Digital production pipelines: examining structures and methods in the computer effects industry
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Computer animated films require collaboration: blending artistic concept with technical skill, meeting budget constraints and adhering to deadlines. The path which production follows from initial idea to finished product is known as the pipeline. The purpose of this thesis is to collect, study and share information regarding production pipeline practices and to derive a conceptual definition. Research focused on selected companies in the United States which have produced at least one feature-length computer generated film and continue to produce them. The key finding of this thesis is a conceptual definition of digital production pipelines: A digital production pipeline must, by definition, utilize digital computing hardware and software to facilitate human work and collaboration for the overarching purpose of producing content for film. The digital production pipeline is not a structure, but rather a malleable set of components which can be arranged, configured, and adapted into new structures as needed. These malleable components are human groups with assigned task domains, and digital hardware and software systems. The human groups are normally referred to as departments or teams. The digital hardware and software systems are operating systems, software tools and applications, networks, processors, and storage. The digital production pipeline is the synergy of these two types of components into adaptable systems and structures.
Bettis, Dane Edward (2005). Digital production pipelines: examining structures and methods in the computer effects industry. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from