Online tools for VFX project management?

Hi there,

I’m currently working on a side project which is dedicated to 3D artists and more specificly VFX.

So I’ll appreciate to have some answers from you guys.

It’s not about the creation process but more about what surround the artistic side of a project.

  1. What tools do you use to manage your project ? Software or Online …

  2. Can you tell me 3 key features, absolutely needed, in your creation process ?

Thank you guys.


Oh man, that’s awesome!

I’m currently using Trello and Google calendar for most things. All online. Since I often do planning work when I’m out and only have access to my laptop, I need everything to be synced between systems.

Trello is good, due to its ease of use with drag and drop. However, there are some things I miss.

My top five things:

  1. A calendar layout where you can set at start and end date for a task and it’ll paint a bar across all those dates so you know that’s what you’re supposed to be working on.
  2. Clear indications of what’s a dependency on what.
  3. Color coded calendar items so you know what project the item belongs to.
  4. A good way of indicating that a task is in progress.
  5. Needs a better overview of overall project status.

At the moment only use these softwares for general tasks like: Finish project X, create test asset for company Y, Research/Purchase software Z.

Project specific tasks like finish torches in zone 2, usually end up either in google sheets or in the software the client uses, like Jira.


Asana, GanttPRO, Slack, Dropbox, Box, Evernote… what ever you find working for you.
if you want to do development / version control = GitHub, Perforce, JetBrains (TeamCity)

I don’t like trello.

EDIT: I don’t have 3 different keys, only 1. and it would be (Communication!) other wise your team work will suffer, doesn’t matter if your tools are the most advanced. make sure you communicate as much as possible. (face to face preferred and highly recommended). else use skype so you can at least share screens and discuss WIP.


version control softwares enchances workflow a lot. Something that seems to be missing to often.

Other scheduling features like @Partikel mentioned is something you should try out with the team, what feels natural for you and your teammates. Having discussion things like slack is great, having trello with tasks can be good. But they most be used regularly

But why would you want version control in the managment software? That just feels like it’ll give you two versioncontrols to keep up to date. Just make sure the management program talks to whatever version control you arleady use for development.

When I read the questions I understood this as @Gilles was asking in general the most important things to create softwares, to ease the development.

In my mind the first that came up was version controlling the project files and assets themselves, not the having a version control in the management software.

Fair enough.

If that’s the case it makes the question less interesting. At least for me. The management software suite is something I can control, but version control, communication channels and so on are usually too integrated in the game/company for us as vfx artists to have any say over.

Thanks for your answers !!

Let me explain myself. The idea behind that is to “ease the pain” of the project management so that an artist can be more focused on the creation process.

From my point of view, I see 2 things that p**** me off.

  1. Having to switch between tools or services
    (trello / dropbox / whateveryouwant …)

  2. Using tools which don’t fit every sizes of team
    (you know you don’t work the same way on your own or with team1, team2 or team3)

@ChrisNordgren and @Partikel You’re both right about the meaning of my questions.
Versionning is really important in the process, so are tools which help to manage a project.

But as @Partikel said, versionning is often included in creations software even if an assets management tool would be great to have separated from this production softs.

And to reply to @Ohadgfx, communication is indeed the only right tool you need. But not all tools are efficients and it brings me to the 1) of my pain point list. A smooth workflow would be much appreciated, don’t you think ?

Well there is no one way to manage a project and every project has its own needs. That is why i only gave you a list of tools to find what fits you. And i disagree that smooth workflow comes from the tools you are using regards manage a team/project. I still say that your workflow in the team will be good only if the communication is working . At the end “managment tools” can also be a pen and notepad but we dont go to the extreme rather find the balance for the entire team.

Right. So how do you usually handle a the production of an hour of cutscenes with a team spread out on four continents in nine different timezones with a team of 30 people and a deadline tighter than my shirt after christmas dinner?

Communication is a given, everyone uses Slack, skype and mail and face to face talking. That’s not an issue. It becomes an issue when you have six levels of dependencies on all tasks. And this is if you only keep one project in mind. Add seven more like it and some organizing software is needed.

Simply communicating works great for a small project like a student thing, but when it gets big it’s just not enough. Without a tool, how do you project work, to estimate when to ramp people on and off the project?

Projects do indeed have their own needs, which is why a tool that can handle them all would be great. Hell, during my last big project we went through three management tools + excel + slack + lync + mail. They were without a doubt needed but if we could have used one tool for the whole project, it would’ve been great. I’m guessing that’s what @gilles is trying to do.

I cant answer to your question because first I’m not experienced with this kind of settings and second nothing is perfect.
Even if tomorrow your dream tool will happen to be available, some projects later it will be missing those new needs again.

So my best bet here is to look for an open source management software. Then develop those tweaks that will make it perfect for every kind of project over the time.
I personslly didnt find that one yet or the time to make it.


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Ok then. Best of luck to you!

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It’s almost what I want to do @Partikel

A secure environment where you can deploy apps, such as trello-like, gantt-like, video, audio, screenshare, dropbox-like etc… from basic management features to more specific ones for 3D projects.

Each project can be managed differently because the set of apps installed will be “unique”, and based on that, each workflow will be smooth @Ohadgfx because adapted on what the team need. I think we share the same opinion on this subject, it’s just me that don’t make myself clear. The workflow serve the communication, but better your workflow is (adapted to each project/team), better the communication will be ^^

If someone show me this modular system available to use I will be happy to use it. @Partikel and you are both right. Because after all every situation is different.
But untill then I will call the modular system an “OS” and use the different available tools on it as needed I guess ^^
Thanks god we have nowadays clouds :cloud: so syncronizing is ez. I would higly recommend to check Asana they develop in the right way i think.