Can VFX software still continue to be expensive with falling VFX wages?

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Old 06 June 2013   #1
Can VFX software still continue to be expensive with falling VFX wages?

Hello,
I am really curious what kind of market pressures affect the price of VFX software.

Let's take Maya for example. Here* I see Maya 2014 for more than 3,500 dollars for a perpetual license. Ten years ago when I would ask about the high price of the software people would just tell me matter-of-factly that it was simply a cost of doing business. That was when the ratio of possible earnings to cost of software was much higher.

Now when cg artists are having their wages reduced significantly to the point that many are barely covering their own costs of living, can these prices still be viewed as reasonable? What would have to happen for the prices to go down?


* http://www.novedge.com/products/810...CFeuDQgodTDQA_Q
 
Old 06 June 2013   #2
Employees do not buy their software. Freelancers do, and they are responsible for setting their own wages to pay for their software. They are also free to choose their choice of softwares with varying degrees of cost.
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Old 06 June 2013   #3
Originally Posted by badsearcher: What would have to happen for the prices to go down?

It would need to be cheap to develop them and a huge number of people needs to buy them

Usualy two main factors have an influence
1. The cost of making and providing it
2. The market situation (competitive products, demand)

The company simply has to earn a specific amount to stay in business (not taking into account cross financing if a company has different products on the market that are used to compensate bad sales). Since the costs for developing a VFX software is rather high, this already gives high base costs.
Secondly, VFX is a niche market. It may not look like it from the pov of a CG Society member, but compared to the sales numbers of Photoshop, Word ... the market is tiny.
Also VFX software is never as easy to use as PS, Word etc. but needs a lot more know how and training. This further limits the number of possible users.
Combine the two factors and you have an idea why prices are this way.

Cheers
Björn


PS: Just my personaly 2 cent of course
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Old 06 June 2013   #4
Yup.

Plus in a lot of places software are part of business expenses that are (partially) tax deductible.

Doesn't mean it cannot still be pricey for some folks, but it is not as bad as it sounds.
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Old 06 June 2013   #5
And it was not long ago that Maya going for around 8K.
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Old 06 June 2013   #6
Considering when I started in this business both the computers (SGIs) and the software to run them on cost $250,000-$500,000 for *each* unit.
Meanwhile those SGIs were the first capable machine that could fit 'beside' a desk-and didn't require its own *room* to run.

Software prices-and hardware practicality- have already come down quite a bit...
Just wait till the 'cloud' shows up-you'll think your paying a bargain (until you add it up over a few years).
 
Old 06 June 2013   #7
Originally Posted by circusboy: Considering when I started in this business both the computers (SGIs) and the software to run them on cost $250,000-$500,000 for *each* unit.
Meanwhile those SGIs were the first capable machine that could fit 'beside' a desk-and didn't require its own *room* to run.

Software prices-and hardware practicality- have already come down quite a bit...
Just wait till the 'cloud' shows up-you'll think your paying a bargain (until you add it up over a few years).

You saved me a lot of typing...
-R
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Old 06 June 2013   #8
Vfx software isn't expensive. One decent freelance job should more than cover a license, and subscriptions, while annoying, do have benefits.

It's the non transferable licenses that get me.
 
Old 06 June 2013   #9
Wages are not going down. The number of jobs might be, but where has it been said that wages are dropping? Wages have nothing to do with software costs, the two are completely different, with wages being governed by many more factors.
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Old 06 June 2013   #10
Originally Posted by badsearcher: Now when cg artists are having their wages reduced significantly to the point that many are barely covering their own costs of living


Where is this happening?
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Old 06 June 2013   #11
A decade ago...yes, the market was indeed small. However, in that time the demand of 3D packages for the home user has grown tremendously as its become a very popular art form. What has happened is that Autodesk has simply ignored this new customer demand. They only care about studios, and so they price for them alone.

However, where Autodesk is ignoring the home user and freelancer, other packages have provided for those customers at reasonable prices: Lightwave, C4D, Modo, Houdini. Hell, there is even Blender, for free, which is now good enough for freelancers...

Also, things have been turning to specialised software, which makes it even easier for the individual to afford the tools they need: Any modeller worth their salt will be using Zbrush for sculpting, and as a primary modelling tool, its about £450, which is within the budget of the mere mortal. Hell, for another £100 you could boost it with fantastic tools like Silo(£30 on Steam) and Topogun(£60) for a very strong modelling pipeline. And with its powerful animation and rendering features, use Blender(£0).

So, in these modern times, one can quite comfortably have a professional pipeline for £550. If you must turn your nose up at Blender for animation and rendering, then go with Messiah for an extra £200(price correct at this time of writing...I think?)...which brings the total to £750.

As for Studios, its up to them to provide the tools to do the job, so let them worry about it.
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Old 06 June 2013   #12
Ok, I'm seeing a lot of good points here, especially pertaining to the decreased costs of software/hardware.

Leigh, to answer your question, when I say wages, I am referring in large part to Real wages.

One of the ways in which real wages are down comes from the fact that so many people are expected to work a lot of unpaid overtime which has a real effect of lowering how much money you get out of an hour's worth of work.

Also, the reduction of jobs does contribute to a lowering of how much you can expect to earn per year.
 
Old 06 June 2013   #13
Already feels cheap compared to the Alias Wavefront days *shrug*
 
Old 06 June 2013   #14
Originally Posted by circusboy: Considering when I started in this business both the computers (SGIs) and the software to run them on cost $250,000-$500,000 for *each* unit.
Meanwhile those SGIs were the first capable machine that could fit 'beside' a desk-and didn't require its own *room* to run.

Software prices-and hardware practicality- have already come down quite a bit...
Just wait till the 'cloud' shows up-you'll think your paying a bargain (until you add it up over a few years).
Yes, Maya 1.0-1.5 with all the modules was 40-50k. Even Softimage Facerobot was 95k not 5-6 years ago.
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Old 06 June 2013   #15
In the UK, freelance fees are not coming down. Freelancers are still making enough to pay for their software. Dont worry.

Also, think about what you are getting for your money, i think its a bargain personaly.
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