Computers upgraded with fast memory and storage empower creatives to deliver
Michelangelo famously spent four years painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and another seven completing “The Last Judgement” fresco in the chapel behind the alter.
Today’s creatives face tighter deadlines.
Clients expect quick turnarounds while still demanding painstaking attention to detail and artistic flourish. Make it beautiful, and make it by Wednesday, EOD.
That makes speed paramount for agencies such as Curious Media, which producing video games, animations, websites, integrated toys, often for big-name clients with recognizable IPs.
Those clients expect results, says Jesse Huffman, Curious Media creative director. That means giving the creative team cutting-edge technology to expediently turn their talents into deliverables.
“If we can’t go fast, it takes a lot longer to make it awesome,” Huffman says. “[Slowdowns] definitely affect every part of the team. We notice when someone isn’t going as fast as they could. And our clients want us to go 10 times faster.”
SSDs = Faster Access
Computers depend on storage to boot up, open programs and to transfer data for backup – tasks that are afterthoughts until they slow to a crawl, forcing users to spend time waiting for progress bars to fill rather than doing their jobs.
That delay is particularly disruptive for creatives, Balisciano says. Great ideas are fleeting. At Curious Media, which prides itself on injecting quirk and humor into the characters it creates, waiting on the drive can take animators and illustrators out of their creative zones.
That’s why Curious Media relies on powerful SSDs, which work far faster than old-school hard drives.
“When you can instantly get to the tools you need, you can instantly see feedback on the screen, it takes away all of those external forces and lets the creativity bloom,” Balisciano says
As is the case for all small agencies, Curious Media buys hardware with its budget in mind. SSD prices have fallen in recent years, simplifying the decision to upgrade.
“Having that stuff not be a problem anymore and be affordable, for a smaller company, it transforms the way we can work,” Balisciano says. “It’s nice.“
Curious Media upgrades its memory and storage as a cost-effective alternative to buying new computers. Switching from hard drives to SSDs made a big difference, Balisciano says.
“Some of us have computers that are four to six years old if they haven’t given us any trouble,” he says. “When we were on hard drives, that frustration would start setting in after a year or two.”
More server capacity = peace of mind
Creatives working with photo, video, animation, and other creation and editing software generate huge files. Curious Media relies on servers to enable team members to share projects and preserve each version through the editing process. In addition to performing the most basic of critical functions – storing all the stuff – servers also provide peace of mind. If an animator’s laptop goes on the fritz, that’s a small problem rather than a project-jeopardizing catastrophe.
In the early years, Curious Media ran into a problem common for creative agencies: the server kept filling up. Each time, the company cobbled together a short-term fix enabling work to continue.
“In the past, we were up against capacity much more when we were using 200-500GB drives for our entire organization to store all of our content,” Balisciano says. “We were frequently having to add more drives, and then we got to the point where we couldn’t add any more drives to our existing hardware.”
Thankfully, server storage technology has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years while becoming more affordable. Balisciano says Curious Media has taken advantage by investing in large storage drives, allowing the agency to focus on creating content rather than upgrading servers.
“Now, we can load up 8 terabytes in a couple of drive bays or less,” he says. “It’s something we have to look at every few years instead of every few months. We worry about it a lot less these days.”