Anchorpoint at ASTOUND

How ASTOUND's digital team uses GitLab and Anchorpoint to streamline the creation process for designers working on AR/VR projects.

Matthäus Niedoba
March 15, 2024
min read

ASTOUND is a renowned experiential design studio with world-class fabrication and production services with offices in Las Vegas, Toronto, Burlington and Milwaukee. In addition to trade show exhibits and architectural services, their digital team provides solutions for XR, projection mapping, 3D animation and more. Their clients include many well-known brands such as Nike, Volkswagen, Google and Starbucks.

In this interview, I spoke with Cristal Sung, ASTOUND's technical program director, who is responsible for managing the workflow and processes within the digital team.

Cristal, could you tell us more about yourself?

I've been in the Advertising Digital Development business for more than ten years, and my favorite part of my job is process improvements and implementing automations. Getting things going from A to B and trying to make it easier for everyone else to do their job.

Right now, I'm a technical program director at ASTOUND. I help the digital team deliver projects, and I’m trying to get our processes in place. Our team is still relatively new, and I've been with the company for over two years now. Before that, we didn't have a large digital team.

Can you tell us about ASTOUND? What kind of work are you doing?

ASTOUND is a brand experience design studio with world-class production and fabrication. We create awe-inspiring experiences for our clients’ audiences, whether it’s an immersive event, trade show, digital experience, or retail pop-up shop. By bridging the gap between a creative, experiential, digital, and fabrication studio, we’re able to seamlessly integrate physical and digital brand experiences with an end-to-end solution.

For example, we have a fabrication team, they do the physical building that can bring literally anything to life. Then, there is the digital team that builds digital experiences such as interactive games, web or AR/VR content. We are also experimenting with AI because it’s a big topic right now.

trina booth
Booth design for Trina Solar made by ASTOUND

Tell us about your pipeline?

Our goal is to migrate our legacy systems into a more modern system that works with remote teams. Over the years, our systems have been segmented and fractionalized, which is why we ended up looking for something that we could use to get our files together.

Now, we have a self-hosted GitLab server. We do a lot of web projects and GitLab seemed like the best option for that.

We use Anchorpoint for our Unity and Unreal Projects because it integrates with GitLab and it’s perfectly suited for our designers who don’t like Git but need to be part of the process.

Why did you choose GitLab?

Besides the fact that it's open source and well supported, GitLab allows us to host our own files. Our clients have high security demands, so self-hosting the files is the best option. We also like the interface and the comprehensive CI/CD feature set.

When did you start using Anchorpoint?

We started in August 2023. We were developing Unity and Unreal Projects and needed something for version control. So it's been over six months now that we've been integrating it into our system. I'm still figuring out all the automation stuff and what we can do with all the actions that are available in there. But for now, the team has adapted to it pretty quickly and easily.

Trinar Solar visualization
Visualization for Trinar Solar created in Unreal Engine

Was it easy to get started?

Anchorpoint made it super easy for the team just to push everything to GitLab. They can see what everyone's done, which is really nice. We now have a centralized system for our working files. Before that, files were all over the place in different systems.

What problems does Anchorpoint solve for you?

Teams can easily be added to projects and quickly access all the files they need. The version history helps to get an overview of what has been done, which is helpful when onboarding team members.

From time to time, we are also using the tasks in Anchorpoint, so everything (files and tasks) are linked from one application.

Which features do you use the most?

Git version control and templated folders.

Any plans for the future?

We are thinking of extending it to other teams who design the physical part of the booth in 3D. Furthermore, we are looking forward to how to connect it more with our existing system and building some automations using the Action System.

Thank you so much Cristal for taking your time. Learn more about ASTOUND's digital services.