What now?

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  04 April 2014
What now?

So, now that our favorite software is coming to an end I wonder who will be attempting to use the final version of SI as long as possible. Also, I've wonder if anyone is planning to buy it to secure a final copy?
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  04 April 2014
I love Softimage. However, Autodesk owns it and is killing it. So, I am migrating to Maya.

The key Softimage developers got moved to Maya, and it is a lot closer to Softimage than anything else. Hopefully, they will continue to migrate the best parts of Softimage into Maya. I can't imagine they are not going to do some sort of ICE implementation.

Autodesk won. It sucks, and I will miss Softimage, but life will go on. I wish the rest of the industry understood what is at stake. One company controls almost the entire 3D industry.
That isn't good for users.

Sadly, it is probably just a matter of time before they take down (buy) ZBrush.

  04 April 2014
Will stay with Softimage up until something better comes.

But i am pessimistic about the DCC software industry. There are no good GUI and interaction models and the legacy wights too much.

Houdini lives in a world of their own - Powerful but they turn complex things that should be simple.
Cinema 4D - got the motion graphics market and doesn't seem to be able to make another jump.
Maya is a frankenstein without logic.
3dsMax is withering in bad wine.
  04 April 2014
Modo perhaps?

I was thinking about switching to Modo, watched some of the 801 video, seems like it's come a long way. Also, it's very affordable which is nice.

What do you guys think?
  04 April 2014
Well this is an interesting question. I started out using Softimage almost 2 years ago. Migrated from other software to what I thought would be my home for pretty much the duration.

However, after using it for a few months I became frustrated with the lack of support with other products in my intended pipeline which was to eventually include Maya, MotionBuilder and Mudbox. Maya laughably intended as an link between MotionBuilder and Softimage. And I was going to accept having Maya only because it was a part of the suite. Strange. I never intended to take it seriously.

Well as time went on the date was upon me to do my upgrade to a suite. Various factors at play not worth getting into. But at this point I finally decided, that's it. Maya will be the new center of my production pipeline and I embarked on the laborious task of learning Maya from the ground up just as I had finally finished with Softimage.

That was over a year ago.

And a few weeks into it I realized I had been a first class idiot. I really was loving Maya, but I also found out why it was such a force in the industry as a main tool within most pipelines. There are just too many factors to get into. But in a nutshell, an app that is really so much better suited for the work I was going to be doing than Softimage could have ever been.

That said, Softimage remains in my pipeline for the things that it can do and do well where Maya is lacking and that is mainly ICE and Face Robot.

It is from this experience - first hand - that I realized what it was I think that AD tried to do with XSI as a tool and then failed at. I think they saw basically the same things I did from the beginning. That there was no way they'd be successful increasing its use as a stand alone tool and be used in place of Maya and leave the development of Maya behind and put that functionality into Softimage. But rather if they could pump money into developing ICE they could somehow leverage the existing user base of Maya and get them to adapt it as a SFX tool. By selling it in the suite and increase the interopablity between apps (something they have done up to the last version of Softimage) they could carve out a chunk of the SPFX market.

Now right there that just pisses XSI hard core users right off. And I can understand why.

But the fact remains that all of the numbers pointed to Maya. And Maya has been - for good reason - the better tool of choice for your basic character animation pipeline which is a huge market.

A Softimage user can disagree with me on this point technically. But still the numbers point to Maya.

In a perfect world Softimage would have had more love and its ICE and animation capabilities been the center of a new app that could have become the DCC of choice. But that did not happen.

The mistake Autodesk made in my opinion was to not service the existing user base of Softimage. I think they just became more and more frustrated over time. If the pay off was to be more users of Softimage then the solution should have been to keep updating all of the features and not just limiting the development primarily to special effects.

In defense of AD despite that mistake, they did however focus right in on what the strengths of Softimage were considering they already had Maya to offer. And they developed accordingly.

Now that the dust has settled and all. I am looking to the future. I already have Maya as my main app of choice. And Softimage as a working SFX tool.

But in the near future I will start to set my sights on Houdini and see what it has to offer as a replacement.

In the mean time I am fairly confident that Maya will now get even more love it deserves in areas lacking in the past.

For me it is all good.

For the hard core Softimage user it is not a good day. But for what it can do, it has a lot to offer for a few years to come.

One thing is for sure, things are always changing in this industry and we have to learn how to roll with it.

I have a feeling I am in for another lesson. That forces beyond my control will have me looking at and using Houdini when all along I should have considered it more seriously as to what it has to offer over ICE.
Richard Culver
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