Dubious software prices?


I’ve recently done some work experience with a film production company, and though the work didn’t involve any 3D graphics, they are now thinking of making it a part of their business. Knowing that 3D graphics is my speciality, they have asked me if I would be interested in working on their next project. The problem however, is that since I only have an educational trial license of 3DS Max, they will have to buy a commercial license for themselves for me to use.

After having a look online I noticed some websites selling copies of 3D  Studio and Maya for as little as $300.  Knowing that a commercial license of either Max or Maya usualy costs  about $3500, I can't help but think something fishy is going on here.

I'm just wondering if anybody here has had any experience buying a  commercial license of either 3DS or Maya.

Are the super cheap versions available on the internet legitimate, with  legitimate licenses? Do they have some kind of restriction attached to  them? Or are they some sort of scam?


Buy directly from the developer, or from an authorised reseller.

Obviously these cheapo places are running scams. They’re offering download links but you’re actually wondering if they’re legit? Please don’t post links to them on this site again. Remember: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.


Thanks for the info, I removed the link the website from my post. I assumed they would be fishy, but thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask anyway.

As for the fact that they are offering download links for the software being an obvious indication that they are not legit, doesn’t the autodesk website itself offer their products as digital downloads? I bought my copy of windows 7 as a download link from microsoft’s own student discount website…


Yeah but when you’re buying directly from the developer, then it’s obviously legit. Other places offering downloads are far more suspect.


As a student at a university/college you can get a free license to Maya and Max.



Please read threads properly before replying.


I bought a student version of Studio Max 6 a long time ago, and before the license ran out ( it was a one year license ) i contacted my local reseller and was able to upgrade it to a full commercial license for extremely cheap compared to the full price of it. I can’t remember how much the savings were, but it was DEFINITELY worth it.

Contact your reseller and ask them about upgrading your student license into commercial. Hopefully they’ll have deals for you, it’s the cheapest way that I’ve found to get a legit copy of it.


Thanks Autarkis, I didn’t even think of that, sounds like a really good idea.

Luckily, even though there’s only 3 Australian 3DS Max re-sellers on the Autodesk website, one of them just happens to be a few minutes away from my house. I’ll have to check it out.


It is to your great credit that you are attentive to the need to acquire a non-educational license for non-educational work.

Any company that wants you to do work for them ought to be able to provide you with the license, or to advance the funds necessary for you to buy it, as a routine cost of doing business. (More likely the latter, if they want to treat you as a “contractor” and not a “statutory employee.”) One or the other of you then simply treats the purchase as a (tax deductible…) fixed capital expense.

Ahh, “Schedule C.” (In the USA) I know you well.

I don’t know what this vendor’s policy is for treating “educational” versions as fodder for “upgrade” pricing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they do. Sales is a fun game to watch: everything’s negotiable, and legitimately so, as long as you are totally up-front in your dealings and aren’t afraid to be told “no.”


Sometimes you can get away with using your student license for small commercial projects, if you are still in school or just out of school on your first job. Read the company’s license agreements/FAQ to see what the policy is, or email the customer service dept to see to what extant its allowed/prohibited.

If its for an office, see if they have small-business licenses; you may be able to get a slightly better deal.


I did. I also noticed that his profile at the side said ‘student’ so I thought I’d suggest it. My mistake though, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the importance of getting the commercial license. The student license from Autodesk runs so long as your are at university/college.


The moment that “a film company” wants you “to work on their project,” you have … by definition … stepped into the business world, and all of the rules of “business” now apply.

Obviously, if you are at the point of transitioning from being “a cash-strapped student,” you might have “a wee bit of a cash-flow problem,” but that becomes the company’s business matter to sort out.

As insurmountable as a multiple-thousand-dollar (say…) software license may sound to “a cash-strapped student,” in the world of business it is quite an ordinary thing.

In fact, if “a film company” doesn’t appear to be acting in this way towards you, it ought to be a big red-flag. But let us not borrow trouble, where trouble does not appear to be. “They want you to do something. That requires software.” “They want to make photocopies. That requires reams of paper and a photocopier.” Same deal.


Also, make sure you compare prices between the various resellers in Australia. Some might be willing to drop the price more than others.

Like SunDial posted, everything is negotiable with upgrading that license.


years ago where i work, we put in an order for photoshop cs and the man in charge basically found a really cheap version of it from some website. we got photoshop in an obviously home printed case with a cd that had a home printed label. inside was a piece of paper that basically said don’t do the authorization of photoshop through adobe, instead call a number that was on the piece of paper to get our serial number… needless to say i never bothered installing it and that guy doesn’t order any software for us anymore.


You’d wonder how people could get away with selling these kind of scams over the internet. We’re talking products that a worth up to thousands of dollars. I would have thought everything leaves a trail on the internet, seems like the kind of thing that would land these people in jail pretty quickly.


Depending on the level of 3D work required you can also look up Blender:


This short for example from ProMotion was produced in Blender:


And this one from the Blender Institute too:


So depending on the level required… Blender can be a very low-cost alternative because it’s free.
Good luck!


Who’s going to bust them? The World Police? Most of these sites operate out of countries that just don’t care or have bigger problems to deal with then protecting copyright.

Out of curiosity and some necessity, I once bought from one of these dubious, no-name deep discounters; a copy of XP64 when everyone only wanted to sell Vista. Not a download; that’s pretty obviously a scam but I used a place that sent hard copies (of course the discount wasn’t 1/10th the list price; more like 20% of it) and I made sure to use a credit card so I could fight the charge if it was BS. What I wound up receiving was a legitimate MS holograph DVD with working license/SN but on the disc it also said “for educational sale only”. So it was a real Microsoft genuine copy; just sold in violation of it’s intended use.

So much crap comes bundled with bulk PC purchases, I imagine this isn’t an uncommon practice, even when they’re not supposed to resell it.


A few things to note…

If they are hiring you as a contractor they may expect you have your own commercial license at your own expense. Just ask them to be clear…

Also take note Australian tax law changes slightly next financial year (next month) so you might be much better off waiting a month if possible, speak to your accountant :smiley:

If your going to get into contracting you will need to get your ABN together as well last thing you want is getting in trouble with the tax man :smiley:


3DsMAX costs around 3500 to 4000 dollars generally. Anything under 3000 is a scam. Of course you can still haggle with an authorized reseller to get the price down more. But this is the starting bid.

Mine did cost me €3450 with some haggling.(MAX 2010)

Cobra 6


Yeah, there is always room for negotiations. When buying licenses for companies I worked for from official resellers I always managed to get some DVDs, hardware gadgets or on-site training sessions from resellers. Most of the time I had impression that they were just waiting for it , like in The Life of Brian “First you have to haggle” sequence in the bazaar.

Also, looking into the update process for the license is a good idea. I was at the FMX fair a few weeks ago and one (official Autodesk) reseller had this massive offer where you would buy a student license pack (Max, Maya, Mudbox…) for something around 500 Euros and would sign up for an automatic 1 year commercial subscription update once you finish school for a price of only 1200 Euro or something. Of course, that was only a offer while the FMX fair lasted to gain new customers :wink:

Cheers and don´t buy from scammers