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Old 03-16-2014, 07:27 PM   #1
alastairhearsum
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open letter to Carl Bass

Hello

This is worth reading as regards the recent decision of Autodesk to end SOftimage

http://www.theafterimage.com/#!vstc0=openletter

Thanks

Alastair

Last edited by alastairhearsum : 03-16-2014 at 08:43 PM.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 07:59 PM   #2
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Great letter, but the Autodesk CEO is CARL Bass, not Saul Bass. Saul Bass was a famous graphic designer - now deceased - who created many iconic intro sequences for classic movies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saul_Bass

What I liked best about the letter was that he tells the truth about Maya - its a piece of shit DCC software if you don't have a sizeable support team to code stuff for it.

Thanks for sharing the letter. It was well written and full of truth...
 
Old 03-16-2014, 08:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artsyboy
What I liked best about the letter was that he tells the truth about Maya - its a piece of shit DCC software if you don't have a sizeable support team to code stuff for it.


Please avoid the wide sweeping sensationalist statements. Maya does perform better for certain uses, even for individual use. To label it as you did is a little narrow minded. Lets try to steer clear another endless this app vs that app thread.

I actually learned XSI from Perry in Chicago when Softimage were on their own. Its a great piece of software, but not many people use it stateside. Maybe if more people bought it, AD would've kept developing it.

I think Perry used to post in the XSI forum here on CGTalk. Ill try to get a hold of him and see if he want's to join the discussion here.
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Last edited by AJ1 : 03-16-2014 at 08:34 PM.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 08:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artsyboy
What I liked best about the letter was that he tells the truth about Maya - its a piece of shit DCC software if you don't have a sizeable support team to code stuff for it..


That's very strange. I'm a solo freelancer who spends the majority of my time working in Maya and for me it's very easy to work with. Sure I do have some basic scripting skills (anyone who doesn't isn't really using their app to its full potential IMO) but I'm one person. Not a 'sizable support team', and yet I get my projects done on time and on budget.

So please lets lose the hyperbole and keep this on topic.

Cheers,
Brian
 
Old 03-16-2014, 09:47 PM   #5
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Perry Harrovas , i was sure i know this name ... bring back good memories
http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-May...s/dp/0782125212
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:40 PM   #6
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"the truth about Maya - its a piece of shit DCC software if you don't have a sizeable support team to code stuff for it."

Alright, well, this thread's gonna get closed soon.

But, you know what man, I have been using Maya in various capacities for close to, geez, five/six years? and I have no idea what you are talking about.

I mean, I read the letter and the guy talked about the keyframes being decoupled from the rigs, or something like that, and I'm just thinking to myself, "ok, WHICH VERSION is this?" Cause I am racking my brain and I can't remember having a problem that vaguely resembles this and I've been using Maya since 8.5. I don't know, maybe Maya 2.0 really did have this problem but I think it's kind of unfair to sort of project that onto all of Maya as a whole. I really find the omission to be willfully dishonest.

No, I've never used softimage and I'm sorry for people who had their preferred platform hijacked. The letter writer does have a point that I or anyone else might be in that boat one day. I've also never really got into Max because, why?

So, let's bring it back home, the writer talks in very very general terms that "the wood is rotting" in Maya with the only specific criticism he gives us is some rigging issue he probably had in a Maya version ten+ years ago.

I'm sorry, I can't take this letter seriously, that he threw in the "feed their families" canard just sort of cinched it for me.
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Last edited by badsearcher : 03-16-2014 at 10:44 PM.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 10:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badsearcher
I mean, I read the letter and the guy talked about the keyframes being decoupled from the rigs, or something like that, and I'm just thinking to myself, "ok, WHICH VERSION is this?" .....

So, let's bring it back home, the writer talks in very very general terms that "the wood is rotting" in Maya with the only specific criticism he gives us is some rigging issue he probably had in a Maya version ten+ years ago. ....

.....I'm sorry, I can't take this letter seriously......


Yeah, pretty much the same reaction I had when I read it. Look I get that Softimage users are upset, but generalizations like this (that sound pretty out of date really) aren't doing anyone favors.

Cheers,
Brian
 
Old 03-16-2014, 10:48 PM   #8
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For example, something I don't get about the Maya hate is something which clashes with one of the first things I learned when I transitioned from Poser 3d hobbyist (we were all young once) into a student of Maya. I was really surprised that Maya didn't have any useful tools for creating complete video files which is when I learned that anyone who is serious already has third party tools for certain roles that Maya could never hope to compete with.

So when I see someone on a Zbrush forum hating on Maya for not having good enough modelling tools, I sincerely wonder what it is precisely that they are expecting Maya to have? The full equivalent of the ZBrush suite in Maya?

So yeah, rant over, I'm turning the mic over to people with huge qualms with Maya and asking them, what exactly do you expect of Maya and how does it fall short of those expectations?
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badsearcher
Alright, well, this thread's gonna get closed soon.


Lol, yea. We're walking a tightrope here.

I'm not 100% sure about of his technical arguments about Maya being out of date. Maya came out in 1998, while XSI was launched in 1997. Both programs run single threaded, and both have roots in the early 90's.

I hate to criticize as I've got a lot of respect for Perry. Again, Ill try to get a hold of him, and see if he want's to join this thread.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:44 PM   #10
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I don't see the point of this letter. Is it supposed to change Autodesks mind or is it just a rant? I'm sure Autodesk thought long and hard over how many customers this move would cost them and weighed it against how much it would cost to continue supporting the product. Obviously ending its support was a better financial decision for a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ and, for better or worse, must put the interests of its share holders above that of its user-base sometimes.

While I get the stickin-it-to-the-man position of deciding to go with a non-autodesk owned software instead, it just seems like you're making it harder on yourself. Your main commercially available non-autodesk options, for animation at least, are going to be Blender and Lightwave. If you don't like Maya or Max because of their workflows and bugginess, wait until you use Blender or Lightwave. Don't get me wrong, those are great programs capable to producing amazing things in the right hands but you're just trading one old finicky can of worms that has a large user/support base for solving problems for another old finichy can of worms that has a much smaller user/support base for solving problems.

Plus, with Autodesk's track record, whatever software you choose to learn instead will most likely be owned by Autodesk in 10 years anyways. Its like saying to want to work for a successful startup internet company that will never have any ties to Google, Apple, or Microsoft.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:07 AM   #11
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Alastair Hearsum from Glassworks did a good open letter to AD also

http://www.mail-archive.com/softima...m/msg22471.html
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1
I'm not 100% sure about of his technical arguments about Maya being out of date. Maya came out in 1998, while XSI was launched in 1997. Both programs run single threaded, and both have roots in the early 90's.

Not that it matters much in this context, but not a single one of those statements is correct.

XSI was launched in 2000, not in '97. Neither program runs exclusively single threaded, plenty Maya solvers are multi-threaded, ICE in XSI is incredibly well threaded and offers an API that does a generally good job of letting a developer transparently do the same.

"Both have roots in the early 90s" not sure What that means.
XSI wasn't even much of a thought in the early 90s, Twister, which was not XSI, was past the mid 90s mark, and Sumatra (the code name of XSI) didn't really surface as a name until 99. Maya AFAIK entered dev proper around 95 while PA was still maintained (much like Soft|3D and XSI), and only started including beta sites in the loop around 97 and wasn't quite fully finalized in all the choices that made it the platform it came to be even then. "Roots" might need some defining.

The rest of the thread, I'm not sure what to make of, it looks like the usual flame war in the making with the standard trite arguments and counter arguments. I can't really see a point to either side, or how it's a productive debate to entertain.
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:25 AM   #13
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Lol, thanks for clearing that up Raffaele. I knew I wasn't 100% sure about any of that.

I think you may want to edit the Wikipedia articles for Maya and XSI. Whoever wrote them claimed Maya came out in 98, and XSI 1.0 in 97. It looks like the Softimage article says it came out in 2000, while another claims 97.

I guess my assessment that they both run single threaded comes from watching task manager while using the programs. I've never seen either use more than around 1/4 of my quad core for doing basic operations. I also don't do anything fancy in either. Would you consider ICE and Nucleus separate from the kernel?

I think by "roots" I meant that Softimage and Alias/Wavefront had been working on 3D DCC apps since the late 80's, early 90's.

Sorry to write such inaccurate wide sweeping conjecture, and thanks for taking time to share your knowledge on the subject.
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Old 03-17-2014, 04:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1
I think you may want to edit the Wikipedia articles for Maya and XSI. Whoever wrote them claimed Maya came out in 98, and XSI 1.0 in 97. It looks like the Softimage article says it came out in 2000, while another claims 97.

My level of commitment to Autodek and accurate historical portrayal of their products is unlikely to ever reach enough points for me to wikify that stuff

Quote:
I guess my assessment that they both run single threaded comes from watching task manager while using the programs. I've never seen either use more than around 1/4 of my quad core for doing basic operations. I also don't do anything fancy in either.

The scene graph and most operators aren't multi-threaded in either of them, so you're unlikely to see your cores melting much if you're just modelling or animating.
If you used ICE for components of the rig or deformers though, provided the case is threading friendly, then you would definitely start seeing more parallel activity.

Quote:
Would you consider ICE and Nucleus separate from the kernel?

I don't even think such a thing as a "kernel" exists in first place. Hell, I'm even opposed to the ever so abused definition stuck in so many people's hindbrain of "core".
ICE is evaluated separately, within the graph, than the scene graph, and Nucleus is MTed because the solvers are, again Maya's DG in general is evaluated by a single thread railing through a lazy eval, only intra-node you can multithread out of the box.

Quote:
I think by "roots" I meant that Softimage and Alias/Wavefront had been working on 3D DCC apps since the late 80's, early 90's.

Ford has been making cars since 1903, I wouldn't say the Focus Mark I had its roots in the T model though
Sure, you could talk about philosophies staying true to original visions (Ford's vision in the modern German arm of Ford, or Langlois' for Soft, or SIlvester's for Maya), but it doesn't make a ton of sense if we're talking technology and modern software.

Both Maya and XSI are bound to have more than a few remnants from the 90s, some architectural choices are still weighing heavily on both since then in fact, but the notion that either of them must therefore be "technologically" stuck to that period in its entirety is flawed, or even the seemingly equal popular notion of things needing a complete "rewrite" to be modernised.

ICE was monstrously forward thinking and is only seven or so years from its inception (when Larabee was still a possible future), and Maya's palaeolithic Motif roots took a multi-year effort that was quite a rocky road to move to Qt around the same time (the alpha of Moondust, later to become ICE, was contemporary to the rumors of the multi-delayed Qt port actually, which only really came out a long while later).
Both are rather fundamental parts of the respective software. Do they represent the entire "core"? Nope.
Do the respective ages of those fundamental choices show? Hard to tell. XSI is anchored to ancient MFC stuff, Maya is on a more modern Qt platform, yet Joe average perceives XSI as the more modern of the two User Experience wise, so the age of the code or of some fundamental architectural decisions and revisions isn't always obvious.

Quote:
Sorry to write such inaccurate wide sweeping conjecture, and thanks for taking time to share your knowledge on the subject.

It's OK, I'm glad you didn't take offense. This whole Softimage EOL and what kind of stuff it dug out of all kind of holes from all over AD and its software userbases has been a truly depressing thing to witness from practically any angle one could think of.
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Last edited by ThE_JacO : 03-17-2014 at 04:09 AM.
 
Old 03-17-2014, 05:15 AM   #15
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Thanks Raffaele.

Are there any good books you could recommend that talk about the history, development, and technology of 3D graphics? I was going to grab a mathematics of computer graphics book when I finish linear algebra, but It would be great to pick up a lighter read. I love reading the Wiki articles on these things, but obviously that has betrayed me.

This is a total newb question, but is anything in Maya beyond the interface written in Qt? I've still got this beginner idea of the document view model. I always thought that programs like Maya and XSI were built around the idea of nodes that contain data. You could add all kinds of cool modules/plugins/operations to manipulate data in those nodes. You then write up a separate interface for displaying your data, as well as a list of all your modules/plugins/operations. Is that a way too simple way of looking at things?

Is it fair in the software world to refer to algorithms and patents as "technology"?

Is it possible to multi thread a seemingly linear task like sorting through a stack? It seems the computer would need to chomp through things one step at a time. It doesn't seem like a process you could split into buckets or parts, like a raytrace render. Is this something ICE can do that sets it apart?

Ok, Ill stop there with the questions. Please feel free to ignore those if they are stupid or you don't have the time. I think my mind is a little too abuzz with all the CS101 words like abstraction and algorithms to really wrap my head around how big real world applications function.

Anyways, back to the original topic. I sent an email to Perry to invite him to the thread. It looks like he post on the site every now and then. Thanks for leaving this one open, and thanks for your always informative responses, Raffaele.
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