Meet the Shotgun Team: Rob Blau

Aug 31, 2017



We chatted with Rob Blau, product manager for Shotgun desktop integrations and pipeline products, and recently an upcoming tool for artists and supervisors.

When and how did you come to join the Shotgun team?

I joined Shotgun in 2012. I was working at Laika, the stop-motion animation studio. Laika had been using Shotgun for years - the studio was one of Shotgun’s early adopters - and I had been working closely with the Shotgun team even then. At Laika, I was the lead for the studio’s pipeline development and had been collaborating closely with the Shotgun team while they were initially pulling together Toolkit.  When Toolkit was being rebooted, Don Parker, co-founder of Shotgun and VP, production platform at Autodesk, wanted to staff up the pipeline effort so he gave me a call asking if I was interested in joining.  I decided to go for it and the rest has been history!

Has your background helped your day-to-day working on Shotgun?

Before Laika I worked at Dreamworks as a supervisor on the global pipeline there - so I’ve been working on pipeline problems for a long time now.  All those years are certainly relevant to all the things we’re trying to do at Shotgun.

What have you worked on at Shotgun so far and what are you working on now?

I’ve been a developer, lead, and product manager on Toolkit.  Over the years, I’ve helped that offering evolve into a set of tools that makes some of the efficiencies that bigger studios get with automation and pipelines available to smaller studios without the technical support staff of the bigger guys.

I’m currently working on the designs for an artist and supervisor-focused tool to give those groups a much better experience within Shotgun.

Can you share a personal Shotgun tip or trick?

I’ve had a lot of Shotgun hacks through the years. One of my favorites is setting up a mail handler so that you can reply to Shotgun Notes directly from the emails that Shotgun sends out. I’ve got a repo that a few studios have picked up over the years.

What is your favorite Shotgun feature?

Overall, I love its configurability. The fact that you can make Shotgun work for almost any workflow in a studio once you understand it is a huge deal.

One nice and simple way of using Shotgun that I like is how Shotgun is used to help manage the queue of work for a couple of the fabrication departments at Laika. There is a lot of demand for access to tools like the laser cutter, so there is a Shotgun page to manage the requests from the various departments to have things cut. Everybody can see their place in line and the folks running the laser cutter have a clear place to go to get the files they need and to let the requestors know when the work has been done.  It's a simple setup, but has worked wonders to keep things organized.

What's something you wish people knew they could do in Shotgun?

Shotgun is amazing in how configurable it is and how deeply you can integrate it with your studio. I think a lot of people would love using the Shotgun Panel that we have for apps like Maya and Nuke.  Bringing Shotgun into your content creation tool can be a really powerful thing.