For many animators and 3D artists, working solo is a familiar way of life. Much of the nitty-gritty work of animation and creation is done by an artist working long hours staring at a screen.
But in the shift to remote work, animators and the teams they work alongside are noticing that while a good amount of 3D animation is done solo, there were many instances where the team would meet together and review edits, make notes, and collaborate on changes.
Now that in-person brainstorming sessions have been moved to Zoom, a lot of that magic that would happen during live collaboration sessions has been lost.
Now, the only way to collaborate on changes is to send rough draft exports back and forth with notes, a clunky workflow, to say the least.
To attempt to recreate the feeling of a live collaboration session, many animators are looking for a way to stream their workflows live over Zoom so that they can chat and edit simultaneously. But is it possible?
We’ll examine some common workarounds that Zoom users have attempted and see if they can meet the needs of creative teams and the demands of the Autodesk Maya platform.
Create together remotely, in real time
What Are The Challenges To Streaming Autodesk Maya Over Zoom?
The biggest challenge facing anyone looking to stream a graphics-heavy platform like Autodesk Maya over Zoom is that Zoom just isn’t designed for it. It’s a simple video conferencing platform whose features work seamlessly for basic video conferencing or screen sharing of web pages and documents. But when it comes to CPU-heavy programs like Autodesk Maya, Zoom is starting off on the back foot.
Zoom itself is a CPU-heavy platform, and its engineers have built it to be relatively flexible with when and how it takes up memory space depending on its current usage, network stability, and other factors.
Unfortunately, this means that the already CPU-heavy Maya platform doesn’t play well with Zoom. Trying to run both together and expecting a seamless experience means working against the limits of the program.
However, Zoom is so ubiquitous that your editing team may still want to attempt streaming Maya over it so that everyone can collaborate on a platform that they are familiar with. If you or your creative team is insisting on attempting to collaborate over Zoom, there are a few workarounds you can attempt.
Here Are a Few Things You Can Try:
- OBS and an NDI: For this workaround, you’ll need two screens, ideally two systems, and enough processing power to handle Maya, Zoom, and two additional software programs. If you have these at your disposal, you can use OBS and an NDI to stream your Maya workspace over Zoom. This streaming system requires a ton of processing power, setup time, and for people watching over Zoom, the feed isn’t always reliable.
- Webcam: If you’re not comfortable setting up an NDI or your system simply cannot handle running so many different programs at once, a lower-tech option is to simply grab a second webcam and point it at your screen with the Maya workspace on it. You can then stream the webcam feed directly through Zoom, just like you would with a regular video conference. The most serious drawback with this workaround is that the image quality of a webcam pointed at a screen will be less than ideal. For animators, this is a huge problem, as details are everything when building unique elements. With the huge loss in resolution that this will result in, it may not be a feasible option for your team.
So it’s clear that these workarounds kind of work. But when you’re working against the clock to finish a project and want every detail to be perfect, solutions that “kind of” work can cause more problems than they solve.
So what’s the solution? How do you effectively collaborate with your team from a distance?
One more solution is to use a platform that is custom-built for the demands of teams who need to be able to collaborate live while also working on professional editing platforms. One such platform is Evercast.
Streaming Autodesk Maya with Evercast
To stream Autodesk Maya through Evercast requires no special workarounds or additional software. It allows you to stream your workspace in full HD with ultra-low latency (on average, less than 150ms) while simultaneously video chatting with your team. This means that your animations are seen exactly how you intend them to be seen with virtually no lag, and your team can comment and make notes in real-time.
Speaking of notes, all notes can be timestamped, so there’s no confusion as to what frame your colleagues were commentating on. You can also annotate directly on the screen if visual notes are more your style.
All of this happens within the Evercast platform, which means it’s less demanding of CPU power as well. There’s also no need to download any additional software for people who are simply joining meetings, so your co-collaborators can join in from anywhere in the world with no additional tech skills required.
Evercast is a platform designed by creatives for creatives. So if you’re looking for a better way to bring your remote-working creative team together and improve collaboration at a distance, Evercast is a great option to check out. We believe collaboration is the magic behind the movies, and better collaboration starts with software that works with your team, not against it.