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Vizfizz
09-01-2006, 06:05 AM
Ok...we've all made our fantasy wish lists. Now its time to get more realistic. Here's your task. I've gone through all the lists, both here and on EI's site and I've compiled the major requests. I'm going to break the list into what I think would complex additions to EIAS and those that are not so complex. Your job will be to pick your top two complex additions and three smaller tools. If I missed your issue, forgive me, but resist the urge to write it in. Ok?

Large: (Pick Two)

1. 64 bit support for Animator and Camera.
2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
5. UV Mapping Editor.
6. An advanced Particle FX system.
7. Hard and Soft Body Dynamics.
8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.
9. Non Linear Animation Support.
10. FBX Export.
11. OpenEXR.
12. Internal Modeling Support w/Sub-Ds.
13. Updated UI.
14. Fur & Hair Tools.

Small: (Pick Three)

1. Texture and Light Baking.
2. Referencing System.
3. Custom Hot Keys.
4. Quanternion Rotation Support.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.
6. Mirroring tools for bone placement.
7. Lattice Deformers.
8. Redo.
9. Set Driven Key and Custom Attribute support with sliders for character animation.
10. Enhanced Text import support.
11. EPS import.
12. Improved F-Curve editor.
13. Spline IK.

There yah go. Choose.

halfworld
09-01-2006, 06:34 AM
Yo,

Sorry, I've been selfish and gone for the ones that will help me at work ;)

4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
13. Updated UI. <- Not specifically talking about visually here, talking about more feedback and extra preferences (for label names etc) and a way to selectively sort the project list alphabetically. And the rest...

2. Referencing System.
3. Custom Hot Keys.
10. Enhanced Text import support.

Either one of the big ones alone would keep me happy :)
Ian

manuel
09-01-2006, 07:23 AM
Hard:

4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
13. Updated UI. (like Ian said, if it means more than just a pretty skin. Better controllers, better visual feedback and selection-tools in the projectwindow...)

Small:

2. Referencing System.
4. Quanternion Rotation Support.
8. Redo.

Aaargh, hard choices indeed. I have to resist the urge to replace "redo" with a more sexier feature. The more I think about it, the referencing system would have to be my number one feature in this list.

AzOne
09-01-2006, 07:54 AM
Large:
13. Updated UI.
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
If I could choose another I really would like a built in advanced particle system. But I'll behave :-)

Small:
12. Improved F-Curve editor.
7. Lattice Deformers.
10. Enhanced Text import support.

Hiddenman.fr
09-01-2006, 08:36 AM
A really difficult choice as if you have to choose who is your preferred child. But I prefer choosing real new functions that you can't do in EIAS, even if you have the time. For example mirroring tools for bone placement would be cool, but you can do that without a new tool, so, here is my choice:

Large:
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.

Small:
11. EPS import. (so text import is solve and much more)
2. Referencing System.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.

Martin Kay
09-01-2006, 11:31 AM
Large: (Pick Two)

3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.


Small: (Pick Three)

1. Texture and Light Baking.

5. Sub-pixel displacement.

12. Improved F-Curve editor.

I'm no animator, so a lot of this stuff means nothing to me, but I think any improvements/ enhancements should be aimed at grabbing a larger user base.

Martin K

Vizfizz
09-01-2006, 12:26 PM
Thank you for your comments so far. I want you to realize something while you're making your choices. This thread is being heavily examined by those capable of bringing about these changes in EIAS. The dominant choices will help determine the direction EI goes next and the type of resources and investment needed to get the job done. Seriously. This could wind up being more than just a "wish list".

Obviously, the feasibility of each selected item will need to be examined to see if integration into EIAS is truly possible without massive overhauls to the code.

Here are my choices:

Large: (Pick Two)

8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.
(More capabilities in more peoples hands is important to me. Having plugins capable of being open and full interaction between plugins and main EI windows would be great. Plus improve the Plugin API to allow more communication and simulation history and forecasting with Camera. Camera needs to be aware of more than just the single frame being rendered.)
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.

Small: (Pick Three)

1. Texture and Light Baking.
2. Referencing System.
11. EPS import. (Rasterization of EPS curves into polyline entities would be really great for Paralumino's geometry engines!)

arketype
09-01-2006, 01:29 PM
Large: (Pick Two)

8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.
If implemented correctly this could give plugins direct control vertices in animator windows, and other interactivity effectively making them seem "Native". Better interaction between plugins, etc. And then our very active developer community would no longer have their hands tied when developing plugins. This could be the single most important feature for rapidly advancing fuctionality of EIAS.

3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
This is needed. EIAS has been and remains the speed champ with Camera's Phong engine, but raytracing performance (including GI) can actually be slower than other rendering engines. EIAS should do everything to stay on top with respect to speed.
Animator redraw often chokes on multi-million poly scenes, speed that up too.

Small: (Pick Three)
2. Referencing System. Really needed. Even if this is just an after effects style of a "project in a project" referencing other project files (as opposed to "merge"). Allow for swapping one referenced project to another for rapidly replacing complex sets of objects/ lights/cameras (not just changing the one referenced project)
1. Texture and Light Baking-

X -maybe some minor UI improvements (functionally) vs. a complete overhaul. (scroll support, Custom Labels, etc.?)

Hiddenman.fr
09-01-2006, 01:44 PM
For me a new plugin API would be great but it needs work and would make EI Tech prevent itself from doing improvments for EIAS by leting the work to 3rd party developers. For too long EI Technology group has let developers make its job.

FelixCat
09-01-2006, 03:56 PM
Choosing between so many badly needed options is hell!! well, here we go:

8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.
(With these is more posible to have Hair and other very needed funtionalities inside EiAS)
10. FBX Export.
(What is the point having FVX support without this?)

Small:

1. Texture and Light Baking. (Faster renders)
5. Sub-pixel displacement.
9. Set Driven Key and Custom Attribute support with sliders for character animation.

I don´t agree with Esthefane about EI Technology group leting developers make its job. I think they are a too little development staff for the task, and that is because there are too few users to make it possible. Users=money=development

FelixCat

halfworld
09-01-2006, 03:57 PM
Not to turn this into a discussion thread, but I feel that probably the most needed feature has been omitted:

Renderama v2

Able to transfer ALL the files that it needs
Displays the name of the camera (as in viewpoint) being rendered
Saves render duration information
Ability to select what camera renders what job (masks to slow machines etc.)

This isn't the thread for it, but a big doh for forgetting to put it in eh Brian ;)
Ian

FelixCat
09-01-2006, 04:08 PM
You are right, Ian: Renderama v2 plus the posibility to render layers as C4D ;D

FelixCat

Hiddenman.fr
09-01-2006, 04:14 PM
Hey Felix, of course it is a money question, but in my opinion EI Tech has never done anything to make money (I know I'm a bit tough :) but things are what they are. Brian Pohl, in a short time, has changed lots of things and be in CGTalk is not the smaller one!! I think that the reason why they aren't died today is because of all the work of third party developers (NorthernLights, Konkeptoine, Ramjac, Paralumino, …). Without them you can't do much with the host application.

Cause - Users=money=development
But - Investment / Development / Communication = users = money = development = more users.

EI Tech has lost lot of very well known users due to lack of development and it is a pitty. Hope future will change that cause Good Users=Images/Animation=References=Visibility=More Users :) I don't want to declare the war, just an opinion.

arketype
09-01-2006, 04:41 PM
Renderama v2 seems to be important too.
But is this a "big" feaure or a "small" one?

Possible Features of 'Rama2
1) Integrating renderama functions with new multi-threaded camera application (how does this work? are there any new features possible here? Possibly limiting #of threads per camera for local machine so that processing a batch doesn't take 100% of machine's resources for rendering "in the background").
2) Lower "overhead" (ram and processor)
3) SAVE RENDER TIMES INTO FILES! (from start of render to final stitching/saving) (just like rendering straight to camera)
4) More efficient output so there aren't multi-gigabytes of control files that need to be sent over the network. (smarter slaves?)
5) View process/ more info of remote slaves

Anyone else want to chime in?

gdogfunk
09-01-2006, 05:55 PM
Well, since I'm not sure if openGL enhancement is covered in updated UI, I will pick choices geared to my workflow to support additional animation feature.

Large: (Pick Two)

9. Non Linear Animation Support.

12. Internal Modeling Support w/Sub-Ds.


Small: (Pick Three)


2. Referencing System.


8. Redo


9. Set Driven Key and Custom Attribute support with sliders for character animation.


and I very much like the added suggestions of Renderama v2 and the ability to direct the render tasks...

vrusch
09-01-2006, 05:58 PM
Large :

2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.

Small :
1. Texture and Light Baking.
2. Referencing System.
3. Custom Hot Keys.

I've been asking for "Flash Output" for years, but somehow nobody seems to care about that feature. I'm just curious how fellow EIAS users are dealing with Flash and 3D. You're not using that yucko app called Swift, I hope ?

Cheers, Bert.
Silverbullet 3D

threedeworks
09-01-2006, 06:13 PM
ok, here my wishes:

large - forgive me, but i have to pick three of them :) :

2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
and also (remove this wish if is strictly necessary, ouch...)
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.

small:

1. Texture and Light Baking.
2. Referencing System.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.

oh, and of course, renderama '2' would be most useful, and i second all the good points about it!

markus

velarde
09-01-2006, 08:02 PM
I've been asking for "Flash Output" for years, but somehow nobody seems to care about that feature. I'm just curious how fellow EIAS users are dealing with Flash and 3D. You're not using that yucko app called Swift, I hope ?


Hi Bert:

Vector Flash export is always troublesome (in my cases) sometime the lines jitter or you have to fix something by hand....

I just render the 3D animation (quicktime in my case) and import the video directly into Flash. I think that's what mose people are doing now. You get true color not, limited to the 16 or such from vectors.

The Video importer/exporter in FLASH MX Pro is pretty good, but the one in Flash 8 is GREAT ( again in my opinion) You get very good compression without losing quality. In fact its a separte application. Well worth it.


Not really an answer to your question but hope it was helpful

good luck

fjv

______

Igors
09-01-2006, 08:17 PM
Hi, Brian

Very interested thread! We can't vote cause all features we want first are out of both proposed lists (except only layered render). But we glad to see a good appetite and also an interest/understanding of new plug-ins API necessary. Some features are unclear for us:

1. Referencing system? We are familiar with references mechanism in max (that's, btw, exactly what nodal manager needs), but here it's something other, right?

2. HDRI? What concrete way(s) of HDRI images usage you talk about? Or it's just an ability to use 16-bits maps?

SteveW928
09-01-2006, 08:30 PM
Well... first, even before any of these features and updates.... I think they need to get the Intel port out. I'd even release that as a 6.75 before adding another feature. The more quickly they get that out the door, the more users they will attract. Plus, I'm sure many existing users are waiting anxiously for this port.

To simplify... if adding any of the features below adds 1 day to the release date for the port to Intel... don't do it.

But, once they are done with that... here is my wish list.

Large: (Pick Two)

(In order of importance)

4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
(Don't even need the Nodal stuff... just an accurate preview. Heck, right now a shader doesn't even look like how I have modified it to look. Also, for texture placement... the preview is so bad, one can hardly see to line things up.)

1. 64 bit support for Animator and Camera.
(I assume this would allow more memory to be assigned to camera for big or complex scenes.)


Small: (Pick Three)

2. Referencing System.

1. Texture and Light Baking.

8. Redo.



The texture preview one is so huge to me though. I don't even do a lot of work these days, but the last time I had to update a project for a client, having better preview would have literally saved me hours. It is an area of the app that has frustrated me since I started using EI back around v2.7x. Even still... don't hold up the Intel port to fix that.

-Steve

Vizfizz
09-01-2006, 08:50 PM
Steve: Don't worry.. the Intel Port is without a doubt first priority. Nothing will be added to the program until that is finished. The question is, where does EIAS go next? Since there's obviously limited resources, EITG must pick its battles carefully. The next set of upgrades have to balance high profile tools to attract customers with badly needed less high profile infrastructure tools to keep things running efficiently. If EITG can get a clear, user directed request that is focused, it might help them to choose where to go next.

Igors: I've heard lots of cries out for a better material system in EIAS and I tend to agree. The current material editor approach is too numeric in nature and doesn't allow for much creative freedom to explore new looks. A nodal based (Hypershade style) material system for EIAS would be a Godsend. It would be nice to be able to see reactive shaders being previewed in real time and reordering nodes to alter looks would be really helpful too. Steve is also right that in combination with better material previews, texture placement tools could be updated. (Though a UV editor is a separate request).

As for referencing. The main issue here is EIAS could use a better file maintence system to better track files that are in use and to monitor which models are being utilized in the scene. A good referencing system would allow users to dynamically swap out high and low rez files on the fly and manage their assets more effectively.

And then HDRI. I'll let all the render junkies out there go over this one. I would say that most want, as a minimum, 16bit layered output support. OpenEXR would be nice, but we have to get Camera to 16bits first anyway.

Vizfizz
09-02-2006, 12:33 AM
Another thing to remember is, the next choice of upgrades are probably going to have to be focused around a market that EIAS is strongest in to help cement their presence in those specific industries.

The industries of strength that EIAS could excel in are:

(Listed in order of greatest to least)

- Broacast Design, Video Production & Motion Graphics
- Architectural, Industrial, Product & Artistic Visualization for print
- Film and VFX (Digital Sets & Matte depts & Hard Surface animation)

EIAS' greatest weaknesses would have to be, imo, character animation, game design, and organic visual FX that center around particle systems & dynamics.

Knowing this, is it smarter to add tools that strengthen core markets or should EI attempt to add tools that try to level the playing field in areas where they are weak?

Discuss.

worx3d
09-02-2006, 12:56 AM
Strengthen the core markets, that would be my choice.

I would go for

Large:

2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.

I really want those two.

and if I may, I would add:

8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.

Small:

1. Texture and Light Baking.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.
12. Improved F-Curve editor.

Joel

halfworld
09-02-2006, 07:58 AM
It appears that there is a general concencus appearing on on a couple of features which is good to see.

About the market that features should be aimed at, EI should — as it has been pointed (even screamed) out before — build on its strengths rather then try to do a little bit of everything. I believe the cliché here is that "EI rests on it laurels.". Although this seems to be changing.

I remember reading a review that said "EI's project window and scene management is unmatched in it's simplicity." Well, everyone else caught up as EI practically stood still in this area. That was until version 6 where we made a good step forward. Another update like that with a few carefully chosen features could really push EI out in-front again.

So obviously, features that are useful to everyone should have priority over those that benefit only one group.

Ian

bronco
09-02-2006, 10:28 AM
8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.
11. OpenEXR.

1. Texture and Light Baking.
2. Referencing System.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.


and yes, rama2 would not only be nice, but is really needed. i have said this some time ago on the EI forum: EIAS is great and with unlimited renderslaves a real powerhouse, but this powerhouse NEEDS managment!

marosini
09-02-2006, 02:19 PM
Large:

2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.


Small:

1. Texture and Light Baking.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.
12. Improved F-Curve editor.

m.

manuel
09-02-2006, 02:42 PM
Knowing this, is it smarter to add tools that strengthen core markets or should EI attempt to add tools that try to level the playing field in areas where they are weak?
Core markets. And I'm not doing myself any favours here. I'm not in that core market.
Somehow I can't imagine EIAS becoming a viable choice amongst studios that do a lot of CA or games. They're already spoilt for choice: Maya, XSI, Max, Messiah... Think of the marketing effort it would take to penetrate those industries.

plsyvjeucxfw
09-02-2006, 04:33 PM
Okay -

the big two:

True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.

and the little three:

Texture and Light Baking.
Mirroring tools for bone placement.
Set Driven Key and Custom Attribute support with sliders for character animation.

Hopefully EITG will continue to improve it's "under the hood" structure of the program to allow for future development. I also agree that EIAS seems to require many, many 3rd party plugs to do what other packages do natively. This is a fine line of course. 3rd party developers are wonderful and everyone should appreciate all that they do. However, EITG could, and should, begin to absorb some of the functionality of these plug-ins (as when they added XP).

And yes, they should grow the program into a 'Character' tool. Why not? They might not give top priority to such a goal, but I see it only adding, not detracting, from the package. Maya, Max, and other such folks are not going to switch platforms, but for myself, I want those features! And what of future new users? Should they choose EIAS? Well, it doesn't do cloth, or hair, and you have to buy extra plugs to do decent particles, or instancing. Despite the price (which has been dropping) EIAS doesn't sound as appealing as other packages. Those others don't have the workflow of EIAS, but it's tough to get that across to people who've never worked with the program.

So bring it on.

Vizfizz
09-02-2006, 04:38 PM
The one thing that really annoys me though IS the lack of character support. I know that EI isn't known for it character toolset and quite frankly, it doesn't have to be THE best...it just needs to be a little bit better. Why?

1. In two of the three core markets I listed (Film & Broadcast) character animation is on the continuous rise. You can hardly see a TV commercial or film that isn't taking advantage of some sort of animated organic character. I think EI will do just fine handling the other aspects of digital filmmaking and broadcast design. Hard Surface and motion graphics are a piece of cake for EI and Camera to handle.

2. Character tools push the envelope. Even non character related packages like Houdini are feeling the pull of CA. Have you ever tried doing CA in that package? Yikes. But now, in the latest version, they added a new CA package to help them compete.

3. CA is the direction the entertainment industry is heading and the fact is, its what the younger artists want. Ok, there are tons of other film related jobs out there that EI would be perfect for. If we're not going to push CA onto EI, how does EI make those other non CA related jobs look cool? Digital Sets are extremely important to the filmmaking process. If that is a job better suited for EI to handle, and it is, then by God we need to show that EIAS is the best damn package for doing that.

EITG...its ok that EI isn't the world's foremost CA package on the planet. Just add a few more tools that will round out what we have so if we do, on occassion, need to do some character based animations for Broadcast or film, we're not fighting the package to get it accomplished.

Hiddenman.fr
09-02-2006, 06:07 PM
I second what Brian said. it is true that CA is more and more important in our work today. If you want to work for TV, the CA is a way. EIAS has the toolset to make some simple CA, but it needs refinements on bones settings (mirroring, bones attractions, …), strength maps which don't work properly and aren't so easy to set, … EIAS has its own strength but needs to follow the field evolutions and as I have already said, lots of improvments could be made on simple things.

gdogfunk
09-02-2006, 06:08 PM
With regard to the nodal-texturing system...I would prefer something like the 'ShaderMaker' that Pixels:3D used to have (not the new Shadermaker-Pro - as I've never liked node-based anything). If anyone knows what I'm talking about, that thing was awesome and offered limitless texture creation possibilities. The closest thing I've seen to that for EI is NX Shader thing (I forget what it's called since I don't have it).

With regard to new and improved CA tools, what specifically are people looking to have improved? I know some people are struggling with weight maps, but I've been using the CA tools (minus weight maps) quite a bit and have used XP to build some custom sliders for finger movement, etc. So, having had a sort of success with the current toolset, and not being too far into CA, I don't know what people want to see improved. I've seen bone mirroring mentioned, is that it? Oh and I think Bone Falloff is something I've read about needing help.

With regard to Renderama2, that seems like it would take the longest to overhaul. I could be wrong...not having used other network rendering software, what do others offer? While it would be nice to say ok, camera 1-10 handle x job and camera 11-20 handle this y job, would that really speed up rendering?

That's all I can think of for now.

Ryan

Igors
09-02-2006, 06:17 PM
Hi, Kurt, Brian I also agree that EIAS seems to require many, many 3rd party plugs to do what other packages do natively. Hmm.. really? 3ds max: bones, skins, weight maps, mesh editor and many, many others things are.. plug-ins. So, EI is much more "native" than max :) But, of course, max plug-ins are supported directly by host in solid way, and, of course, user should not pay for them. The last one is absolute understandable, but "make all native" also makes app inflexible and very hard for new features addition (not even say "fast addition"). IMO EI is over-burden by "nativity", we see a lot of things have nothing to do in host.

CA. What is your concrete propositions? Better CA tool? What is it? Details?

Vizfizz
09-02-2006, 08:25 PM
Igors...

Well..if EIAS had a STRONGER PLUG-IN API, like Max/Maya, the 3rd party community could address those character animation tool requests from the users and EITG could shrug its shoulders and say, "Eh..you guys focus on that, and we'll focus on our core strengths". I would be like...GREAT! This would allow the 3rd party teams the ability to carve out niche markets that EITG isn't really 100% concerned about.

A really good plugin can really alter the course of a programs desirability. Take hair and fur for example. Shave and Haircut was/is somewhat of the defacto standard for hair until programs like Maya and C4D started to add really good hair tools into their code. I would love to have an enhanced plugin API that would allow Paralumino to eventually produce plugins that could really make EIAS sing...especially in areas where it always feared to tread. Given enough time, development, and savvy marketing, a 3rd party plugin company could suddenly make people start reconsidering EI for CA and EI wouldn't even need to worry about trying to penetrate that market. But it all hinges on opening up the program a bit more and giving us access and tools within the API to make that happen. Having an enhanced API is one of those infrastructure things that doesn't "sell well" as opposed to certain buzzword technolgies... but the buzz we could generate a couple months down the road with those enhancements could be big.

What would I like to see for CA in EI? Well there are some core technologies we need.

1. Spline IK - Major need.
2. Better bone placement & mirroring tools.
3. Enhanced IK solvers and quanternion joint rotations.
4. Lattice Deformers, clusters & vertex level point manipulation on imported models.
5. Customizable object attributes & channels where users could define their own float, integer or boolean values to that can be tied into other attributes through XP.
6. Something akin to the morph editor, but an interface where users could create custom slider bars that are tied into those custom attributes defined above.
7. Set driven Key tied into #5 & #6.
8. Improved skinning and weight mapping tools.
9. Auto rigging scripts like The Setup Machine and Final Rig 2 to help users build rigs easily.
10. A method to reroute object channels from one object to the next without the need to write an expression. (aka..Maya's connection editor)
11. FK/IK switching.

Should I go on?

As far as EITG absorbing 3rd party plugins... I'm for and against it. I can see the value of EI looking to purchasing code from 3rd party developers who are not really active developers any more. I worry about some plugins not being converted to Intel when the time comes. This will only hurt EITG even more when those tool options are no longer there. EI could offer programmers a reasonable sum to infuse their technology into the base package. But to suggest that EITG buy everyone out? No way. That wouldn't be too smart. The 3rd party community is very important to EITG's future success. The main thing to realize is we need to work together. By doing so, we strengthen our resolve and can offer more to the user.

plsyvjeucxfw
09-02-2006, 11:03 PM
I know very little of character animation. In the process of learning, my reference is the DVD "Learning 3D Character Animation with Jeff Lew".

http://www.jefflew.com/

This disk is great basic training, and an outstanding guide for anybody who wants to know what tools EIAS could offer. Note: I'm on version 5.0, so if any of these are available in the current version, please sing out.

1) Shuttle Controls. Something that's always on top, and allows you to enter a frame number and go there instantly. It should also provide for frame advance - next frame, previous frame, next keyframe, previous keyframe, and by user set amount, to allow keying on 4's or whatever. Should also allow for playing back, looping, fast forward, rewind, all the standard stuff. This same panel could also include keyframe controls, as in choose a selection set (via a drop down) and key all - or key selected item, or key selected item plus all children in a hierarchy. Just a small panel that would always stay on top; similar to the current Tools panel.

2) When creating bones; the bones are visible. Currently in EIAS bones appear with each click. On the Jeff Lew DVD the bones exist and follow the cursor, and are set when clicked. The difference in user placement is subtle, but worth changing.

3) Rotate (orbit) out of orthagonal views. This is a biggie, as you can quickly go to your various views (left, right, rear, etc.), pose your character, then check it from a little to the side, top, whatever. We need a non-camera perspective view.

4) A slider object - from the object menu - add Slider. Which can then be configured to work with bones, groups, attributes.

5) Contextual menus for keyframes in the graph editor. An easy way to lock your character's feet to the floor is to marque select them, right click, and select 'Zero Slope' as the interpolation method. Zero slope does what it says, the curve flattens to zero going into and out of the key frame. Doing the same thing in EIAS currently requires bringing up each key, and setting the in and out vector seperately (or pulling on the handles, I know).

6) Playback while adjusting f-curves. I was amazed to watch Jeff Lew adjusting his curves while the animation looped, in real time, with video capture engaged.

7) Copy and Paste Flipped - for key frames. Set your Character with his right foot forward, advance to the next key and paste flipped - now the left foot is forward. Makes walk cycles easier.

8) Everything that Brian said - most of which is beyond my skill level but very important.

Also - please don't think I suggested EITG buy out their plug in partners. Far from it. We love our third party buddies and shower them with praise (and often money). Igors, your point about users buying only what they need is correct. So perhaps I should have chosen a more open, powerful API as a top feature.

manuel
09-02-2006, 11:13 PM
CA. What is your concrete propositions? Better CA tool? What is it? Details?
Nice list Brian.
So far, these have been my experiences. The first ones are not CA specific, but are still important because CA involves a lot more keyframes than say a flying logo or an architectural fly-through:

- Better manipulators with a decent "capture zone" or whatever the proper name is, especially the rotation manipulator can be a nightmare to grab hold of at certain angles. Pre-highlighting would help a lot. Don't care how fancy your rigging tools are, as long as you can't move the bl**dy things, what's the use?

- Preferences for visualising motion paths selectively (only show active element's paths, only show x amount of frames before and after current time...). Colour coded motion paths. Just to give you an idea what I'm talking about:

http://www.funnylittlemen.co.uk/ForumImages/cgt_motionpaths.jpg

Care to find anything back in here? And remember that every point on the motion curve is a point that can be clicked. In fact, it makes you jump to that point in time, which is completely useless in this case. In short, you can't select anything anymore in this window.

- Same goes for the Project window. When the amount of keyframes reaches a critical mass, finding any keyframe back becomes a problem. Some sort of colour-coding might help (I'm a sucker for colour-coding :) ). Selecting keyframes can also become a hassle, especially since Animator loves moving all your keyframes the moment you touch that blue bar (something I never use). This is a quick and dirty mock-up I did a while ago that was meant to enhance readability:

http://www.funnylittlemen.co.uk/ForumImages/cgt_eias_interface.gif

- A way to create morph targets within Animator which is another way of saying: modelling-tools.

- A more non-destructive approach to the process of rigging and animation. A lot of animation studios will animate and model/texture/rig simultaneously.

- Ability to save the animation of a character out and read back in (FBX?)

Igors
09-03-2006, 12:26 AM
Hi, BrianWell..if EIAS had a STRONGER PLUG-IN API, like Max/Maya, ..

It sounds like "EI plug-in's API isn't enough strong". We can compare with API in Max, LW, and maya (last one only a little). What to say? EI API is great but has only one defect: nobody improved it during last N years :sad: Look at EI shaders for example. It's possible to write absolute usable EI shaders even with minimal knowledges! All is simple and intuitive, True cross-platforming., minimal efforts with Mac/PC versions. If we've a new shader idea, we can test it just in few hours with EI. Try this with max - no way. There all is big, heavy, fundamental, it requires to know well ++bible, classes interactions and a lot, lot of concrete knowledges. In maya - very similar to max, but multiplied by 3-4. Looks like maya appreciartes well only who learns ideas of maya engineers (self ideas aren't necessary, learning is a goal).

We understand that, yes, in EI we can't do things like:

- assign a sub-map for map (nodal manager)
- select an object from scene for plug-in's goals
- draw/control something in EI windows (this one is most painful)
- some others

But it would be to simplified to declare "stronger/advanced" (or any other word). All is not so simple. It's not a big deal to write a complex API that also damages developer's brain, but it's a masterpiece to write a simple but flexible API.

..the 3rd party community could address those character animation tool requests from the users and EITG could shrug its shoulders and say, "Eh..you guys focus on that, and we'll focus on our core strengths". I would be like...GREAT! This would allow the 3rd party teams the ability to carve out niche markets that EITG isn't really 100% concerned about. Please sorry, but it sounds naive. Where do you see a host says like: "let third party does CA, it's not our affair" ?

..A really good plugin can really alter the course of a programs desirability. Take hair and fur for example. Shave and Haircut was/is somewhat of the defacto standard for hair until programs like Maya and C4D started to add really good hair tools into their code.We don't like standards :) "Really good" means only: "best from what we've now". It's quite possible several years it would be a bit obsolete (life is a long song)


What would I like to see for CA in EI? Well there are some core technologies we need.

1. Spline IK - Major need.
2. Better bone placement & mirroring tools.
3. Enhanced IK solvers and quanternion joint rotations.
4. Lattice Deformers, clusters & vertex level point manipulation on imported models.
5. Customizable object attributes & channels where users could define their own float, integer or boolean values to that can be tied into other attributes through XP.
6. Something akin to the morph editor, but an interface where users could create custom slider bars that are tied into those custom attributes defined above.
7. Set driven Key tied into #5 & #6.
8. Improved skinning and weight mapping tools.
9. Auto rigging scripts like The Setup Machine and Final Rig 2 to help users build rigs easily.
10. A method to reroute object channels from one object to the next without the need to write an expression. (aka..Maya's connection editor)
11. FK/IK switching.

Should I go on? CA is not an area where we are competent. But please agree: a half of your list is absolute common and same true for outside CA as well.

- driven key
- lattice deformers
- custom object attrivbutes
- re-route object channels
- custom morph editor

Is it CA specifics? We think that no :)

As far as EITG absorbing 3rd party plugins... We know/remember only "absorbed XP". IMO only one precedent gives no foundations for any conclusions/planning :)

Vizfizz
09-03-2006, 01:20 AM
Igors,

I hear your words about a simple, graceful plugin API versus a more complex and sophisticated one. The first makes life a little easier and allows for a more rapid turn around time when developing a new plugin. The second however, requires the programmer to potentially learn new things to accomplish something that may have been considerably easier in the old system. Trust me... I am constantly amazed by your speed and efficiency particularly on the plug-ins we've helped design together already. I couldn't be more pleased. However, I don't want to imply that EI's plugin API is a total push over. It seems to be the source of much frustration and limitation.

I will admit publically that I am not a programmer. I can not imagine the level of knowledge needed to do what you do. But where I can truly show my experience is the way that I've utilized tools within the VFX community at a number of large VFX houses. I've been spoiled, yes, by having an army of programmers available to help write plugins and mel scripts to make my life considerably easier. Some of the tools we had at ILM and Sony were amazing. What was even more amazing was the speed in which programmers using MEL and Maya's plugin api could turn out something that would make our lives so much easier. Need a new rigging tool, hey let me make on for you with MEL. Need new interfaces? Sure, no problem. Whatever it was, the programmers could dive into Maya's open architecture and pull what we needed out of hat. I desire this level of openness for Electric Image. Now a program with a 16 year old architecture may not be so capable of being "dived" into without causing a cascade of nasty issues. However, surely, there must be things we can do to the plugin API that can benefit development for the 3rd party programmer and even users daring enough to venture in that direction.

Now, as for EITG's intentions for the program. Obviously that's their affair. I can only hope that my influence will make them consider some of the ideas that I am proposing. However, throughout EI's history, there has been little attempt to truly embrace CA within Animator until Universe rolled around and revamped the whole bones, IK system and weight mapping system. That was a gimme. How could any animation package exist without those tools as a bare minimum. However, since that time, there haven't been very many advances in CA for EI and probably for good reason. The package was designed for hard surface animation and ILM wasn't looking for CA package. The Rebel Unit wanted a software package that could run on off the shelf hardware that was fast and efficient. EI delivered. Today the entire scape of the CG world has changed. What was brilliant timing on EI's part in those early Rebel Unit days are common place now.

Say EI decides to focus on a market that is more suitable to its core strengths. Rendering and Hard Surface image creation. A perfectly logical and smart move. Additional tools in those areas can help secure them in a position of leadership. However, as they continue to specialize, they isolate themselves from growth in other areas. Since you can't be everything to all men, EITG needs to provide a mechanism for 3rd party vendors to step in and take EI into directions the parent company may not feel is not their concern. To do this they should consider finding ways to improve any limitations within the API.

Now when I say "a really good plugin can alter the course a program's desirability" here's what I mean: Within any market, there exists the potential of some creative discovery that alters the perception of the tool being used. It exists on both the small and large scale. Take Zbrush for example. Zbrush is an evolution on a large scale of those early paint sculpting tools that were availble way before Amorphium. Somebody took that idea and made a new program. Zbrush allowed users a new way for artists to create images. As a result its advancing at a remarkable rate. Its being adopted by a number of facilities. On the small scale, a 3rd party developer may create a new plugin that provides functionality to a main application that never existed before. To be honest, I think our Paralumino geometry tool sets are example of this. If enough users adopt and embrace the idea of having geometry generation within Animator, a precidence is made. It causes change.

I'm glad to hear that several of my CA suggestions are seen as non CA tools. Perhaps that's how we can sneak some of those advancements in there.

NorthernLights
09-03-2006, 01:32 AM
I have to agree with Igors in general regarding an enhanced plugin API. One thing that most people don't realize is that Maya was written from the ground up with API hooks everywhere. The whole thing is basically a giant scripting engine.

When people talk about an enhanced plugin API, and I've been one of those people, I'm forced to ask "Well, what do we need to be able to do?" Until we get some concrete goals this is always going to remain a nebulous request. Much like "A better Project Window"...okay, better how? Give clear examples and don't fall back on "Well, make it work like 3D XYZ." IMHO, that's a bullshit copout. That's not original thinking.

I still think back to the VERY early days of EI plugins when I didn't really know squat about 3D and having Mark Granger send me a copy of the API and saying "If there's something missing, let me know." DOH!

One other major factor in improving the API is that Camera needs to support the existing API in all it's glory. There are a number of things that Animator can so that Camera can't. The primary reason is Camera really being a still renderer at it's core. When Camera is able to query an entire animation control file at random more things will be possible and/or easier.

On that note, here's my list for improving EI:

1) More user evangelism i.e. get more people to buy the software.
2) Less griping about how EI is deficient in some way i.e. don't discourage yourself or other people from using it because it doesn't have some buzzword feature.

I've said it many times. Many early EI customers did some incredible work that would still hold up to today's standards without all the fancy bells & whistles.

Let the flame war begin...

Igors
09-03-2006, 02:40 AM
Hi, Brian Some of the tools we had at ILM and Sony were amazing. What was even more amazing was the speed in which programmers using MEL and Maya's plugin api could turn out something that would make our lives so much easier. Need a new rigging tool, hey let me make on for you with MEL. Need new interfaces? Sure, no problem. Whatever it was, the programmers could dive into Maya's open architecture and pull what we needed out of hat. I desire this level of openness for Electric Image. We trust your very much cause we seen such virtuouses ourselves, that's really true. But..is it a powerful of MEL or just talents of MEL scripters? Or both (handy vers)? Hmm.. we don't know. With big maya's mass it's possible to prove almost anything - all is confirmed and all looks objective :)

But we know well: what is good for one 3d app is bad/ridiculous/unnatural for another one. A straightforward "porting" has only one result - crash. There are things should not be copied even they are perfect.

Well, what API would be Ok for us? We imagine some new solutions, some interactions/relations between host and plug-ins that IMO are usable and necessary (like ability to reference from one map to another, drawing in EI windows etc.). But it's funny to guess that "new API is here". It's only a first step. And nobody knows how many more steps we need. And it's very possible that a new step would require re-writing all existed plugs/shaders (as in cool max 4-5-6). It's a really long way to go.

And the last (but not least) detail. Should user pay for new API (for a potential abilitiy not a concrete feature) ? Absolute/definitely not. Let's count this

Igors
09-03-2006, 04:13 AM
Strange, but we see hairs aren't popular now :) (Brian posted it last in first list).
We also can't say it's a first thing EI should do immediately. That's a really hard and large eventual prj. However, IMO it's still more realistic than some others in the list.

A good implementation of hair/fur automatically creates a lot of "sub-tasks" that IMO are interested and usable themselves. The fur's special rendering would be very helpful for a lot of other things. "Eliminate limitations of polygons/vertices count" - that's really cool. Yes, it will not work with RT and, most probably, with glow. But process 20-40 millions of polygons wih 512 Mb RAM - cool. And IMO it stays higher than 15-20 such features as "texture/light baking"

splitpoint
09-03-2006, 04:46 AM
Here's my picks in order:

Large: (Pick Two)
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.


Small: (Pick Three)
5. Sub-pixel displacement.
7. Lattice Deformers.
1. Texture and Light Baking.


Al

Vizfizz
09-03-2006, 06:25 AM
I have to agree with Igors in general regarding an enhanced plugin API. One thing that most people don't realize is that Maya was written from the ground up with API hooks everywhere. The whole thing is basically a giant scripting engine.

Oh with out a doubt. Maya has a more modern architecture and the program is designed to be considerably more accomodating to the programmer and scripter. The program is also intended for a studio environment where multiple disciplines are coming together to create a final product. Programs like EI are inheritantly difficult for a studio to justify because the studio becomes reliant on the program's authors to modify. This slows down production. Eventually, the lack of access into the code isolates the program from the studio's own programming team and the decision is made to terminate the isolated program from the studio's pipeline. Its exactly what happened to EI at ILM. (Outside of political issues).


When people talk about an enhanced plugin API, and I've been one of those people, I'm forced to ask "Well, what do we need to be able to do?" Until we get some concrete goals this is always going to remain a nebulous request. Much like "A better Project Window"...okay, better how? Give clear examples and don't fall back on "Well, make it work like 3D XYZ." IMHO, that's a bullshit copout. That's not original thinking.


There's an old saying Blair. "Nothing is new under the sun." It still holds true to today. But artists can only state things in terms they understand. I can say, I need a way to move vertices in Animator. The request is still generally vague, but an artist can't usually tell a programmer in concrete terms what needs to be done technically...only artistically. We generally refer to other programs because its out greatest point of reference that is both common to artists and programmers alike. Claiming its a "Bullshit" copout isn't helping anyone and if anything it only throws up the defensive nature of those making the request. So, if someone says, "Blair, we need a better API", you knowing the limitations of the API, could help out and say... "Would XYZ be more helpful?" and we could return and say, "Will it let me do XYZ? or have you seen the MAYA/LW/MAX Blank tool? That's what I'm looking for." Taking that knowledge, combined with your technical knowledge of EIAS' core code, you can tell us whether or not that request is possible or not.
[/QUOTE]


One other major factor in improving the API is that Camera needs to support the existing API in all it's glory. There are a number of things that Animator can so that Camera can't.


Well that sounds like a good place to start. What can be done here?


When Camera is able to query an entire animation control file at random more things will be possible and/or easier.


Sounds like we have our first goal. See its that simple.


On that note, here's my list for improving EI:

1) More user evangelism i.e. get more people to buy the software.


Ummm....hello. Welcome to CGTalk.


2) Less griping about how EI is deficient in some way i.e. don't discourage yourself or other people from using it because it doesn't have some buzzword feature.


That's all fine and dandy if we see encouraging signs from the EITG leadership. Increase communication with us and we will complain less.


I've said it many times. Many early EI customers did some incredible work that would still hold up to today's standards without all the fancy bells & whistles.


That was a whole different world and a whole different market back then. We've lost a huge number of those talented artists to other packages. Why? New tools. The glory days are over. We have to get competitive and get back into the game.

Martin Kay
09-03-2006, 07:41 AM
[/QUOTE] That was a whole different world and a whole different market back then. We've lost a huge number of those talented artists to other packages. Why? New tools. The glory days are over. We have to get competitive and get back into the game.[/QUOTE]

Does EI have to do everything Maya Max or XSI does? Is this now a realistic expectation? I assume EI has a barebones workforce and it's not likely they could ever catch up. Why, if you want to do serious CA would you use EI, when there's software out there with better features. What's in EI thats so overwhelmingly necessary that isn't in other packages? I might guess you say the quality of Camera's render and the more organic looking shading system? I don't think that ease of use could be a reason or Maya wouldn't be so popular.

The quality of the visual output is probably the overwhelming reason why anyone would consider using EI- its my reason. However this distinction of EI's is lost on most users, or its not enough when other factors are considered for those doing architecture or general illustrative work- well obviously its not enough or you'd have bigger user base. The likes of c4d are more than sufficient for the average user and c4d has many 'qualities' EI lacks.

So I'd suggest EI concentrate on the core strengths and build on those. Accept that EI has a drifted away from the niche some of you guys would like and accept and capitalise on that fact, improve the product to the point where more users doing illustration/hard body animation etc are attracted. It could be done...

Currently EI is mostly a rendering environment. I haven't got to messing with the radiosity yet, but I think, from what other users have said it needs further development, or speeding up. If this is the case, then that needs doing- it needs to compete with the likes of vWray. Also, bringing the ability to 'model' into EI is desirable in the long term. As I see it, GI and Radiosity seem to be the Holy Grail that illustrators are seeking at this point in time- that's where EI should head for.

Martin K

Igors
09-03-2006, 12:57 PM
Don't understand for what you need micro-polygon displacement that's enough complex, slow and capricious. Why not adaptive displacement? (this one, btw, is basic in maya)

halfworld
09-03-2006, 02:43 PM
Why not adaptive displacement?

I couldn't agree more.

I am not impressed with micro-polygon displacement as a 3d tool. However, I would love to see adaptive displacement (as the Igors well know ;) !

Ian

Vizfizz
09-03-2006, 05:33 PM
Hi Martin...

Does EI need to do everything that Maya/Max/XSI can do? That depends on how EITG positions itself in the market. As I mentioned earlier, if EI decides to position itself as an "Architectural Visualization platform", for example, then EITG should focus on that. Start advertising on websites and other venues that cater specifically to those groups. If EI has chosen correctly, the market will respond, new users will flow in, and the company can once again start to grow and expand. However, the cost of specializing the program for one specific market will result in the additional loss of existing users wanting to use the package for something else. If the balance isn't properly maintained, the loss of existing users could potentially exceed the rate of new incoming users and the market that was to save EI ultimately becomes its final downfall.

This is where EITG's leadership must be really careful. Why do users ultimately use EI? It has to be Camera. The quality of images and the immediate availablity of really awesome shaders make EIAS a strong contender in the industry. But why hasn't that kept users from migrating to other packages? Well the answer to that is easy.

1. A continuous disassociation between the administration and leadership of EITG and the needs of its current user base.

2. Its original user base was forged out of the VFX community. This group is a demanding group to say the least and must evolve at a very rapid place of development. Like it or not, the largest influence on the CG industry, as a whole, is the entertainment industry and what, within the entertainment industry is the fastest growing segment or discipline? Character Animation.

3. With the continuous loss of its core user base, EITG has not adequately remarketed itself to a new set of users. It still sees itself in competition with Maya, Max, XSI, Lightwave, and C4D...all packages that cater to the entertainment industries even though they can all be used for different purposes that are not entertainment industry related. (Edit: Oh..and what do those package try to push the most? CA first, VFX second)

4. So if EIAS is defined by the company and competition it keeps, well maybe its time to change the group of people the program needs to appeal to and start comparing itself to CAD/CAM packages. This however creates a quandry for EITG. Obviously they don't want to discard what little marketshare they have left. So they send out mixed messages and continue to generalize their product...attempting to appeal to as many different users as possible to stay alive. Problem is, only one set of tools have emerged that are exceptional...and those are RENDERING TOOLS. Which brings us back to another age old question. Why doesn't EITG license Camera as a separate technology? Well 5 to 6 years ago, that might have really worked well but today we have a large number of renderer options and they're designed to work with the new packages that have emerged as leaders in the industry. Camera, for all of its tremendous power and beauty, may not have the capacity or architecture to interface directly with those newer packages without a considerable investment in funds. EI must decide whether to focus on its strength, which is rendering, or it must work to equalize the package to bring in new tools that will make it competitive. That means, modeling tools, character tools, better material and texture tools and so forth. EIAS very name is misleading. Electric Image Animation System suggests a collection of tools that can do just that. Animate. Its not EIRS (Electric Image Rendering System). And for most users Animation denotes certain things....and usually its character animation. People want to tell a story. They want a tool to do that with. However, I like your thinking. If EI can make any specific focus work, it would be rendering. Instead of being in competition with Maya, Max, LW and C4D, it becomes an addition to those programs. However, its kind of like being assemilated into the borg. You exist but you don't.

But not all is lost. EITG can STILL recover because there are new generations of users and new markets being formed and it STILL has a product that can do great things and it can find a place for itself provided it has a vision.

That is what is ultimately needed for EI more than any other new tool. Vision.

Vizfizz
09-03-2006, 07:11 PM
Hi, BrianWe trust your very much cause we seen such virtuouses ourselves, that's really true. But..is it a powerful of MEL or just talents of MEL scripters? Or both (handy vers)? Hmm.. we don't know. With big maya's mass it's possible to prove almost anything - all is confirmed and all looks objective :)

But we know well: what is good for one 3d app is bad/ridiculous/unnatural for another one. A straightforward "porting" has only one result - crash. There are things should not be copied even they are perfect.

Well, what API would be Ok for us? We imagine some new solutions, some interactions/relations between host and plug-ins that IMO are usable and necessary (like ability to reference from one map to another, drawing in EI windows etc.). But it's funny to guess that "new API is here". It's only a first step. And nobody knows how many more steps we need. And it's very possible that a new step would require re-writing all existed plugs/shaders (as in cool max 4-5-6). It's a really long way to go.

And the last (but not least) detail. Should user pay for new API (for a potential abilitiy not a concrete feature) ? Absolute/definitely not. Let's count this

Thanks Igors! I've always hoped that I haven't come across as somekind of rambling zealot. I truly have the best of intentions for EITG. I want them to succeed.

Maya's MEL and the talent of those using those tools are obviously a combination of efforts. MEL allows Maya to open itself up to wider range of potential programmers/scripters which inturn gives the perception that anything can be done. We've only recently acquired XP and its been like pulling teeth to get the users to embrace it more fully. We're coming around and hopefully Paralumino and Ramjac will be able to create some educational tools to help promote XP better. That being said, there's only a small core group that is capable of providing new tools/plugins for EI users. Programming plugins for EIAS probably requires a knowledge of C++ right? That's not something that a lot of right-brained artistic users wanna hear. What do we do? Force them to learn C? No.

Since we hand the responsibility of plugin production over to a small group of people, isn't it important that those people have the very best API to work with? I think so. However, it does come at a cost. The fate of the program rests in the hands of a smaller group specialists rather than in the hands of the users. We must use what is given to us...and if a programmer is set in his ways about a certain way to do things.. there are little options for the artist to work with. Frustration sets in and eventually that artist is lost to a competitor that can provide a toolset that works for his needs. Get enough of those migrations, and EITG is left scratching its head saying, "Where did all our users go?" At least if a new API comes into existance that is powerful and flexible and so forth, new programers and plugin writers can come in an create the type of plugins users want..and those plugins may not even need to be related to EITG's primary marketing focus.

I agree with you that a new API could potentially render exisitng plugins obsolete, but you know, that's just the standard way things happen in this industry. Evolution and adaptation defines the survival of the fitest.

Vizfizz
09-03-2006, 07:21 PM
Strange, but we see hairs aren't popular now :) (Brian posted it last in first list).
We also can't say it's a first thing EI should do immediately. That's a really hard and large eventual prj. However, IMO it's still more realistic than some others in the list.

A good implementation of hair/fur automatically creates a lot of "sub-tasks" that IMO are interested and usable themselves. The fur's special rendering would be very helpful for a lot of other things. "Eliminate limitations of polygons/vertices count" - that's really cool. Yes, it will not work with RT and, most probably, with glow. But process 20-40 millions of polygons wih 512 Mb RAM - cool. And IMO it stays higher than 15-20 such features as "texture/light baking"

You're right Igors. Fur and Hair are specific subsets of the character animation focus of the entertainment industry. Adding fur and hair to EI today wouldn't exactly help it to survive if character animation isn't going to be their focus. But you're also right that the technology of making fur and hair work would ultimately lead to a number of other technolgies with greater consequences and results. Instancing and various rendering optimizations centered on rendering vast numbers of polys comes in really handy.

juanxer
09-03-2006, 07:52 PM
About the evangelism issue, I guess that means something a bit more focused than this forum. Say, preaching to the Architectural CG crowd via ads and forum participation, if we are talking about playing to EIAS strengths.

About the wishlist per se: shouldn't "easier and more robust import/export facilities" be among them? It has been an issue for a long time, I think.

Vizfizz
09-03-2006, 08:05 PM
The CGtalk/Society is an organization dedicated to the advancement of all CG disciplines in the industry. It wishes to continue to expand CG as a recognizable art form and promote growth for CG artists in any market or discipline.

I don't know if EITG will publically come out and say, "Our focus is now XYZ", but they might. I don't know. But focused advertising, because of its cost, is necessary to attract whatever users they're shooting for. Banner ads are a good idea. New logos and an updated website could also help. Magazines aren't usually that effective and they cost a lot. Articles and reviews help. And efforts to get EI some good press is always a good thing.

Ideas?

Igors
09-03-2006, 08:51 PM
Hi, Brian Programming plugins for EIAS probably requires a knowledge of C++ right? No, only "C", so developer can choose between C/C++ as he wants.
That's not something that a lot of right-brained artistic users wanna hear. What do we do? Force them to learn C? No.But force them to learn this or that script language is not easier/better. Scripting is a programming too (even very specific). In any app most of users never wrote a script. A normal user needs "copy-paste-result", not to write programs.

At least if a new API comes into existance that is powerful and flexible and so forth, new programers and plugin writers can come in an create the type of plugins users want..and those plugins may not even need to be related to EITG's primary marketing focus.A relation between API powerful and count of developers .. yes, it exists, but it's absolute not linear/proportional and depends from many factors. There are nice APIs with few developers and vice versa.

I agree with you that a new API could potentially render exisitng plugins obsolete, but you know, that's just the standard way things happen in this industry. Evolution and adaptation defines the survival of the fitest.Well, maybe in global view of Earth evolution it's really true. But nobody wants to be a victim of global progress. We too ;)

We think a bit common (IMO) ideas of new API and Nodal Manager can be re-formulated in concrete way:

- modify API and host in order that EI procedural can refer to another map/procedural.

It will be end of "EI reactive era", but what to do? "We need" to have normal composite materials after all.

Vizfizz
09-03-2006, 08:59 PM
The nice thing about XP is it assists the non programmer type with various tools to make the scripting process easier...as opposed to diving straight into C. If I were a newbie, I'd rather learn scripting than C. But that's just me.


Well, maybe in global view of Earth evolution it's really true. But nobody wants to be a victim of global progress. We too


I agree. If the steps are small enough, but reasonable enough to show forward momentum, I think users will be pleased.

FelixCat
09-04-2006, 02:59 AM
BTW, we have been victims of global progress already. We have to upgrade our plug ins from OS 9 to X and some where lost. Now is PPC OSX to Intel OSX... How many will be lost again? If the tools evolve to the new needs of today, and we must pay for it, we pay (we charge it to our clients, at last) I use EiAS for ilustration and little animations and always had great results. But my clients are asking more and more for CA, then i am learning organic modelling with SILO (as you can see in the WIP section) and, soon, the program will have a very powerful set of tools. They listen very carefuly their userbase.
But if i make the move to CA, stayng in EiAS, my models will be naked and bald, the lipsync will take me 10 times the time of other apps and so on.
Then, i understand Matt Drummong migrating to Maya, Paul S to 3DMax, and many others.
This thread encourages me a bit but, is anybody listening in the EiAS side? i hope so...

FelixCat

Vizfizz
09-04-2006, 05:23 AM
I really like the implimentation of the GI in EI. Brazil's was very good - good results and simple to set up. Once EI got a good one put in it almost caused me to stop using Max completely. Simplicity of use in EI is outstanding.


Sounds like Paul is still using EI to me. If anything, he's a good example of what EI can do if they listen to their user base and implement tools that make good marketing sense. EI could have said, "Nah, our radiosity tools are enough."

Igors
09-04-2006, 01:25 PM
Hi, FelixBTW, we have been victims of global progress already. We have to upgrade our plug ins from OS 9 to X and some where lost. Now is PPC OSX to Intel OSX... How many will be lost again? So many as progress needs. These problems (compatibility with new OS, host vers etc) are absolute standard, this happens in any 3d app and here EI isn't worse than others.

But if i make the move to CA, stayng in EiAS, my models will be naked and bald, the lipsync will take me 10 times the time of other apps and so on.In our opinion in near future EI will not have cloth, hairs and lipsync. Note again - it's our opinion only.

Then, i understand Matt Drummong migrating to Maya, Paul S to 3DMax, and many others. This thread encourages me a bit but, is anybody listening in the EiAS side? i hope so...Yes, true, other apps have features EI has not. But not all true.

- first you need to charge more from your clients cause price of apps that have features you need is in several times bigger;

- not anywhere a whole set of cool features comes together with app. Often such modules require additional investments (and enough valuable).

Of course, it would be nice if app for only $0.8K gives you cloth, soft body dynamics, hairs etc. etc. But we seen no such precedents in real life :)

- another one thing is much less noticeable but maybe even more important. Avoid a typical error and don't think that in other apps you'll have a cool features AND all what EI does. The last one is forotten very often, it looks self-clear (the game "have / have not" is very popular). However in practice it's absolute not so. You would feel it momentary when you enter in another app. Don't cry if a modest (here) render will (there) swap-swap-swap disc and finally crashed OS. Don't blame if "absolute simple" anisotropy (here) works in absolute other way there (and not as you need). And there are a lot of such "little things" that are out of proud features lists but dramatically important in practical work.

- and the last one.. Do you like maya? We think maya is a program that engineers created for other engineers :) As programmers we admire with strong maya's organization and ideal order. But as users.. ooh, noo :scream: Are you ready to spend a year to learn app? A year to be a pupil, is it ok for you? And are you sure app's style is suitable for your personal taste?

Please count all this before writing minor articles :)

FelixCat
09-04-2006, 04:23 PM
Hi, Igors
Thanks for your reply, but i think that i has been misunderstood (mi awful english, probably. Sorry) I understand all the changes in OSs and the need to pay for this changes, is the way it is and the work of the developers moust be payed. I have absolutely no problem in paying for new modules that works in EiAS, i don´t want them for free... if my clients want something that EiAS can´t delivery i charge for it to the client and, if i can´t i decide if i want to take the extra cost miself. I don´t think that EiAS, with is low price, can have hair, fur and clothes, i hope other people can do it, and pay acordingly. If Joe Alter can do his plug in for EiAS i will pay gladly for it. I asked Joe about it, many time ago, and i understand Northern lights was in conversations about it too, but nothing happened (not enough posible costumers, i suppose). I began using EiAS since vrs. 1.75, and was very expensive in this days, and i had purchased a lot of plugins since then. It´s not a money problem; I don´t want to change the app of choice, i feel very confortable with Ei. I had tested C4D and don´t like the way it works (is a great app, but not for me.) Lightwave doesn´t fit too. Maya PLE demonstrated me the same that you say, i must spend 2 or 3 years only to have the same control and proficience that i have in EiAS today.
I don´t want nothing for free, just i want the posibility of have it.
FelixCat

Vizfizz
09-04-2006, 04:52 PM
Felix,

I do believe that the management at EITG is reading this thread, so its good to express your needs. You're exactly the type of EIAS user EITG can't afford to loose.

Vizfizz
09-04-2006, 05:26 PM
Here's an example of a nice powerful tool for texturing purposes...

Its not a nodal based texture manager, but its included with every purchase of Modo.

http://www.luxology.com/whatismodo/imageSynth.aspx

Igors
09-04-2006, 06:05 PM
Hi, Felix
Your English is understandable for us same as our one, i.e 100% :)
I understand all the changes in OSs and the need to pay for this changes, is the way it is and the work of the developers moust be payed.Here we disagreed: user should not pay for vers if it has only one feature: compatibility with a new OS.

I don´t want nothing for free, just i want the posibility of have it.Understand. But let's land back on this earth of sin and see reality. Multi-layered render.. Yes, it looks like a banal feature (not near so proud as cloth, fur etc.). But please agree: almost every prj needs layers (but not near each one needs cloth). Cool features you ask need years of work, multi-layering - much less. What to do first? As you see there is only one answer: layers.

I don´t think that EiAS, with is low price, can have hair, fur and clothes, i hope other people can do it, and pay acordingly. If Joe Alter can do his plug in for EiAS i will pay gladly for it. I asked Joe about it, many time ago, and i understand Northern lights was in conversations about it too, but nothing happened (not enough posible costumers, i suppose). Of course, we don't know why nothing happened. But hairs/fur is absolute not a "hair plug-in" - at least it's far away from usual EI model plug-in. It needs:

- special rendering (it's not phong and not ray-trace)
- special shadows
- hairs editor window with OGL etc.

There is zero chances to provide any point for EI plug-in, so it's quite understandable: such host isn't suitable to be another one "fur zone".

scott_m29
09-04-2006, 06:25 PM
Here's my two cents on picks (this was assuming Universal recoding was a done deal already):

Large: (Pick Two)

3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.

Small: (Pick Three)

1. Texture and Light Baking.
2. Referencing System.
12. Improved F-Curve Editor


HDRI was listed on the output end, and OpenEXR on the input end. Maybe we're talking about the same process? My choices reflect my seeking small improvements overall in the texturing/lighting area, maybe with HDRI included. And any performance boosts.

Scott

scott_m29
09-04-2006, 06:44 PM
Sorry for looping this back through the thread so late. But I wanted to toss in a vote for Renderama - any improvements to this would be welcome.

One item that Ian mentioned - able to transfer all files needed - should include something like auto-updating of clients (match shaders and sockets folders to master).

I use Renderama quite a bit - don't have many problems with it - and it really helps me manage work more efficiently offloading the heavy lifting on sequences to other machines. Without Renderama, EIAS would be much less productive.

Scott

Reuben5150
09-04-2006, 08:04 PM
I'm sure this has been mentioned, haven't read the other posts sorry.

Hardware trends.

I think its important to at least try and support current hardware "trends", or to be more specific, hyper threading and multi-core cpu's, without having to rely on Renderama.

This technology has now filtered down into mainstream and mid-range pc's.

I think its great that EI does have a solution for muiti CPU rendering but the more that CPU design continues in this direction, the slower that EI's snapshot render speed will "appear" to be, and as we all know, this is a very important part of the creation process.

I'm not big on comparing 3d app's, but i recently tried the XSI foundation demo (yet again:rolleyes: on a dual Xeon rig i just built, i knew XSI supported 2 cpu's but it also supports hyper threading as well, i get 100% cpu useage and the preview renders are insanely fast... still not buying it though :argh:

Well, i hope my point is clear :)

Thanks

R

Igors
09-04-2006, 08:56 PM
I'm not big on comparing 3d app's, but i recently tried the XSI foundation demo (yet again:rolleyes: on a dual Xeon rig i just built, i knew XSI supported 2 cpu's but it also supports hyper threading as well, i get 100% cpu useage and the preview renders are insanely fast... still not buying it though :argh:

Well, i hope my point is clear :)Aha, clear: "if you don't implement MP you'll lost so brilliant user as I'm". Do you really think such primitive blackmail is productive? Our dear diamond, you can "go to" XSI or whatever you want - a year later (with your new experience) we'll discuss XSI pro and cons :)

Vizfizz
09-04-2006, 09:10 PM
Igors,

I do not believe it was Rueben's point to come across as "blackmail". He's only expressing the fact that multithreading for previews is very beneficial for a program to have. Judging from what I read here, Rueben wishes to stay with EI because "he's still not buying it (XSI)." Be careful not to make assumptions ok? As the forum moderator, I must clarify statements concerning posts that could be potentially perceived as an insult on a person's character whether it was intentional or not. My perception is you're just joking around with your statement, but the written word can be easily misunderstood.

Igors
09-04-2006, 09:32 PM
Hi, BrianBe careful not to make assumptions ok? Ok, you are right, we need to formulate our minds better. Thank you

jimjam
09-05-2006, 05:34 AM
Our suggestions may truly make a difference? What has EI been doing (beyond Intel support) for the last year? Anyway, here's my two cents:

5. UV Mapping Editor.
12. Internal Modeling Support w/Sub-Ds.

1. Texture and Light Baking.
11. EPS import.
The third is a total toss up.

Keep in mind, though, that I'm a hobbyist and not a pro.

Jim Mulcahy

Vizfizz
09-05-2006, 05:53 AM
In addition to "NEW FEATURES", lets also talk about "KNOWN ISSUES". If you know if certain tools that are not working properly or other various ghosts in the machine.. please post them here. Fixing problems are as important as new features.

DickM
09-05-2006, 02:01 PM
Well, I'd like to see the ability to use weight maps as influence for deformers added to EI. This way we can have defs affect a certain area of a model more precisely and with a soft falloff. Right now we have regions which aren't very precise, and they falloff instantly. It's either 100% or 0% influence.
A good example of the need for this would be a stingray. I just happened to animate one last week ;). With wmps, I could have linear deformations affect just the ends of the wings and then gradually have them falloff as they moved to the center of the body. Can make for some very nice natural motion.

Anyway, sounded like a feasible addition to me :)

Just my 2 Cents

DickM
09-05-2006, 02:08 PM
As far as known issues. Bone Falloff has serious issues, and can lead to tears and bad pinching in the mesh. For instance, my current character has shoulder bones and chest bones, if the arms rotate to put his hands in front of him, the 2 bones fight and tear open his chest. There seems to be no falloff. This has been an issue since around EI 5.0 I believe.

Vizfizz
09-05-2006, 03:31 PM
Well, I'd like to see the ability to use weight maps as influence for deformers added to EI. This way we can have defs affect a certain area of a model more precisely and with a soft falloff. Right now we have regions which aren't very precise, and they falloff instantly. It's either 100% or 0% influence.
A good example of the need for this would be a stingray. I just happened to animate one last week ;). With wmps, I could have linear deformations affect just the ends of the wings and then gradually have them falloff as they moved to the center of the body. Can make for some very nice natural motion.

Anyway, sounded like a feasible addition to me :)

Just my 2 Cents

Just a little pitch here. Trestle and Scrim would have been excellent ways to accomplish that animation.

halfworld
09-05-2006, 04:44 PM
Stingray eh... Poor Steve Irwin...

You know that you can layer deforms to achieve a feather effect... It's a fake at best, but it does work. I've used it a couple of times quite effectively.

Ian

halfworld
09-05-2006, 06:12 PM
As per Blair's request for concrete ideas, here are some simple interface notes, and workflow ideas.

I emailed this off to EITG a few weeks ago (I think)... But no harm in making it public...

Project window:

Sort by name (one hierarchy level at a time... or an option to sort every level at once)
Sort by label.

Ability to hotkey double click a null and have its hierarchy opens in a new window (no timeline, just the object list, this would make copy/pasting materials from an old model to a new one perhaps 5 to 10x faster).

You can 'Shift' drag select objects, but you can't shift drag deselect objects...

When you 'edit...' label names, this should be remembered in all new projects (perhaps move to preferences). It would also be good to have a group's label exported in a FACT file...
My Ideal way for this to work would be all new objects start with label names you set up in preferences - but you can still edit these names on a project by project basis using the current menu.

When dragging objects in the project window (to change hierarchy) you can't make an object 'child of root'. As in, if an object is a child of a group, you can only make it a child of another group, you can't simply un-parent it by dragging.

Copy/ Paste in the naming field.

View Ports:

Right click on the world view title bar to reveal the list of cameras: it would be cool if this list showed the camera/light label colour. In projects with dozens of cameras and hundreds of lights it's a pain to find what you need, labelling would help this significantly.

In world view, the ability to set the hatch line field chart into thirds (to make use of the rule of thirds), currently the preferences only allow you to do this if you have a 'lucky' aspect ratio. Alternatively a new option called thirds, which does that and only that.

Again, in world view, when in Edit Cropping mode, there is no way to tell if this mode is on (or not). A tick next to 'Edit cropping' in the render menu would do it. Also, the only way to get out of Edit Cropping mode is to change the object manipulation tool (as in rotate, scale, transform). It would be better if selecting Edit Cropping again in the menu would turn it off.

Export fact window:

Would be helpful to have a 're-import on export' check box. Useful for Encage, Dicer, Antiqua, Bebel and all of the Paralumino products etc....

Material window:

Feedback: When you load or save a material, just a simple string that says "Material saved" or "...loaded". I always click twice (and get the 'replace?' message; just to check it saved) because I've missed the button before and lost a good texture...

Texture map/ Shader window:

Auto XYZ button for scaling textures.

Shader Variance Editor:

Resets after 2 mins of inactivity: this needs upping to several hours if possible! It seems like a bug.... Whatever it is, it's annoying...

The SVE floats on top of all other palates (bar the tool palate i think). The ability to bury it would free up screen space....

It seems the idea behind the SVE was that you would just dip in, get what you want, and close it... However I keep scores of Mforge and Noise Factory presets in there, if I don't like one, i want to drag out another without having to find the shader again due to it resetting (tedious) and then wait for the previews to refresh....

Colour picker:

It would be good if it remembered your mode choices (I like to have RGB and HSV open all the time but it defaults to just HSV). Could be solved in the preferences.

Image viewer:

When Camera returns a render to EI it would be very helpful to be able to minimise these to the dock.

Contextual Menus:

'Add' submenu with everything in there that starts with Add in the Menus :) - Nulls, cameras, master materials, lights blah blah etc.

And now for a couple of misc bugs Brian wanted to know about ;) :

Draft mode in the render window has no effect on 'Selected full size' or 'Cropped size' renders. Kinda annoying....

Importing a fact file containing a camera with a rotoscope image when the fact is made on a different machine > EI Crashes when you click on the rotoscope image. Annoying for when you are sharing cameras.

C'est tout! You know I love it,
Ian

PS. I would NEVER expect to see all this in the next version of EI, but It would be nice to see a couple of them ;)

arketype
09-05-2006, 06:34 PM
In the discussion of what markets EIAS is used, and what features are important, I think the breakdown of suggested "features" by market would be interesting.

Without doing any kind of offical count, lets look at some of the most popular feature requests from this forum...

1. Multi-threaded Animator and Camera - Benefits everyone.
2. Multi-Node Material editor - Potentially Benefits everyone (if you need more than a simple image map)
3. Better OpenGL preview of materials - Benefits everyone
4. Texture/Light Baking - Potentially benefits everyone
5. Refrencing/ instancing system - Potentially benefits everyone

6. Better CA tools (a few have been listed) - Benefits only those doing charaters.

7a. Better API for plugins - This essentially would help EIAS fit into different markets with specific functionality added as needed for those markets. (CA, CAD/CAM, Architechture, etc.)

7b. Better API for plugins - This could also help everyone since EITech could initially use the API themselves to develop new "native" modeling tools or other basic functions.
(This API could of course also help implement some of the other mentioned features (Hair, Cloth, Soft/Hard body dynamics, etc.) whether by EI Tech or 3rd Party.)

Conclusions:
EIAS greatly improved it's CA tools a few releases ago. It should continue with improvements in this area for current users and to stay competitive.(#6 above)

The features at the top of the list benefit all users regardless of industry, so do them.

The improved API would basically create the ground work for the NEXT generation of EIAS (v8?) with more advanced industry and project specific tools. This also might be the most work.

So as I see it, EIAS could do the following:
v7: some combination of features 1-6 (all of them... please)

v8: New plugin API with a couple of "killer" plugins included in the EIAS package (modeling tools, character tools, etc), and a new GUI interface (visual and functional) that makes EIAS look like the new modern package it has become.

Reuben5150
09-05-2006, 08:03 PM
Aha, clear: "if you don't implement MP you'll lost so brilliant user as I'm". Do you really think such primitive blackmail is productive? Our dear diamond, you can "go to" XSI or whatever you want - a year later (with your new experience) we'll discuss XSI pro and cons :)


Yes i thought i'd try blackmail people who didn't even code EI camera to implement this feature, Mark Granger didn't respond...

Well thanks, you are not the first and probably won't be the last to comment to my abilities with EIAS.

Diamond ? are you confusing me with SFDD ? now that would be an insult.

Think this would work much better if i "write", you "read" then go ahead and submit that list to EI again, how many times is that now ?, but IMO you really should replace the line "adaptive tessellation" feature with "sub-pixel displacement" cause its one more reason to "re-write" EI camera, you can't avoid the inevitable........

R

Vizfizz
09-05-2006, 08:29 PM
Think this would work much better if i "write", you "read" then go ahead and submit that list to EI again, how many times is that now ?


Alot... but it doesn't matter...the number is as many as it takes.

worx3d
09-06-2006, 01:06 AM
My perception is you're just joking around with your statement, but the written word can be easily misunderstood.

Didn't come across as 'just joking' to me. :(

Vizfizz
09-06-2006, 02:16 AM
That's why we must always clarify ourselves and always be sensitive to other people's feelings.

sacslacker
09-06-2006, 03:31 AM
I haven't posted in a while guys and I'm just quietly using my applications as I need them, one being EI.

I'd just like to comment that the tone of some of the posts have a real snide tone to them and are a big put off for a new user of the application. One might be hesitant to post a question/comment if they are going to recieve a cryptic smack down even if it was supposed to be in jest.

Just my two cents.

Cheers!

halfworld
09-06-2006, 11:19 AM
Passionate bunch eh ;)

I'm starting to do more and more modelling inside EI and my biggest issue is getting objects scaled correctly, so to speed up getting things to the right size I propose yet another — small! — feature ;)

In the Group Info window > Info tab there is:

X Size
Y Size
Z Size

These let me know how big my object is, to make life easier, it would be just exceptional if these boxes were editable so I could instantly get my objects to the correct scale....

What do ya think?
Ian

richardjoly
09-06-2006, 01:29 PM
...One might be hesitant to post a question/comment if they are going to recieve a cryptic smack down even if it was supposed to be in jest...

Never be hesitant Brian. As Ian said, this is a passionate bunch. The language barrier is well... a barrier. Sometimes things are said in a manner that seems offensive but in fact are not. This is a worldwide forum, cultural coloring is also present. Also, after communicating with the same bunch for months or years we tend to get a little familiar with known users and this should be taken as positive even if sometimes we get the little punch in the ribs... The knowledge of some users exceed by far the average one and I don't recall anyone being put away because of it. I love this group and learned a lot from it. This is a hockey team...sometimes we get a little bruised but in a team like this, you are going for the cup!

NorthernLights
09-06-2006, 03:19 PM
That's an interesting (and potentially easy) one, Ian. It could be a simple calculator that would adjust the scale for you. XScale = DesiredXSize / OriginalXSize
Doing it this way means we wouldn't have to add/change animation channels. But we would have to add these values to the Group data structure and have it saved.

halfworld
09-06-2006, 03:31 PM
That's an interesting (and potentially easy) one.

Thanks Blair! Now that we can model in Animator I think a little extra help from the host is important.
This is the kind of developer/user interaction that makes me love EI oh so much!

:buttrock:
Ian

sacslacker
09-06-2006, 06:37 PM
This is a hockey team...sometimes we get a little bruised but in a team like this, you are going for the cup!

That's a pretty darn good anology! Thanks!

Reuben5150
09-06-2006, 08:21 PM
Igors,

He's only expressing the fact that multithreading for previews is very beneficial for a program to have.

Yes, i've always like EI's render speed and quality, just don't wanna see it become perceived as Dog-slow, like many other people don't i'm sure.

BTW, after investing a lot of time, effort and money into EIAS or any other package, you don't just "drop it" or "switch" or whatever, well, some of the big studios might...

Many people use more than one 3d package these days simply because no one program has "got it right" yet, so, even if i did buy XSI or other i certainly wouldn't be sending EIAS to the recycle bin :)

Reuben5150
09-06-2006, 08:26 PM
Alot... but it doesn't matter...the number is as many as it takes.

Well ok, but i was just being sarcastic in that last post :)

Reuben5150
09-06-2006, 08:36 PM
Ok...we've all made our fantasy wish lists. Now its time to get more realistic. Here's your task. I've gone through all the lists, both here and on EI's site and I've compiled the major requests. I'm going to break the list into what I think would complex additions to EIAS and those that are not so complex. Your job will be to pick your top two complex additions and three smaller tools. If I missed your issue, forgive me, but resist the urge to write it in. Ok?



Large: (Pick Two)

2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.


Small: (Pick Three)

1. Texture and Light Baking.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.

There you go, yeah 1 short i know, 64bit version would be nice at some point though.

Reuben

Vizfizz
09-06-2006, 08:50 PM
Thanks Rueben... sounds like lots of under the hood improvements for you. All good ones. I'm starting to discover that texture and light baking may be a bigger implementation than it sounds. That could potentially be a "large" upgrade.

Reuben5150
09-06-2006, 09:06 PM
And then HDRI. I'll let all the render junkies out there go over this one. I would say that most want, as a minimum, 16bit layered output support. OpenEXR would be nice, but we have to get Camera to 16bits first anyway.

Jens produced .pdf of a very good HDRI feature suggestion, its quite a while since i've seen it, but the idea was to simply make it easier to setup a scene using a HDR image for environment, background and reflection etc, this pdf was sent to EI.

I think there is some confusion among users about what HDRI support is or isn't, you can use HDRI files in a number of way in EIAS but its the way they are handled is different to other programs.

When people talk about true HDRI support it could mean they would like 32bit per channel support, or maybe photon mapping which is used for image based lighting in other apps i believe, HDR/EXR output, or simply an easier setup.

R

Jens C. Möller
09-07-2006, 07:36 AM
The PDF I did that Reuben is refering too was a try to include the benefites of "true" HDRI rendering in Animator without changing Camera. The idea was to provide functionality into Animator to be able to get the HDRI look without too much of additional programming. However, programming is always work, even if you just include a "hack" or workaround feature as this suggestion of mine can be considered. And this work means spending time which is gone after the implementation. So nowadays I would think it would be better to spend the tim on the implementation of a deep HDRI support (rendering to 32bit etc.) in Camera than just waist the energy on a smaller hack just to save time, since later such an implementation would become worthless. I vote for a true enhancement of Camera.

I really think that EITG should concentrate on rendring tools, since they are still the strongest part of EIAS, meaning better file I/O and better rendering and texturing options. The whole modeling part is so non-existant in Animator, that it would be more difficult to include up to date modeling tools, than to improve on what is already there. EIAS has no modeler and in the beginning had no modeler. If it would play well with Z-Brush, Modo and other full featured modelers together with the best render options I would apreciate it.

Jens

yhloon
09-07-2006, 08:21 AM
very hard to choose one!:D most of the features listed here are welcome for me...


Large: (Pick Two)

3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera. :love:
8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.

please allow me to add this as well...:) forgive me!
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.


Small: (Pick Three)

1. Texture and Light Baking.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.
8. Redo.


loon

Blur1
09-07-2006, 05:23 PM
So nowadays I would think it would be better to spend the tim on the implementation of a deep HDRI support (rendering to 32bit etc.) in Camera than just waist the energy on a smaller hack just to save time, since later such an implementation would become worthless. I vote for a true enhancement of Camera.

I really think that EITG should concentrate on rendring tools, since they are still the strongest part of EIAS, meaning better file I/O and better rendering and texturing options. Jens

I agree with Jens about where I think EI should be focusing their energy. I've been using Maya, C4D, Motionbuilder and EI still has generally better rendering results than Maya and C4D, and for character stuff MB or FBX import is available. Having said that I haven't used or upgraded my EI license since 4.0. The rendering advantage, which is the core advantage of the software IMO, is being eroded. To wit, here are my requests:

Big:

2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
This is essential, considering how strong Camera has always been. If you look at Brazil and Vray, this is where they are going to really leave Camera in the dust.
I think that this should include OpenEXR output, because you don't add float and then not support EXR. What is the difference? Also, regarding "layered PSD output" what would be much more useful is to look at what is happening there, and that is a render layer system. The render layers in Maya 7 are generally excellent (although still buggy for some users) and a program like EI really would benefit from allowing the user to create arbitrary render outputs that do not need to be manually toggled, swapped out etc.

4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
We should be able to see layered materials in the viewport, texturing should occur in the viewport. Also IMO a nodal texture manager should not be confused with a shader creation system, it should just be a node based version of what we have now, where all texture and shader connections are explicitly graphed.

I would like to add, it seems crazy that multithreading would not be added to Camera, it doesn't matter about Animator. On a Quad Xeon, you would practically have IPR/twister for free. With two sets of render settings, draft and full quality, you could use the draft settings in the viewport and full quality for the final render. I understand that Camera may need ot be scrapped or overhauled for this to happen so maybe it's not so crazy. But really we are talking about making a speed demon into something much faster again and that sounds valuable to me. I realise after using C4D for a while that although its renderer is very fast and quite good, it really falls over in some areas, specifically motion blur, but also reflection sampling, etc etc and it makes me think OK so C4D is not as fast as EI at equivalent quality, and motion blur is a mess.

Small:
1. Texture and Light Baking. This doesn't seem like a small task to me, but again, it really leverages EI's existing strengths.
5. Sub-pixel displacement. Again, a feature that enhances rendering.
8. Redo

Just a general not that I think that some things on this list could be consolidated like "better UI" and "improved f-curve editor". However I'm not a programmer so I'm talking from an end user's point of view.

Michael

NorthernLights
09-08-2006, 03:04 PM
Okay, folks, I'd like to branch this thread in a particular direction: mouse wheel support.
Your mission is to think about what you'd want a mouse wheel to do and how. My personal request is to have window zooming be not just controlled by the wheel but to be able to zoom in where the cursor is. I've seen this on Solidworks and it's a very cool feature.

Bear in mind that you can use modifier keys during wheeling. Now I know a bit about mouse wheel events on the Mac i.e. there is support for horizontal as well as vertical. I don't know if third-party mice can do this. I know a Mighty Mouse can. I also don't know if two axis wheeling exists in Windows.

HadleyRille
09-08-2006, 08:17 PM
I have a couple of things I haven't seen mentioned:

I think the built in shading model should have an optional second specular hilight, off by default for backwards compatability. I've worked on a number of projects where a second specular hilight was necessary, and I've had to run separate passes to get the right effect. I know the anisotropic shader can sort of be used to get this, but then you don't have separate texture map control. I'd also really love texture map control over the size of the specular hilight.

I'm working on a project where I have a great many reflective objects with all kinds of differing surface properties. Once I got all the surface properties set up properly, with correct fresnel falloff, reflection surface color, etc., the reflections (from a reflection environment map) were coming out too dark. Matt mentioned to me that I could make the reflection environment's "strength" greater than 1.0 and I could get brighter reflections. This worked ok until diffuse reflections were added (thank you!) and I could realistically simulate duller metals. You don't get blurred reflection with environment maps, so I switched to putting my environment map as luminance on a "reflection object only" sphere around my scene. This gives me the nice blurred reflections, but they're too dark again. Increasing the "strength" of the luminance map above 1.0 has no effect, so I can't get them bright enough again. Sorry for the long explanation, but the short version is that I want luminance maps to pay attention to "strength" values larger than 1.0. HDRI support for luminance and environment maps would be super useful as well.

-John

manuel
09-08-2006, 10:54 PM
Well, most people in this thread have voted for the nodal shading system. I think this implicitly points towards a more flexible shading system, which might be the thing you're looking for at the moment. So even though your specific grievances haven't been mentioned before, most of us do seem to think in the same direction.
That for me is the one clear message for EITG coming out of this thread.

Vizfizz
09-08-2006, 11:11 PM
Okay, folks, I'd like to branch this thread in a particular direction: mouse wheel support.
Your mission is to think about what you'd want a mouse wheel to do and how. My personal request is to have window zooming be not just controlled by the wheel but to be able to zoom in where the cursor is. I've seen this on Solidworks and it's a very cool feature.

Bear in mind that you can use modifier keys during wheeling. Now I know a bit about mouse wheel events on the Mac i.e. there is support for horizontal as well as vertical. I don't know if third-party mice can do this. I know a Mighty Mouse can. I also don't know if two axis wheeling exists in Windows.

Well.. using the scroll of the mouse to pick walk through a hierarchy might be nice.

Jens C. Möller
09-09-2006, 09:12 AM
I think the built in shading model should have an optional second specular hilight, off by default for backwards compatability.

-John

I actually think that specular should be a light parameter and not a material parameter. It would be useful to set the shape of the specular for the light, and the blurrines in the material. That way it would b possible to get window shaped speculars from lightsources that mimic windows and round speculars from lightbulbs or linear speculars from light tubes, all on one object. The roughness of the object would determine how the specular would be blurred. This would allow for very sophistiated dull "reflections".

But maybe this is too far off any "normal" shading and rendering paradigm. I don't know.

Jens

Reuben5150
09-09-2006, 11:31 AM
I'm working on a project where I have a great many reflective objects with all kinds of differing surface properties. Once I got all the surface properties set up properly, with correct fresnel falloff, reflection surface color, etc., the reflections (from a reflection environment map) were coming out too dark. Matt mentioned to me that I could make the reflection environment's "strength" greater than 1.0 and I could get brighter reflections. This worked ok until diffuse reflections were added (thank you!) and I could realistically simulate duller metals. You don't get blurred reflection with environment maps, so I switched to putting my environment map as luminance on a "reflection object only" sphere around my scene. This gives me the nice blurred reflections, but they're too dark again. Increasing the "strength" of the luminance map above 1.0 has no effect, so I can't get them bright enough again. Sorry for the long explanation, but the short version is that I want luminance maps to pay attention to "strength" values larger than 1.0. HDRI support for luminance and environment maps would be super useful as well.

-John

A few of us have been wanting a reflection gamma control for some time.. and i seem to remember a test shader kicking around (you know where to look), no PC version so i never got to test it.

There's also a hack with the AG-cineon shader to "force" brighter environment reflections, since it has its own gamma controls, but the shader brings its own set of issues into the mix though, ie, transparent objects will often "blowout" the reflection.

Reuben

NorthernLights
09-09-2006, 03:23 PM
I actually think that specular should be a light parameter and not a material parameter.

Actually this only partially makes sense because how would you distinguish between shiny and dull surfaces. Nevertheless, what would be cool would be a flavor of shaders that could be applied to a light. Internally, these could just be references and as each object is rendered, Camera would walk through the light list and fetch appropriate shader information.

This goes along with my desire for world-level or global shaders that would be applied to every object. Example: the Arete Air Optics shader has a haze algorithm that attenuates and colorizes based on haze parameters and distance from the camera. Technically you can use this now but you have to manually apply it to every object in the scene. If we add a two kinds of materials to the World settings for pre-shading and post-shading, you could do some interesting things.

Jens C. Möller
09-09-2006, 03:35 PM
yes, that is what I wanted to say: specular shape -> light parameter. Roughness -> material parameter.

Jens

nikosrf
09-10-2006, 10:31 AM
Ok...we've all made our fantasy wish lists. Now its time to get more realistic. Here's your task. I've gone through all the lists, both here and on EI's site and I've compiled the major requests. I'm going to break the list into what I think would complex additions to EIAS and those that are not so complex. Your job will be to pick your top two complex additions and three smaller tools. If I missed your issue, forgive me, but resist the urge to write it in. Ok?

Large: (Pick Two)

1. 64 bit support for Animator and Camera.
2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
4. Nodal Texture Manager & Improved Material Previews.
5. UV Mapping Editor.
6. An advanced Particle FX system.
7. Hard and Soft Body Dynamics.
8. New Plugin API for more advanced plugins.
9. Non Linear Animation Support.
10. FBX Export.
11. OpenEXR.
12. Internal Modeling Support w/Sub-Ds.
13. Updated UI.
14. Fur & Hair Tools.

Small: (Pick Three)

1. Texture and Light Baking.
2. Referencing System.
3. Custom Hot Keys.
4. Quanternion Rotation Support.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.
6. Mirroring tools for bone placement.
7. Lattice Deformers.
8. Redo.
9. Set Driven Key and Custom Attribute support with sliders for character animation.
10. Enhanced Text import support.
11. EPS import.
12. Improved F-Curve editor.
13. Spline IK.

There yah go. Choose.

I couldn't pick just two and maybe i shouldn't. These times EIAS should have all ready those additions. So, i pick all of them

AVTPro
09-12-2006, 02:11 AM
I Wish List

Being that EI's greatest strength is rendering and easy of use I propose we take a solid stand in separating ourselves above the crowd in the area of Zbrush Rendering for animation. I believe it's apparent by now, with Pirates of the Carribean, and WETA MudBox, ZBrush 2.5D modeling and painting paradigm is HUGE! The real deal. Tops. The shiznizzle! We should focus on it and EI become a smart, fast, easy and doable tool to render and mildly animate large ZBrush scenes with humongous polycounts. Thats what EI does well already anyhow.

This is my first request.

ZTool importer.

1. Steamline the ZBrush "imports" to where it's perfect, easy handling, better and unlike any app currently using ZB. This would be a "new" approach beyond what it's already capable of. Literaly pull the Ztool import engine out of Zbrush. Zscripts or licensing. however or whatever it take to acheive this level of perfection. Best case scenario would be to simply import as Ztool directly into EI. No other app, save ZBrush does this so I don't know how intense or challenging this would be. Undoubtably, Zbrush's Ztools imports with the maps and high/low subdiv proxy as "adjustable" depth and RENDERs. That's the perfect process. They do it. That ZTool type import mechanism would be the goose that lays golden egges for EIAS as a Hollywood film render.

EI would be completely unique as a Zbrush Render app if they had access to Pixologic's "Magic Zbrush" button. "Load Ztool". No placement or adjustment of textures whatsoever unless so desired. Just import the Ztool and pick your subdiv resolution, RENDER.

Geometry could be either Encage or EIAS supports an UBERNURB subdivision geometry. I suspect an import with Encage and the Subdiv tool to be more practical and resourceful than EITG writing another geometry type than polgons. Automate this process to feed into Encage if not their own non-ACIS uber nurbs with out linking. Maybe Palumino can do all this.

Texture would be like a Fact File with associated textures. They just go in the right window, with UV checked. No placement or editing. No setting up rotation (-180).
Maybe it can have an import box like FBX where this happens once and is saved as a preset. EI would read each map file type (bmp,psd, etc.) as Zbrush exports it. (color maps, disp, normals). What ever was the last settings/resolutions that it what EI would refernce and import.

So 64 bit images, or was it 32 bit depth? Zero midpoint gray and would all have to be suported in EI. We know how to do this manually, why should we redo it everytime on a computer? I think we should nail like we NAILED FBX!!.

I just bartered a new MacPro from a ZBrush/FBX/Maya work...Bring it!!

I'm ready. Let's do it.

AVTPro
09-12-2006, 03:06 AM
I really haven't been keeping up on this thread til now but I would agree with jens with focusing on the best parts of the app. I haven't used HDRI but updating the camera to handles the lastest render qualities at fast speeds has always been EI's forte.

So this would include 64bt Zbrush render qualities.

What I have found as a strong point is that if I imported a MB mocap, or Maya dynamic via FBX, EI serves and a clean, clear interface to gather the project and do minor edits my converting custom frames in the FCE.

EIAS interface has the advantage of dropping all the highend modules needed to produce those effects but still giving us a barebones interface to gather, organize output from those effects and render.

We should focus on making importing everything from cloth simulation to displacement geometry.

qu1j0t3
09-12-2006, 03:41 PM
...
1. 64 bit support for Animator and Camera.
2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
4. ...
There yah go. Choose.

I'm confused. Does NOBODY in the world want Linux support for Camera (at least)? Isn't that necessary for big studio interest? (renderfarms).

arketype
09-12-2006, 04:52 PM
There needs to be a method of "unhiding" or "hiding" all objects in a hierarchy that are "collapsed" at once. Selecting all and "hide/unhide" just toggles this setting for all objects. If some hierarchies are hidden, and others visible, it is difficult in large projects to go from all visible to all hidden.

This is important for switching to views other than hierarchy.


The Merge feature should have the option to MERGE Master materials with the same name, rather than creating duplicates (choose which material to use on picking project to merge).

There should be a "purge" feature to automatically delete unused master materials (or a way to select unsused materials for deletion).

AVTPro
09-12-2006, 05:57 PM
I agree with Jens about where I think EI should be focusing their energy. I've been using Maya, C4D, Motionbuilder and EI still has generally better rendering results than Maya and C4D, and for character stuff MB or FBX import is available. Having said that I haven't used or upgraded my EI license since 4.0. The rendering advantage, which is the core advantage of the software IMO, is being eroded. To wit, here are my requests:

Big:

2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
This is essential, considering how strong Camera has always been. If you look at Brazil and Vray, this is where they are going to really leave Camera in the dust.



I would like to add, it seems crazy that multithreading would not be added to Camera, it doesn't matter about Animator. On a Quad Xeon, you would practically have IPR/twister for free. With two sets of render settings, draft and full quality, you could use the draft settings in the viewport and full quality for the final render. I understand that Camera may need ot be scrapped or overhauled for this to happen so maybe it's not so crazy. But really we are talking about making a speed demon into something much faster again and that sounds valuable to me. I realise after using C4D for a while that although its renderer is very fast and quite good, it really falls over in some areas, specifically motion blur, but also reflection sampling, etc etc and it makes me think OK so C4D is not as fast as EI at equivalent quality, and motion blur is a mess.



Michael

I usually don't have much to say about Camera, but nowadays there's specific denominating technologies defining the future of rendering. I believe EITG needs to work from the Camera back, and Animator second to put these base technologies on the horizon.

Meaning, Optimize it for Quad Xeon performance in everyway possible. 64bit/Universal aware. Cost wise, anyone with a MacPro has a render farm solution of at least 4 high speed CPUs. whew...that's a film studio as far as I'm concerned.

With a Quad running 16 gigs of RAM, multiple Cameras should address 4 gigs each natively on the OS. Apple doesn't let the cat out the bag til the last minute but Leopard is no secret. That's where we are headed. And I'm ready now.

Zbrush type workflow of low res proxy to subdiv high res model is a animation solution
within itself. Projects that came to nought on my G4, I can reconsider animating without wasting precious time rebuilding them with proxy geometry on my MacPro. Proxy to HiRes geometry will be considered in my workflow from the start in the future.

Yes, there are features that I would like to see in Animator like "Transfer UV". so that UV layout of one model can be applied to a previously skinned model that doesn't have UVs, since EI doesn't allow UV model to be switched with skinned NonUV model , but I would accept not having UV editing tools in Animator and just improving my UV workflow in the future with the limitation in mind. In other words, forego development of convenienices and nicities that can be attain in Animator with better workflow in exchange for core technologies in Camera that are dependent on programming iterations to achieve the final render effect ( regardles of user ingenuity). That is the say, users were able to find tricks around Zbrush seams by using hand crafted UV layouts. Users found workflow tricks around (-/+) 50% grey by separating maps in photoshop. Users reduce 16 bit images to 8bit. But we can not force Camera to do subpixels or micpolys. Programmers must do that. We can't make it render 16 bit bit depth. Camera must do that. Yes, programmers can make our life better if they make a 50% displacment option and increase a productive workflow. EI user have been pushing really hard..Programmers help us push harder, faster where we can't..

AVTPro
09-12-2006, 06:34 PM
Ok one more post and that should be it for a bit.

I would have put together an itemized list but that would have been a long list. So I again want to comment on a over all theme, that being EI as a workspace to gather esoteric scene elements from other apps and render them in a quick, quality interface.

So first I would like to congratulate EITG (Blair) once again on filmbox import. My last project I used a hair follicle dynamic on a bone chain in Maya and imported it into EI via FBX. It totally saved my katula on animation hours against a very tight deadline and the client loved it. I would prefer to use FBX as a format to import other animation effects like vertex animation data.

I have asked for this while in FBX beta in reference to importing a cluster weight facial animation squence from MotionBuilder. MB can use cluster weights for face rigging. A full facial animation sequence can be perform. It would be great EI can import this animation.
The animation on vertices.

So, this would ultimately include vertice animation on cloth simulation as well. So I am repeating my second request is that filmbox imports vert animation data for Vertex Cluster Weight animation and Cloth sims. This would include vertex animation base on Muscle influences or jigglers.

I believe I posted a cloth vert image several months ago on CGTalk but don't remember where.

halfworld
09-13-2006, 11:52 AM
yes, that is what I wanted to say: specular shape -> light parameter. Roughness -> material parameter.

Jens

That would be perfecto :cool:
Ian

arketype
09-14-2006, 01:15 PM
EIAS needs to support long file names on OSX.
Filenames are currently truncated a-la OS9.

I assume this is because of EIAS being "Carbon".
Might this be automagically supported with the move to X-code?

NorthernLights
09-14-2006, 02:57 PM
Can you be more specific about where long filenames don't work? This may be a lowest-common-denominator issue with PC compatibility.

I know object names are limited to 31 characters but that's not a filename issue. I theory this could be changed but it would keep you from being able to open project files in older versions of EI.

arketype
09-14-2006, 04:00 PM
Animator truncates long filenames of textures and models.

As an Example:

Texture-Blue-Water-002-LongFilename.img
Texture-Blue-Water-003-LongFilename.img

Difficult to tell which is which when they appear in Animator like this...

arketype
09-14-2006, 04:01 PM
Having long object names would be great too.

arketype
09-14-2006, 06:09 PM
Blair,
Thanks for investigating this.

Long filenames are also important for saving project files and rendered image names.

I keep having to abbreviate multiple words. It would be much better to have long filenames so that I could save projects and images with this formula:
[client name]-[projectname]-[version].prj

31 characters just doesn't quite get there.

Reuben5150
09-14-2006, 06:39 PM
I would like to add, it seems crazy that multithreading would not be added to Camera, it doesn't matter about Animator. On a Quad Xeon, you would practically have IPR/twister for free. With two sets of render settings, draft and full quality, you could use the draft settings in the viewport and full quality for the final render.

Michael

Yup,

And quad cores are on the way, if the new Xeon's use Hyper-threading which i expect they will, a Dual PC will give you 16 cpu's to play with :eek:, not sure if HT is just a PC thing, but the other thing is that the core speeds are not getting any faster either, in fact, the max is less then the old Xeon's were.

R

juanxer
09-16-2006, 08:47 PM
HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output
(plus an AE Project + related .image/OpenEXR/whatever movies output variant for animation)

That would be so incredibly useful and timesaving that I could postpone everything else.


There are several small workflow things, like that filename length issue, that would be nice to see addressed in future releases. An interesting feature to add to the Find file dialog would be a "Search with Spotlight" button that copies the filename to the Spotlight search field or its Windows Vista search system equivalent (yes, you could type it manually, but oftentimes the names are rather long and complex plus there are lots of elements to locate one after the other). Basic Scroll wheel support for the Project window (I think it ought to be the easiest case to deal with). Things to discuss as whether it would be better to integrate the Group Info window into the Material one or not, etc.

arketype
09-21-2006, 02:13 PM
An annoying bug is the reversal of left and right orthographic views in the texture window.
This should be easy to fix.

halfworld
09-21-2006, 04:39 PM
So, Camera crashes when using Renderama...

If Camera chokes on an animation, it errors then the slave errors, then rama errors and your whole renderama queue stops rendering.

I would much prefer it if Camera had a log where it put the error, then Rama just sent it the next job on the list.

So basically, what I would like to see is a change from Camera erroring and stopping your whole Rama queue, to a system where a Job errors and Camera moves on.

Ian

arketype
09-28-2006, 05:08 PM
All this talk of an updated version of EIAS and Camera has inspired me.
Since I am not a programmer, I have designed some "what if" visuals for EIAS version... ummm.... let's say v8.

New Camera interface is below, along with Icons for EIAS and the new MP Camera.

www.arketypedesign.com/EIAS-Candy/CameraRenderWindow.jpg
www.arketypedesign.com/EIAS-Candy/EIASIcon.jpg
www.arketypedesign.com/EIAS-Candy/MPCameraIcon.jpg

The icons are in pasted onto some text documents if you would like to use them.
Just download, "get info" select the icon ,and paste onto your Apps.
(sorry, Mac only)
www.arketypedesign.com/EIAS-Candy/EIASIcons-Mac.zip

Feedback is welcome from all.

FelixCat
10-03-2006, 07:56 PM
Did we stop daydreaming here?... it was promising. :)

FelixCat

Vizfizz
10-03-2006, 08:07 PM
Oh not really.. there are always things being put into motion. ;)

FelixCat
10-03-2006, 08:50 PM
Great, Bryan. BTW, i´m very curious about your gNome project.
Hope the business side of Paralumino works well.
FelixCat

Vizfizz
10-03-2006, 09:03 PM
Great, Bryan. BTW, i´m very curious about your gNome project.
Hope the business side of Paralumino works well.
FelixCat

Hi Felix,

gNome is planned to be apart of our advanced geometry construction and animation tools for EIAS, however, until we sell enough of our "Core" products (Trestle, Scrim, Braider, Revolver and Swage) gNome will remain in a hold status. We've reached about 52% of our necessary sales quota. Hopefully when Swage is released, we'll get much closer to our sales goal and we can then move on.

arketype
10-04-2006, 01:56 PM
Here's one more vote for 64bit support/ greater memory allowance for Camera.
I just completed an architectural visualization project, with some very detailed elements.
I had over 6 million poygons, and some complex materials, (backlit/ glowing glass etc.). On top of this I was rendering the scene using GI. Render time wasn't bad for stills (30 min), But Camera choked on one of the scenes. Not enough RAM! Camera was maxed out at the 2GB limit. I had to render multiple passes with various objects turned off and compostite together in Photoshop. Very time consuming for a very tight deadline.

I'd really like to see this limit lifted and have Camera allow for LOTS of RAM usage.

AVTPro
10-07-2006, 06:50 AM
Agreed. 64 bit.

Also, screen layouts that are task specific or even a "fill screen on second monitor". This way you can pick FCE and Project Window and assign them to fill screen on second monitor. Meaning it will divide the second montior with these two.

I recommend EIAS add "Saved Layouts" to the "Closed Window/Reset Window" with a side arrow pull-down menu selection items.

I have found it 'very useful" in other apps, and now with a 30" 2560x1600 or even at 1900x1200 aspect ratio it saves time if you can just "pop" right into a task specific windows/palettes layout.

Saved would be better because users can define their own work area but obvious layout would be.

Weight Mapping: Strengths/Viewpaint dialog box/project windo/2 veiwports.

Animation Layout: FCE/PerspCamView/TimeSlider/ProjectWindow/

Rigging: Link Window, etc.

It's cosmetic feature yes, but it greatly improvement workflow no matter what ratio.

I will post screen caps in a "Saved Layout" Folder.

qu1j0t3
10-07-2006, 06:56 AM
Lose the dongle; make beta programs public, not private; make demo/trial versions available for all platforms. And something for the open-minded to consider: Go open source.

Think big.

Martin Kay
10-07-2006, 01:59 PM
Lose the dongle; make beta programs public, not private; make demo/trial versions available for all platforms. And something for the open-minded to consider: Go open source.

Think big.

Yes, I agree with that! Lose the dongle! Look what Maxon do with c4d demos- given away on magazine covers, or no cost down loads. EI demos in the past have crashed if you even had an impure thought... How did they do that? I very much doubt if the dongle will go though...
Paradoxically, we tend to lose those things we cling onto for dear life. Of course maybe there's really nothing worth showing to potential new users. Maybe that's why they want your money first before you can try the app?

Martin K

SteveW928
11-10-2006, 06:35 AM
Yup,

And quad cores are on the way, if the new Xeon's use Hyper-threading which i expect they will, a Dual PC will give you 16 cpu's to play with :eek:, not sure if HT is just a PC thing, but the other thing is that the core speeds are not getting any faster either, in fact, the max is less then the old Xeon's were.

R

Hi Ruben,

No, I don't think any of the new 'Core' architecture chips from Intel use Hyper-threading. But, it's really no big deal, as you have actual REAL CPUs, not just virtual ones. Hyper-threading is just a way to better utilize the processor under certain circumstances I think. I'm pretty sure its less than 50% gain on a limited set of applications. But, two quad-cores would still give you 8 real processors faster than any of the old chips with HT anyway.

Also, remember that while the chip is still called a Xeon, it is a different architecture. The 'Core' chips are more like the Pentium Pro or even the PPC architecture than they are like the Pentium 4, etc. So, you can't really compare them on MHz to MHz. The new Xeons are faster than the old ones, even at lower clock speeds.

Also, in regard to what Michael said, if EI does implement multi-threading... I hope that they can somehow still retain the current Camera model as well. I've never seen multi-threading utilize multiple CPUs the way we now can with Renderama. Maybe that is just a matter of modern code not being fully multi-threaded to the max.... but I'm still going to guess (I'm not a programmer), that even the best written multi-threaded code won't match a separate app on each CPU. The problem is, that other than some overhead, running the separate app on each CPU gives you nearly 100% gain for each. It probably looks something like, 1 CPU = 99%, 2 CPU = 195%, 4 CPU = 385 %, etc. With traditional multi-threaded apps, I think it is typically more like 1 CPU = 99%, 2 CPU = 160%, 4 CPU = 310 %, etc.

Now, if you're not using the extra CPUs anyway... and you can get your camera preview window to be multi-threaded and update while you're working... that would be awesome. But, when you want to render out a final project overnight or something... you'd want to get near as possible to 100% efficiency out each CPU.

For actual production rendering, EI is about as good as it gets currently. Multi-threading is more for people who either don't want to mess with Renderama, or for things within the actual EI application.

-Steve

SteveW928
11-10-2006, 07:07 AM
Lose the dongle; make beta programs public, not private; make demo/trial versions available for all platforms. And something for the open-minded to consider: Go open source.

Think big.


Hi Toby,

I agree on the public beta thing, and demo, etc. I'm not sure I understand the open source thing in regard to 3D apps... they would just make income off support?

Also, as far as the dongle... I think that is tied to the 3rd party plug-ins and stuff too... so it probably wouldn't be just EI that could make such a decision. I also don't really mind the dongle. Why would getting rid of it help? It would start a thriving pirate community to increase EI's use and visibility?

I have no idea what their financial status is.... but if they are in a situation where they need to do something drastic... here are the things I'd try:

1) Try to get acquired. (Apple i3D anyone?) :) This would give them far reaching resources, and hopefully the acquiring company wouldn't trash the app too much for the sake of the current user community, nor trash the whole company the way Play did.

2) Lower the prices, then create 'levels' of the product once the new prices work. While the current pricing is quite fair, IMO, for the Pro user... they are too high for the hobbyist, or possibly even smaller shop. They are also not priced competitively enough against the competition to sway a decision (not necessarily capability wise.... but marketing wise).

Then, when sales increase enough from the new pricing, they could add create a more 'Pro' level product with some of the latest wiz-bang features at a higher price point... and leave some of them out for the normal model. Maybe integrate some key 3rd party stuff into that 'Pro' level app as well.

3) Hire a bio-engineer... clone Jay R. and get the clones into positions of power at all the competitors. ;) (see point 1 about the Play years.... what the *$#($#* was that guy thinking anyway?)

-Steve

WmH
11-10-2006, 01:33 PM
Hi Ruben,

No, I don't think any of the new 'Core' architecture chips from Intel use Hyper-threading. But, it's really no big deal, as you have actual REAL CPUs, not just virtual ones. Hyper-threading is just a way to better utilize the processor under certain circumstances I think. I'm pretty sure its less than 50% gain on a limited set of applications. But, two quad-cores would still give you 8 real processors faster than any of the old chips with HT anyway.

<content snipped>

-Steve

Agreed, HT was nothing more than a virtual setup, it DID NOT increase processing power. I was made as a crutch for operating systems that were poor at thread scheduling and applications with non-reentrant subroutines. (where it could utilize some cycles that would be otherwise wasted)
If you think about it logically you realize that they is no way to generate more processing cycles by dividing them amongst "virtual" processors. You actually come out with less. because there is some overhead involved in allocating and managing cycle distribution. This is why nearly all workstation manufacturers and most software developers (of high end software) recommend turning HT off.

qu1j0t3
11-10-2006, 01:39 PM
Hi Ruben,

No, I don't think any of the new 'Core' architecture chips from Intel use Hyper-threading. But, it's really no big deal, as you have actual REAL CPUs, not just virtual ones. Hyper-threading is just a way to better utilize the processor under certain circumstances I think. I'm pretty sure its less than 50% gain on a limited set of applications. But, two quad-cores would still give you 8 real processors faster than any of the old chips with HT anyway. ...

Also, in regard to what Michael said, if EI does implement multi-threading... I hope that they can somehow still retain the current Camera model as well. I've never seen multi-threading utilize multiple CPUs the way we now can with Renderama. Maybe that is just a matter of modern code not being fully multi-threaded to the max....

The problem is that Camera isn't multithreaded *at all*. This means that it can't take advantage of even basic SMP (without even discussing HT or multicore). SMP on Macs has been with us since 1995.

The Renderama workaround helps but it's awkward and probably still buggy (when I tried it I couldn't get it working at all).

The speedup afforded by HT is indeed workload dependent. I've seen 100% speedup on kernel compiles. But it's focused on integer work, since as you imply, it's about putting idle functional units to work.

Some multicore architectures (Sun Niagara 8 core for instance) share only 1 FPU between the cores. Not sure what Intel has.

but I'm still going to guess (I'm not a programmer), that even the best written multi-threaded code won't match a separate app on each CPU. The problem is, that other than some overhead, running the separate app on each CPU gives you nearly 100% gain for each. It probably looks something like, 1 CPU = 99%, 2 CPU = 195%, 4 CPU = 385 %, etc. With traditional multi-threaded apps, I think it is typically more like 1 CPU = 99%, 2 CPU = 160%, 4 CPU = 310 %, etc.

Right, but Renderama can't avoid the problem of overhead either. Scaling is always sublinear. Multithreading on an SMP platform is likely to be more efficient than Renderama.


Now, if you're not using the extra CPUs anyway... and you can get your camera preview window to be multi-threaded and update while you're working... that would be awesome. But, when you want to render out a final project overnight or something... you'd want to get near as possible to 100% efficiency out each CPU.

For actual production rendering, EI is about as good as it gets currently. Multi-threading is more for people who either don't want to mess with Renderama, or for things within the actual EI application.

-Steve

I understand why people on single SMP machines wouldn't want to mess with Renderama. This is only getting more true as dual core and quad machines hit the market. We tried telling 'em before...

qu1j0t3
11-10-2006, 01:46 PM
Agreed, HT was nothing more than a virtual setup, it DID NOT increase processing power. I was made as a crutch for operating systems that were poor at thread scheduling and applications with non-reentrant subroutines. (where it could utilize some cycles that would be otherwise wasted)
If you think about it logically you realize that they is no way to generate more processing cycles by dividing them amongst "virtual" processors. You actually come out with less.

With respect, you're mistaken. HT was based on the premise that you can take advantage of idle execution units - and it does work, with typical 30-40% throughput increase in many applications. Some actually achieve 100%, as I mention above.

However, it died in the market, because customers expected 100% everywhere. And it's no longer relevant now Intel has "true" multicore.

because there is some overhead involved in allocating and managing cycle distribution. This is why nearly all workstation manufacturers and most software developers (of high end software) recommend turning HT off.

That recommendation is made from time to time, but the reason is rarely "because it's a net loss". You'd have to benchmark particular workloads. Some pathological schedulers and applications may have been a net loss under HT but by no means all.

For rendering it was probably always irrelevant since on the chips in question the FPU is likely fully utilised by a single thread.

qu1j0t3
11-10-2006, 01:51 PM
Hi Toby,

I agree on the public beta thing, and demo, etc. I'm not sure I understand the open source thing in regard to 3D apps... they would just make income off support?

Also, as far as the dongle... I think that is tied to the 3rd party plug-ins and stuff too... so it probably wouldn't be just EI that could make such a decision.

Sure. EI can grow some, and drop the dongle; and everyone else can figure out if they want to join the party.
I also don't really mind the dongle. Why would getting rid of it help? It would start a thriving pirate community to increase EI's use and visibility?

Exactly. This is how Maya and even Windows grab huge chunks of MINDshare, and would help reverse the death of EI as a platform. I would say it's a nobrainer.


I have no idea what their financial status is.... but if they are in a situation where they need to do something drastic... here are the things I'd try:

... (Sound business advice snipped)

I think the MBAs have had their crack at trying to save it, and failed. They need to do something interesting. What did you think about open sourcing?


-Steve

arketype
11-10-2006, 03:32 PM
Hi Ruben,

The problem is, that other than some overhead, running the separate app on each CPU gives you nearly 100% gain for each. It probably looks something like, 1 CPU = 99%, 2 CPU = 195%, 4 CPU = 385 %, etc. With traditional multi-threaded apps, I think it is typically more like 1 CPU = 99%, 2 CPU = 160%, 4 CPU = 310 %, etc.

-Steve



I have never seen renderama perform at 195% per CPU. Sure each processor is utilized at near 100% but there are duplicated processes on each cpu (shadow maps, etc.) that kill the actual speed advantage. These separate Cameras cannot communicate with one another or "help each other out". So actual render speed increase may be as little as 120% (dual processor vs. single)

EI used to have an MP camera (long time ago) and I ran it on a quad processor Daystar.
It accelerated certain routines, but there are a lot of linear procedures to deal with (same point as above) and the overall render speed increase was nominal, so MP camera was dropped.

BUT that was before Camera even had raytracing.
The raytracing routines (including GI) seem to scale very well for MP in other apps (certainly not 100% but much better than renderama).
If you are just rendering in Phong, Camera kicks everything else's butt.
Raytracing/GI is where things get slow.

I would expect that a new MP camera would greatly accelerate Raytraced/GI scenes.

Camera also renders each frame independantly. Part of the MP process could be for an MP Camera to be able to "see" all the frames of an animation at once, and to do some sort of "frame differencing" -calculating what is "different" from frame to frame rather than re-calculating every single thing for every single frame.
This type of camera could also begin to dynamically process the more linear "setup" computations for future frames while multiple CPU cores were still rendering a current frame. That way when one frame was completed there wouldn't be any unused cores waiting for the "preliminary" or "setup" computations for the next frame to be finished.
Maybe this "smart camera" would even allow for some added animation/rendering features that are not available now, like distributing hi resolution fluid dynamics/ physics at rendertime vs. everything being pre-calculated in Animator.

The current renderama system is good for distributed network rendering, and rendering into a local queue, but it seems far from an efficient MP rendering solution.

Here's hoping that Matt and the rest of the team can bring MP camera to EIAS!

qu1j0t3
11-10-2006, 03:49 PM
I have never seen renderama perform at 195% per CPU. Sure each processor is utilized at near 100% ...
The raytracing routines (including GI) seem to scale very well for MP in other apps (certainly not 100% but much better than renderama). ...
Camera also renders each frame independantly. ...

Rendering (particularly raytracing) is considered "embarrassingly parallel". SMP, HT, multicore all have different tradeoffs, but scaling is never perfectly linear with processing elements.

I still maintain any serious renderer needs to be multithreaded, UNLESS your only market is loosely coupled farms (which it most definitely is not, in EIAS' case; they can't target that market seriously at all, since they ignore Linux).

Every advance in multicore hardware puts more pressure on this fix, IMHO.

halfworld
11-10-2006, 03:50 PM
Hellooooooo,

It has been pointed out before that for everything that occures upto the point where "Shading Surfaces" begins, MT can't be used. However, once that shading starts MT can be very effective.

I'm sure Camera will go MP eventually, just like it will go 64 bit eventually ;)

Incidentally, on the current Rama setup we consistantly get a 40-60% speed boost by using the second processor on a machine. It has been implied several times that this is more efficient then a fully MT camera would be on two processors (leaving quads and hexadecs aside).
Ian

halfworld
11-10-2006, 03:52 PM
Every advance in multicore hardware puts more pressure on this fix, IMHO.

I couldn't agree more! :)
Ian

SteveW928
11-10-2006, 10:24 PM
I have never seen renderama perform at 195% per CPU. Sure each processor is utilized at near 100% but there are duplicated processes on each cpu (shadow maps, etc.) that kill the actual speed advantage. These separate Cameras cannot communicate with one another or "help each other out". So actual render speed increase may be as little as 120% (dual processor vs. single)

Hmm.... I guess I've not done enough rendering on actual MP machines without other bottle-necks involved to be certain... but every CPU I've added always seemed to give me nearly 100% gain. (however, my access to a multi-CPU box has been with Renderama over a Internet path... so maybe that just equalizes it or something.)

But, look at the benchmarks at:
http://eias.groothuis.com/

They look pretty good to me... much better than 120% anyway.

But, your point is well taken. As we get newer render technologies that don't split per-frame as well... yes then the multi-threading will rule.

I guess I'm just saying that I hope we don't lose ground on Renderama to get a multi-threaded Camera. If we could keep BOTH.... that would be awesome!

Also... I gotta ask.... what OS are you using? Windows, IMO, sucks at multi-tasking.... so maybe the overhead just kills it trying to use more than one CPU... but OSX, in my experience, has been very efficient at it. I've never had any of the issues with Renderama bogging down... even being a render master and rendering on a single CPU machine!

-Steve

SteveW928
11-10-2006, 10:35 PM
With respect, you're mistaken. HT was based on the premise that you can take advantage of idle execution units - and it does work, with typical 30-40% throughput increase in many applications. Some actually achieve 100%, as I mention above.

Hi Toby,

I'm sure it is very application dependent... but at work, we turn it off on most of our boxes. I've only done actual timed tests with a couple primary apps we use, but HT does slow the box down on those cases.

I'd not say it is exactly a marketing gimmick... but I think a lot of people were fooled by it. I think you're right that many think it should give you 100% gain.

I'm glad to see Intel go the true multi-core route though finally... and ditch the stupid P4 architecture. They seem to be becoming a more 'honest' company these days. Anyone remember the the DX50 and DX4/100 stuff back in the day with the 486 CPUs? Intel has always, IMO, tried to push more out of marketing than reality... and trick the uninformed. I actually had to bring a number of customers back to our shop and PROVE AutoCAD ran faster on a DX50 than a DX4/100, as they couldn't understand how a 50 would be faster than a 100. LOL

-Steve

SteveW928
11-10-2006, 10:55 PM
I think the MBAs have had their crack at trying to save it, and failed. They need to do something interesting. What did you think about open sourcing?

Hmm... I guess I don't understand your open-source model here. How would EITG make their money? They would just provide fee based support?

While I think there is often a difference between good business and what 'MBAs' try to do these days... I don't think it is an all or nothing situation. EI has done a number of very dumb things over its history that I'd hope most MBAs would also think were stupid.

1) when you allow yourself to be acquired... you have to make sure it is not to a brain dead company

2) keeping everything 'top-secret' works for large companies on the cutting edge like Apple... but not so well for a company that is ailing, or behind in the market. I mean... what's to keep secret? (Everyone be VERY VERY quiet.... we're about to launch the next killer feature... Raytracing!.... oh, others have had that for 10 years now?!?!) I just makes no sense unless you actually have some new technology or feature that needs protecting from the market.

3) Talk to the customers... EI seems to go in waves here. But, in general, they haven't been that great at communication. Again, while I think its stupid, a huge mega-successful company can get away with that for a time. But, when you're small and behind, that is the ONE thing you can truly give your customer base that does set you apart. (A good example I'm familiar with... Ashlar vs CSi. Ashlar is a bigger company, but CSi communicates much better with the customers... a WORLD of difference.)

On the positive side, EI has some things right too. Other than a few ares (like Radiosity), they have always delivered very solid features that are actually useable in production. I suspect that is why many of us are still here. How many of the big advertised features in other packages are like Radiosity in EI? I generally have to commend EI for not just sticking a bunch of crappy features just to boost the list.

I think they just need to get realistic. Put the prices better in-line... maybe kill the dongle like you said... really ramp up the customer service... open to public beta. But, a reality might also be that at this point, they simply won't be able to increase the unit sales enough without development... and its then a cyclical problem. Getting acquired or some investment is about the only solution then.

-Steve

qu1j0t3
11-10-2006, 11:54 PM
Hmm... I guess I don't understand your open-source model here. How would EITG make their money?


As usual, you go on to answer your own question :)


...
2) keeping everything 'top-secret' works for large companies on the cutting edge like Apple... but not so well for a company that is ailing, or behind in the market. I mean... what's to keep secret? (Everyone be VERY VERY quiet.... we're about to launch the next killer feature... Raytracing!.... oh, others have had that for 10 years now?!?!) I just makes no sense unless you actually have some new technology or feature that needs protecting from the market.


Agreed.

Here's why we felt open sourcing was a good move:
1. What was left of the customer base had existing investments and cared sufficiently about the platform's fate to fret over their own wishlists. (Here we are, 3 years later, still talking about wishlists.)
2. Among that community were several developers technical enough to make useful improvements to the codebase (skills+ideas). In many cases these guys were not necessarily looking for full time remuneration to do so; I heard people talk about spare time projects, but there was no framework for that. Open sourcing would have instantly made that possible.
3. Some customers definitely had/have improvements/bug fixes that they'd have paid to have supported (little things like multithreaded Camera, or new Camera ports - which I myself have offered to tackle unpaid). But as closed source, the capability and resources are not there.


3) Talk to the customers... EI seems to go in waves here. But, in general, they haven't been that great at communication.


That was hinted at above - with the private beta silliness. Go open, open, open.

...
On the positive side, EI has some things right too. Other than a few ares (like Radiosity), they have always delivered very solid features that are actually useable in production. I suspect that is why many of us are still here. How many of the big advertised features in other packages are like Radiosity in EI? I generally have to commend EI for not just sticking a bunch of crappy features just to boost the list.


They did enough things right in the past to generate tangible customer loyalty. But this has been gradually squandered and without compelling movement in the platform, people continue to defect.


I think they just need to get realistic. Put the prices better in-line... maybe kill the dongle like you said... really ramp up the customer service... open to public beta. But, a reality might also be that at this point, they simply won't be able to increase the unit sales enough without development... and its then a cyclical problem.


Going open source tackles that problem head on. The problem was a platform in desperate shape. I don't think anything less radical than opening the code would have saved it. The last bold brave move was the Windows port.

But these are conversations from years ago and I'm only recalling the barest outlines of the rationale. I think the boat has probably been missed, an enormous opportunity cost has been paid while every other platform (yeah, including Blender) has played catchup to EI's cost.

Getting acquired or some investment is about the only solution then.

-Steve

That's the traditional "One Day My Prince Will Come" strategy, it hasn't worked (assuming they were interested in being bought), and as the princess is losing her looks, chances dwindle daily.

(At the risk of sounding repetitive, open source companies are regularly bought and sold. There is intrinsinc value in platforms and loyal customer bases.)

juanxer
11-11-2006, 03:06 PM
I wonder how much of an impact in sales EITG dropping EIModeler out of the package was: even if there is ample choice of standalone modelers around, not having one in the feature list surely is somewhat damaging. Also, EITG's website sort of evades the topic (it is hard to find a straight mention of the need for an external modeler).

I feel EIAS seems a bit too isolated somehow: it depends on external modelers and then meshes import usually is problematic (sometimes requiring third party utilities such as OBJ2Fact); it nearly requires using the Image format for everything (which is most robust, but…); has no easy layered output procedures, etc. Nothing one can't deal with, but it's like a thousand little paper cuts. Not too PR-friendly. And then, when you have some small advantages like After Effects supporting IMG and EIZ formats, EITG doesn't seem to exploit them, even if simply by mentioning how good a pairing EIAS and AE are. The same goes for, say, EIAS and Form•Z (well, if model I/O finally gets solved some day) for architecture, EIAS and Silo/Modo/ZBrush for artistic 3D, EIAS and whatever else for industrial design…

I do get I should know better: any experienced 3D artist knows how to create such workflows and work around the problems, but just seeing how well the Cinema4D guys take advantage of their Photoshop and AE integration features and such, publicity-wise...

qu1j0t3
11-11-2006, 03:16 PM
I wonder how much of an impact in sales EITG dropping EIModeler out of the package was: ...

I feel EIAS seems a bit too isolated somehow: it depends on external modelers and then meshes import usually is problematic (sometimes requiring third party utilities such as OBJ2Fact); it nearly requires using the Image format for everything (which is most robust, but…); has no easy layered output procedures, etc. ...

I do get I should know better: any experienced 3D artist knows how to create such workflows and work around the problems, but just seeing how well the Cinema4D guys take advantage of their Photoshop and AE integration features and such, publicity-wise...

Full disclosure: My contact with the EIAS community began with 1000 hours or so of donated development effort to complete Photoshop's support for IMG (http://telegraphics.com.au/sw/#eiformat), so my "open source" suggestion is based on first-hand awareness both of the willingness of outside developers to contribute (I'm not the only one) and the potential benefit to the platform... Kudos to EI engineering for being flexible enough to entertain 3rd party projects - why not go the whole way? :)

juanxer
11-11-2006, 04:31 PM
Well, obviously they fear their source of income going just poof! And I wonder what the community of plugin and shaders developers would think of such a move and the following pressure to open-source their work, too: some of them depend on it to make a living, surely, so this move would be a terrible one to them, I guess.

qu1j0t3
11-11-2006, 04:51 PM
Well, obviously they fear their source of income going just poof! And I wonder what the community of plugin and shaders developers would think of such a move and the following pressure to open-source their work, too: ...

It doesn't work that way. My entire premise is that the move would strengthen the platform for everybody. A vibrant open source platform is better for business than a dead closed one.

And there is no "pressure" for plugin developers to open source anything. Their business model is quite different from the platform's. Their business health is entirely related to the health of the platform - let's agree, it's been slowly dying. It was slowly dying when I first started discussing this idea 3 or 4 years ago. Plugin developers that I've spoken with have consequently been looking for more rewarding platforms and avenues.

But we can agree to differ. I never expected the idea would be an easy sell, and it hasn't happened, and it almost certainly won't happen. But extrapolating from other examples in the market, I still believe such a gutsy move would have produced a revival of EI's fortunes.

plsyvjeucxfw
11-11-2006, 06:35 PM
I can see the good selling points behind moving EIAS to Open Source. However, I don't see the owners giving up their livelihood any time soon.

One other thing I have seen is the upsurge of startups, trying to compete against larger, better established companies and software. Silo, MoI, Cheetah 3d, Project:Messiah, Mudbox. Each of these smaller shops saw a need, and developed a solution to fill that need. Most of them are closely tied to their user base, solicite their users to determine what features need implementing or improving, and have a rapid turn around cycle.

Now EITG is infamous for being somewhat distant. Yes, they'll answer questions for customer support purposes and examine problematic files, but communication coming out of EITG is rare. As has been mentioned elsewhere, EITG does a poor job of promoting their products, a poor job of developing training materials, and has inadvertently positioned themselves as being "an island", where getting assets into and out of the program is difficult, and many little tricks are required to get around various road blocks.

None of these issues means that the program is dead. True, if this trend continues, the future does look bleak. However, things could change in an instant, if only:

1) EITG would communicate regularly with it's user base. On going updates, Solicitations for Features and Improvements. (It's nice that Brian created this thread, but hey, it should have come from EITG, not the user/fan base.)

2) EITG would push to get current with features that users desire. This thread helps, as does posting our needs on the EITG home forum.

3) EITG (and others) must create better learning materials. Brian's Product Video Tours show more information about how to actually use EIAS than EI's own manuals do. I realize that the money for creating educational materials lies with Maya, Max, and Lightwave; any Amazon.com search will turn up hundreds of titles. EIAS has two. So new users (who can't take classes on EI anywhere, I've looked) are forced to stumble along, trying to get past the many road blocks to be successful with EIAS.

If EI truly dies, perhaps it will include Open Source in it's will. Until then, I believe that other treatments could bring the patient back to decent health.

qu1j0t3
11-11-2006, 06:37 PM
I don't see the owners giving up their livelihood any time soon.

I am asserting 1) that would not be the effect. 2) they will probably lose their livelihood by not doing so (although, it's 3+ years too late).

EITG would push to get current with features that users desire.

As far as I can tell, they haven't had the resources for some time (but see my proposed solution).

juanxer
11-11-2006, 06:40 PM
Actually, I'd like to hear more about the practicalities of open-sourcing EIAS, the ways it would make sense to the current owners mostly, as they are the ones able to make that decision. I am not opposed to it at all (I can see the interest, too), but I am not knowledgeable enough to see the economic incentive for EITG as a business.

(I would kill for the DigitalTutors.com guys to produce some EIAS videotutorials. After watching some of theirs, I am a convert!)

Vizfizz
11-11-2006, 07:25 PM
Gentlemen....

EIAS isn't going to die. Do I know something you don't know? Yes. Can I tell you? No. lol.

Everyone has opinions on what EITG should do to improve its product..but as history has shown, EITG remains true to its own course. Sometimes in such a matter that seems very counter productive to growth and we're all aware that EITG's marketing could use a good kick in the pants. I don't know how many more opportunities EITG needs to miss before it finally gets its head out of its...<fill in blank here>.

CGTalk and Paralumino are my contributions to help improve EITG's standing in the digital community...however, EITG is going to need to carry its own weight soon. I'm only one man and I can't do it all by myself. However, my discussions with EITG are promising and I'm starting to see a plan form that looks bright.

juanxer
11-11-2006, 08:55 PM
Aw, don't tantalize us like that :) Any hints of when could we see some of all that materializing?

Vizfizz
11-11-2006, 09:20 PM
All I can tell you is the folks at EITG are taking steps to change the fate of EIAS...so hang in there. I think there will be some positive stuff seen in the near future.

SteveW928
11-12-2006, 07:09 AM
Full disclosure: My contact with the EIAS community began with 1000 hours or so of donated development effort to complete Photoshop's support for IMG (http://telegraphics.com.au/sw/#eiformat), so my "open source" suggestion is based on first-hand awareness both of the willingness of outside developers to contribute (I'm not the only one) and the potential benefit to the platform... Kudos to EI engineering for being flexible enough to entertain 3rd party projects - why not go the whole way? :)


Hi Toby,

I totally understand that! You certainly have contributed an incredible amount to the community. And, I agree that EI going open-source wouldn't kill the 3rd parties (and agree that it probably would, in fact, help them). I'm sure you could have easily sold your plug-in and made a nice income stream off it.

However, I'm still not understanding how EITG would make its income. I understand how a flavor of Unix, or PostgreSQL works as open-source. Primarily huge companies like the one I work for pay nice sums of money for the peace of mind that they have someone to call for support.

But, I'm wondering how many artists would do the same.... the smaller guys. For example, lets imagine EIAS went open-source tomorrow. Suddenly, tons of users would certainly DL it and start to play. As it became more popular, it would probably drive more 3rd parties, some improvements to the app, and some training materials. The community would grow for sure.

So, Joe User DLs it, and starts to do some work with it. Why would they pay EITG for support? There is a huge user community out there.... tons of tutorials... etc. What does EITG provide that the community can't do just as well? Again, for PostgreSQL, probably 95% of the users do this... it is only the big corps that usually buy the support (basically, its the only way they can get buy-in to pick it over M$ or Oracle... as the suits want some physical entity to point blame at.) But, this is primarily political... most of these companies don't really NEED the support.

For 3D, unless open-sourcing shot EIAS past Maya... would that many big shops suddenly jump to it, and buy huge support contracts from EITG? I'm not really sure. I DO have a lot of faith in open-source, but I'm not sure that much. It's just such a different market. Granted, I don't know it that well... so I could be wrong. I'm just tossing it out there.

Do I want them to open-source? Heck yea! It's pretty much all up-side for us users. I'm just saying if you really want EITG to do something like that... you're really going to have to show them what is in it for them... not you and I.

I suppose the other alternative... would be to open-source the code, but then sell an EITG version of it with support and some nice additions. But, I don't know much about that model either.

-Steve

SteveW928
11-12-2006, 07:19 AM
Gentlemen....

EIAS isn't going to die. Do I know something you don't know? Yes. Can I tell you? No. lol.



Hehe... yea, lets hope they do an Apple. :)

But, seriously.... I have no clue of their finances... so I'm not predicting they will die. But, I think if they want to be competitive and increase their user base, they need to make some drastic moves.

What all this chatter about 'death of EI' usually indicates to me, is that they are just about to release a new version.... that always seems to be the cycle.

BUT... I think they really need to do more than just release a new version. They need to stop this cycle (... death predictions... new version.... excitement for a bit.... quietness.... some excitement... death predictions.... rinse and repeat)

About the only thing we're missing this time (as I've been through the cycle my share)... is some famous user returning, returning to the community from the 'greener grass', saying how great the new beta is. ;)

-Steve

Reuben5150
11-12-2006, 06:07 PM
What all this chatter about 'death of EI' usually indicates to me, is that they are just about to release a new version.... that always seems to be the cycle.


About the only thing we're missing this time (as I've been through the cycle my share)... is some famous user returning, returning to the community from the 'greener grass', saying how great the new beta is. ;)

-Steve

Yeah but i don't think its time for v7 just yet, so the "doom and gloom" will continue i guess, i really don't understand why it is this way.

AFAIK there is no new beta, i would think the next release would be a mactel (or whatever you wanna call it) version.

Reuben

halfworld
11-12-2006, 06:12 PM
Yes I don't really understand that either, it's fantastic software, we use it to compete with other top firms in our field and have no problem in doing so.

And as Brian said, it's not dying, it simply isn't, so lets be positive!
Ian

Reuben5150
11-12-2006, 08:03 PM
Actually, not understanding is probably not 100% true.

Many EI users especially long time users become frustrated when they see a lot of the other 3d apps developing rapidly and having features implemented they would like to see in EI, and who can blame them, but it doesn't change the fact that EI will grow at its own speed, as ever..

Talking of new versions, i'm much more interested in Zbrush 2.5 and Mudbox than the next version of EI, even if developement stopped altogether it would still remain a good solid render platform for quite some time (not that i don't want to see v7 of cause :)

Reuben

SteveW928
11-12-2006, 10:24 PM
Actually, not understanding is probably not 100% true.

Many EI users especially long time users become frustrated when they see a lot of the other 3d apps developing rapidly and having features implemented they would like to see in EI, and who can blame them, but it doesn't change the fact that EI will grow at its own speed, as ever..

Yea... I think its called 'featureitis' or something like that. But seriously, I'm sure there are users that head to other apps over this or that feature. For example, for some for whom EIM was a big deal, not having it probably drove them away. As I use another modeler anyway, I could care less... never really used EIM anyway. For someone who does character animation all day, EI's tools probably aren't as strong as some other apps. The list probably goes on and on.

BUT, the same is true of many of those other apps. They have weak points too, which are likely driving people away... who might stumble across EIAS and see it as perfect. I've done mostly architectural and product design type stuff, and I've never really been that excited about other products... EIAS is quite good for this. I was excited about Radiosity, but that has been about the only thing that could have driven me to other apps. But, it appears that the GI stuff in 6.5 can do most of what I'd need if I get back into that again.


Talking of new versions, i'm much more interested in Zbrush 2.5 and Mudbox than the next version of EI, even if developement stopped altogether it would still remain a good solid render platform for quite some time (not that i don't want to see v7 of cause :)

Well, the Mactel version is VERY important. They have to get that done and the sooner the better. I just hope that is not the 'big thing' they are counting on to get the new users rolling in. Mactel is basically something they need to do to stay alive... its just a reality.

While I agree that the current versions are fine, not getting to Mactel would kill them in a matter of a year or two. No one is going to stay with a platform long that doesn't take advantage of the newer hardware they are getting.

As for a bright future for EI.... I think they have a couple choices.

1) Do what Toby is talking about if they could create some reasonable business models to make income off support, etc.

2) They will need to ramp up development AND their marketing. I don't mean that they have to pass up all the other apps or anything... but they also can't continue to lag a few years behind. (Well, I guess if someone there has deep enough pockets they could... but in general, if you aren't growing, you're probably in trouble.)

But, bigger than that is the marketing and visibility of the company. Things like this forum certainly help. But the #1 thing they could do, IMO, is to change their interface with the customer. It means a whole mentality change for the company. Regularly talk to the customers... do more open betas.... don't be secret about what they are working on and where they are at... ie: get involved with, and build community.

Over the years, I've been AMAZED that for how crappy EI's customer relations have been, that a community (and one of the best in 3D at that) exists at all. It is a real testament to the product and to the dedication of some of its users. EI, if anything, has tried to kill that community, that seems to keep thriving. IMAGINE what they could do if they actually fed the community!

Formal marketing is one thing... but the other thing very apparent in Toby's open-source concept is that a strong community can do even more. If they don't want to go open-source, they should at least strive for some of the 'open-source' like community. That might not be able to replace traditional marketing, but I think it goes a LONG way.

-Steve

halfworld
11-13-2006, 12:57 PM
not getting to Mactel would kill them in a matter of a year or two. No one is going to stay with a platform long that doesn't take advantage of the newer hardware they are getting.

Hi Steve!

I guess you're not on the EITG mailing list:

"We here at EI Technology Group have almost completed our transition of EIAS to Universal Binary for the Intel Macintosh."

And this is from the EI development status forum:

"...the port to MacTel is going well. It is ahead of schedule and a number of the larger problems we feared would arise, have in fact, not shown up at all."

The latter quote is the older of the two.
Ian

Reuben5150
11-13-2006, 06:33 PM
BUT, the same is true of many of those other apps. They have weak points too, which are likely driving people away... who might stumble across EIAS and see it as perfect. I've done mostly architectural and product design type stuff, and I've never really been that excited about other products... EIAS is quite good for this. I was excited about Radiosity, but that has been about the only thing that could have driven me to other apps. But, it appears that the GI stuff in 6.5 can do most of what I'd need if I get back into that again.

Well, the Mactel version is VERY important. They have to get that done and the sooner the better. I just hope that is not the 'big thing' they are counting on to get the new users rolling in. Mactel is basically something they need to do to stay alive... its just a reality.


1) Do what Toby is talking about if they could create some reasonable business models to make income off support, etc.


Formal marketing is one thing... but the other thing very apparent in Toby's open-source concept is that a strong community can do even more. If they don't want to go open-source, they should at least strive for some of the 'open-source' like community. That might not be able to replace traditional marketing, but I think it goes a LONG way.

-Steve

Its "swings n roundabouts" of course, but these days with the license costs at an all time low it probably makes sence to run more than one "big" 3d app, i've been tempted with XSI just to access the few extra but important features the renderer (MR) holds, btw, talking of Radiosity and GI, i'm pretty sure you'd forget all about Radiosity once you try the GI system.

I think RD is pretty much redundant now and the only use it may be is if EI can use the code to produce some kind of hybrid GI/Radiosity lighting system.

I don't really follow what happening with the Mactel port, but yeah it think its close to finished from what i've heard.

Open source ?, i would expect that to happen 1.5-2 years after Max, Maya, SI, Maxon and LW do it :applause:

Reuben

qu1j0t3
11-14-2006, 12:49 AM
Hi Toby,
...
However, I'm still not understanding how EITG would make its income. I understand how a flavor of Unix, or PostgreSQL works as open-source. Primarily huge companies like the one I work for pay nice sums of money for the peace of mind that they have someone to call for support.

But, I'm wondering how many artists would do the same.... the smaller guys. For example, lets imagine EIAS went open-source tomorrow. Suddenly, tons of users would certainly DL it and start to play. ...
So, Joe User DLs it, and starts to do some work with it. Why would they pay EITG for support? There is a huge user community out there.... tons of tutorials... etc. What does EITG provide that the community can't do just as well? ...

For 3D, unless open-sourcing shot EIAS past Maya... would that many big shops suddenly jump to it, and buy huge support contracts from EITG? I'm not really sure. I DO have a lot of faith in open-source, but I'm not sure that much. It's just such a different market. Granted, I don't know it that well... so I could be wrong. I'm just tossing it out there.

Do I want them to open-source? Heck yea! It's pretty much all up-side for us users. I'm just saying if you really want EITG to do something like that... you're really going to have to show them what is in it for them... not you and I.

I suppose the other alternative... would be to open-source the code, but then sell an EITG version of it with support and some nice additions. But, I don't know much about that model either.

-Steve

The EIAS user community has been talking of little else for many years than getting their pet peeves fixed. Let's say the code were GPL. Any developer (or even a technically-minded customer, depending on the issue at hand) could jump in and fix it. The license on EITG's code requires them to pass the improvements upstream IF that developer redistributed the modified work. And the EITG "distribution" is thereby made stronger.

Would the user community grow? Definitely.

Would they have more options for support and confidence they weren't going to be left in the cold? Definitely.

Would other distributions spring up and undercut EITG pricing? Maybe. Maybe they'd be even better. Either way, it's not a loss for the community.

Would EITG stay afloat by selling a repriced distribution and technical support? Maybe.

Would the platform survive if EITG went under? If open source, yes, if not, it can't.

qu1j0t3
11-14-2006, 12:55 AM
...
BUT... I think they really need to do more than just release a new version. They need to stop this cycle (... death predictions... new version.... excitement for a bit.... quietness.... some excitement... death predictions.... rinse and repeat)
...
-Steve

Exactly. The latest "platform saviour" is the Universal version. Last time it was Windows. And there have been smaller "gotta do its" in between. The next one might be multithreading (as we discussed). There's always going to be something that's gotta be done - I personally don't think a Linux port can be postponed indefinitely.

The tasks aren't getting any smaller, either. Each one must feel like a deathmarch to an underresourced team. The platform needs a workable maintenance framework for future years and decades, not just through the next big gotta-have.

Vizfizz
11-14-2006, 06:28 AM
Ok...enough of the "death" talk and predictions on the doom and gloom of EI. There are signs of life in the EITG camp...its just that they just can't discuss them in public right now. Hopefully they'll be able to address a lot of the short comings you've pointed out...and I believe they realize that the longer they wait, the more people they loose. I know it sounds like lifeless promises sometimes.. but hang in there.

FelixCat
11-14-2006, 02:06 PM
Hi, Brian
The problem with EiTG is, mainly, the lack of signs of life in the EITG camp. All us understands the shortcomings with an underresourced team, but EiAS it´s a tool to many of us and seeing, after a big investment in time and money, that our app of choice is lost in the crew more and more, is very depressing.
I´m trying a shift in my work, more focused in Ca, and the lack of tools are forceing me to loock at other apps :( but i can´t wait too much... i waited a loooong time without luck.
I know, it´s not their problem, is mine, but is sad.
I love many of the EiAS features and easy of use, and i will miss them, but i can´t stand still or i will die.

FelixCat
Sorry for my bad english, when i go emotional it is worst

Reuben5150
11-14-2006, 04:03 PM
Talking about timelines, we should remember that there are other developers out there that are by no means any faster than EITG in producing the "goods"

Just look at messiah, i seem to remember people waiting a very long time for the last update, and Izware's Miria must have bit the dust..

Also, when there was a running trend for "buy now-get free upgrade" deals, did anyone realize that EITG delivered their free 6.5 update before anyone else ? and i'm still waiting for ZB 2.5 :D

Reuben

Vizfizz
11-14-2006, 04:30 PM
Hi, Brian
The problem with EiTG is, mainly, the lack of signs of life in the EITG camp. All us understands the shortcomings with an underresourced team, but EiAS it´s a tool to many of us and seeing, after a big investment in time and money, that our app of choice is lost in the crew more and more, is very depressing.
I´m trying a shift in my work, more focused in Ca, and the lack of tools are forceing me to loock at other apps :( but i can´t wait too much... i waited a loooong time without luck.
I know, it´s not their problem, is mine, but is sad.
I love many of the EiAS features and easy of use, and i will miss them, but i can´t stand still or i will die.

FelixCat
Sorry for my bad english, when i go emotional it is worst

Hear me when I say this... just wait. I know its hard...but change is coming.

FelixCat
11-14-2006, 04:59 PM
Oh, my... i´m in the ansious mode again :D
If you say some change is coming, i do believe you, i don´t think you say it lightly. I just wonder what is...
Time for waiting i think.
I´m waiting for the news in EiAS
I´m waiting for the SILO upgrade
I´m waiting for the ZBrush upgrade
I´m waiting for the Mac Reiter´s TAFA (he´s a bit stuck i think)
I´m waiting for RODEO
I´m waiting for the Gnome
When all of this come true, i will be a happy man, with an aneurism ;D

Thanks Brian

FelixCat

Reuben5150
11-14-2006, 07:07 PM
Oh, my... i´m in the ansious mode again :D

I´m waiting for the SILO upgrade

When all of this come true, i will be a happy man, with an aneurism ;D

Thanks Brian

FelixCat

Hmm, i seem to remember downloading Silo 2 beta a while back, from the forum ?

Reuben

Vizfizz
11-14-2006, 07:10 PM
Oh, my... i´m in the ansious mode again :D
If you say some change is coming, i do believe you, i don´t think you say it lightly. I just wonder what is...
Time for waiting i think.
I´m waiting for the news in EiAS
I´m waiting for the SILO upgrade
I´m waiting for the ZBrush upgrade
I´m waiting for the Mac Reiter´s TAFA (he´s a bit stuck i think)
I´m waiting for RODEO
I´m waiting for the Gnome
When all of this come true, i will be a happy man, with an aneurism ;D

Thanks Brian

FelixCat

Well the only thing I can officially comment on here is gNome. Until Paralumino makes its sales goal, the advanced toolsets, including gNome, remain on hold. However, future events within EITG should help to rectify that problem. ;)

manuel
11-14-2006, 10:50 PM
Hmm, i seem to remember downloading Silo 2 beta a while back, from the forum ?
A beta is still only a beta. And if you're on the mac, you don't even have that. And if you're one of the few unlucky ones like myself, you haven't been able to run Silo for more than a year on your mac. Enter Modo, which came with yet more frustrations, but at least it works.
My point is, there are more frustrating products out there than EIAS, so I'm a bit puzzled at some of the contents of this thread. Brings back those days from Universe version 4 or 5 when Postforum was a real hotbed for flamewars. Every week there was at least one thread named "mac vs. PC". I can't think of a better way of turning away potential new clients from EITG than a forum that's riddled with negativity.

Now let's start guessing what it is Brian knows that we don't know. Here are my guesses:
- EITG will do some major PR stunt. They will chain themselves to the roof of a major public building and refuse to come down until everybody switched to EIAS. Even MS Word users.
- EIAS will be renamed Studio Max version 11 and will be sold through the Autodesk website. Matt Hoffman is currently teaching himself how to hack the Autodesk website.
- New splash-screen and interface designed by Philippe Starck. The cursor will move in the opposite direction of the mouse, making it the "first ironic GUI".

Vizfizz
11-14-2006, 11:08 PM
Heh heh.. You're so close Manuel...but yet so far. Seriously though.. this forum and all of your comments are making a difference. Without a doubt, EIAS users have a right to complain. I wont try to trivialize that or say that they're simply complainers. The thing is, EITG does need to make a change in the way it does business if it hopes to pick up new marketshare and become profitable again. The question is: Will we let them?

Forget about what EI needs to do, or what features they must incorporate to order to earn back your loyalty...and ask, "How does a company make a comeback without getting beat over the head with older users angry at how long its taken EI to take any action?" EI users are jaded and feel as if they've been stood up at the alter.. and there's nothing worse then those feelings of being let down...and I'm NOT excusing EITG's lack of involvement. Quite the opposite. Clearly folks have been let down. But lets say for a second, that things will improve. Are you ready to give EI another chance or will the spirit of negativity just continue to pervade this product for the rest of its life span? Once you answer that question then we can move on to what really needs to be done and we'll do it one step at a time.

halfworld
11-14-2006, 11:08 PM
New splash-screen and interface designed by Philippe Starck. The cursor will move in the opposite direction of the mouse, making it the "first ironic GUI".

:beer:
That's hilarious ;)
Ian

plsyvjeucxfw
11-15-2006, 12:45 AM
Nope, not being negative.

I'm enjoying EIAS and have since the 3D Toolkit. As a hobbyist, EIAS's capabilities exceed my current skills. I find the learning to be rough going sometimes, and am glad that you and Ian (and Reuben, and Cristobal, and Paul, and so many others) have taken up the banner to be EI champions.

If you say the home company has big plans, well then, I'm eagerly awaiting that news. Hopefully they will implement some of the ideas from this thread and maybe, just maybe, it'll be ready by the time I get my income tax return.

SteveW928
11-15-2006, 10:47 AM
But lets say for a second, that things will improve. Are you ready to give EI another chance or will the spirit of negativity just continue to pervade this product for the rest of its life span? Once you answer that question then we can move on to what really needs to be done and we'll do it one step at a time.

Brian, in all honesty, that is about 99.5% up to EITG. Over its history, users have given them chance after chance. Since we're here, we obviously will do it again. The question is will EITG actually change? Notice, I didn't ask if EITG will come out with feature xyz... I asked if THEY will CHANGE.

That is something that has no bearing on 'big thing coming...', they can start off today.

Sure, there might always be that 0.5% of users that will be upset no matter what. But, what I and so many other users have been wanting for so long from EITG, is just some open communications.

You started one of your points back a few posts... by saying, "There are signs of life in the EITG camp...its just that they just can't discuss them in public right now."

THAT right there is the whole reason I find it hard to believe there is any change around the corner**. It shows they don't even know WHAT the problem is. To change, you have to know what TO change. This has been the story since I came on-board at like v2.7. Always, something big around the corner.... but we can't say anything. The whole EIM fiasco cost the company I was with at the time a lot of troubles.... which could have been avoided by just being honest. Sure, they would have lost some folks, but would have gained respect.

Each of us have a laundry list of features. Some will need to leave at times if they can't get feature x by date y. But the BIG thing we've been wanting EITG to change over the years is the fundamental way the company communicates with the user base. This 'big thing coming'... which often tends not to be feature x anyway, just pisses people off. Who wants to do business with a company where you never know where your primary tool is at or going?

As for scaring users away with the negativity... I get that. I think I said what I need to in this post, so I'm done for now. BUT, if EI doesn't change in this aspect, then IMO, its better if the users leave sooner rather than later... it will shorten the agony for everyone. This is business and relationship 101 stuff people.... if they can't get it, it's game over eventually.

-Steve

** OK... after I typed this, I thought of one thing that this could be where it would be a valid reason... and that is if they are being bought by someone. If that is the case, I ask for EITGs forgiveness.... and heartily say... carry on!

bradfilms
11-15-2006, 12:28 PM
Ok time to chip in...

I have been using EIAS for about ten years and I have to say I feel a lot more confidence in the company now than I have for a long time. To me they seem to be talking loads more than before. Boy doesn’t anyone remember the dark days of waiting for the modeler or when EIAS shipped with a bug that meant you couldn’t do mirror reflections and it took them years to fix it and I mean real years.

Ok they are not quite like Silo, but who wants to be told every week what bit has been coded just so that the faithful can rejoice with ‘wow fantastic news’ ‘you guys are the best’ etc. Ok it gives you the feeling that 2.0 is nearly finished but I have had that feeling now for over a year and there still isn’t a beta version for the mac!

In the meantime EIAS has been producing some rather good upgrades! And to be honest I don’t really know now EI Technology financially do it! lets face it we all feel as if we know every EIAS user in the world, personally. It’s not like Maya where there are large production companies buying hundreds of seats.

The biggest headache for me has been the decline in Modeler. For the last few year I feel totally lost in finding a new solution that doesn’t involves more and more problems trying to import them into EIAS eg lost of file hierarchy, bad surfaces etc. I understand why EI had to stop development of Modeler and concentrate on EIAS but if they are not going to provided a modeller then they need to make sure that the importing of models is totally painless.

Robert

Vizfizz
11-15-2006, 03:38 PM
See post below.. <edit>

Vizfizz
11-15-2006, 03:40 PM
Steve,

I hear you.. and you're right. The whole, "I can't tell you right now" is a problem and let me give you one little glimmer of hope there. That is a major source of discussion within EITG right this very second. You'll find out why very soon. I believe, things like that will no longer exist in the near future and I'm saying that not out of a whim, but because there are actions being taken within EITG to change this.

Open development of a software package is beneficial. I certainly believe in it. Its been very helpful when designing Paralumino's products. EITG must learn these ways and implement a method that is effective for them. However, please remember that a software company does have the right to little secrecy now and then. We just need to learn to strike a balance so users don't feel isolated.

Reuben5150
11-15-2006, 04:10 PM
Ok time to chip in...

Ok they are not quite like Silo, but who wants to be told every week what bit has been coded just so that the faithful can rejoice with ‘wow fantastic news’ ‘you guys are the best’ etc. Ok it gives you the feeling that 2.0 is nearly finished but I have had that feeling now for over a year and there still isn’t a beta version for the mac!

Robert

I agree and yes both companys learned a thing or two from the relationship with each other, Matt's words btw.

I'm sure EITG would not want their "business model" to become a Nevercenter clone.. theres nothing wrong with that, although i do agree that some aspects of the company could be improved.

I'd love to see them setting trends rather than always following..

Reuben

Reuben5150
11-15-2006, 04:22 PM
Now let's start guessing what it is Brian knows that we don't know. Here are my guesses:
- EITG will do some major PR stunt. They will chain themselves to the roof of a major public building and refuse to come down until everybody switched to EIAS. Even MS Word users.
- EIAS will be renamed Studio Max version 11 and will be sold through the Autodesk website. Matt Hoffman is currently teaching himself how to hack the Autodesk website.
- New splash-screen and interface designed by Philippe Starck. The cursor will move in the opposite direction of the mouse, making it the "first ironic GUI".

LoL !

No, to "secure their fate" they sold to Micro$oft :applause:

Reuben

splitpoint
11-15-2006, 07:58 PM
The biggest headache for me has been the decline in Modeler. For the last few year I feel totally lost in finding a new solution that doesn’t involves more and more problems trying to import them into EIAS eg lost of file hierarchy, bad surfaces etc. I understand why EI had to stop development of Modeler and concentrate on EIAS but if they are not going to provided a modeller then they need to make sure that the importing of models is totally painless.


Robert hit it on the head here. I really like EIAS and use it when I can but it's always been a fight getting data into the app. I've been doing a lot of work in Realviz Vtour and Imagemodeler and it is downright painful to get models with textures into EI. No method that I've tried (Obj through Transporter, Obj2fact, export from Modo, export from Silo, export from Lightwave, export as fbx from several apps) has worked consistantly. The pain has been so bad that I've been using C4d a lot lately because Maxon's import tools actually work. That really bugs me because I don't like the C4d user interface but the time difference for importing files and texturing (20 minutes into C4d, hours and hours into EIAS only to have wierdo surface normal problems or errant poly's) really frustrates me. When it works with EAIS I really like it but I'm developing a wandering eye lately...

It's worth mentioning that Modo, C4d, and Lightwave have no issues importing these exact same files with the texture info intact so why does it have to be so hard?

Having said all of that I'm willing to give them a chance because when I'm starting from scratch (not importing objects with textures) I enjoy the app a lot, it's really stable and fast compared to the other apps I've used.

I'd like to see EITG be a little more open about what's in the pipe so that I could at least see if I'm wasting my time maintaining my license or if it's worth hanging around.

Al

SteveW928
11-16-2006, 11:13 AM
Steve,

I hear you.. and you're right. The whole, "I can't tell you right now" is a problem and let me give you one little glimmer of hope there. That is a major source of discussion within EITG right this very second. You'll find out why very soon. I believe, things like that will no longer exist in the near future and I'm saying that not out of a whim, but because there are actions being taken within EITG to change this.

Open development of a software package is beneficial. I certainly believe in it. Its been very helpful when designing Paralumino's products. EITG must learn these ways and implement a method that is effective for them. However, please remember that a software company does have the right to little secrecy now and then. We just need to learn to strike a balance so users don't feel isolated.


Hi Brian,

Yes... and just one more point to be clear. I'm certainly not demanding EITG has to change, or saying they don't have a right to run the business anyway they want. That's their prerogative. (and they aren't the worst they have been for sure, nor the worst I've seen as companies go)

It is more a matter of the correct way and the bad way to run a business given the situation. And there are natural repercussions for running a business well or poorly... it's their choice. I'm just giving my advice. ;)

-Steve

qu1j0t3
11-19-2006, 01:50 AM
...

Forget about what EI needs to do, or what features they must incorporate to order to earn back your loyalty...and ask, "How does a company make a comeback without getting beat over the head with older users angry at how long its taken EI to take any action?" EI users are jaded and feel as if they've been stood up at the alter.. and there's nothing worse then those feelings of being let down...and I'm NOT excusing EITG's lack of involvement. Quite the opposite. Clearly folks have been let down. But lets say for a second, that things will improve. Are you ready to give EI another chance or will the spirit of negativity just continue to pervade this product for the rest of its life span? Once you answer that question then we can move on to what really needs to be done and we'll do it one step at a time.

You're only 3-4 years late, Mr Knight in Specular Armour.

Vizfizz
11-19-2006, 07:58 AM
Maybe...maybe not. Wont know until I try. Actually, the reality is these kinds of reforms should have happened in 1998-2000, especially when Universe was released. So in reality I might be 6 to 8 years too late...but you know if our efforts work...how much greater the sense of accomplishment will be. :)

qu1j0t3
12-08-2006, 07:16 PM
Maybe...maybe not. Wont know until I try. Actually, the reality is these kinds of reforms should have happened in 1998-2000, especially when Universe was released. So in reality I might be 6 to 8 years too late...but you know if our efforts work...how much greater the sense of accomplishment will be. :)

So when are we going to see the "big and/or exciting" changes you were trumpeting?

I saw a press release. NOTHING new in it. Just more of the same: insider politics but no plan.

Just to recap, a Big Change would be, in order of "balls required":
- make the beta public
- drop the dongle
- drop the price
- open source the code (retaining a for-$$ EI branded distribution c/w support).

Vizfizz
12-08-2006, 08:20 PM
So when are we going to see the "big and/or exciting" changes you were trumpeting?

I saw a press release. NOTHING new in it. Just more of the same: insider politics but no plan.

Just to recap, a Big Change would be, in order of "balls required":
- make the beta public
- drop the dongle
- drop the price
- open source the code (retaining a for-$$ EI branded distribution c/w support).

Hello Toby...

Change requires time and usually starts small. So far we've seen:

1. The advent of this Forum.
2. New 3rd party plugins.
3. Universal Binary of EIAS in Beta.
4. The construction of an advisory counsel consisting of users to help guide EITG.
5. The committment of the 3rd party vendors to migrate to UB.
6. Management changes and stabilization.

What's in the works:

1. New Website.
2. New Marketing materials and logos.
3. New tools for v7.
4. Advertising.

What's a possibility:

1. The ressurection of Modeler or some kind of equivalent.
2. The evolution of EIM or equivalent into a next gen EIA.
3. New integration technologies to help EIAS work better with other applications.

Gotta repair some of the basics first before going on to big huge changes.

Your suggestions:

1. Make the beta public: Not a bad idea, however, in the interest of time for the UB version, a closed beta team was utilized in order to get v6.6 out the door. Perhaps an open beta for v7 is a possibility. I will suggest it.

2. Drop the dongle: All 3d applications have some sort of copy protection. EI could go to a soft lock, but it would play havok in a couple of areas, not to mention what it would do to the 3rd party developers. Maybe in the next gen of EIA.

3. Drop the price: Continued reduction of price would devalue the software to the point of no return. You'd kill EIAS if you went any further. If anything we want to get new, stronger tools in there and potentially resurrect EIM and raise the price slightly in order to generate new capital and health for the company.

4. Open Source code: I don't expect to see this happen any time soon. Perhaps the first step is Open Beta. But there are other potential ideas that EITG is considering that can help integrate EIAS into current production pipelines better. Again..this takes time.

Personally...I believe EITG is actually making progress. The community is starting to mobilize, there's been new interest in the program, and if we stay committed, things can turn around.

It isn't about having "big balls" to fix a company. Rash, sweeping changes are never good for a company that is hanging on to survive. It may sound like the right thing to do, but usually its not. Begin by strengthing the foundation, then work up.

qu1j0t3
12-08-2006, 11:39 PM
Hello Toby...

Change requires time and usually starts small.
...
2. Drop the dongle: All 3d applications have some sort of copy protection. EI could go to a soft lock, but it would play havok in a couple of areas, ...
...
4. Open Source code: I don't expect to see this happen any time soon. ...

Rash, sweeping changes are never good for a company that is hanging on to survive. It may sound like the right thing to do, but usually its not. Begin by strengthing the foundation, then work up.

Thanks for the reply.

Re: copy protection, I don't think you're correct that the competition is entirely copy protected. There's Blender, of course, but you seem to underestimate the massive leverage software like Maya gets from piracy. Yes piracy! The crime that dare not speak its name can HELP the platform (also see: strategies in drug dealing, and related, Windows marketing - Microsoft's openly stated strategy in China, for instance, is to get the masses hooked through freely pirated distribution). Copy protection annoys legitimate users, cannot be transmogrified into anything less than a complete pain in the ass, and I believe is holding EI back.

Re: "Rash" - I don't think my suggestions were particularly rash. They've been discussed ad nauseam over the years, and they work for other software companies. But what would I know, I'm only a programmer. Any MBAs on the council?

I'll check back in a couple of years and compare what is with what might have been, all over again.

Vizfizz
12-09-2006, 12:32 AM
Ok.. I'll replace the word rash with large.

You have some good ideas...and there's nothing wrong with expressing them. Your opinions are as valuable as mine.

As far as piracy is concerned, I simply can't advocate it as a developer. I want to continue to encourage programmers to program. :) If they're dealing with a particularly small platform like EI, THEFT becomes increasingly more impacting. Perhaps larger companies can afford to see a couple thousand copies of their software go without paying for it, but right now EI can't. Legitimate users shouldn't have any problems with a node lock or a dongle key. I'm using Boujou right now. My company paid for it. We have a key. What's the big deal? Need to use it on a different machine? Yank! Insert into usb. I'm tracking again. And I haven't broken any laws! There comes a point where priacy isn't an issue.. EI isn't there yet.

It isn't copy protection that is "holding back" EI.

If EI pulled the plug on the dongle, the 3rd party developers may not have any method to protect their plugins. Sales would decrease and we'd stop producing. That ultimately puts a strain on EITG/EIAS. Given their current market share and position, I don't think EI could survive without the 3rd parties.

Maybe in the future, a version of EI can come out without the dongle and 3rd party developers will have a new method to protect their software..but personally I like the dongle key over any other method of copy protection. I find it easy and convient.

Each company has different circumstances and I don't think its reasonable that one business method works for "all the other software companies". I don't think its that simple.

But thanks for your ideas. Keep them coming. Make us think. Come on back in a couple of years, and I think you'll find we're still here.

qu1j0t3
12-09-2006, 12:37 AM
Ok.. I'll replace the word rash with large.

You have some good ideas...and there's nothing wrong with expressing them. Your opinions are as valuable as mine.

As far as piracy is concerned, I simply can't advocate it as a developer. I want to continue to encourage programmers to program. :) ...

It isn't copy protection that is "holding back" EI.

If EI pulled the plug on the dongle, the 3rd party developers may not have any method to protect their plugins. Sales would decrease and we'd stop producing. That ultimately puts a strain on EITG/EIAS. Given their current market share and position, I don't think EI could survive without the 3rd parties.

Maybe in the future, a version of EI can come out without the dongle and 3rd party developers will have a new method to protect their software..but personally I like the dongle key over any other method of copy protection. I find it easy and convient.

Each company has different circumstances and I don't think its reasonable that one business method works for "all the other software companies". I don't think its that simple.

But thanks for your ideas. Keep them coming. Make us think. Come on back in a couple of years, and I think you'll find we're still here.

Unfortunately you slightly misrepresent what I wrote. I'm not "advocating piracy". And the freedom for users to copy software does not discourage programmers from coding; quite the reverse. if you somehow missed it, the single largest change to the software industry over the past 25 years has been the commercial début of open source.

I did not say that those ideas work for "all other software companies".

We disagree that copy protection is a necessary evil, I guess. I do not understand the argument that the dongle is to protect 3rd party developers. No other model has been tried. I think an increased user base/market share for EI - the effect I predict of dropping protection - would actually be beneficial for 3rd parties.

In fact I would call EI's obsession with the dongle pathological. Dudes, it's 2007 (nearly). Copy protection was a bad idea in the 1980s and it's a worse idea today. It's not about making sure Every Last Manjack has paid the full price for the product. It's about keeping life in the ecosystem. If you have to tolerate a rate of piracy, So Be It. It didn't kill Microsoft. Or Maya. Or Adobe. What's the worst that can happen? 10,000 people download or copy the product. That's 10,000 seats who are learning about, investing in the platform. Pretty soon, a % of those people will use it commercially. Then what do they do next? They get legal, because they want support. And they also want plugins.

Vizfizz
12-09-2006, 12:46 AM
... and they work for other software companies.

Sounded like it to me.

You're probably right. We wont agree...Open Source and Priacy are two different things in my opinion. One is where the company begins with the intent to open its code for public modification, the other is the theft of intellectual property and materials of code that is not intended for public modification.

I agree with you that priacy can "seemingly" serve a noble purpose, but at its core, I still don't agree with it especially when it impacts small companies so negatively.


if you somehow missed it, the single largest change to the software industry over the past 25 years has been the commercial début of open source.

Nope.. didn't miss it. I just don't think it works in every situation. There are multiple companies out there that don't use it.. and they're doing just fine.

qu1j0t3
12-09-2006, 12:49 AM
Sounded like it to me.

The text is above. I wrote: "they work for other software companies". That's a different statement.


You're probably right. We wont agree...Open Source and Priacy are two different things in my opinion.
I never equated them.


I agree with you that priacy can "seemingly" serve a noble purpose, but at its core, I still don't agree with it especially when it impacts small companies so negatively.

My premise is the opposite. So we disagree on the effects of piracy also.

Here's a small logic bone. EITG is a long-established company. They have sold N licenses in the past. They're looking to expand their stagnant market share. If suddenly tomorrow they removed protection and dropped the price, they won't LOSE any share whatsoever. They won't lose a single licensee. What they may see, is an increase in interest; tryouts; and an uptick in sales. Just my 2c.


Nope.. didn't miss it. I just don't think it works in every situation. There are multiple companies out there that don't use it.. and they're doing just fine.
As I am fully aware. Our starting point: EITG is not one of them.

Vizfizz
12-09-2006, 01:06 AM
The text is above. I wrote: "they work for other software companies". That's a different statement.


Agreed... you didn't state "all." Sorry. But in the context that we were talking, it implied that the other 3D companies were using it and it works for them. I think that's a simplification and not necessarily true. Like I said, Boujou uses a dongle key and they seem to be thriving just fine. Its not the copy protection that is the problem.. its EI's marketing that needs improving.

I believe that Open Source is a great idea for companies that begin with Open Source. Existing platforms converting to Open Source might not find the shift so appealing. The transition for a weakened company could potentially kill them. I do agree that EI can be a little clingy to certain technolgies.. and at one point, there was a great opportunity for them to shift to open development (Universe 3).. but now, I don't think it would be a good thing for them. At least not now. Perhaps if they were to eventually bring a new product out on the scene, Open Source would be the way to go.

As far as the 3rd parties are concerned...my market is small enough as it is. If the dongle were removed, there would be no way to protect my plugins and shaders from being distributed around the globe. Sure, exposure may be nice.. but how many people are truly gonna buy my plugins if someone can copy them? No one. Thus, you effectively kill the third party developer for EI. If we go, its highly unlikely EI will continue living.

Again.. if a new product is released with Open Source in mind...then that's different.

EITG's return to health, particularly for EIAS isn't removing the copy protection. Its improving their customer relations, marketing, and feature set.

qu1j0t3
12-09-2006, 01:10 AM
Agreed... you didn't state "all." Sorry. But in the context that we were talking, it implied that the other 3D companies were using it and it works for them. ...

I believe that Open Source is a great idea for companies that begin with Open Source. Existing platforms converting to Open Source might not find the shift so appealing. ...

Open source was the most extreme of my prescriptions, and clearly you don't find it appealing. Fine. Maybe it really would be a stupid, fatal move for EI. Who knows?

I would remit, however, that Blender's market share will only increase. And it's free! OMG!

And neither of us seems to know exactly which major 3D products use copy protection. Can anyone submit real data on this? I thought it was well known that Maya is pirated all over the shop. In fact, all we need to do is look at the software catalogue on a flea-market DVD.

But there are less drastic ideas outlined above, which you don't find appealing either. I just hope we won't be revisiting this in 2 years with a platform still on life support.

qu1j0t3
12-09-2006, 01:17 AM
...
Again.. if a new product is released with Open Source in mind...then that's different.

Let's look at some products which were closed then opened later - examples that come immediately to mind include Ingres, Erlang/OTP, Firebird, Solaris, Java (there are many others). What do these all have in common? They're platforms.

Like those products, I regard EIAS as a platform, with a community, 3rd party developers and trainers, and a considerable investment in specific technology and expertise. So I don't see it as immediately disqualified from the same remedy. The obsession with preserving a dated shrinkwrap model and disregard for health of that community just might be a problem.

Vizfizz
12-09-2006, 01:36 AM
Well.. I completely agree with public beta. I don't agree on the dongle. Price...we're low enough as it is and I feel we are properly priced within the competition. A typical mid range application runs between $500 to $1200 now a days. I'd say we're there. Add in EIM and we could justify an increase in base price. Having a higher base price isn't a "bad" thing, if the technologies justify it. If anything, price tends to place a certain psychological profile on a package. A $99 3D package is generally thought as "low end". When you deal with most pros in the field, price is just part of the game.

As for other 3D/2D apps, well, lets see:

Maya: Node/Floating lock
C4D: Serials
LW: Dongle last time I checked
EI: Dongle
FormZ: Dongle
XSI: Not certain
Modo: Not certain
Zbrush: Serials

I'm sure if we went through them all, you'd find that most of them have some sort of copy protection scheme. But its not the copy protection of these programs that makes them successful or not successful. Its their feature set and the way they position the program in the market. If we don't have decent features, it doesn't matter if we don't have copy protection.

Vizfizz
12-09-2006, 01:58 AM
Let's look at some products which were closed then opened later - examples that come immediately to mind include Ingres, Erlang/OTP, Firebird, Solaris, Java (there are many others). What do these all have in common? They're platforms.

Like those products, I regard EIAS as a platform, with a community, 3rd party developers and trainers, and a considerable investment in specific technology and expertise. So I don't see it as immediately disqualified from the same remedy. The obsession with preserving a dated shrinkwrap model and disregard for health of that community just might be a problem.

The products that you've listed are larger more expansive products than EI. They are designed to to generate new markets and new products. Thus Open Source is ideal. EI is an existing application focused on a specific industry. An industry with very specific needs. Now here's where I agree with you....EI needs to be more open architecturally.. but not necessarily "Open Source" per se. (As in no copy protection/free) EI needs something akin to MEL that allows studios and industries better access into the guts of the program and API. Then EI can truly become more a "platform" and can begin to evolve like you've mentioned. But you don't need to give up copy protection to do this.

So maybe we can meet somewhere inbetween and agree here.

Vizfizz
12-09-2006, 02:01 AM
However.. for this to happen... a new architecture within EIAS may be needed. Thus, the idea of taking a new look at EIM as a potential evolution into the next EIAS could be worth looking at.. especially if EIM's architecture is more friendly to the possibilty of something like MEL.

If not.. then a new product for EITG is in order...and then they can consider an Open Source approach.

Reuben5150
02-24-2007, 02:35 PM
What's happened to the EI logo, once an attractive, extruded, curved shape that looked good to - a flat lifeless looking vector shape with part missing !, common EITG !

also, there is no icon for windows Transporter, i have a suitable one right here on the HDD at zero cost...

as we know, Electro303 is dead.

IMHO, EITG should try and acquire the resources from those pages, mainly (materials and tutorials) which were built up over many years by the kind EI users, and host them right there on the EITG site.

Reuben

halfworld
02-24-2007, 04:26 PM
Electro303 isn't dead :)

http://www.electro303.paralumino.com/

Also, new logos are forthcoming... :)

3dData
02-24-2007, 06:54 PM
Large: 2, 3
Small: 5, 6, 12

bbuxton
02-24-2007, 10:07 PM
Large:
2. HDRI & 16bit output with Layered PSD output.
5. UV Mapping Editor.

Small:
1. Texture and Light Baking.
5. Sub-pixel displacement.
7. Lattice Deformers.


BB

arketype
02-25-2007, 05:39 AM
Back to the original question on this thread....
In order of importance....

3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
(But we need to be able to control the maximum number of threads being used by Camera, may be even "interactively" enabling/ disabling threads while rendering. I would immediately pay $$$ just for an MP Camera that really worked. Some thing priced like the 6.6 upgrade, Maybe a version 6.7?)

1. 64 bit support for Animator and Camera.
(Animator seems happy right now, probably just needed for Camera to access MORE RAM! Especially for an MP Camera running on 4+ cores!)

2. Referencing System.
(this would be especially good if we could reference entire project files, creating sort of an after effects like project within a project system, so we could swap multiple instances of one fully textured set of files with a different set (different models, different textures, etc. imagine replacing 100 cars with 100 trees just by changing the link settings) This would also allow for editing the linked projects, and having changes occur throughout all instances within the "master" project. Definitely needs a good link organiser system)


1. Texture and Light Baking.

cjberg
02-25-2007, 03:25 PM
I am sure that Camera & Animator are already multi-threaded... I think you mean MP support.

I go back and forth on this... some tasks are somewhat easy to offload to another processor, like raytracing. Others are significantly difficult, like phong. So should EITG spend time in camera dealing with this, or work on Renderrama to make it significantly more robust?

I am currently leaning toward the Renderrama solution, given it's greater expandability, allowing rendering over networks or even the internet.


Cj


3. True Multithreading support for Animator and Camera.
(But we need to be able to control the maximum number of threads being used by Camera, may be even "interactively" enabling/ disabling threads while rendering. I would immediately pay $$$ just for an MP Camera that really worked. Some thing priced like the 6.6 upgrade, Maybe a version 6.7?)

PaulS2
02-25-2007, 06:34 PM
I was readig over the past comments on loosing the dongle......I agree.

In order for EI to survive it needs lots of excited people talking it up....a huge user-base having fun creating with the toolset. Right now, EI has a very 'jaded - heard it all before...all the promises which could be made' - user-base.

IT NEEDS FRESH BLOOD to survive!!!

Some (many?) have abandoned it feeling it is dead and will never come back to life........the ones who are left use it and for the most part probably aren't going to be swayed too far by the promise of a rosey future until they see it with their own eyes.

EI NEEDS FRESH BLOOD to survive!!!.......give the freak'n software away. If it is good it will create a buzz. Many will use it and the one's who use it commercially will pay for it. They will.

Holding the cards too tight into the chest has been the EI way and has resulted in a company which is just holding on.

Create some buzz...maybe give away a free version which is very close to the real deal....great tutorials (good ones - not lame crap). Or loose the dongle - right now the only one's who are spending are going to be established users..... and they will continue to spend to upgrade. They aren't going to down-grade to Kraks.

EI really has nothing to loose in the long run by having a bunch of amatuers/hobbiests/kids having fun using their software - the pros will always pay. Eventually those kids will become pros.

Jens C. Möller
02-26-2007, 06:48 AM
I am sure that Camera & Animator are already multi-threaded... I think you mean MP support.

I go back and forth on this... some tasks are somewhat easy to offload to another processor, like raytracing. Others are significantly difficult, like phong. So should EITG spend time in camera dealing with this, or work on Renderrama to make it significantly more robust?

I am currently leaning toward the Renderrama solution, given it's greater expandability, allowing rendering over networks or even the internet.


Cj

Actually both. I have just dicovered, that heavy raytrace tasks bring multiple nodes of Camera to a crawl on multiprocessor machines. Four Camera nodes rendering heavy raytracing (Psunami + head light of a car, 8 recursions) on a G5 quad need 8,5 houres (!) for one frame, while only two nodes on the same machine only need 12 minutes for one frame. So I'd like to see a multiprocessor Camera and an enhanced renderama. Renderama beeing able to use the internet (like seti at home) for rendering would be a cool thing I guess...

Jens

juanxer
02-26-2007, 07:59 AM
A first Renderama advancement I'd like to see, now that four-processor PCs are about to become commonplace, is the ability to preset different slave cameras for different tasks: previews, batch renders and inmediate renders. And being able to change presets on the fly. It ought to be easy to implement. Could "Renderama camera and render management improvements" be added to the minor additions list?

(I think Renderama merits its own wishlist of minor changes: there is room for improvements that ought to be not that difficult to make: some camera admin, render info logging and GUI things, etc.)

arketype
02-26-2007, 12:53 PM
Actually both. I have just dicovered, that heavy raytrace tasks bring multiple nodes of Camera to a crawl on multiprocessor machines. Four Camera nodes rendering heavy raytracing (Psunami + head light of a car, 8 recursions) on a G5 quad need 8,5 houres (!) for one frame, while only two nodes on the same machine only need 12 minutes for one frame. So I'd like to see a multiprocessor Camera and an enhanced renderama. Renderama beeing able to use the internet (like seti at home) for rendering would be a cool thing I guess...

Jens

I have found this as well.
Renderama works for distributed rendering, and Queing multiple renderings, but for speeding up renderings (especially GI and raytracing) it leaves a lot to be desired.

I agree Renderama should be improved (auto-detection over network, more efficient, etc), but an efficient MP Camera would theoretically increase overall rendering performance significantly. This should be #1 on the to do list, perhaps with a 64 bit camera as well. As I suggested, an MP version of Camera could be released as an interim update, and I would gladly pay for it.

juanxer
02-27-2007, 11:18 AM
Would an MP Camera require to rearquitect plugins and shaders, too?

halfworld
02-27-2007, 12:16 PM
Nope. A rebuild would be optional.

Edit: I've removed everything else I said because it wasn't entirely accurate.

arketype
02-27-2007, 04:19 PM
_______________________________

FelixCat
03-01-2007, 04:51 PM
After 206 posts i wonder if anybody have any clue about the future of EiAS, besides the developers...
As usual, EiTG keeps their cards thight close to the chest. I think could be very useful to know the general approuch of the future Ei; will be an all in one app, more headed to Ch. animation, more arch focussed or what?
I don´t want to look nervous, but i am... i´m planning my future and i need to know if EiAS will be part of it and in what proportion... i´m facing big (for me) investments and can´t aford big mistakes. I had been with EiAS from 1.75 and love the app, but need to know.
Sorry for my bad english

FelixCat

arketype
03-02-2007, 09:06 PM
I Agree.
We keep hearing from the advisory council members "just wait". "it's coming", etc.
I am sure they are telling the truth, too.

But we have no direct feedback from EI.

It does not seem like EI is changing it's closed mouth habits. At least not yet.
They prefer to try and make the "Big Splash" upon release of a new version.

For a different approach, look at Silo. Lots of buzz generated from the developers talking online about what they are doing on a daily basis. Sure we are all STILL WAITING for the next version of Silo which seems to be taking longer than expected, BUT EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT Silo 2.0 IS! And Silo users are all salivating over the new features. The word gets out before the features are available, and when the release happens, everyone is already in line with their checkboks out.
It seems to work.

When nothing is said, it appears that nothing is happening.

At one point there was more activity than usual from EI on their forums, and there was even a thread started specifically to deliver development news. But these updates aren't happening regularly. A quick update once a week would pique user's interest, and generate "Buzz" in the community. Buzz is good. It's powerful marketing and it's essentially free.

You don't have to give away ALL the secrets. Look at Apple and Leopard. They demonstrated a few upcoming features that are really valuable and/or cool and as they said, a few more are being kept secret for the "Wow factor" upon the new release.

I know that for the EI guys they probably think that they have better things to do (like improving the software) than gabbing with users, and the EIAS community is loyal to the product, but we would all love to see better more regular communication from them!

Vizfizz
03-02-2007, 09:59 PM
I know its aggrevating, but I can assure you that the level of interaction you want will arrive, but its going to have to come in small steps. If you were to ask yourself if things were better or worse than they were a year ago, I would say they are better. The fact that EI is advertising on its new upcoming website for programmers, marketing professionals and web designers should tell you something. The advisory board is just the first stage of hopefully a much more integrated community.

SteveW928
03-07-2007, 11:00 AM
Heh... well, I did my part and upgraded, even though I'm not sure how much time I'm going to get to use it (at least for a while).

But, as to the above discussion.... baby steps. It seems that EITG wants to get all the ducks in a row before doing anything or something. I've learned that never works... as you can never really get all the ducks to cooperate.

They need to start somewhere. If that is Brad taking an hour a week to make a post in their forum or whatever... then I'd say that is the best spent hour he will have all week.

Sure, I'd love to see EITG blaze out with a dozen new programmers, awesome web site, ads in all the major magazines, and zillions of new users.... but first, how about just some very basic stuff that won't even cost them any more then a speck of well spent time?

-Steve

AVTPro
03-08-2007, 07:44 AM
I'm hoping that EI dedicates more attention to small tweaks that make workflow smoother than disconnected features.

Meaning, focus on categories of feature sets of production processes and output as a whole instead of cool but disjointed features or solutions as opposed to gadgets. Developmental focus on solutions that are standards of popular proven results. Chart out from initiation to completion and look at the gaps, then work with what it has already to build and improve on it but making sure it works in practice when it's done. (Hold keys)

For instance, one huge problem with most rigs in EIAS is that they aren't scaleable or adjusteable. This makes it tough if I want to reuse character rigs or need 10 characters.
What film has one character? How do we manage two or 3 without scaling, when studios have crowd control tools?

I recently completed my the first portion of a rig study in Maya, (applause) and I understand that a "scale constraint" is one of many solutions that help to solve this problem of scaling rigs. It's utterly mind-blowing to grab a rig by the base and scale it up and down with all is features (FKIK, Spline IK) in tack. Also, bones in Maya are such that they are adjustable. EI is probably one revision for solving all rigging needs.

Yes, I could say "Wish List" request: Scale constraint. Yes, it's one important type of constraint that EI is missing but the bigger picture is "reusing rigs" by scaling, importing, retargeting, mirroring, duplicating, renaming and managing with a sound paradigm. A focus should be given to resolve this.

OK maybe that too much to digust at one time, but what about small baby-step curtailing or finessing that just makes life easier? Disable Info window boxes, like scale, translate or rotate, so that contols that have no use for them once rigged don't accidently recieve input while zooming through input boxes while tabbing on a crunching deadline. Disabling these animation channels is a safeguard from err, cleans up and consolidate the interface. It also helps with rigging and is locking and constraing. It cleans and declutter much like hiding elements. I thought the benefits were quite evident.

We need to renew our approach if we don't want to become stagnant.
How do they do this? I think a great deal of effort should go into investigating recommendations from users experienced with a solid productive model, (the movers and shakers)...hence the advisory board and not random requests. EI development need an open-minded , objective and progressive guidance by users with evident familiarity and longevity of proven success with one such operations. Why add Non Linear animation to EI when I have barely seen an animation with more than one character. It would be better to implement ways for moving FBIK rig around like Maya and Motionbuidler, then wouldn't NLA be more useable even needed?

Anyway, Now that EIAS UB v6.6 is done, I think we need to open the attic windows and let some sunlight and air in and so we can begin to clear the cobwebs in workflow. I think a fresh simplistic approach should be given to implementing proven technologies. For example, recently I need to add morphs to a model that I didn't set up the original base mesh.
In the past, I would select the model and export a parked Obj and edit in a modeler. If I exported a fact, I would convert with Transporter...since it's practically the only utility or app that reformats factfiles.

In Transportor, "All" the dialog text are non-intuitive and to a degree cryptic. Why not a button that just says "Morph targets?" layman's terms. Yes, six years ago, I knew every parameter but who can remember it all with all the other things to know? And who cares when all I need to export and edit a model for morphs. The bigger picture is morphs, and communicating in a language the general audience, and yes, 3D users are now...a general audience...not super technician. It's a common workflow to want to add morphs to a pre-rigged skin, but my client and I found it frustrating. it's a typical workflow that should be smoother. In leu of other apps, permit editing morph geomerty and changing point ordering on the fly.

Again, why do SSS renders for tranlucence in the ears and skin when the skin or character tool are sometimes unmanageable? It's like building the 5th floor of a building before buiding the 3rd.

Anyway, I'm still coming along with my rigging and I'm not a counsel member, I am a beta tester and one of many EIAS users with character experience. If there is a focus on improving the workflow glitches that many of stumble upon daily, I would glady offer my experiences with solution.

Here's another kicker, Batch import of EI files for replacement animation. "An animation program without model batch import but has feature for batch file animation?" So we can do batch animation but no way to import batches? It's a pent house suit but without an staircase or elevator to get to it.

Ok. I figured it out how to import the batch, and Ramjac developers wrote a script in a day, so if I could do it and I'm not programmer and Ramjac could fix it...why has this been such a problem for EI?
I have come up with solution for other things, how do they get fed into EI as resourceful optimization of production workflow with a focus of the end product?

In the last year, I have had several innovative solutions to longstanding problems all of which can be quick fixes by slightly finessing the interface.

summary:
Please focus one what is already in EI and be resourceful by improving it to make more useful and well implemented in various production scenarios.

EI is a great app, it just need improving what it has. I would like to see EI do well what users expect it to do, before trying somethign new from scratch. Character work has only certain catogories, focus on each one. Bones, wmps painting, deformers. priority on the one that needs fixing the most.

If I were to ask for feature it would be

Importing batch files (maya cloth imports)
Importing vertex animation (blendshape, cluster animation)
50% gray point (zbrush displacement maps)
tweener targets ( Eyelids and Multiple Morph tweening)
XP SDK interface ( fast inuitive expression with mulitple keys)

What could we not animate if XP had a SDK interface? Isn't this a slight push to what XP can already do? If it did wouldn't it be the once feature all character animator demand in HighEnd CA tools? Wouldnt's exponentialy make animation easy for all and spark interest in EI. I guess we never know until we have it.

Again Congrats on 6.6 !!

Artiscally Yours
Alonzo

FelixCat
03-08-2007, 01:28 PM
Alonzo, great post! i can´t agree more. Maybe we, people trying to do CH animation, are not the EiTG end target at all... but i would like to know it.
I would like to have better comunication with spetialized apps like messiah, or TAFA, RealFlow, etc. I know its hard to implement this level of tools enside Ei but if can to import the data, easily, could be awesome!
I can accept to purchase other apps like messiah, or TAFA, or other spetialized apps for spetial tasks. So many great plug ins that can´t work in EiAS! (Shave and Haircut, for instance) Don´t hope EiAS doing this.
I take a look at Lightwave and Maya, that have this good comunication with many other apps. And AFAIK you can make your animation in messiah or TAFA(in PC, or the Windows side of the MAC) and export the data to Lightwave or Maya in MAC. But not to EiAS :(
Discarded Lightwave, the GUI is awful (for me).
Just a little rant.
FelixCat

Sorry for my crappy english.

AVTPro
03-08-2007, 03:48 PM
Felix !!

Mutiny I say! Let's revolt! Form our own commitee :) Just kidding.

But what about thinking in terms of what EIAS has for character animation interconnectivity (fbx) between other popular thriving CA Apps (MA, MB) , and how that be improved to suit your needs (FBIK Rigs in EIAS).

I believe they do care. Alot, or they wouldn't be here at all. They are inventive and resourceful. That's why we are here. But we need to be realistic in our requests, unified, and very specific. We all know EI doesn't have huge resources, though I hear it's gotten better...like think in terms of resourcful, next baby improvements to acheving or goals by incrementally improving what already works for us. Most of us already have solutions for UVs, Modeling, and imported Data animation types. How can that be improved instead of adding a modeler, UV editor, or so on, ground up? Most of us can. Most of us can answer that question of the top of our heads, and have the same answers. (Multiple UV layers, Vertex addressing, 32 bit renders.) ...not a huge render buff yet.

Then yes, maybe make one "CA wish list" present it to the Advisory and see what kind of feed back we can get. What they will do or not or when they will do it. Then Revolt :)

PaulS2
03-08-2007, 04:16 PM
EI's target audience/users is not CA as far as I am concerned - maybe because I do none.

Personally, if I was to do CA I would use what everyone else is using...and it isn't EI.

EI doe not have a modeler and is lacking in a few other places.....for example and this is a sore point with me. Why is it required to pay $150 to get obj into EI properly????

I am thankful in that Jens took the time to create his pluggin....and it works like it is supposed to. As far as I am concerned Transporter is near useless. I always have problems with it and it never brings in models properly...never once.

The last thing I want is for EI to get the idea they have some sort of future in CA and put more resources there - they don't.

It's strongest area is that of a rendering environment - it should be strenghtened there and also have every bell and whistle known to rendering available. No stone should be left unturned. It should have sufficient features where marketing has an easy job.

It should have flawless import for models and should also be possible to generate models - resources should be put back into EIM. Something like Mrs Bebel should be built-in to EI but have the ability to ready .ai or .eps files also.

Solid body animation comes next - designers, on-air graphics, flying logos, etc....basic stuff. There are lots of market for good quality tools in this area.

EI needs something to make it stand out - it used to have that. I don't think it does anymore (possibly it's render still has it but just barely - there are some nice tools out there at this point in time)...it could though but CA is not going to make any sort of a future for EI. Wrong place at this time to put resouces unless EI is only after holding onto the users it has who are considering doing CA.

FelixCat
03-08-2007, 04:33 PM
Lets mutiny!! i got some torchs and forks remaining from past revolts...

I, sadly, acept many points from Paul, but i think in ¨It's strongest area is that of a rendering environment - it should be strenghtened there and also have every bell and whistle known to rendering available¨ he has a great point.

I think (in my non programmer heaven) that EiAS needs to be as open as possible. To has the hability to import the major formats, and comunicate smoothly with other apps (messiah and TAFA again and others). Be more like a powerfull rendering environment who plays well with others in a pipeline. I don´t think we need a new modeler, there are many arround and are very good (but some modeling posibilities enside EiAS coul be great, like make modifications in the mesh). We don´t need CA tools besides actual if we can conect with spetialized tools that does it well...
For now, at least.
My 0,2 cents.

FelixCat

AVTPro
03-08-2007, 06:22 PM
EI's target audience/users is not CA as far as I am concerned - maybe because I do none.


Hey Paul, nice to hear from you and thanks for bringing your expertise to the discussion. I want to reply in a way that brings light to my main point and I think your first statement bears witness to point I'm trying to make. "maybe cause I do none". As long winded as my first post was, I'm sure you read where I wrote, "users that are familiar, open-minded, utilizing, progressing, and thriving" in the particular area of interest. This statement doesn't "exclude" users. I think it's important that EIAS doesn't exlude less they back themselves up in a corner and become "excluded". One, not so old saying goes, "Speciality breeds in weakness." another is "trying to please everybody is surely the key to failure". I believe EIAS has done a good job of balancing the two wise principles by the way we both passionately respresent our somewhat polar points of veiw. You specialize in "Renders" and no CA. I specialize in "CA" and no Renders and we both love or at least use and are talking about the same app. CA in EIAS, is my area of business, and it keeps my lights, heat an telephone on. Ok. I'm not rich yet, but I am warm. :)

Anyway, My clients do lots of renders in EIAS and boy are they good at it. I am impressed with thier work because it's beautiful. However, when they need, dynamic simulation or CA rigging they call me. If you used rigging in CA...you would be as passionate about it as I am. You would know how valuable, FBX is to character animators. I use Maya, and I import rigs, dynamic sims, cloth, everything into EIAS. I'm thankful for these tools but without rendering my CA tools would also be useless and vice versa. Though my clients only render, what would they render? Only inorganic model or logos? We should not render people and if do that should not try to make them move? Render effects like SSS are only for objects? hmm...

EI should not lose ground in what they have. EI users has been animating characters and logos for many years. They have no problem animating logos in EIAS. The demands for more sophisticated animation has grown and branch from logo animtion. Even environmental renderers, Yes, they only need hard body at first, but now the needs of those same renderers are "soft bodies" (pun) people walking, moving cars, motion tracking and flowing water fountains. I use to be an hard body render and have grown into CA with EI.

So, Forgive me for not resprenting "rendering" it's not my expertise anymore. Regardless, my post was about "getting the people who are", analyzing their specific workflow and requests, and consolidating. My post was not about excluding other professions, but to garner the diverse interest in census and maximize it. it was not about setting proirity of which is more important.

Yes, though it's evident what most important with EI, how do we optimize it. How do we get that special something...a hero! Well, a hero major attribute is how it's uses it's strength to protect the weak (villians prey on the small or weak). EIAS strength is it's rendering. Does that make it most important? Or is it something we use to strenghten weak areas of the app?

Again I commend EI in it's approach, my only point is how do we users better get our needs met? Most EI users will agree with most of what you said Paul, incorporating plugs, putting resources in thriving feature sets, and turning over every stones to do it right.

Our hero feature, like Mr. Incredible, has gotten a little fat. EIAS is not 'thee" premium render app. I like modeling and Zbrush too. EI needs Zbrush support. My clients are asking for true HDRI. EI isnt really on the render forefront. It's great and smooth, but there's good competition now. So, again, I don't think it's about one "key feature or gadget" but a wholeness or sturdiness, dependable midrange solution that is open and flexable for connectivity and interoperablity.


Personally, if I was to do CA I would use what everyone else is using...and it isn't EI.


Key word, Personally. Yes, I use Maya too. I can model, rig, UV, sim, and edit motion. Believe me, it doesn't exclude EIAS. I use it to strengthen my EI work. Personally, the tools are very comparable in many respects. (Note to maya users, don't flame.) The two are very comparable, only two different levels of depth. That's all. I'm very happy I learned EI rigging first. Using maya, rigging was a breeze. haha. All the time I was rigging, I was thinking, Ok Where's the Anvil? there wasn't one.

It's a myth that to do character animation you must use Maya. Yes, a big studio does, but it has more to do with MEL and the Hypergraph than just features. No EI user has to learn Maya to do great animation. True animators can animate with darn thing, a pickle. Recently a great EIAS character animation was feature on CGTalk here, by Manual. It's merely personal choice. ( OK. Now flame me).



EI doe not have a modeler and is lacking in a few other places.....for example and this is a sore point with me. Why is it required to pay $150 to get obj into EI properly????

I am thankful in that Jens took the time to create his pluggin....and it works like it is supposed to. As far as I am concerned Transporter is near useless. I always have problems with it and it never brings in models properly...never once.



agreed. but yes, there's been a few times when transporter has help. And how do you convert facts without it? FormZ? that's cost effective (?)



The last thing I want is for EI to get the idea they have some sort of future in CA and put more resources there - they don't.



I address this kind of statement already. but OK please don't tell that to my clients. Or my EI characters will come knocking your door. Believe me, not only are they alive, but also "kicking". I have downloaded them with Kungfu Mocap from MotionBuilder. LOL.




It's strongest area is that of a rendering environment - it should be strenghtened there and also have every bell and whistle known to rendering available. No stone should be left unturned. It should have sufficient features where marketing has an easy job.

It should have flawless import for models and should also be possible to generate models - resources should be put back into EIM. Something like Mrs Bebel should be built-in to EI but have the ability to ready .ai or .eps files also.

Solid body animation comes next - designers, on-air graphics, flying logos, etc....basic stuff. There are lots of market for good quality tools in this area.

EI needs something to make it stand out - it used to have that. I don't think it does anymore (possibly it's render still has it but just barely - there are some nice tools out there at this point in time)...it could though but CA is not going to make any sort of a future for EI. Wrong place at this time to put resouces unless EI is only after holding onto the users it has who are considering doing CA.

Thanks again Paul for representing your passion, and expertise. I love your work. I dont know if you still use EI, and I haven't got over to "that" part of the gallery (opps only looked at character) Any I hope to see more soon.

Artistically Yours
Alonzo

AVTPro
03-08-2007, 06:32 PM
Lets mutiny!! i got some torchs and forks remaining from past revolts...


haaha!! you still have torches haha. Did you win the last revolt?


I think (in my non programmer heaven) that EiAS needs to be as open as possible. To has the hability to import the major formats, and comunicate smoothly with other apps We don´t need CA tools besides actual if we can conect with spetialized tools that does it well...
For now, at least.
My 0,2 cents.

FelixCat


I say that's more like a buck 50. You can ride the subway with that.

Open-mindedness, is feature they can't build in. Haha. We as, EI users can use it. We should play nice with other specialist if we all want to grow.

that's my train of thought. ciao

Vizfizz
03-08-2007, 06:47 PM
Gentlemen....

Thank you for your comments. As you can imagine, rebuilding a company and its image are difficult things to do. Everyone is well aware of EIAS' past history, the resource issues, mistakes that were made, and every other deficiency that exists within EIAS. As a group of users and for EITG itself, that time is over. We both must make the necessary mental shift in attitude if we want to see our program of choice succeed.

The advisory board's purpose is to help managment become more aware of the myriad of information that is flowing within the CG community. If left to one person, the chances of truly understanding trends would be extremely difficult to process. Everyone wants something. Some want rendering tools, some want CA tools, some want this and that.

Users are also, by nature, an impatient group of people. Trust me I know.. because I'm one of them. But the truth of your words are constant reminders that if change doesn't take place, any remaining opportunity will be lost. As markets mature the tendency is for the number of "players" to get reduced. It happened in the computer hardware industry, the desktop publishing industry, 2D paint, and its happening in 3D. Luckily, the 3D industry is vast enough and expanding enough to continue fostering diversity. At least for a little while longer. Its not as expansive as it was in the 1990's, but luckily the number of applications for 3D imagery is increasing, thus continuing the push for new technologies.

The question I've been hearing a lot lately is, "Where is EITG?" You want to see more open communication and evidence that things are in motion. I would suggest that a considerable amount of progress is already underway and EITG's interaction with the community will continue to increase, esepcially with the advent of new website. Lets see what we have:

1. Universal Binary Released - including an update.
2. A totally new website which includes additional program specific forums and wiki.
3. 3rd party companies (NL, Paralumino, Konkeptoine, RAMJAC) are all porting plugins.
4. The advent of this forum on CGTalk.
5. Promising new technologies starting to reach EIAS. (Cloth, Dynamics and so forth)
6. EIAS v7 is now being addressed.

But you want more! Of course you do. Here's what I can tell you. The advisory board now has two direct lines to EITG management. One is specifically for product development issues and new technologies and the other is for suggestions on company business and marketing. For now, your input is being regulated within the existing forums on CGTalk, EI Forums, and Post Forum. Each of these are being reviewed and scanned by EITG and the advisory board. Brad is only one man and if he were to answer every post out there, he'd never get anything done...so for now, folks like Blair, Ian, Jens, myself and others are here to help pick up the slack.

Regarding new technologies and product focus. This is going to continue to be a lively debate. The advisory board's members are quite diverse and each wants to see EIAS improve in their area of choice. One by one, things are being addressed. Core technologies and user requests from years gone by are finally being looked at and Brad is formulating plans for EIAS v7, v8, and v9. I'll work to illuminate those plans for you as much as I can all the while respecting Brad's and EITG's right to privacy.

For now.. its small steps.

AVTPro
03-08-2007, 07:29 PM
Brian,

Thanks for your response, and again, clearly displaying your understanding to the situations. I have full confidence in this board.

Vizfizz
03-08-2007, 07:36 PM
Well...I agree that a more formalized method of releasing information is needed along with solid ways to reflect the users' desires. Designing software "by committee" isn't always the best thing to do, but when properly balanced with user representation, engineer and programmer input, along with management support; a balance can be achieved. We're still trying to figure out what that balance looks like and it will take some time to get into the groove of things.

AVTPro
03-08-2007, 08:06 PM
Agreed. It's a hard job.

That's part of my point. Users are responsible for delivering their request specific to their area of interest based on proven real world scenario, production road block or "please don't change this".

I mean "Really" take the time to think about what you need and present it. How it applies to what you are trying to acheive, to give them a broader view of coming up with a solution to the request. How else will they know?
Some small little tweak may be REVOLUTIONARY torch burner for EI. (hhaa felix)

I feel any EI model should be easily exported, edited and load back in as a morph. Its really is a simple thing but it's huge if you have to climb this wall.

It may not be the big flying "Hero" leap but it may be the small baby steps that get us over the finish line.

Quite honestly I fully agree with everything you said in your response. "Forget the pass, open the windows of our mind, and let some light and clean air in."

Focus on what's ahead for EI and not the lanes we are not in.
I'm just making my requests known. Thanks for listening.

BTW, don't forget to include the beta board for feature requests. :)

manuel
03-08-2007, 09:17 PM
It's a myth that to do character animation you must use Maya. Yes, a big studio does, but it has more to do with MEL and the Hypergraph than just features. No EI user has to learn Maya to do great animation. True animators can animate with darn thing, a pickle. Recently a great EIAS character animation was feature on CGTalk here, by Manual. It's merely personal choice. ( OK. Now flame me).Since my (wrongly spelled :) ) name has been dragged into this bit of conversation, might as well add my 2 pennies.
I got into EIAS after having played around with C4D for a long time. CA in C4D in those days was worse than EIAS. No, really. And in terms of workflow, EIAS was/still is so much simpler than pretty much any other 3D app I've tried. I believe this to be one of the greatest strengths of EIAS.

The new kid on he block, Modo, constantly keeps going on about how wonderful its workflow is (you may disagree with this, but that's not the point). Seems that Luxology have identified this as something a lot of users long for. The thing that gets me is that when you go to the Luxology forums these days, pretty much every other post is "When will we have animation?" "Will it be 2007? Or 2008?" "What will the rigging system be like?"...

Could it be that there are quite a few users out there that would love to have a simple and straightforward 3D app, geared at smaller teams rather than big studios? One that allows for CA without needing do delve into MEL scripts and whatnot?
Luxology certainly seem to think so. And they're doing it with a much, much less mature product that even at this stage already suffers from "script-itis" (a lot of functions you'd consider basic are only available as 3th party scripts you only know about by hanging around at the Luxology forums)

EITG's territory has always been that middle-ground. And from what I can tell from the Luxology forums, CA is not something you want to overlook.

AVTPro
03-08-2007, 10:34 PM
Since my (wrongly spelled :) ) name has been dragged into this bit of conversation, might as well add my 2 pennies.

I totally apologies for screwing up your name. Manuel. Dumb me.


I got into EIAS after having played around with C4D for a long time. CA in C4D in those days was worse than EIAS. No, really. And in terms of workflow, EIAS was/still is so much simpler than pretty much any other 3D app I've tried. I believe this to be one of the greatest strengths of EIAS.


I have said this time and time and time again. EIAS user interface is addictively simple and clean. It's a FEATURE that should be toted as such to huge area that need it. Freshman in high school to 7O year old architectural masters who only want to characters to walk. Businesses that only need corporate video characters, not cutting edge special effects. Character animators how only need to tell a story or pull a few gags. Small studios
EIAS should be pronounce "EASE" for Ease of use. The hardest part of Maya is just getting use to the compartmentalized interface. EI is just so Mac-ish. It's good. It just needs simplier things like "Saved Window Layouts" for different modes of operations.e.i. When I want to do animating, snap windows to relate to that. FCE, Info Box, Camer and One orthro. I had a whole list for which I can find. Even if you are not on a 30" organizing screen space, with a simple click is a workflow help. Maya and AE has this.


The new kid on he block, Modo, constantly keeps going on about how wonderful its workflow is (you may disagree with this, but that's not the point). Seems that Luxology have identified this as something a lot of users long for. The thing that gets me is that when you go to the Luxology forums these days, pretty much every other post is "When will we have animation?" "Will it be 2007? Or 2008?" "What will the rigging system be like?"...



I hate to admit this. I never pay attention to Modo because I'm moving in other direction concerning modelers, BUT I looked at one of the videos tutorial for modo once and immediately because of the simplistic approach it had, it helped me understand something I have been trying to achieve since before I started using Maya. It was understanding a modeling methodology. The light clicked. Now maya, has plug script that does the same approach.

Again, hate to say BUT..."it's not what you have...but how you use it." Once I understood how to apply the technique, something that haunted me for year was a "Cinch". A snap. haha. Literally.


Could it be that there are quite a few users out there that would love to have a simple and straightforward 3D app, geared at smaller teams rather than big studios? One that allows for CA without needing do delve into MEL scripts and whatnot?


This bears repeating. This is why I asking EITG extends the interface of XP to full SDKs. It's take the scripting out of complex event driven animation. Set the finger the way you want to look and hit key. I mean..XP is already there. Scritping is arleady there...what's the next direct step to ease of use, and power with scriptablity? XP SDK. It doesn't take anything away from what there..it's adds to. I've done it in Maya, there's nothing complex about it and it leads to unbelievable animation capablity and control!!. Only thing I don't know is doesn't EI need a switch or add attribute box. It may not.


EITG's territory has always been that middle-ground. And from what I can tell from the Luxology forums, CA is not something you want to overlook.

haha. yes I agree. Or what would we render? :)

Vizfizz
03-08-2007, 10:42 PM
Being one of the vfx and animation representatives on the Advisory Board, my goal is to see enhanced animation related tools reach EIAS. It may be true that we have some more "important" core technologies to address first, but I fully believe that the additional evolution of EIAS' animation tools are necessary to being more competitive overall. (Especially against the big 5: Maya, XSI, Max, LW, C4D) I base this claim purely off my experience within the entertainment industry and my time working at 3 major vfx studios. (No I'm not blowing my own horn here).

I base my assumption off the following:

Of all the sub-industries that drive the CG industry, the entertainment industry is the most visable. It may only comprise 20% of total CG sales, but it accounts for 80% of press, advertising and fanfare that ultimately leads to a program's success or failure. Thus, if a program like EIAS wishes to benefit from the entertainment industries' marketing machine, it is beneficial to address the needs of vfx and animation communities. Its sad, but unfortunately its true. XYZ software was used on ABC movie. Oooo...suddenly we're all impressed and think if I only had XYZ software I could make a movie too. Simple marketing. Make users insecure about their abilities and suggest to them if they use "our" product they'll become better animators. (Its truly an ego thing).

Since EIAS is NOT a cad/cam product, its focus is geared for the production of visual images that tell communicate a message or tell a story. It just so happens that EIAS can render millions of polys and has a great renderer which makes it appealing to non-entertainment industry related fields as well. Don't forget that EI was originally founded to get into the entertainment industry as an animation company, but ended up writing software instead (for a big entertainment industry giant).

Today EITG is called into making a decision. It can attempt to bypass the entertainment industry machine and attempt to sell EIAS to the architects, set designers, production designers, illustrators and so forth...but it must be willing to be niched into a market that may limit its future potential and doesn't provide the same level of marketing appeal the entertainment industry can provide.

Within the entertainment industry "story" is king. We need devices and tools to help us tell stories. Whether its films, commercials, saturday morning cartoons, internet viral videos, or whatever, the "character" is the mechanism to communicate "story". Everything else (like digital sets, texturing, rendering, etc) is secondary. EIAS can attempt to be a secondary player within the entertainment industry by appealing to the sub categories like digital sets, matte painting, and so forth, but marketing for specific sub-fields is difficult and confusing especially when other programs can do the same thing and offer character tools as well.

Another alternative for EITG is to allow EIAS to become an extension of the "big 5". Right now, our greatest strength is Camera and many have suggested that licensing Camera is the way to go. 5-8 years ago, I would have compeletely agreed with you. Today however, I'm not so sure. There is a big curse to becoming a "niche" software package. Even tools that are "niched" around character tools are subjective to this problem. Take a look at Hash Animation Master.

If you want to increase sales of EIAS, you must find ways to take advantage of the entertainment industry and offer a complete, robust set of tools. We've got some good tools now, but we're very deficient in the character tool department.

If you're still wondering what I'm talking about, go to the theatres or turn on the television and you'll find it staring you right in the face as it animates across the screen, does a little jig, sells you coffee or toothpaste, blows up spaceships, or entertains your kids.

AVTPro
03-08-2007, 11:42 PM
Hey Brian,

I dont' think EI and it's users toot their own horn enough. especially some of the DVD's I have watch that you worked on or with the studios. . If some of EI's stuff was posted, we would have the "woo" facter that is so needed to draw attention. Yes, the phobia is "it's the software" that makes the artist. Software isn't worth beans unless you know how to know to use it and knowledge is user based, as is artistic expressing and storytelling.

That's the key, IMNSHO. The "woo" factor has to come from the user, from their stories, hearts and minds. Users with an attitude of never settling for less or second best. Never letting software or anything else put their creativity into a small box. Being true to your art, ignoring the "can't' or shouldn't and not suppose to.

I hope EIAS never settles for Second best. It would be a real waste of awesome resources.

Again, I agree with the sound thinking and that is resonating from the newer-ish EIAS camp. It's music to my ears. As well as this forum, and your presiding from your extensive expertise.

"Go for what you know"

AVTPro
03-09-2007, 01:36 PM
If EIAS has no future for character animation please don't tell "Disney"! LoL

I helped my client with this ad for a Disney Channel commercial last week or so.

With EI I could get the rig done in one day.

http://www.postforum.com/forums/read.php?f=9&i=41964&t=41963

PaulS2
03-09-2007, 02:21 PM
I think that's great!

The point I am making is no-one is going to buy EI if they want to do CA.....they will go elsewhere...Maya, Max, XSI. Whether or not EI does CA is not in question here...having more time spent on developing CA tools might keep existing users happy (the very few who do CA within EI) but that isn't EI's market.

How many seats of EI did Disney buy?

EI will not sell any new seats promoting into a CA market. EI needs some fresh meat to keep it afloat. It needs to clearly define for itself 'what is it's market?' and develop exquisite tools for that market and strenghten 'that' and stop trying to be something for everyone....that strategy is not working. I think we all know that.

AVTPro
03-09-2007, 03:02 PM
I think that's great!

The point I am making is no-one is going to buy EI if they want to do CA.....they will go elsewhere...Maya, Max, XSI.


First Paul, I want to say thanks. Secondly, concerning this statement, do you have proof of this? Without proof, how can this statement be more than speculation? Logistically it doesn't add up to me. Mainly because cost and platform are a major concerns for most users when making a 3D software purchase. Most users have already made sizeable investment into their platform of choice before they have enough experience to do 3D. Max are XSI are PC based software. So if you are on a Mac, which a lot of "graphic" people are, the choices you are presented are narrowed down to only Maya. In which, your purchasing choice as a new 3D users is 2K-7K or EIAS which is a highly more likely candidate for for a cost conscientious user at 6-800 (?). With Ease of Use, affordable price on the PC/Mac and some good old fashion advertising, demos and support. Animator will find that many of their goals and dreams can be met with EIAS.



Whether or not EI does CA is not in question here...having more time spent on developing CA tools might keep existing users happy (the very few who do CA within EI) but that isn't EI's market.

How many seats of EI did Disney buy?



Is that a trick question? Pass. :)

Better question is, How much work is being done with EIAS for studios like Disney or ILM that we dont' know about? And what can we do to get credit without damaging relationships or rights? NDA is so tight air a mumbling word can get out in favor of all the good work that is done with EIAS. Even I have work I wish I could should show. EIAS biggest problem is that "It's hollywood secret weapon". Since we are are making personal speculation on the unknown, I will go as far to say "3D users would be flocking to EI if they knew how many movies it's been used in."



EI will not sell any new seats promoting into a CA market. EI needs some fresh meat to keep it afloat. It needs to clearly define for itself 'what is it's market?' and develop exquisite tools for that market and strenghten 'that' and stop trying to be something for everyone....that strategy is not working. I think we all know that.

Brian made a good point, secondary 3D markets don't have the appeal to attract new users. Even more so, when other softwares such as Maya can do primary 3D CA, as well as the secondary sub-feild. EI should move full force to be on par with other mainstream 3D software. I have had to walk out of animation studios because they used Maya for architecture rendering but used me for a CA design skills. (nothing to do with EI. )

Anyway this is a "wish list" not a 'can't or should'nt have" list. :)
I have faith that EI will keep a balance without trying to diminish one asset or another.

PaulS2
03-09-2007, 03:22 PM
You make lots of great points but all you have to do is find out what are EI's sales statistics for new purchasers is.

Sadly, I'm betting it's dismal and it has been old-timers keeping things alive by getting upgrades.

If it was good in terms of attracting new users I would agree your views were correct...it should be attracting new users as we speak with good word of mouth.

But.....I think this isn't so.

It's been Hollywood's secret weapon for many years to no avail....that may just be insider marketing hype.

Word of mouth is what will keep EI alive ...not our guesses and suppositions. Right now it has no word of mouth and in direct competition against the in-trenched CA tools it has no chance.

Some guy out of school is not going to take a chance on some unknown 3d program without seeing stellar examples of Hollywood CA done in that program...especially if he already has had Maya exposure.

I hope my going on doesn't sound too negative - trust me, I would love to see EI be recognized in the market again and doing finacially well.

mike33
03-09-2007, 03:23 PM
Has the new EIAS done a market survey of the people who bought its software?
Do they know how many users do CA, fine art, Illustration, vfx, hobby work, etc?

I've seen the constant wish lists, but I don't recall seeing the who uses it and for what list (I could have missed it)?

In the end I guess it really comes down to what Brad wants to do with EIAS. What is his interests and passion for EIAS?

I'd love to see an "art focus time" and "career change icon"... but that's for me to do... getting there though... 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there... slowly, ever so slowly...

Cheers,

Mike

PaulS2
03-09-2007, 03:32 PM
Mike, the search for the answer to your question should be EI's most important mission as we speak.

Vizfizz
03-09-2007, 04:37 PM
There was a point where EI had a defined market. To find it, you would have to look at what the program was being used for back in the late 90's. If I were to analyze images being produced at the time, I would say EI's markets were (In order):

1. Broadcast Design.
2. Visual Effects & Hard surface animation for film.
3. Creative Content creation for CD-ROM games, Illustration, and 3D design.
4. Architectural Rendering.

But these markets were solely driven by the capabilties of 3D programs at the time. High end character work was still being produced within the ILMs of the world and the entry level users where only being exposed to 3D through hard surface animation. Flying a logo around was pretty impressive back in 1989-1995. EI was one of many programs that broke new ground to get hard surface animation to the masses.

Today the world of animation has changed thanks to the advent of more modern programs like Maya. These fourth generation of programs shifted the focus of animation off hard surface work and onto character work. EI, despite its advances, its still what I catagorize as a third generation 3D program. Let me clarify.

First Gen: Vector and introductory solid shaded 3D programs used early on in the cad/cam industry, architecture and industrial design segments of the world. Program examples: Autocad

Second Gen: Enhanced 3D programs that included in technologies like texture mapping, phong rendering, keyframing, lighting systems, and crude character capabilties. Still out of range of the common user, these systems were used by hollywood and big spenders. Exampels: Alias 4D workstations, PowerAnimator, Wavefront, TDI, Vertigo, Bosch and so forth. Focus: Hard surface animation. Architecture. Broadcast Design.

Third Gen: 3D for the masses breakthrough. All of the technologies being utilized in second gen were improved upon and delivered to the masses in reasonably affordable solutions. Photorealism was in its infancy but expanding rapidly. Focus was still hard surface animation and non-character based applications, but now it could run on off the shelf platforms. Examples: EIAS, Infini-D, Alias Sketch, Stratavision, Topaz, 3D Studio, all the Amiga based 3D applications and so forth. (Edit: Beginnings of usable character animation begin here.)

Forth Gen: Character content creation and true photorealism for the masses. This is where we are now. Focus has shifted from hard surface animation to character based content creation for nearly any medium one can choose. Forth Gen programs have all the powers of 3rd gen programs, but now emphasis is on conquering human form, character animation and image creation that can fool the human eye and brain into thinking that the images being produced are real. Examples: Maya, XSI, Max

To EIAS' credit, advances have been made to its render, that push it into forth gen territory, but only in the areas of photorealism. Camera is 4th Gen, while Animator is 3rd Gen. This is why it is still a good package to use for hard surface animation, stills, architecture, broadcast design and so forth. However, if EITG wants to remain competitive with the rest of the leaders of the pack, character animation can not be ignored because its the foundation for the Fifth Gen of packages. If EIAS tries to survive on word of mouth and its existing user base, it will ultimately die off because its user base will be forced to evolve to stay competitive with their peers. EITG could shift focus and remain a 3 1/2 gen program and market its capabilities to the secondary markets, but rest assured, that wont last long.

PaulS2
03-09-2007, 05:12 PM
"To EIAS' credit, advances have been made to its render, that push it into forth gen territory, but only in the areas of photorealism. Camera is 4th Gen, while Animator is 3rd Gen. This is why it is still a good package to use for hard surface animation, stills, architecture, broadcast design and so forth. However, if EITG wants to remain competitive with the rest of the leaders of the pack, character animation can not be ignored because its the foundation for the Fifth Gen of packages. If EIAS tries to survive on word of mouth and its existing user base, it will ultimately die off because its user base will be forced to evolve to stay competitive with their peers. EITG could shift focus and remain a 3 1/2 gen program and market its capabilities to the secondary markets, but rest assured, that wont last long."


If EI had scads of money for proper marketing and a full house of programmers then thinking about staying competitive with 'leaders' might be realistic.

Right now EI needs 'any' kind of good word of mouth within the 3D community.

I still think a flawless toolset designed for a specific market which has a proven track record of using EI to good result will result in more buzz, 'word of mouth' and sales. Going off to compete against the kings in 3D land, with minimal resourses, will keep EI the same as it is.

Obviously just opinion but in 2 years or so I guess we can look back to see what lessons we have learned:-)

Vizfizz
03-09-2007, 05:52 PM
So where does this leave us?

Actually not in too bad of shape really.... Here's why.

EIAS has a foundation to build off of as opposed to new programs coming onto the scene. It can leverage its history to help build new sales, but it should never rest on its laurels and suggest that users make due with what they've got. Somewhere, a position between Paul's position and mine is required...as long as it doesn't become some sort of wishy washy middle ground. There must be solid balance between appealing to exisitng markets and expanding the program into the next generations.

Its history is also its biggest achilles heal. Ridding one's self of a poor company image is difficult especially when its imposed by the users due to errors made by the company years ago. Lessons learned and its time to move on. Steps are being taken in EITG's management and marketing program to revitalize its market share by:

1. Bringing the program into modern OS standards (aka UB)

2. Reinforcing its primary strengths. Discussions on the advisory board for v7 include enhancements to core technologies and providing further improvements to EIAS rendering capabilities. This should effectively secure EI's hard surface and rendering supremacy.

3. Increase visability and web presence. The new website is doing great. Without question its a vast improvement for EITG's image. Its more professional looking and its doing its job quite effectively. Currently the website is receiving somewhere around 1000 unique hits a day. Plans for additional marketing venues are being developed but will most likely wait until things have stabilized.

4. Increase additional technologies. To quote Brad: “EI Technology Group is on the move! We are already well on our way to version 7.0 of EIAS and have begun the development of two new products for the 3D marketplace,” These new products, which will be revealed soon, will help build bridges to EI that haven't existed before.

5. Improve user communications and restoring user confidence in the company and its products.

Personally, I'm excited about EI's future. I can feel momentum building.

arketype
03-09-2007, 06:13 PM
To quote Brad: “EI Technology Group is on the move! We are already well on our way to version 7.0 of EIAS and have begun the development of two new products for the 3D marketplace,” These new products, which will be revealed soon, will help build bridges to EI that haven't existed before.




THIS is the kind of communication we have been asking for!
At least some general idea about where EIAS is going.

Well on the way to v7!
New bridges to EAIS!
New products!

All "Buzzworthy".

I agree Brian, all very exciting.

manuel
03-09-2007, 08:23 PM
What? Not one, but two products? Cool, does that mean these stoic forum will become more fanboy-ish? You know, a bit less down to earth and lots of speculation with people already getting bored with the products before they even get released.
Kidding aside, this is great news.

mike33
03-09-2007, 09:55 PM
[QUOTE=PaulS2

I still think a flawless toolset designed for a specific market which has a proven track record of using EI to good result will result in more buzz, 'word of mouth' and sales. Going off to compete against the kings in 3D land, with minimal resourses, will keep EI the same as it is.

Obviously just opinion but in 2 years or so I guess we can look back to see what lessons we have learned:-)[/QUOTE]

I think Paul has a very good point. I can remember when Strata was running into bug issues back in the mid 90's. C4D came out and took the forums by storm with users talking about it's solid performance, good product support and few bugs. I think that is still a very good lesson to learn from any software company ...solid performance, good product support and few bugs...

In regards to EIAS's two new products, the new plugins, and v7... Ugh. With my dabbling artist schedule and life the way life is.... I just have to keep saying.. "it's not the old rev of the tools that make the art its the artist.... Long live EIAS 5.5 and my G4/400!

TGIF... and back to work.

~Mike

AVTPro
03-09-2007, 10:10 PM
Just a couple quick notes.

Brian, again, I have great confidence in your leadership.

Change has to start with thinking. Change thinking, it will change your actions. You can not do the same things and expect change. Yes, acknowledge past error, stop going in that direction, then turn to new solutions.

On the character creation and rendering front is Zbrush. This is a new direction and solution for multiple users including fine artist, illustrators, animators and renderers.

When I was an Apple Rep, I want to use my "word of mouth' saie position to promote EI. It was a perfect position to do so. I could sell EI by selling other technologies like Zbrush or Motionbuilder (attach package). However, at the time, I couldnt feel confident selling to new 3D users without full Zbrush render support.

EI use to do trade shows. You give me a laptop, EI support, and send me to NY, pay my expenses I will do the Javit for you. I'll get you new users. :)

I can work the floor!! Again, it's about seeds of thought, eventually they grow.

Lastly, that's for the trip down memory lane with the 3D history tour. I have to say it's pretty accurate, sobering and inspiring. But don't forget the Swivel3D :)

How many looked at "Tin Toy" from Pixar with awe? :)

Vizfizz
03-09-2007, 10:41 PM
Alonzo...

First thing to point out...I'm am strictly a self appointed evangelist for EI. I've made that choice personally and I am not affliated or on the payroll in any way. My "leadership" is to get people excited about the product and to contribute to the EI effort through the advisory board and Paralumino. I'd like to think that I influence EI decision making, but that's about it. :)

Mike & Paul have good points and nothing can replace word of mouth and a positive experience with the application. My position is a little more forward thinking. That doesn't mean its better, its just a different aspect to an entire strategy. Its up to EITG to make the final decisions and once they do, support them to the best of our abilities.

Trade shows are good....and I believe that kind of exposure is important.

arketype
03-09-2007, 11:29 PM
I can remember when Strata was running into bug issues back in the mid 90's.~Mike

This is exacly how I came to EIAS!
Strata crashing and trashing my machine!

Lesson to be learned: Get rid of ALL bugs and "polish" the app to a professional level.

halfworld
03-11-2007, 05:35 PM
New products!

I agree Brian, all very exciting.

I'll third and fourth that :)
Ian

halfworld
03-11-2007, 06:24 PM
As a official Autodesk Developer Partner, EITG has committed to working with Autodesk in making EIAS friendly to our Maya brethren.

I just noticed this on the new EI site....

Worthy of taking note,
Ian

AVTPro
03-11-2007, 06:32 PM
Alonzo...

First thing to point out...I'm am strictly a self appointed evangelist for EI. I've made that choice personally and I am not affliated or on the payroll in any way. My "leadership" is to get people excited about the product and to contribute to the EI effort through the advisory board and Paralumino. I'd like to think that I influence EI decision making, but that's about it. :)

Mike & Paul have good points and nothing can replace word of mouth and a positive experience with the application. My position is a little more forward thinking. That doesn't mean its better, its just a different aspect to an entire strategy. Its up to EITG to make the final decisions and once they do, support them to the best of our abilities.

Trade shows are good....and I believe that kind of exposure is important.

Hey Brian,

I don't know where, or how, anything that I said could be interpeted that you have better thinking, were getting paid, or that Mike or Paul's points were invalid.

I dont know how stating that I "trust" in your vision, group effort, zeal, knowledge and working experience would reflect poorly on any other EI users...

Regardless of what others say or think, I just don't think in terms of anyone is more or less than anyone else for any reason. I apologize if affording, adding my "confidence" to enhance your efforts brings any heat to you. I need no allegiances or alliances to do artwork. I compare my self only against myself.


I do understand how often positive efforts to bring change is met with counter producitive energy. That kind of energy I first try to transform with hope, or example of progressive fortitude. If doesn't work..I don't have to time for it.

Though I am not on the board, part of any special EI group, I don't think you or anyone else more of a evangelist for positive change than I am.

Maybe all my attempts for influence EI in "helpful ways" with rig tutorials, beta testing, online support, sales, and plain ole "Positive talk" hasn't been successful as I like.

but one thing for "Absolutely Certain" I won't stop trying. That's what winners do.

Vizfizz
03-11-2007, 06:39 PM
Alonzo...

No need to get cerebral over it.. I'm just saying... though I appreciate your confidence in me and my "leadership".. I just don't want users to think that I am remotely in charge of EI policy. I am here to support EITG management by generating interest and user confidence in the product. That's what product evangelists do. ;) Personally, I think your samples and contributions are great. You're using EI in a way that not many others do and I think we need more of that.

As with what Ian just pointed out.. I think the EI to Maya pipeline is about to get better. ;)

AVTPro
03-11-2007, 06:59 PM
Alonzo...

No need to get cerebral over it.. I'm just saying... though I appreciate your confidence in me and my "leadership".. I just don't want users to think that I am remotely in charge of EI policy. I am here to support EITG management by generating interest and user confidence in the product.



Hahah CEREBRAL hahaha funny!! Much Kudos to your "support" Brian. I just think you have good candor. I would love to brag about that, but really, it takes very little effort to be a gentlemen. Sorry, no medal or cookie. :)

I think everybody using EI should be supportive naturally. It only makes sense.

Oh..and thanks. I try.


As with what Ian just pointed out.. I think the EI to Maya pipeline is about to get better. ;)

Yeah...I believe that. With trust, faith and with little pixie dust..we can fly.

AVTPro
03-11-2007, 07:35 PM
One last little thing,

10 years ago, I used EI and FormZ to visualize CAD accurate plots for designer lamps which were sold in Home Depot. Also, I produce Architectural renders from flats, and taught archi groups transitioning from 2D CAD to 3D. 3D being convergent technology of several industries, I did logo animation for Microsoft through a film studio. I have great respect for those fields.

However, I spent all of my young adult life as a portrait artist and painter at festivals and carnivals. Since I was 16 years old, I worked under professional artist. stretching canvases.
So I tend to gravitate towards fine art and lilustration, but only did computers to make a living in NYC. Eventually, when I will try to build a better body of work. I want to get back in touch with my inner artist as I was when I first lived in Buffalo.

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk down memory lane you wrote about "generation" of software. I suggest that everybody read it. I was just asking did anybody remember Topaz :)

Also, it's a good measuring post to identify and evualate what gen you are and would like to go. I want to model, texture and animate like I use to paint if not better.

atdesign
03-11-2007, 10:21 PM
As with what Ian just pointed out.. I think the EI to Maya pipeline is about to get better. ;)


OK, now you have my attention. A native fac export out of Maya would be a nice start. Is there more? :) :) :)

AVTPro
03-12-2007, 03:24 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizfizz
As with what Ian just pointed out.. I think the EI to Maya pipeline is about to get better.


Importation of Vertice Animation (blendshapes)

Vizfizz
03-12-2007, 06:25 AM
OK, now you have my attention. A native fac export out of Maya would be a nice start. Is there more? :) :) :)

Let me see what I can dig up and I'll try to get you some answers. Maybe Brad will be in a giving mood. ;)

atdesign
03-12-2007, 07:05 AM
Let me see what I can dig up and I'll try to get you some answers. Maybe Brad will be in a giving mood.

Thanks Brian. I'm fond of both apps, seeing some bridges between the 2 of them would be a good thing.

Importation of Vertice Animation (blendshapes)

Nice idea. I would think a whole lot more would be possible if Blendshapes were portable.