The target audience of Shotgrid is big facilities: AutoCAD customers and very big studios like ILM, Weta, or Disney.
The Kitsu audience are animation and VFX studios with a team up to 500 users.
Features and roadmaps are designed accordingly to these two different goals. That's why you should consider this aspect before choosing your reference solution.
Shotgrid is a toolbox. It only works right out of the box. So, to start with Shotgrid, consider hiring several people dedicated to designing and configuring UIs in Shotgrid. Then you have to plug the whole into your pipeline. You will end up with something tailor-made but at the price of a lot of effort. These developments will require a lot of maintenance in the future. Last, you will need training sessions that present your version of Shotgrid.
Kitsu will require that you have at least one TD in your team. Kitsu works great right out of the box. All UIs are designed with ease of use in mind. It's easy to start with it, and your users are autonomous. Nevertheless, you will still need a TD to plug your pipeline into Kitsu and exploit its database. Although it provides flexibility to define different workflows, Kitsu may not fit with very particular projects too.
Shotgrid is thought to be able to work on any kind of project at fine-grain level. It's great to deal with any situation but it comes with a lot of complexity. It may be too hard for your teams to get the full benefits .
Kitsu focuses on animation and VFX projects. From our discussions with hundreds of studios, we made strong choices to propose something efficient but flexible enough to adapt to most situations. Our goal is to ensure that everyone in the studio can use Kitsu from day 1.
Shotgrid qualifies for many security certifications and provides on-premise installations (with a high extra cost). Its code is proprietary, so there is no certainty that your data will stay private.
Kitsu doesn't have any security certifications. But it is open-source, can be fully audited, and can be installed on-premise with very little extra-cost. Its open-source aspect ensures that your data stay private and secure.
CGWire engineers have a strong track record in cloud hosting and apply all the best practices to ensure the security of your data (HTTPS, strict password management politic, strong SSH key management, background checks, etc.). It's a matter of time before we to qualify for the needed security certifications.
Kitsu has lower pricing (~25$/user/month) than Shotgrid (~30$/user/month).
The only reason behind this choice is the challenger position of Kitsu. But we maintain the quality and the service. Our support is recognized to be much more reactive than the one from Autodesk, and Kitsu performs better when used in animation or VFX production.
Shotgrid provides user documentation and a doc about its Python client.
Kitsu provides an easy to follow the documentation, a search engine, tutorial videos. Its Python client is fully documented. Its data model and its REST API are fully documented. It's much easier for a Pipeline TD to work with Kitsu.