Linux Desktop Environment Platform – Testing and Deployment

Objective

To implement a successful desktop environment for a new Harmony (2D animation project), in preparation for the studio’s transition to  Linux.

Development

Based on its stability, scalability, and management flexibility, Linux has been the preferred choice for System Administrators at Technology Studios. Bardel Entertainment has been a Windows studio since its early stages.

The first step was pairing with the Technology Leads to set dates and expectations for the project.

Based on the studio’s Harmony pipeline being brand new, the limitations for Harmony files, scenes, and processes had not yet been defined. A testing plan was set up to test hardware specs with CENTOS in workstations, as it was assumed, up until that point, that a 2D show was ‘lighter’, less resource intensive, than a 3D/CG one.

The testing allowed to test both Hardware and Software and provided the company with the Harmony guidelines that internal production and partner studios should follow for an optimal use of Harmony and a 2D pipeline. For example, 8K background images, common from creative clients, were reported as a performance issue for the pipeline. They had to be tiled before importing to Harmony to allow a “scrolling” background possible. With the resulting data of each of the tests conducted, we were able to confirm each scenario and prevent running the 2D pipeline with assumptions.

Project Management Tools & Methodologies

  • JIRA: Using a KANBAN approach, tasks were defined and linked to the testing plan in Confluence based on dependencies and blockers from other teams.
  • Confluence: To set up the Project Charter and testing plans. To report the testing conclusions and link them to JIRA tasks.
  • Hansoft: To slate and keep track of tasks over time in a Gantt Chart (visual) way.

Results

COPS – Louise C.K 2D animation project was the first project to have CENTOS Desktop distribution, with the tested hardware specs, deployed to all its Harmony Animators.

The amount of Harmony crashes was reduced exponentially, and users reported a considerably faster and streamlined experience, compared to the systems they have used in the past.