Aaron Sims Creative, the studio behind the Stranger Things Demogorgon and Ready Player One’s virtual characters, has begun feeding financial data into its studio management platform, NIM, NIM Labs announced Wednesday, Dec. 13.
ASC can now track the health of their studio using highly visual tools for bidding, timecards and projections, helping them stay on track and on budget as they continue to turn out some of the world’s most compelling creature designs.
Like most studios, ASC has to keep a careful eye on resource management. With change orders and quality bumps growing more common, finding a way to see if the internal numbers are pointing towards a steady path or a necessary change has become even more important.
ASC’s search for a better management platform led them to NIM. ASC was immediately intrigued by its ability to run locally, as this would make it applicable to projects that required zero internet access and extreme security. Once they started playing around with it, though, it revealed itself to be a true friend to the creative.
“A lot of products aimed at studios are developed by outsiders that don’t deal with the day-to-day demands of studio projects,” said Andrew Sinagra, co-founder at NIM Labs and creative director at Ntropic. “NIM is as in tune with a creative as it is with a studio head, because it was created by both types of people. This way entire studios can function as they are supposed to, with ease, order and a lot of useful information that is always on demand.”
Currently, ASC is deploying NIM office-wide across of its all feature film and TV projects in a limited capacity, while the team builds tools and test integrations. Since NIM can be used in full, or pieces to fill a hole, ASC can immediately start applying it to their finances, while the TDs continue to filter it out to the artistic side of things.
“Having bids and actuals baked right into the interface is absolutely huge for us! Once we get it fully up and running, it will alleviate half the work of five people on the accounting side alone,” said Steffen Reichstadt, VFX Supervisor at Aaron Sims Creative. “A streamlined bidding-to-actuals process will make it easier for us all to stay on the same page and prevent costly mistakes like going over budget, which is an easy thing to do.”
As NIM gains momentum within the studio, ASC sees the Connectors – NIM’s direct lines to studio mainstays like Maya, Nuke, Houdini etc. – as a key component of a successful transfer process. After years of building tools and plugins for their current review and tracking system, all of which will need to be ported, ASC is looking forward to having everything just work without any extra effort.
“It has become obvious to us that once you get above a few people on a production, you absolutely have to have some way to streamline the pipeline and organize your process,” added Reichstadt. “If you don’t have some kind of tracking software, you’re leaving money on the table by allowing poor communication, lost files and inconsistent workflows. With NIM, we plan to keep everything in line.”
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About NIM Labs
NIM Labs are the creators of NIM, the world’s first studio management software. Incubated at Ntropic, NIM Labs consists of creative directors and studio heads who want to centralize the most common challenges studios face, from finances to production tracking, so teams can stay more informed, more profitable and more engaged in their work. NIM is currently used at: Digital Domain, Intelligent Creatures, Ayzenberg, Logan, Taylor James, Aaron Sims Creative, Lockheed Martin and more. NIM Labs is headquartered in LA.
About Aaron Sims Creative
Aaron Sims Creative is a full-service creative studio specializing in Concept Design, Pre-Visualization and Visual Effects. We pride ourselves on a design-first approach to creature and world-building that develops iconic characters from visionary concept to on-screen debut via our proprietary Sketch-to-Screen workflow. This approach combines the best of concept design, rapid prototyping, previsualization and visual effects, resulting in unforgettable creatures, worlds and visual storytelling.