The Gantt schedule is a visual tool that facilitates the creation and presentation of your project’s workflow along a timeline. The display shows project Milestones, tasks, and their assignees, how tasks depend on one another and where they lay in the schedule.
Automation options such as auto-linking tasks and matching bid duration offer easeful schedule creation from scratch, or use the Gantt to maintain your existing task workflow and re-schedule as targets move. Any schedule conflicts, overlapping task dates and dependencies can be identified and resolved quickly using the graphical grid.
Using the Gantt schedule
The Gantt schedule is found on the Tasks spreadsheet, under the Schedule button in the toolbar. Clicking the button will quickly toggle between the Gantt view and the Tasks spreadsheet.
Tasks and objects are listed vertically at the left, which is a minimized and scrollable view of the entire Task spreadsheet. The project timeline is displayed across the top, and the calendar grid shows the duration and relationship of your tasks as a visual representation of the schedule; object duration as yellow bars and task duration as blue bars.
The grid will be empty if there are no Start or Due dates on your objects/tasks or if the dates for your tasks do not fall under the selected timeline date range.
|Tip: For added flexibility when using the Gantt, go to the Save button in the toolbar and ensure that “Save changes automatically” is turned off, giving you access to the Undo & Redo buttons (or hotkeys). Now you can try different scheduling options and quickly change your mind with the beloved Ctrl/Cmd+Z if something doesn’t work out. Don’t forget to click Save when complete to commit your updates!
Next, we discuss some of the different scheduling options available to you in the Gantt.
Create a new task schedule
In the calendar row to the right of the task, click on the desired start date, drag the duration bar out and release on the task due date.
Create a new object schedule
In the calendar row to the right of the object, click on the desired start date, drag the duration bar out and release on the object due date. Doing so will automatically schedule all tasks under that object with the same start and due dates as your newly scheduled object. Individual task dates can then be changed as your schedule demands. Alternatively, if you would like your schedule creation to respect the Bid Days attribute of your tasks, take a look at the Matching bid duration section below.
|Tip: Scheduling an object on the Gantt will only work if your object has tasks linked to it. If you click and drag on an object and nothing happens, check your object to ensure tasks are linked.
Re-schedule a task
There are two options available to re-schedule a task:
Move the Start or Due date - Hover over the start or end of a task duration bar until a small right arrow icon appears. Click and drag the beginning or the end of the bar to the new date. This will alter the duration of a task.
Move the task duration bar - Click anywhere on the task duration bar or its left-hand handle grip and drag it to its new position in the calendar. This will maintain the duration of the task.
Re-schedule an object
An object can be re-scheduled as a whole, including all linked tasks, by clicking on the object duration bar and dragging it to the newly chosen date. This shifts all linked task schedules connected to that object, retaining their original task duration and dependency relationship to one another. Essentially, everything moves as one when you drag the parent object schedule bar. The same click-and-drag action can be performed for an entire sequence or folder group of objects and tasks.
Please note: Once an object schedule has been created, the Start and Due dates form a hierarchical relationship with its linked task dates. The object’s Start date refers to the earliest task Start, and the object’s Due date refers to the latest task end. Only by changing the earliest task start and latest task due date, can you affect the object dates once the schedule is in place.
Tip: If you would like your object to have dates independent of its tasks, you can create additional date attributes for that object. These, however, will not be linked to the Gantt Schedule.
|Tip: To get more information about a Task, you can either open the sidebar by clicking the task name or scrolling horizontally in the Task spreadsheet pane to the left.
Using other settings
While using Gantt scheduling, like the spreadsheet view, you can employ different settings that best suit your needs.
Find them via the Settings button at the top right corner of the Gantt toolbar.
Let's look at these settings in more detail.
Matching bid duration
Enabling the Match bid duration checkbox while scheduling tasks makes the task duration automatically snap to its allotted bid length as in the Bid Days attribute.
For example, if a task has a bid of two days in the Bid days attribute, when you click on the Start date and drag the task on the schedule, the duration will automatically snap to two days, and the Due date is set accordingly.
You can also use this feature to schedule a new object and all its linked tasks in a single action. First, ensure the object’s tasks have their Bid days attribute populated in the Tasks spreadsheet. Once they are set, click on the Start date in the object row of the grid, drag and release, and the linked tasks will automatically schedule themselves according to their Bid days and workflow schema.
If you make an error, you can always right-click on the object duration bar and select Unschedule selected to delete the object and task(s) schedule.
|Please note: If you don’t want this to happen, ensure the Match bid duration checkbox is unchecked.
Auto linking tasks
What it means for a Task to be “linked” in ftrack Studio
Links = Task Dependencies
When the Auto link tasks checkbox is enabled, object tasks will be linked to one another when scheduling them in the Gantt tool. Once created, these links will persist, even after Auto link tasks has been disabled.
Links are visible in the Gantt marked as a purple dependency directional arrow between the tasks.
Links are also visible in the Sidebar under the Links tab, where you can create/delete links and see incoming and outgoing dependencies more clearly.
The quickest way to unlink tasks in the Gantt is to double-click the dependency link and select Delete in the dialogue window. Alternatively, you can right-click on the task name or the task duration bar and choose Edit Links [Task name] in the right-click menu to access the link details as pictured below.
From the same dialogue, you can also change the Type of the link and set the Lag time.
The link Type will determine the task scheduling order when dragging parent tasks in the Gantt.
Types of the link: Finish-To-Start, Start-To-Start, Finish-To-Finish, Start-To-Finish.
Finish-to-Start: The due date of a preceding task links to the start date of its following task. This means that the following task cannot be started until its preceding task is complete, often because the latter requires the completed work of the former to build upon.
Example: The storyboard cannot start until the writing is complete. This is the most common task dependency structure.
Start-to-Start: The start date of a task has a dependency link to the start date of another task. This may be used if you need two tasks to start at the same time and their work relates to or rebounds off each other.
Finish-To-Finish: The due date of a preceding task links to the due date of its following task. This means that one task can only be finished after the other task has been completed.
Start-To-Finish: The start date of a task has a dependency link to the finish date of another task. This means that you can only finish your previous task if the subsequent task has been started. A relationship like this is not very common, but it can be used where there is some sort of handover between two tasks.
Lag time enables you to create a delay between two tasks that share a dependency. For example, if you want a day delay between the end of the first task and the start of the second, create a finish-to-start dependency between the two tasks, and then set a day lag time before the start of the second task.
|Please note: If you don’t want ftrack to auto-link your tasks when scheduling a whole sequence or shot, make sure to uncheck the Auto link tasks checkbox before scheduling. If disabled, ftrack will not use the workflow schema to schedule the tasks. And remember, any tasks with a link established while Auto link tasks was enabled will remain in place until they are removed, even when you uncheck the checkbox.
Overlays in the Gantt view offer more visual information on the task duration bar as it relates to that task. The options are No overlays, Logged time, Progress/Status, and Type.
To access overlays, open the Settings menu at the top right corner of the Gantt toolbar, hover over the Overlays option, and enable the checkbox of your chosen layer.
The Logged time overlay will display how much time is logged on the task relative to its bid.
The Progress/Status overlay will display the task in the Gantt with its Status color.
Example of a completed task:
The Type overlay will display the task in the Gantt with its Type color.
Example of an animation task:
The task rows in the Gantt view can be displayed in four heights: Tiny, Small, Medium, or Large. When you have many tasks that need to be viewed or scheduled, tiny and small is ideal for taking in large amounts of data. Medium and large are great when you need a little visual breathing room or want your task thumbnails to be more prominent.
To access the Row height, open the Settings menu at the top right corner of the Gantt toolbar, hover over the Row height option, and enable the checkbox of your chosen height.
Using the timeline
The timeline above the Gantt represents the timespan between your Project’s Start and End Dates and allows you to focus on a specific date range as you view or create your schedule.
To make it visible, open the Settings menu at the top right corner of the Gantt toolbar, hover over the Display option, and enable the Timeline checkbox.
The timeline handles are shown as two grey blocks within the timeline, and the space between them corresponds to the active date range displayed in the Gantt view.
Drag the left handle to update where your Gantt calendar begins, and drag the right handle to update where it ends.
Tip: If the timeline is not correctly representing your Project Start and End dates, you can change the dates within the Gantt by clicking the Project name at the top of the task list, which opens the sidebar details. Next, click on the info tab and change the project start and end as desired.
Tip: In addition to the settings explained above, you will also find a small slider at the bottom right of the Gantt view, which can be used to adjust the visible schedule. Moving the slider to the left will zoom out, revealing more of the calendar weeks/months, and moving it to the right will zoom in, focusing on weeks/days.