From the beloved cult animated hit Rick and Morty to the sci-fi wildlife series Star Wars Galaxy of Pals, Mighty Studios’ global team of artists excel at visual storytelling through use of vibrant, high caliber 2d and 3d animation.
Founded as a boutique animation house in 2012, Mighty scaled its team and capabilities to become a full-service animation studio that specializes in end-to-end production from concepting and storyboarding to final composition and editing. Key to the studio’s success, a ShotGrid-based pipeline helps the remote team manage workloads, connect international artists, and produce memorable animated content for audiences of all ages.
“ShotGrid is integral to all our productions,” chief of operations Claudio Jimenez Palomar explained to Cartoon Brew. “We’ve recently delivered everything from character design and storyboarding to final compositing for season one of Star Wars Galaxy of Pals, as well as 2D animation – including rigging, animation, background, layout, and compositing – on Sadie Sparks for the Disney Channel. On America the Motion Picture, the first feature film produced by Channing Tatum, we completed 25-30 minutes of animation using very complex rigs. We’ve also worked on seasons four and five of Rick and Morty and five seasons of a BBC’s animated series Yakka Dee.”
Among Mighty’s slate of projects, the team recently delivered cg series FriendsZSpace with Flying Bark Productions, T&B Media Global, and Studio 100. CG supervisor Orlando Esponda pointed out, “ShotGrid was the main communication portal between all four studios, allowing us to keep track of publishing and managing assets and shots as well as review processes. It was also the base for every single pipeline step we completed including layout, animation, rigging, and compositing. Our pipeline team further used an open-source Fusion 360 ShotGrid integration as the basis for a custom tool they developed to handle production on this project.”
With studio headquarters based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Mighty initially transitioned to a remote workflow and pipeline to attract global talent in 2012. Today, Mighty’s artists are based across Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Ecuador, U.S., Canada, Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, India, and Spain. Though a skeleton crew of 50 artists worked in studio prior to the pandemic, all 400 artists are now globally dispersed, leaving the IT technician as the sole member of the team in house. ShotGrid has been an essential tool for connecting the international crew, allowing Mighty to collaborate with top talent and produce high-end content, regardless of physical location.
“ShotGrid further standardizes everything,” said Esponda. “Artists don’t need to worry about exporting in the right format, using the proper naming conventions, or matching versions with other artists. ShotGrid makes this effortless, and it’s essential to how we operate as a studio.”
In discussing the studio’s pipeline evolution, Palomar said, “Our first project with ShotGrid was a pilot for a Canadian series in 2015. Prior to this, we were using very basic web-based collaboration software, but it was hard to keep track of everything and ended up creating more roadblocks. When a larger project came in, we knew it was time to find a new solution and called in an expert to get us up-and-running in ShotGrid. We now have around 250 licenses in house.”
Today, ShotGrid is the backbone of all studio operations, offering a simplified pipeline for tracking assets and productions tailored for smaller project workloads. For larger and more demanding projects, Mighty leverages a more robust ShotGrid-powered pipeline for managing productions with proprietary ShotGrid Toolkit integrations customized to meet the requirements of each show. The studio leverages a range of Toolkit integrations for DCCs including Toon Boom Harmony, Fusion 360, Maya, Houdini, Kleta, Premiere Pro, and Photoshop, and a custom tool built on top of Diego Huerta’s ShotGrid implementation for Harmony.
One of the biggest challenges the studio faces is ensuring that all production tools work across the different workstations, configurations, and operating systems for each artist around the world.
Esponda elaborated, “Fortunately, we’re able to do this by making certain that the correct Python versions and tool bundles that we share all work through the pipeline. Because the requirements of each project are different, we also need to ensure that the Python configurations work for any situation, be it 2d or 3d animation. Confirming that works correctly for different projects is definitely an ongoing challenge, but having our global team plugged into ShotGrid helps us ensure our productions are on track.”
ShotGrid saves the Mighty team both time and money by expediting workflows, facilitating clear communication among artists, mitigating scheduling bottlenecks, and providing full transparency to every task that needs to be assigned.
Esponda summed up his thoughts saying, “ShotGrid has no competition. There is no other software capable of managing all that it does.”
For more information, visit: https://mighty.mx.
Pictured at top: “FriendsZSpace”