Tutorial - Ftrack Integration

Rev 1.003, 2020.04.09

How to read this tutorial

  • The tutorial does not cover all features of Accsyn, just a selected set.

  • Entries in Bold are highlighted important input data.

  • Entries in Bold Italic are made up data for this tutorial only, here you provide your own data as appropriate.

  • Labels in Italic correspond to the name of an input were you enter data.

  • Text in [ BRACKETS ] denotes a button within user interface, were LINK points out a link - for example a navigation link.

Summary

This tutorial is targeted companies that:

  • Utilises Ftrack (ftrack.com) as their project management tool.

  • Stores paths to file assets @ Ftrack version components, or are planning to do so.


Wishing to:

  • Easily transfer files between locations, freelancers, subcontractors and employees working from home, from within Ftrack without needing to go over FTP or other service.

  • Have transfers go at maximum speed, with high security - no account passwords communicated in emails or similar channels.

  • Monitor and debug transfers, submit complimentary transfers.

  • Further use a Python API to enable file delivery automatisations.


This tutorial is a complete walkthrough covering:

  • Setting up Accsyn on-prem.

  • Setting up Accsyn at a remote site/location.

  • Setting up and configuring the Ftrack action on-prem, test it by sending a version to the site.

  • Configuring an employee within Accsyn and Ftrack.

  • Run the action to transfer a task's components plus one additional folder to the employee.

  • Configure a restricted user/vendor within Accsyn and Ftrack, for project or specific parts of a project.

  • Run the action to outsource a shot in Ftrack to the vendor.


Note: In this tutorial we are only covering sending a set of files from main server to an employee, files and folders can be sent in both direction between sites and users. Also Accsyn can act as a replacement of your current FTP server, please visit accsyn.com for full feature specifications.

Schematics

Installing and configuring Accsyn


The following guide is a short summary of the installation process described in detail here: Accsyn Admin Manual

  • Register your domain @ https://customer.accsyn.com, we recommend using the same Accsyn domain name as you have with Ftrack. In this tutorial we will use company(.accsyn.com).

  • Follow the guide to initialise domain. Hint: Read through the admin tour when offered, it gives insight into the architecture of Accsyn and the terms used/names of entities.

  • Install server; when the guide instructs you to install the Accsyn daemon, download and install it on your current file transfer on-prem server ("alpha"). Pick a server that has access to your storage, or a the part of your storage that you want to expose to Accsyn.

  • Network; the guide will ask you to configure your firewall, add NAT port forwards 45190-45210 (tcp) to file transfer server "alpha". Note that Accsyn daemon DOES NOT listen to any ports 24/7, it will only start a listening process during file transfer init, software firewalled to accept incoming connections from remote client WAN IP only. For more information, please refer to Accsyn Security Whitepaper.

  • Root share; Browse to your storage, were files referenced in Ftrack are stored . In this tutorial, we assume server is running Linux and have project data accessible/mounted at /storage (Windows workstation path S: , \\192.168.1.240\storage).

  • Finish installation.

  • Finally, we want to learn Accsyn about the Windows paths, in case files are stored in Ftrack from mixed platforms. Go to Admin>Shares>Root shares and edit the root share (storage). Enter drive letter S: as Windows path and \\192.168.1.240\storage as the UNC path (helps Accsyn identify files accessed over VPN).

Note: it's perfectly fine to skip Windows drive letters, and go 100% on UNC paths. Drive letters simplifies remote workflows, enabling sites and employees to have a local drive letter keeping project file paths consistent across locations.


Installing Accsyn on a remote site/location

Next, we are going to setup a remote office. In this tutorial we are going to name it "LA" and we assume you have prepared a local Linux server with proxy storage mounted at same path as main server (/storage):

  1. Logon to Accsyn as an administrator.

  2. Go to Admin>Sites and choose [Create site].

  3. Enter the name (code) of site (LA) and click [Create].

  4. Go to Admin>Servers and choose [Install server].

  5. Choose "Serving root share(s) on a remote site." option, choose the site (LA) and the root share (storage).

  6. Click Next.

  7. Conclude the server installation by installing the Daemon, authenticating and finish server installation.


You now have a fully working setup were you can push files, using an encrypted accelerated rsync protocol, between your sites and users.

Configuring Ftrack action


Configure Ftrack


As first step, we need the locations in Ftrack to align with sites in Accsyn:

  1. Logon to Ftrack as an administrator and head over to System Settings>Locations.

  2. Create the locations "hq" that will correspond to the main site in Accsyn, and the site "la". If you already have sites in Ftrack you can rename the sites in Accsyn to align, note that it is important hey have exactly the same name for integration to work properly.


Getting boilerplate action script


We provide a boilerplate Python 3 action script at our GitHub: https://github.com/accsyn/ftrack-send

Note: The script is for Python 3, simply change the line "except Exception as e:" to "except Exception, e:" to make it Python 2 compliant.


Setup action


  1. Copy the action script to your Linux server.

  2. (Optional) Create a virtual env.

  3. Install Ftrack API and Accsyn API: pip install ftrack-python-api and pip install accsyn-python-api.

  4. Set Ftrack environment variables for your shell: FTRACK_SERVER=https://company.ftrack.com, FTRACK_API_USER=<your ftrack username> and FTRACK_API_KEY=<API key for selected user account>.

  5. Set Accsyn environment variables, we recommend inviting activating a separate Employee account in Accsyn for this purpose: ACCSYN_DOMAIN=company, ACCSYN_API_USER=<accsyn account E-mail> and ACCSYN_API_KEY=<API key for selected accsyn account>.

  6. Modify the action script to suite your needs, depending on your storage setup you will need to configure the part of the script that identifies shares and paths before submitting transfers to Accsyn.

  7. Run the action: . /path/to/venv/bin/activate && python action.py.


Testing action


We are going to test the action by sending the components of a version in Ftrack to the other location.

In this tutorial, we assume the company have a pipeline that stores file paths at version components upon publish. The script will look for these paths at "ftrack.unmanaged" and custom locations:

Example of Ftrack version with stored paths.

  1. Logon to Ftrack and open the version to send.

  2. Run action on version and choose "Accsyn Send".

  3. Choose "hq" as source location and "la" as destination.

  4. Run the action, a job should appear in Ftrack. Hover the job to get feedback on how transfer progress.



Setup an employee

An employee working away from office is another example of when you want to send project assets forth and back through Ftrack. In Accsyn, a user having the "employee" rule means they have full access to all root shares / storage.


  1. In Accsyn, goto Admin>Users and choose [Invite user]. Enter the employee's Email and choose [Next].

  2. For clearance, choose Employee and finish by clicking [Invite].

  3. Have the employee activate their account, download and logon to the Accsyn desktop app. We assume they are on Windows.

  4. Have Employee mount a work harddrive at drive letter S:.

  5. Open Accsyn app prefs and, beneath Shares, enable "storage" and tick Read and Write checkboxes.


You can now start push and pull files as long as the employee has the desktop app running. Next we need to setup Ftrack:

  1. Logon to Ftrack as an Admin and head over to System Settings>Locations.

  2. Create a location with the exact same E-mail address as you used in Accsyn when inviting the employee.

  3. Restart your running action script.


At last, we test the setup by sending a task plus an additional file to the employee:

  1. Run Accsyn Send action on the task you wish to send in Ftrack.

  2. The new employee location should now appear in Ftrack among destinations.

  3. Beneath Additional Files, paste the full path to the additional files, for example: "S:\theproject\seq010\refs" and run the action.


All components beneath task plus the extra folder should now appear remotely @ employee workstations. If any errors, run Accsyn desktop app or view transfers within Accsyn webapp to troubleshoot.


Hint: To automise task send, you can extend the Ftrack event listener to react upon task assignments and send tasks as they occur.


Publishing back

Assuming you have plug-in that employee uses to create a Ftrack version, with component paths pointing the local assets that needs to be sent back to server, your Ftrack user's can easily run the Accsyn Send action again to send the version back to main premises/site.


Hint: Of course you can also use the Accsyn Python API within your plug-ins to automise file transfers on publish.




Setup a vendor


By "vendor" we mean a restricted freelancer or subcontractor that only should work on a subset of project data, with limited access to project data. The typical flow is to have an "outsource" user or similar in Ftrack and assign tasks based on production schedule.



Invite vendor


  1. Repeat the same steps as for an employee except that you instead of inviting them with "employee" clearance in Accsyn, you use default "restricted" clearance.

  2. Instruct the vendor to activate their account, download and install the Accsyn desktop app.



Setting up share in Accsyn


To make it easy for vendor to do complementary asset downloads and upload the result back, we setup a share in Accsyn for the purpose.

  1. Logon as admin and go to Admin>Shares within Accsyn.

  2. Click [Create share].

  3. In this tutorial, we assume vendor will have read access to entire project folder. Browse to the project folder and click [Next].

  4. Pick a suitable name for share, for example "theproject-outsource" and create it by clicking [Create]. Note: You can reuse this share for all vendors, as actual file access is defined separately.

  5. Upon creation, you will be directed to the Accsyn ACL create wizard. Click [Next]

  6. Choose the vendor E-mail and make sure only Read is checked. Finish up by clicking [Grant access].

  7. Vendor can now freely download from your project folder, next we want to give write access. Click [Share directory] and browse to a folder were they can upload their finished task result. Click [Next].

  8. Tick Write checkbox and then [Grant access]. Vendor can now upload the folder you chose, notifying admins with an E-mail each time an upload finishes.

Note: This step is optional. Without the share vendors can't do complementary download and when they upload, it will go to into their Accsyn home share.


Configure vendor


We want the vendor to work as smoothly as possible, without needing to keep track of saving files and your folder structure:

  1. Instruct vendor to add the following environment variable: ACCSYN_STORAGE_PATH=C:\Users\vendor\documents\company\storage.

  2. Have them properly save the settings and then restart and logon to the Accsyn desktop app.

From now on, when a package is sent to vendor, with source paths beneath storage, they will start download directly mirroring the folder structure at on-prem storage.


Configure Ftrack and send shot


  1. As for an employee, create a location in Ftrack with a name exactly matching the Accsyn E-mail username of vendor.

  2. Select the shot in Ftrack and run Accsyn Send action.

  3. Choose "hq" as source and the vendor E-mail as destination.

  4. Accsyn will collect all components beneath shot and send to vendor, if you want to be more specific on what to send - select the particular tasks containing required file components to complete the task remotely.

  5. If vendor has mapped a share that covers the paths, download will start immediately. Otherwise, instruct vendor to save package to get download going.


Publish back

When vendor is done with their work, the basic way to send back the result is to drag-n-drop the folder onto Accsyn and upload to the company. If they have followed your naming convention, and have ACL write access to the involved folder on-prem, upload should start immediately and files should end up with mirrored paths.




Conclusion


With the Accsyn Ftrack integration, file management suddenly becomes demystified enabling anyone with Ftrack access to push file assets globally between sites and users. Fully encrypted and using an accelerated protocol, minimising waste of valuable production time.


For more information/tutorials, please head over to support.accsyn.com.