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

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  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by beaker: Yes, Maya 1.0-1.5 with all the modules was 40-50k. Even Softimage Facerobot was 95k not 5-6 years ago.


yeah, i remember Maya 1 coming during my first job in Soho working for a big software reseller in 1999 and my boss deciding not to start selling Maya because he thought people would be put off by the price, so we stuck with 3dsmax..

Good decision boss!

Out of curiosity, how much is facerobot these days and does anyone actually use it? It seemed to disappear fairly quickly
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  06 June 2013
Wages being stagnant is the same as falling wages in this economy.

Stupid question but why does it cost so much to develop cg software? It should cost pretty much the same as any other software, all you need is a few programmers and maybe artists to test.

I think they could be cheaper but I understand why they are so high, its like a different market, there not even really supposed to be sold to individuals or marketed to them.
 
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by Calabi: Stupid question but why does it cost so much to develop cg software? .


Because they have one small group of people they do everything for and have to bend over backward to please: the shareholders.

But you are correct, real wages have gone down since there is a glut of people in the available work pool, and schools now pump out those kids by the dozens.

And the sooner we can get past the idea that the software is somehow more expensive than the people, the better. Yes, on it's own, $4k or $5k is a lot of cash for the individual buyer, but it's nothing compared to the monthly payroll of even a small or medium sized studio. The cost of a site license for a hundred seats of XYZ software pales in comparison to the cost of even a few senior or mid level artists.
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  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by badsearcher: 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.


Wages have come down in real terms, the rates on offer now are not even close to what the average freelancer was getting back in 2003 when you factor in inflation and the rise in living costs.
 
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by Calabi: Stupid question but why does it cost so much to develop cg software? It should cost pretty much the same as any other software, all you need is a few programmers and maybe artists to test.

The differences are huge. Different to most other areas of software development in CG there is always something realy new. It is development on the edge of reasearch. The complexity of the software is vastly higher than any word processor etc.
I can only talk for the software we develop, but it is similar in complexity and code size to a major operating system. I doubt it is much different for our competitors.
In most other fields development means adjusting existing solutions to specific customer needs. In CG you develop new stuff from the ground up and you are under much more pressure regarding performance. Scientific calculations aside there aren't many applications that are as performance critical as CG applications.
It realy is a very different animal.

Originally Posted by Artbot: Because they have one small group of people they do everything for and have to bend over backward to please: the shareholders

I beg to differ, neither Maxon, nor Side FX, Newtek or Luxology offer publicaly traded shares.

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  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by Srek: I beg to differ, neither Maxon, nor Side FX, Newtek or Luxology offer publicaly traded shares.


True. I was referring to what is likely the biggest player out there, Autodesk, since Max/Maya/XSI are what were frequently mentioned earlier in the thread.
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  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by thethule: Out of curiosity, how much is facerobot these days and does anyone actually use it? It seemed to disappear fairly quickly


Since you asked.
Its now part of 'standard issue' Softimage (which itself is part of the standard issue Autodesk production suites).

See?! you do get a lot for your money!
So stop complaining OP!

Blur used to use it and influenced its development as well-but I am not sure if they do still. You probably don't hear about it because its like- asking if anyone 'revolves curves' any more its just a small part of a larger complex software.
 
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by vfx: 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.


Wages are plummeting in areas where college is not free.

I've been working in the field for 10 years now, on the west coast in the US. When I got out school the money was everywhere, easy as cake. Taught college along side working in the field and I've seen many students come and go.

When I started out, the lowest paying job was about $20/hour, but most were 25-30/hour which isn't a terrible living for a new grad. Actually it's pretty great. I managed to get my experience while the going was good, and I'm in the 'safe zone', but who knows for how long.

Now I see the starting pay for new grads and it's often minimum wage. College grads are leaving school with 100k in debt, and if they don't pay it back within say 6 years it can almost double due to compound interest. The jobs are also leaving to cheaper countries, so there are more grads with fewer jobs to fill, and they have serious debt. They are literally starting at $10/hour and I've seen more than a few at minimum wage which is $8.45/hour. They underbid each other and their relative worth because they are desperate.

To put it into perspective, pizza delivery guys get $12/hour at most places around here. 3D is less valuable than pizza delivery right now in many parts of the country. It will affect most of us at some point.

Last edited by Diffus3d : 06 June 2013 at 08:39 PM.
 
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by x24BitVoxel: Wages are plummeting in areas where college is not free.

I've been working in the field for 10 years now, on the west coast in the US. When I got out school the money was everywhere, easy as cake. Taught college along side working in the field and I've seen many students come and go.

When I started out, the lowest paying job was about $20/hour, but most were 25-30/hour which isn't a terrible living for a new grad. Actually it's pretty great. I managed to get my experience while the going was good, and I'm in the 'safe zone', but who knows for how long.

Now I see the starting pay for new grads and it's often minimum wage. College grads are leaving school with 100k in debt, and if they don't pay it back within say 6 years it can almost double due to compound interest. The jobs are also leaving to cheaper countries, so there are more grads with fewer jobs to fill, and they have serious debt. They are literally starting at $10/hour and I've seen more than a few at minimum wage which is $8.45/hour. They underbid each other and their relative worth because they are desperate.

To put it into perspective, pizza delivery guys get $12/hour at most places around here. 3D is less valuable than pizza delivery right now in many parts of the country. It will affect most of us at some point.



I hear you, I remember working in London when rates dived after Mill Film shut. That reminds me though of the free lunch's brought round by a runner and ordered from a menu cooked in house !
 
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by circusboy: Since you asked.
Its now part of 'standard issue' Softimage (which itself is part of the standard issue Autodesk production suites).

See?! you do get a lot for your money!
So stop complaining OP!

Blur used to use it and influenced its development as well-but I am not sure if they do still. You probably don't hear about it because its like- asking if anyone 'revolves curves' any more its just a small part of a larger complex software.


Incredible to think that at one point they were charging 90k for it..

I was thinking about this after we bough PFtrack last year. We paid around £3500 for it and pretty much all it does is tracking (albeit very well). But thats the same price as maya or 3dsmax. Just goes to show how much you get for your money
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  06 June 2013
VFX is too narrow an industry to have a clear picture about wages (worldwide) but if you say "visual design, video & post-production" which encompasses 10 times the people you could say that rates are under pressure. It's the economy combined with a decade of growing supply of people and cheap technology.

As said before, while software & hardware is still expensive it has come down a lot. For example in the 2005-2007 period you could be buy AVID tech for 20k-40k and have it gathering dust a year later.

3D & FX is still only a small part of the visual industry, the reason why Adobe can push forward on a subscription model is part because of the crazy amount of licenses out there. Probably at least a 100 times the combined seats of all VFX software.

There will come a point where it's simply not economically viable to maintain 4k software prices but it will take a while. Capital investment is going down in this ongoing crisis, liquidity is low, banks don't loan. Small shops are the way to go.

As a matter of fact, Maxon going the Cinema 4D Lite route & employing the strategy of lining up with the distribution & market penetration of Adobe looks like a sure sign of them going that route. It's inevitable.

Sorry srek, we're onto 'your' strategically very wise move
 
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by Calabi: Stupid question but why does it cost so much to develop cg software? It should cost pretty much the same as any other software, all you need is a few programmers and maybe artists to test.


Sure... If you're doing an app for a phone (and even for those, teams are much more complex than what you describe).
I would suggest you try to become a programmer specialized in 3D graphics. When you're done (in about 4-5 years, I guess), come back and let us know how that went, and how much I costed you to get there.
I don't mean to appear as an a***ole, but its sad to see the "2 dollar app" mentality that is so rampant in today's society (not only software development). People make a bunch of assumptions based on imaginary scenarios that fit their vision of the world, and extrapolate those on to everyone else's life. But I guess that's how life is, so I won't go ranting on that.
If you have a chance, go visit a software development company. Any will do. Take an intern tour or something. Try to talk to some of the people working there about what they do, how long they've done it, what kind of skill it takes to do it, etc. If possible, inquire about the salaries for different types of specializations.
I think that will give you a better picture of why 3D software costs what it costs (and I also think its a bargain compared to what I get, not to how much money I've got in my account).
 
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by Toonman2: Sure... If you're doing an app for a phone (and even for those, teams are much more complex than what you describe).
I would suggest you try to become a programmer specialized in 3D graphics. When you're done (in about 4-5 years, I guess), come back and let us know how that went, and how much I costed you to get there.
I don't mean to appear as an a***ole, but its sad to see the "2 dollar app" mentality that is so rampant in today's society (not only software development). People make a bunch of assumptions based on imaginary scenarios that fit their vision of the world, and extrapolate those on to everyone else's life. But I guess that's how life is, so I won't go ranting on that.
If you have a chance, go visit a software development company. Any will do. Take an intern tour or something. Try to talk to some of the people working there about what they do, how long they've done it, what kind of skill it takes to do it, etc. If possible, inquire about the salaries for different types of specializations.
I think that will give you a better picture of why 3D software costs what it costs (and I also think its a bargain compared to what I get, not to how much money I've got in my account).


Whilst I can only agree with you on the development of 3D software, I don't believe the majority of people arguing against the price of Max, Maya etc are after a "2 dollar app" price. They are merely after an edition of that software that is affordable for them as individuals.

There used to be a time, many moons ago, when one could afford Maya Complete at £1,500. But now at £3,200 its now out of the reach for most individuals. Saying that I hear there is this £130 3-month license one can pay for Maya, so I guess its not all doom and gloom...
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  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by Toonman2: Sure... If you're doing an app for a phone (and even for those, teams are much more complex than what you describe).
I would suggest you try to become a programmer specialized in 3D graphics. When you're done (in about 4-5 years, I guess), come back and let us know how that went, and how much I costed you to get there.
I don't mean to appear as an a***ole, but its sad to see the "2 dollar app" mentality that is so rampant in today's society (not only software development). People make a bunch of assumptions based on imaginary scenarios that fit their vision of the world, and extrapolate those on to everyone else's life. But I guess that's how life is, so I won't go ranting on that.
If you have a chance, go visit a software development company. Any will do. Take an intern tour or something. Try to talk to some of the people working there about what they do, how long they've done it, what kind of skill it takes to do it, etc. If possible, inquire about the salaries for different types of specializations.
I think that will give you a better picture of why 3D software costs what it costs (and I also think its a bargain compared to what I get, not to how much money I've got in my account).


I'm not sure what the cost of studying has to do with the cost of the software. The companies pay people what they are willing and the individual accepts. Software costs the highest price the company can get away to enough individuals/companies willing to buy.

From what I can tell(googling). Autodesk doesnt have much profits, 2 billion income only about 300 million profits. Perhaps they do need to increase the price of the software or get rid of some people.
 
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by badsearcher: 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


I'm going to be controversial and suggest that falling software prices might be responsible for falling wages. When software is $50K and it won't run on a box costing less than $30K skilled labour will be in short supply. When you can get it free just by ticking a box that says you're vaguely involved in education, the skills market becomes pretty saturated. We're kinda weird in this industry where we think that freely distributing the tools of our trade will be good for the industry as a whole. It's not. It makes the industry bigger, but doesn't increase the amount of money coming into the industry from clients. There may even be a net decrease as every supplier cuts their margins to fend off the newcomers.
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