Ex-DreamWorkers Aim to Make Animation Production Easier With Nimble Collective

article here:

Nimble founders (l. to r.) Michael Howse, Jason Schleifer, Scott LaFleur, Bruce Wilson, and Rex Grignon.

A new company aims to give small animation teams something that has previously been available only to mega-studios like Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks: a seamless and integrated pipeline for animation production.
Three former DreamWorks animators have teamed up to form the Nimble Collective and together create a first-of-its-kind cloud-based platform and community designed to help frustrated animated filmmakers everywhere.
The brainchild of animators Rex Grignon, Scott LaFleur, and Jason Schleifer, plus tech industry exec and entrepreneur Michael Howse, and announced at today’s Citrix Synergy 2015 Conference in Orlando, Florida, the Nimble Platform is an end-to-end solution for artists who want to create, collaborate, and ultimately distribute their work.
Watch a demo short made entirely within the cloud-enabled Nimble Platform:

“There are a lot of costs involved in making animation,” Grignon, former head of character animation on DreamWorks’s Madagascar series, told Cartoon Brew yesterday. “We just want to make it very easy for artists to start creating and start collaborating.
“I’ve worked on big productions that have made hundreds of millions of dollars, and while I’ve got a very nice salary in my career, the artists working on those films really don’t benefit proportionally to the success of what they create.”
Though currently in its pre-alpha stage, the Nimble Platform will allow the user to access the best professional software tools available—as long as they already have the appropriate user’s licenses—in a single, integrated and intuitive interface within a secure cloud environment. Utilizing low-latency streaming technology, the platform will allow users to work with graphically intense applications like Photoshop and Maya within the cloud enjoying all the responsiveness of a local-running application.
“You don’t require a high performance workstation; you don’t require all the networking and collaboration technology,” said Howse. “We’re providing all of that as part of a personal facility that resides in the cloud.”
From there, the platform will allow the user to easily share work with others, allowing a project to pass smoothly through the various stages of a pipeline, including rendering (which now takes place in a cloud), right through to revenue-generating online distribution channels—which themselves only take a couple of clicks.
A subscription to the platform will be “moderately priced”—$60-$100 a month per user license—with a free version to be made available for limited use.
Nimble will help would-be animated filmmakers everywhere overcome the otherwise insurmountable hardware and software costs that don’t trouble the big studios, Grignon says.
“DreamWorks and Pixar and Disney—we love them—but they’ve all invested millions in infrastructure and pipeline and the things that we’re talking about,” said Grignon. “We’d love to help people get together and launch a studio tomorrow, for example, for the price of a subscription. I see so many amazing ideas that never end up getting made. I know personally from my very large circle of friends that there are a lot of frustrated animated filmmakers out there. And there’s a real demand for it.”
Nimble has already raised $1 million in seed funding, with additional funding rounds in the works.
Other key figures within the young company include CTO Bruce Wilson, who was a software engineer at both DreamWorks Animation and Google, and v-p of engineering George Bruder, who has worked on streaming technologies at Ooyala, YouTube, and Netflix.

So, after reading all that they have on their site and even searching out press and reading blog entries, I still can’t really tell what it is that they are trying to do? What are they actually offering? It kind of looks like you’ll be able to use their service to run Maya in the cloud and somehow manage projects while you work but you can already run Maya in the cloud through Autodesk. And what about licensing? How much will this cost?

I guess I can imagine what I would consider cool but I have no idea if that’s what they are planning. There is so little information about their plans.

It’s basically the original idea behind the Blender cloud; a production pipeline hired out as an online service.

at 60 to 100 dollars a month, For a year. You can build a hell of a lot of computer. So most likely if you have software like maya and or other autodesk goodies. Having enough computer is not your issue. And for that matter some of yesterdays server hardware does a commendable job as a workstation for today. Look up the specs on a dell poweredge r905. You can picked that up dressed with 128 gig of ram, and 4 quad core processors for less then a thousand. Pick up 3 ssd drives. dedicate one of them as a page file drive and you are very much good to go.

So add skype, a desktop streamer like twitch tv, drop box and a remote software. and you can emulate this service. (edit)

caveat you will have to spend some quality time getting the drivers to work if you want to use a desktop os, Keep it in the same kernal family and force install is your friend.

soo for 60 - 100 dollar a month you can use maya online?
didn’t the maya subscription alone cost 300 a month?

[QUOTE=’[hris;2869002’]soo for 60 - 100 dollar a month you can use maya online?
didn’t the maya subscription alone cost 300 a month?[/QUOTE]
That would be on top of having maya. If I read this correctly. It looks more like their market is recent college grads who still have a surplus of income

Guys, this is not about hardware, or Maya.

It’s about pipeline and production. These are VERY IMPORTANT subjects that are often overlooked by beginner filmmakers.
Having good infrastructure for handling assets, scheduling and planning can be the difference between whether or not your movie gets made at all.

Where are you reading anything about price? I can’t find concise information anywhere.

It’s in the cartoon brew article, $60 - $100 and free for limited use.

I think it’s similar to what shotgun does now, but focused more on a cloud based platform rather than server based. But that’s just my guess. It will be interesting to see what these guys come up with in any event.

Actually the answer to all of these questions is in the article:

Software and licenses:

Though currently in its pre-alpha stage, the Nimble Platform will allow the user to access the best professional software tools available—as long as they already have the appropriate user’s licenses—in a single, integrated and intuitive interface within a secure cloud environment. Utilizing low-latency streaming technology, the platform will allow users to work with graphically intense applications like Photoshop and Maya within the cloud enjoying all the responsiveness of a local-running application

Networking Service/Hardware:

“You don’t require a high performance workstation; you don’t require all the networking and collaboration technology,” said Howse. “We’re providing all of that as part of a personal facility that resides in the cloud.”

Rendering:

From there, the platform will allow the user to easily share work with others, allowing a project to pass smoothly through the various stages of a pipeline, including rendering (which now takes place in a cloud), right through to revenue-generating online distribution channels—which themselves only take a couple of clicks.

Price:

A subscription to the platform will be “moderately priced”—$60-$100 a month per user license—with a free version to be made available for limited use.

If they do actually pull this off, considering the cost of hardware and rendering facilities it would be a cost effective way to pull of a small production. If you have a small team and a budget it could be a viable alternative.