Pipeline management tools for Blender

So, as the title says, I’m looking for recommendations on tools and platforms for pipeline management using Blender.
I’m currently starting to look for options because the studio I work for just got a contract to revamp a popular kids Youtube channel, and the amount of content we’ll have to deliver monthly is pretty big. So I think it’s best to start building a solid pipeline from the start.

I’ve been taking a look at the tools the Blender Studio offers, and for render management we’ll probably use Flamenco, but other tools like the asset pipeline only work if you’re also using Kitsu, which is not our case.
Does anyone has any experience on this so you can share your experience/suggestions?
What other tools for pipeline management do you know that can be used directly with Blender?

Any help and pointers are greatly appreciated!

1 Like

Hello @julperado !

It’s a broad question !
For rendering I’m used to work with CGRU / Afanasy and it’s quite good too. Weird UI at first but quite easy to work with. But I’m going a bit too fast forward…

First the questions :
Roughly, how many artist do you expect to work at the same time ?

Are you doing everything at your company or do you plan to work with other companies for instance doing the animation elsewhere ?

What tools are you planning to use , for 3D, rendering, compositing ? other stuff , like editing ?

Are you using production tracking software like shotgun or kitsu ?

And fatal question, what do you expect from the pipeline ? How you see it working.

I didn’t used it but looks interesting : https://openpype.io/

Bonus question :
I’ve seen a few company being in a urge to setup a pipeline because they have one big project.
It’s quite a hard task because it might imply a lot of changes and a bunch of work until everything is wired up.
On top of that the company/producers might not be aware of what it takes, it might take a year before you start to feel at ease, and before that it’s like a lot of bugs , slowdowns etc…

Ideally pipeline should start with a few short films or very small projects , where you invest money in building basic tools.
But I never have seen this append :smiley:

What’s possible to do is rather than creating something that is going to last, you aim at a pipeline only for the project. It’s still a bunch of work, but it might cut the time to make it by half.
But the sad thing is that probably after the project it’s going to the bin and you’ll have to start over.
At least it allows to have something made a bit quicker and when you need to start over to build a new one everyone is on the same page, with specifics clearly defined…

Bonus question is , how do you see your company in all that ? quick and dirty biodegradable pipeline, or you have other projects after this one ?


Thanks for taking the time to answer @sozap! I know it’s a pretty broad question but I’m really just starting to look into this.
Before, for smaller projects, we’ve worked on a very, very simple pipeline based on Dropbox + Google sheets, mainly because the 3D stuff done at the studio was very small, and I was basically their main/only provider, so it was a one man operation, really.
Now, as we start to setup assets delivered by the client and bring people in for the project I’m already seeing it will be very hard to keep everything organized without setting up something a bit more “robust”.

So, to answer your questions:

There’ll be at least 3 teams working at the same time, each team on a different episode. So around 30 people.

We are doing everything, the only thing that comes from another studio is voice/music/sfx.

Other than Blender as the main tool, we’re using Toonboom for Storyboard/2D stuff, Photoshop for concept and design, and After Effects for final compositing/editing (This is just for minor final touch-ups, since most of the final look is achieved inside Blender).

Krock.io for project management, but it feels more like a collaboration and review platform.

What I’d like is a way to automate (as much as possible) the manual stuff that’s prone to human error like naming, saving, updating, versioning, linking, etc. Plus, a way to have the task and production management connected directly to Blender would be ideal. I know there’s an addon to connect Kitsu to Blender, but the Kitsu pricing is too high for us…

I’ll take a look, thanks for the link!

Honestly, I’m still not sure what would be best, but this project’s contract is initially set for 1 and a half years, with the possibility to be extended after that.
Also, one important goal going forward is to solidify the 3D department to offer full production services, since the studio’s main experience so far is in 2D animation.

Thanks again for your help and answers!


I’m just starting to read their documentation, but the integration with Blender, Photoshop and After Effects already looks pretty useful! :nerd_face:

1 Like

Cool !

You can install Kitsu on your own server, it’s opensource software. They offer services for hosting and so you don’t have to install the server yourself. But I’m pretty sure you can setup your own instance for free.

You’ll definitely need a bit of help here especially if you want to do something else than setting up the pipeline (or have a life).

The good thing about openpype is that a lot of the things are already done for you, even if I’m sure you’ll still need a full time python / IT developer to make everything works.

Unless you build your own solution from scratch all that you’ll find are stuff that are cool but that probably won’t fit 100% your needs.

Here are a few random links for sunday reading :

Autour de minuit tools ( a french company) :


Oh nice, I didn’t get that at first.

Again thank you very much, your answers have been very helpful! I’ll check the links you shared.
I’ll post here again once we settle with something, hopefully that might be helpful for someone else.

1 Like

Yeah cool ! Glad it can help !

Feel free to poke me at some point if you have questions or a first draft of an organisation.
I"m not a pipeline expert but I had to take care of that at some point in my career for small studios.

It’s always good to share practice on that essential part of a large scale 3D projects, but somewhat very poorly documented.

Maybe that will inspire a youtuber to dedicate a channel on that ?? :smiley:

Have fun !

1 Like

Thanks man! I really appreciate it. I’ll surely will come back with questions later hehe.

I agree, there’s definitely a lack of proper documentation and training about this topic, a YouTube channel dedicated solely to this would be awesome :nerd_face:

1 Like

Yes ! especially since I think it’s an area that can use some out of the box thinking !

What I’m going to say is very personal and biased, but 2D animation can work without pipeline , from my understanding.
And 3D animation, I’m pretty sure it inherited a workflow from VFX, most of the sutdio I know tend to use shotgun which is super complex and slow. But it’s really powerful.

Kitsu is already a strpped down version of shotgun, simpler to use, and I hope openPype tries also to be simpler than tookit which is the basic interface you can use to link your DCC with shotgun.

All this kinda work, and also since every studio tend to use similar tools , it’s easier to outsource say animation to another company. They can retrieve or connect to your shotgun database, so everyone can follow the progress of the project.

But I think while these tools work, they are more useful for the studio but could be seen as a constraint by artists, since they are a bit clunky to use , and also a bit too technical.

But for small studios / team, I’m pretty sure it’s possible to make things much simpler and fun to use , since the needs are much more simple.

You’ll see what inspires you in the end, but since you are a small team doing everything yourself it’s possible to make things much simpler.

food for thought !

1 Like

I agree! I think there should be simpler tools for artists to handle big amounts of data during a production.

I will definitely try to keep things as simple as possible, while also being able to keep things organized and somewhat automated. Let’s see where this leads hehe

1 Like

You can, I even played around with it a bit myself, tho not really got back to it for a while and hit some road blocks with the Blender Studio tools. But of course a full studio would have a python/IT person to solve those.


Thanks for chiming in with your experience! I’ll take a look at your thread when I have the time (probably tonight).

1 Like