Autodesk Buys Shotgun Software

The company has a vision for an industry-wide, cloud-based production management platform.

San Francisco—Autodeskhas agreed to acquire Shotgun Software, a developer of cloud-based production tracking, review and asset management software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The transaction is expected to close by July 31, 2014.

Shotgun's software helps manage sophisticated VFX projects and improve productivity among disparately located production teams. Don Parker, co-founder and CEO of Shotgun, said his company shares a vision with Autodesk of "an industry-wide, cloud-based production management system."

VFX supervisors at major production studios use Shotgun's software tracking tools for production management are used by to closely manage resources (including every shot and asset) associated with a particular project. The company's technology tightly integrates with many of Autodesk's products, such as 3ds Max modeling and rendering software as well as Maya 3D animation software.

Etienne Pecheux, visual effects supervisor at Mac Gruff, in Paris, said that the typical development cycle for an animated film can run up to four years, but managing their productions on Shotgun helps reduce this time by more than half.

The idea behind the Autodesk purchase is for Shotgun to leverage Autodesk's vast global network of contacts and resources to speed up development of new types of VFX and animation image management and delivery products that will solidify Autodesk's presence in the world of post production for digital cinematography and animation.

"Together, we will extend our tools deeper into the production process, and develop new solutions that best support the studios of the future," Parker said. The existing Shotgun team—led by Parker, co-founder and CSO Isaac Reuben; and CTO Matt Daw—will continue to support current and new customers, and lead future product development.

Shotgun's main asset management platform was launched in 2006 and includes business applications for managers and collaboration tools for visual artists and supervisors, to manage remotely located production teams and help them collaborate. The company has made a customizable SDK available online that allows customers to contribute to the Shotgun's Revolver private beta program and ecosystem of applications.

The software features an app framework that provides access to enhanced plug-in style features via a set of web applications, a Crew Planning app to help studios to manage resources more effectively and communicate crew schedules to everyone working on the project and a constantly updated Review Notes app.

Revolver, announced in April at NAB 2012, is an all-in-one review tool set that makes it easy for teams in any location to view their latest work in the context of the cut, browse and compare iterations, annotate on images, write notes and collaborate on shots in real time. A web-based player provides access to the work from any browser or mobile device, and a player called "RV" is deeply integrated to provide real-time playback of high-res frames from local storage at the desktop or in the screening room.

The goal, said Chris Bradshaw, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment, is to help customers work more efficiently "by collaborating globally to deliver increasingly complex productions on time and budget."

Shotgun Software, he said, brings "deep expertise and industry-leading technology in cloud products and production management."