The genesis of PocketStudio: a feeling of rediscovered freedom (2/3)Published on: Thursday 13th August, 2020
Having the opportunity to design a new digital creative tool from scratch meant answering the following question: “If we were to build an animation tool from scratch today, what would it look like?”. It is about exploiting all of today’s technologies and therefore, not only graphics cards but also cloud infrastructure, broadband internet, mobile phones etc., to see how these technologies that did not exist when Maya was first designed can be integrated into a 3D software, resulting in an entirely new kind of tool.
Like many new products and services brought to the market over the past 20 years by startups, PocketStudio was born out of needs that we had and that we ended up meeting on our own, due to the lack of a satisfactory solution on the market. The first need was to be able to work on animation content in an agile way, which is something traditional production pipelines haven’t been designed for. We addressed this need by creating a real-time all-in-one tool whose workflow is native to the process of creating animation content. The benefits of working with a real-time all-in-one tool is that it allows you to work in parallel instead of sequentially (as you do in a traditional “segmented” pipeline) on any part of the movies with real-time feedback. You can make changes upstream in the pipeline such as a camera or a lighting change and see the results downstream, in the cut, instantly. That is why real-time all-in-one or multi tools are ideal for optimizing storytelling. Furthermore, a native workflow allows new users to leverage their experience of standard tools such as Maya and be productive with this new tool within minutes. The whole creates a feeling that I have rarely experienced in my career as a CG artist and filmmaker, namely a feeling of rediscovered freedom.
The collaborative feature of PocketStudio was born from the need to use a Tango tablet (the ancestor of ARCore and ARKit on mobile phones) to film 3D scenes in augmented reality while we waited to board a flight at the LAX airport (which meant being able to access project data from outside the studio). PocketStudio was born from these two needs: an all-in-one-real-time tool with a native cinema workflow (the heritage of the tools that we have used in production for more than 25 years), allowing to work in an agile way, and collaborative tools, allowing several people to edit the content of projects at the same time, remotely in real time.
We also wanted to use devices other than desktop computers that offer other creative possibilities, such as mobile phones, which are used for augmented reality.
All of this was brought together in a cohesive whole where all these parts are perfectly integrated and where the user has a feeling of ease when, in fact, the system hides its great technological complexity.
The use of the most advanced technologies still remains the prerogative of companies which have the means to integrate them into their production process, which “leaves a large number of users in the desert, wanting something to drink”, to quote Steve Jobs. By supporting the development of an application such as PocketStudio, our goal is also to put technologies that are today inaccessible to most into everyone’s hands, through a solution that is affordable both practically (simple to use) and financially. We are very curious, for example, to see how the next generation of independent content creators can take up a tool like PocketStudio to create original, professional quality content at a lower cost.
Let me underscore this point: technology advancements on which PocketStudio is based should not only be seen as offering new opportunities to existing market players. They carry with them the promise to open up the creation of animated content to a much wider audience. Until now it has only been accessible to highly specialized professionals, due to the degree of expertise required in handling the tools and their high cost. The new generation of digital creative tools therefore also has a mission and therefore, a vocation to be designed with this in mind.
The mission behind the development of PocketStudio is to explore new spaces that technological progress allows us to reach in order to engage as many creators as possible with technologically complex but easy-to-use, fully integrated and affordable solutions, offering new creative possibilities (collaboration, augmented reality on mobile devices, etc.).
Jean-Colas Prunier & the PocketStudio team