Draft / Quick Draft


Draft is a tool that provides simple and lightweight compositing and video processing functionality, designed to automate typical post-render tasks. It is implemented as a Python library (works across all platforms), which exposes functionality for use in Python scripts (which are referred to as Draft Templates). Draft is designed to be tightly integrated with Deadline, but it can also be used as a standalone tool.

Using Deadline’s Draft plugin, artists can automatically perform simple compositing operations on rendered frames after a render job finishes. They can also convert them to a different image format, or generate Quicktimes for dailies.

New Quick Draft options have been added to most of the job submitters that allow you to easily create movies from your rendered images or perform file conversions, without having to create a Draft template script. Instead, a generic Draft template that ships with Deadline is now used, and it lets you specify settings like Output Type, Codec, Resolution, and Frame Rate.


Draft and Quick Draft are both licensed by the same and additonal FlexLM FEATURE draft in your Thinkbox license file. Draft/Quick Draft is free for users with an active Deadline annual support and maintenance contract. Ensure when updating your Deadline license file you also update your version of Draft where applicable. The majority of Draft features require ONLY that a license be present. Actual checkout of licenses happens ONLY while videos are being encoded or decoded.

Submitting Dependent Draft Jobs

When submitting jobs to Deadline through many of our submitters, you have the option to have Deadline create a dependent Draft Job once the submitted job has finished rendering. You can either use the Quick Draft settings, which use a general Draft Template script that ships with Deadline, or you can specify a custom Template script.


Quick Draft Options

Note, the Draft EVENT plugin must be ENABLED for Quick Draft to work! Quick Draft jobs are submitted to Deadline as a job is completed.

The following options are available when using Quick Draft:

  • Format: The file format to use. For example, choose MOV to create a Quicktime from the rendered images, or JPEG to automatically convert the rendered images into JPEG files.
  • Codecs: The codec to use for the movie formats.
  • Resolution: The resolution to use when creating the movie or converting the images.
  • Frame Rate: The frame rate to use for the movie formats.
  • Quality: The quality to use for the movie formats.

The Quick Draft options are controlled by a series of configuration text files:

  • Formats: /<DeadlineRepository>/submission/Draft/Main/formats.txt
  • Codecs: /<DeadlineRepository>/submission/Draft/Main/codecs.txt
  • Resolutions: /<DeadlineRepository>/submission/Draft/Main/resolutions.txt
  • Frame Rate: /<DeadlineRepository>/submission/Draft/Main/frameRates.txt
  • Restrictions: /<DeadlineRepository>/submission/Draft/Main/restrictions.txt

and some Python template files:

  • DraftCreateImages.py: /<DeadlineRepository>/events/Draft/DraftQuickSubmission/DraftCreateImages.py
  • DraftCreateMovie.py: /<DeadlineRepository>/events/Draft/DraftQuickSubmission/DraftCreateMovie.py

Custom Draft Options

The options available here are similar to those discussed in the Draft Application Plugin section. Although it might appear as though there are less options here than in the Monitor submitter, all the same information will get passed to the Draft template. This approach just allows us to automatically pull a lot of the needed info directly from the scene file and from information filled in elsewhere in the submitter.


Since Draft is being shipped alongside Deadline, there is not a whole lot of configuration that is needed for this event plugin to work (beyond simply changing the state of it). There are, however, options that allow you to select the priority, group and pool to which the Draft event plugin will submit Draft jobs.

To access these settings, simply enter Super User mode and select Tools -> Configure Events form the Monitor’s menu. From there, select the Draft entry from the list on the left.


There are two different categories of settings you can configure; they are described in more detail below.


This section contains general high-level options that control the behaviour of the Deadline’s Draft integration.

  • State: There are three different states that an Event Plugin can be in: Global Enabled, Opt-In, and Disabled. If it is global enabled or opted in, as a job ‘completes’, the Draft job will be submitted to Deadline. Note the job must opt into Draft if this plugin is in the Opt-In state.
  • Draft Pool: The Group to which the Draft jobs will be submitted. If blank, the original job’s Group will be re-used.
  • Draft Group: The Pool to which the Draft jobs will be submitted. If blank, the original job’s Pool will be re-used.
  • Draft Limit: The Limit to which the Draft jobs will be submitted. If blank, no Limit will be used.
  • Priority Offset: This offset will be added to the original job’s priority, in order to determine the Draft job’s priority.
  • Draft Output Folder: The folder in which to put the Draft output, relative to the Draft input folder.

Distributed Job

  • Enable Distributed Job: Allow a Draft job to run on multiple machines.
  • Number Of Frames Per Task: The maximum number of frames allowed per Task of a Draft job.
  • Machine Limit: The maximum number of machines the job is allowed to run on if distributing jobs is allowed.


Does Draft/Quick Draft need a license to run?

Partially. See the Licensing section for an explanation.

Does Quick Draft use a different license compared to Draft?

No. Both Draft and Quick Draft use the same FEATURE draft in your Thinkbox FlexLM license file.

Can I upgrade Deadline without upgrading the version of Draft I’m using?

Yes. See the Upgrading or Downgrading Draft section of the Upgrading or Downgrading Deadline documentation for more information.

Can I customize the Quick Draft UI/template script files?

Yes. However, Quick Draft is purposefully simple in it’s approach to create images and movies for very typical studio workflows. It is recommended to utilize the full-blown Draft Python API to achieve anything more complex than Quick Draft offers. Fundamentally, Quick Draft uses the same Python API under-the-hood compared to Draft.

Error Messages and Meanings

This is a collection of known Draft error messages and their meanings, as well as possible solutions. We want to keep this list as up to date as possible, so if you run into an error message that isn’t listed here, please email Deadline Support and let us know.

Currently, no error messages have been reported for this event plug-in.