to do this" not, "I want to use this"

for those that haven't seen my videos of what generation became for us.



So what are people moving to? has anyone found anything good?

Thanks
Chris

Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 10:58 am
by Miltos
The only alternative to Generation at the moment is Resolve 15 but it is still in its infancy.

Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 11:54 am
by AndrewHazelden
Miltos wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 10:58 am
The only alternative to Generation at them moment is Resolve 15 but it is still in its infancy.

@Miltos is 100% right. I also think the best bet you have for a Generation replacement in the future is Resolve 15. This is due to the inclusion of new Lua/Python scripting API feature. The Fusion page add-on is a bonus for this use case too. :)

The Resolve 15 Scripting API allows for:
  • Lua and Python scripts to carry out media management tasks via the Media Pool which would allow external tools to add their output back into the Resolve session so content coming from a 3D department could get encoded and then placed into Resolve.
  • Automated timeline creation
  • Automated project import/export
  • Automated Deliver page exports (WIP)
  • External fuscript scripting via the command prompt with support for remote access to other fuscript based networked systems
  • A Fusion > Script menu that lets you run Lua/Python comp script files placed in the Fusion Scripts:/Comp/ PathMap folder.
  • A Fusion page Nodes view (flow) area that lets you right click on a node and run a Lua/Python Tools script that is placed in the Fusion Scripts:/Tools/ PathMap folder.
  • Python/Lua scripts are able to display custom Resolve "UI Manager" based GUIs using the same GUI building system found in Fusion 9. This would allow you to make UIs that fit your needs and could replicate many of the features in Generation if you wanted to write your own scripts.
  • The Fusion page supports actions and events which allows you to make your own callback like functions that are triggered when the user carries out any of the standard composing tasks in the Fusion page UI with their mouse.
  • Resolve can save its active editing project database to a local .db file that is in the sqlite3 format. This means you can read back any of the settings you want externally if the need arose.
  • Resolve can import/export fusion .comp files from the Fusion page too.

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 1:34 pm
    by rslittle
    Scratch play.
    http://www.assimilateinc.com/products/scratch-play/

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 3:49 pm
    by SecondMan
    Never tried Scratch Play - does it have a scripting API?

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 7:29 pm
    by Mclawest
    wellsichris wrote:
    Wed May 23, 2018 9:07 am
    Has anyone found a good alternative to Generation?
    actually, no..

    We are build our own AAI for the needs which Generation did in my studio
    (an old example about some bridging with Generation in past - sorry, bad sound)



    Since there is no any software roadmaps from BMD and a sad expierence with Generation we just decided to make our own system for exact our needs.

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 5:48 am
    by nsf
    Mclawest wrote:
    Wed May 23, 2018 7:29 pm

    Since there is no any software roadmaps from BMD and a sad expierence with Generation we just decided to make our own system for exact our needs.
    well maybe you could release it after its finished. :)

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 6:54 am
    by nsf
    Miltos wrote:
    Wed May 23, 2018 10:58 am
    The only alternative to Generation at them moment is Resolve 15 but it is still in its infancy.
    Resolve would need a **Generation tab** for this or something similar, otherwise Im not sure how this could be possible.
    That linear workflow doesnt realy suits versioning.

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 7:07 am
    by Miltos
    nsf wrote:
    Thu May 24, 2018 6:54 am
    Miltos wrote:
    Wed May 23, 2018 10:58 am
    The only alternative to Generation at them moment is Resolve 15 but it is still in its infancy.
    Resolve would need a **Generation tab** for this or something similar, otherwise Im not sure how this could be possible.
    That linear workflow doesnt realy suits versioning.
    Why would Resolve need a Generation tab when it has a fantastic Edit tab that does more than Generation ever did? There is nothing linear there. You can move things around all the time. There is a take selector feature for your versioning and Resolve 15 has annotations. Or am i not understanding what you are saying?

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 7:35 am
    by Midgardsormr
    I think the Take Selector is a promising feature, but it would need to be easier and faster to interact with if someone wanted to use it in a review session. Double-click to open, click to choose a take, click the close button. Too many steps when what you want is to quickly A/B two versions.

    You're also overlooking the project management features in Generation, which don't have any analogue, as far as I have seen, in Resolve.

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 10:15 am
    by wellsichris
    resolve would need to come a ways before it's viable, and scripting would of course be the key, I could see a world where it would be better, but they would have to have it as a focus, and I don't think BMD ever understood what generation was, so it's hard to hope davinci will get there. For what Davinci is, it's great, and for editor's and colorists, it's great, I'm approaching it from VFX standpoint and from that angle, I don't see it. That sad thing is, the actual python calls we use daily in generation to connect to everything aren't that many,

    but then you get into the project management side of things. how are shots assigned, how do we define the status of a shot. you can have clip colors which could be status, and then I guess a video track on bottom that is just a thumbnail of the assignment. if the scripting was robust enough I guess you could just build new timelines for show only setups, show only shots assigned to me, and make a script that would grab all those and create a new timeline of just those. but then anything you did there would always have to reflect back to the master timeline.

    It seems like currently only one person can edit a timeline at a time, so it would be interesting to see how much you'd run into, "get out of edit mode"

    I guess what I"m saying is it could be possible eventually, I wish we had one of the developers ear to explain what it would take to make it work that way.

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:05 am
    by Midgardsormr
    wellsichris wrote:
    Thu May 24, 2018 10:15 am
    I guess what I'm saying is it could be possible eventually, I wish we had one of the developers ear to explain what it would take to make it work that way.
    That's what the beta forum over on the official website is for. The developers don't spend any time answering questions there (their time is better spent doing actual work), but they do read it. And at least two of the Fusion developers read this forum, plus @Peter Chamberlain.

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:11 am
    by nsf
    Miltos wrote:
    Thu May 24, 2018 7:07 am
    Why would Resolve need a Generation tab when it has a fantastic Edit tab that does more than Generation ever did?
    hmm I dont know if you used Generation in projects, but from my experience Resolve editing tab is nowhere near what generation is meant for.
    Edit tab is for Editing, Generation is managing tool and editing there is just for some minor tweaks (you can edit, but its much better to do it in dedicated editing soft).
    Also Generation was super fast and is still very useful to this day, even there were no updates in (4-5?) years.
    Managing clips in Generation is a bliss (and you can work with various softs, not just fusion) :)
    Resolve is pretty heavy. I like it a lot though, basically its my daily tool right now, but as far as managing goes...its not very good.
    tbh Generation is nowhere near perfect, it lacks online, only 1 person can edit at a time, no 16bit tiffs or anything except Dpx etc. and the list goes on...,but I havent seen anything which would do better at this (Hiero seemed to me like a Generation ripoff, but dont know how it evovled over years).
    Guys here who are working on big productions, probably could say more (other than shotgun:) )

    Personaly I hope Resolve will eventualy adopt Generation main features, but probably will have to change a bit as a whole.

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Fri May 25, 2018 2:16 am
    by Peter Chamberlain
    Intersting discussion...

    Re: anyone found a good Generation alternative

    Posted: Fri May 25, 2018 10:07 am
    by wellsichris
    So here's what I think resolve would need to be a Generation replacement for us.

    per clip status and assignment:

    so each shot would have in it's meta data who it's assigned to, in the shared project, would be a list of possible people, that could be edited. and then it would be a right click change assignment, it would also need some way to visually see who things are assigned to, preferable small color in a corner with name coming up when you mouse over it. This would need to be modifiable through python.

    Each shot would also need a status tag. again user definable in the shared project, and preferable you could copy both these lists project to project. right click changeable, and visually see what it is with color. you could piggy back on the existing color for this one. but then you mouse over and it would list what status is.

    python scripting: some place to put scripts. now many can just be in a menu, but we also need somewhere where we can easily access them. so toolbar where you can add custom scripts. we have about 25 that we use constantly.

    scripting would need to have access to what shot/shots are selected, and what data they contain, location to shot, meta data, status, and assignment. It would also need to be able to change all of those. we would need to be able to add shots, remove, and reorder them. Even create placeholders for full CG shots.

    This is a big one, You have to be able to talk to resolve form the outside. So if I'm scripting in houdini I need to be able to talk to resolve and get that info, without this it's a nonstarter.

    I'm not sure that we need a generation tab, not against it, but I think most could be done using 'special' timelines in edit tab. take selector is interesting, but needs to be fast, A/B and even wiping, I don't know how you'd do the review, draw on frame stuff, it wasn't great in generation, but that and adding notes to shots is pretty key. I see a world where you have the whole film, you tag shots for vfx, then click a create vfx timeline, where it would put all them in a new special timeline that has all these features. so editors don't have to be bothered by it and we can still make it happen. the nice thing about this, if scripting allowed, we could then make systems to render reviews out of resolve, but take into account context shots. or sequences with the vfx automatically linked back to the master timeline. This could legitimately be better than what we have in generation in that the full film is always right there, and if we can talk to it through scripting we could do things easier than before. Getting shots for an artist to see context is easier, and getting shots back into edit would be easier.

    what I see as unavoidable is the weight, generation is lightweight and fast, resolve is not. I'm also hard core in the keep producing standalone fusion.

    what else do people think we'd need to make it a true replacement?

    Thanks
    Chris