Original Force is a leading digital animation studio based in Nanjing, China, known for delivering high-quality services for global film and gaming clients including DreamWorks Animation, Sony, Activision, and Electronic Arts, as well as developing its own original content. With over 1,000 artists across its global offices in Nanjing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Wuhan, Thailand, and San Francisco, Original Force’s projects include the TV series Dragons: Riders of Berk (a spinoff of the How To Train Your Dragon franchise), feature films Ratchet and Clank and Bilal, and original IP including the animated feature film Duck Duck Goose.
The team at Original Force first began using Shotgun in production in 2012, on the Dragons: Riders of Berk series, and it has since become a critical part of the studio’s infrastructure. Line producer Yang Yang explains: “The Riders of Berk series was a large-scale undertaking, with a ton of information to sync, sort, and manage every day. We needed a very powerful tool to help us, and that’s how we got started with Shotgun. Since we have multiple locations, it’s also very important for us not to have any delay in information transfers, and Shotgun helps make that happen.”
For Original Force’s debut original feature film Duck Duck Goose, which became available worldwide on Netflix last year, the studio relied on Shotgun to manage over 1,200 shots and 1,500 assets throughout production. Shotgun also helped the production team distribute workload accordingly, manage scheduling, and review shots collaboratively.
“On Duck Duck Goose, every shot and every asset had multiple steps and components, and Shotgun played a very important role in prioritizing tasks throughout the entire pipeline,” explained Yang. “With Shotgun we were able to have different departments working in parallel, which provided a lot of efficiency gains. Once you start using Shotgun, you realize how powerful it is.”
To further improve efficiencies, Original Force has leveraged integration with Maya, Mari, and Nuke to build a version management system within Shotgun to easily track necessary shot information as soon as new content is published. The studio has also built a proprietary pre-rendering tool that uses Shotgun status info to automatically flag the correct files to go to the render farm, thereby eliminating the possibility of manual errors, and streamlining overall render management. Artists and producers who do not speak English are still able to utilize Shotgun thanks to Chinese language support added in version 7.7.
As Original Force continues to develop new IP, such as the upcoming films Monsters in the Forbidden City and Godsfall Chronicles, and work on additional projects such as DreamWorks’ latest animated TV series 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, the studio continues to use Shotgun to streamline its productions and connect artists and producers around the world.