Use a disciplines flowchart to define the process for your project. This flowchart is a visual representation of the essential information in your Digital Asset Manager (DAM), and shows how the different animation disciplines work together to create the final product.
In a disciplines flowchart, you define:
- The process that each discipline follows to do produce their work
- How the overall project process works, with the various disciplines interacting with each other, sharing assets, working on assets and passing them on to other disciplines, etc.
Discipline flowcharts are diagrams and can be easier to follow than the tabular format of a DAM. The visual nature of a flowchart means you can easily see how different disciplines relate to each other and what files and assets need to pass from one discipline to another.
How Discipline Flowcharts work
On the flowchart, you create disciplines to represent the various creative disciplines involved in your project. For example, you could have a concept discipline that defines what animators need to use and produce when working on concept art.
Each discipline has components, which you can add, and they are shown in a list inside the discipline box. The components define what a department needs to begin work and what they will produce when the work is finished.
In the example shown above, the Concept discipline has components for photoshop files, final concept png files, and thumbnail png files. There are no input markers on the right for these files, only output markers on the right, shown as orange "connection" dots.
This means that the Concept discipline will not receive these files from another discipline, they will create them from scratch (or work from reference files). When the work is done, photoshop .psd and .psb files. final concept png files, and thumbnail png files will be sent to another discipline. This is what the output connections are for - you can use them to connect output components to other disciplines. The output connections represent where files are published from one discipline and passed on to another discipline.
Similarly, input connections are for showing that a discipline will receive published files from another discipline. For example, in the following image:
- The Rig discipline has components with inputs and outputs.
- The Geometry, Shaders, Xgen Curves, and Geo Hair components are all inputs, which means they are loaded into this discipline after being published by another discipline.
- The Full Rig and Scene Config components are outputs, with output connectors to show they are published by the Rig discipline and passed on to other disciplines.
- The Scene Snapshot component has an output that connects back to its own input. This means that when the snapshot is published, it will be updated in the Rig discipline, so the supervisor can review the work.
When you add a component to a discipline, you can define its settings. These let you define whether it has inputs and/or outputs and also control what is loaded into the discipline and what is included in outputs. Note that the details of the work, such as what specific animation files need to be worked on, are defined in the tasks in your Digital Asset Manager.
As you add more disciplines to your flowchart, you can connect the inputs and the outputs to create the "flow" of work between departments (disciplines). The connection lines show the relationships between disciplines, for example, you can show that a Modelling discipline needs to produce files that are then used by the Rig discipline.
A completed discipline flowchart might look something like this:
The idea is that the disciplines flowchart defines the processes your various departments follow, in a visual diagram rather than a text-based table or list. Then, in the Digital Asset Manager (DAM), you define the tasks that provide the details of the actual work, such as what specific animation files need to be worked on for your project.
As the disciplines define the process only, they are not limited to being used on one project. You can reuse them on other projects too. For example, the modelling department will likely work in the same way on one project as they do on another project. So you could use the same modelling discipline process on both projects.
To get started with your own disciplines flowchart, we recommend that you start with just a few disciplines, set those up and test that they work. This will give you a better feel for how the discipline flowcharts work and make it easier when it comes to adding more disciplines for a complex project.
To learn how to create a disciplines flowchart and work with the flowchart editor, see:
- Create a discipline
- Edit a discipline
- Create a component for a discipline
- Edit a component on a disciplines flowchart
- Component connection icons
- Expressions for disciplines
- Connect components on a discipline flowchart.
We recommend that you also spend some time to learn about the flowchart properties, as there are some features you may find useful. For example, there is a grid for aligning your disciplines and there are options for changing the colors. For an overview of these features, see Flowchart design features.