The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Automated Tests for Visual Effects Pipelines


Last year I developed the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Automated Tests for Visual Effects Pipelines” as part of my bachelor’s thesis. It’s available here:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide is a guideline on how automated tests can be implemented for the development of VFX pipelines. There are a lot of resources online on how to write unit tests for every kind of software, but there is not much about VFX Pipelines. I wanted to do something for the VFX community and change that.

The guideline talks about the motivations for using automated tests and how to write them in a clean and readable way. Common challenges for automated tests in VFX are addressed, for example dealing with DCCs, databases or the file system during tests. Since most VFX pipelines already exist, I also talk about dealing with Legacy Code. I tried to make the guideline as practical as possible, so I used many code examples. I took extra care that the code examples feel familiar to a TD.

The contents of the guideline were selected based on a survey I did. Some of you might remember the survey, as I also asked here for participation. In my survey, I wanted to find out what TDs already know about automated tests, so I can fit my guideline better to my audience. About 100 TDs participated in the survey. I would like to thank everyone who participated in that survey, which helped me a lot to fit the guideline to the needs of TDs!

I hope you enjoy the guideline and find it useful. If you have any feedback, feel free to reach out to me.



This is a great resource, thanks for sharing!

Great guideline, thank you for sharing!

Thank you for this! I’m not necessarily a bona fide TD but I’m sure to find it useful.

Just a note about usability on your website, you might put a simple “next” or “previous” button at the bottom of each section, especially if you mean for folks to read them in that order.

Thanks for your feedback! “next” or “previous” buttons sound like a really good improvement, I will check how to add them.