Greyscalegorilla reduced the prices of renewals


Chris from GSG posted this over at the Cafe. it is awesome Nick and Chris listened to their users. :thumbsup:

copy of Chris’s post

Hi everybody, Chris from Greyscalegorilla here.

Just had a chat with Nick and he brought me up to speed on all the conversations that have been happening. We care a lot about making everybody happy and we’ve always tried to be as transparent as possible. The original thought was people only upgrade the product if we had made sexy additions to it that people thought were worth it. Really putting US on the position to be creating the best content so people would want to upgrade.

The short answer is we never thought about the price once everything was added together. Based on the feedback from everybody here and other forums we have completely rethought the upgrade pricing. I’m posting Nicks text from the main blog post below. For the entire post please check

UPDATE: As always, we love feedback from our best customers. We couldn’t exist without you. We got a lot of great feedback in the comments for this blog post. You talked. We listened.
We changed the update prices of all of our plugins. They are listed below. Also, You can renew your license at any time to get another year of downloads and customer support. Feel free to wait and see if future versions of our software are right for your workflow and you will still get the renewal price.
Hopefully this new straightforward update pricing makes it easier for you to join us for another year of updates and support into 2016.
The Holiday sale is still going on through Friday and all NEW purchases are currently 40% off.

Renewal Prices
Light Kit Pro Renewal – $29 per license
HDRI Studio Pack Renewal – $39 per license
Greyscalegorilla HDRI Collection Renewal – $79 per license
Texture Kit Pro Renewal – $29 per license
Signal Renewal – $29 per license
Transform Renewal – $59 per license
City Kit Renewal – $29 per licnese
Topcoat Renewal – $29 per license


Yes this was a huge shock especially around Christmas. I was in for $AU450.00 or so and that was with the 40% off!! It was crazy and people reacted pretty well uniformly negatively to this. Nick then sent an email out that rethought the entire thing and produced a much better outcome I think. So I applaud him because he did listen.

The fact was most of the GSG old seadogs who have been with him since the beginning mutinied and just jumped off the ship. It was that bad. I think this goes some way to them swimming back to the boat.


It’s an improvement but here is the rub: I already paid for them. And all those plugins/rigs work on my computer right now. In R16 and in R17. And for all I know they will work in R18 and beyond. (quite likely for a number of them)

So if I gave GSG a handsome chunk of money…would I get new features? No. Speed Increase? No. In short I would get nothing other than possibly better pricing in the future!

That’s a stark christmas present: Nothing to download…nothing new to use…nothing that makes me better for the foreseeable future. To be really, really clear: I get nothing today or tomorrow. Or next month. And the future is a wildcard.

I’m still not real happy and have no plans to upgrade. Honestly…I’m offended I’m even being asked by GSG to consider this.

I’m a capitalist all the way…but one who believes the path to profits should be perpetual innovation and engineering…and this isn’t that.

They could make City Kit better. They haven’t. They could improve features and training and release a V2 of Signal or Transform. They haven’t. But they want more money.

That’s a bizarre twist of capitalism: I give them money and get no immediate product or service whatsoever. No thanks!

I suggest we consumers defend against this kind of thing…it has a way of spreading like a plague. It’s not enough to say “no.” I think this is a case I need to say, “NO!”

And stop insulting me with the marketing games of starting with an artificially absurd price and then make it look like you are doing me a favor by shaving it down…all for the privilege of paying again for something I already purchased.


I have to admit this is a little strange the way this has transpired with GSG this week. I don’t really get the benefit for existing owners since there was never any maintenance to begin with. This isn’t like Adobe or Autodesk where you’re getting large scale updates to a variety of products with each “renewal”. Is GSG saying if you don’t pay $29 each, that the plugins you bought 12+ months ago, that you don’t get support for that until you do pay?

To me what it looks like is a couple of GSG’s more recent plugins didn’t fair well on the market (Signal chief among them if I had to guess) and they’re not growing any longer, maybe even losing some revenue. And I think it’s fair to ask how much innovation their products offer (sometimes — can’t paint with a broad brush with GSG because IMO some of their products are way more useful than others), and in the absence of same if this is a way to start making more money. Which is fine except, are they really providing value or are they sort of taking it away in one spot and adding it conditionally somewhere else?

I hope they can make it through and innovate more and stay healthy but this is sorta weird the way this is going down IMO. Not sure I’ll pay $29 for any of these maintenance agreements. [That being said, in theory if they updated every product once every 12 months with consistency, $29 would be a pittance. But that’s only theory unless they do update that often.]


It’s a “renewal cost” whatever that is supposed to mean.

Rubber meet the road…It’s marketing-speak since nothing is renewed when you donate your money! And let’s be clear: the HDR kit, the lighting kit, and city kit are glorified assets are not even plugins. They have never needed to update them in the past…and quite possibly won’t need to in the future.

I’ve always spoken highly of those guys, and patronized them with all but one of their products. I really wish they just released a killer commercial training package. I might very well have purchased it. But these actions make it pretty impossible for me to continue with my support.

I know Nick loves to read up on a lot of marketing books. He mentioned that in a tutorial a few years ago. Sadly at some point he picked up the wrong book and got some crazy ideas in his head!


This was my issue right from the moment I opened the original email. I was effectively being asked to pay for these plugins again at a very high price with no roadmap for updates. But lets move on from that as GSG has changed tack. I will upgrade a plugin like HDRI Studio when I see a development from it’s current state, into say a front end like Topcoat. I have to say that has a really modern feel and is intuitive to use. If this is the direction they are going then I am totally on board. But to upgrade I need new and killer features. The main problem with GSG plugins are that they don’t offer any new functionality, just make what is already there a little easier to use. This makes them kind of one shot deals, and I guess that isn’t a great business model if as you say some don’t really take off.


Pretty much agree with what’s been stated. I was surprised to be given a free copy of Topcoat only then a week later to be charged $49 for the license (or whatever it now is). Really not sure of their logic with this; if you’re asking people pay for forthcoming releases, you have to at least give them an inkling of what’s in store, not just a vague promise of more presets and HDRIs. I already have presets and HDRIs up the wazoo, so some new functionality or solid updates would be preferable. This is not a business model I like – no-one pays me in the hope that I might do some work for them in the future.

I’ve not bothered ‘renewing’ Topcoat, but I’ll see what the other plugins offer when the time comes…


Pardon my ignorance, but I thought many of the GSG products were primarily assets? eg light kit pro, my understanding is that its a collection of HDR images, lights with xpresso controls and some preset studio environments. Are the payments to cover extra items in these kits?


Pretty much. Half the products – or more – are just packaged assets in .lib files. One product, signal, is a set of scripts/tags. To ask for more money on some of these products is…well I won’t use the proper word for it.

I find it a bit disgraceful.


as far as I can see these are presets / assets, and not plugins.



Glad I keep an eye on threads since there seems to be an awful lot of confusion here.

First thing here. Nobody is being changed for products they already own in any way.

You own CityKit? You already own it. You buy it now? You own it. Forever. You DO NOT keep paying every year.

Now let’s say we spend a bunch of time creating CityKit2 and it comes out two years from now. We show it off, you look at it and think it’s a good update. It has lots of new stuff you want and it’s completely rebuilt from the ground up. Now you pay $29 to get this update.

That’s all.

It is a tough process to get all the wording right on this kind of thing. Personally I think of it like pretty much any other piece of software. If I buy Starcraft, then years later Starcraft 2 comes and it has things I like, I’ll buy the new one. I don’t expect to get all future Starcraft games for free.

As I said in the quoted thread above we care very much about making everybody happy. We listen to feedback, and have listened to feedback about this in the last few days.

Hi there IceCaveMan. I feel I have to address you personally. I’ve corrected your misunderstanding in the text above but perhaps I could tell you a little inside baseball to give you some context in which to judge us.

I’d like to break it down to specifics here. We are still a very small team. As far as product creating there are three people working full time. Myself and two others (my younger brothers actually). Personally I split my time between tutorials, live streams, general GSG stuff, tech support, and designing/prototyping/updating plugins. Two others work under me writing code full time.

Our plugin Transform is my baby. It’s my favorite plugin and I have a ton of ideas for it. It is what I want to be working on. But we have a backlog of plugins we have been working non stop at updating. We have ideas for Signal, LightKit, CityKit, new tools, everything. But we can’t work on all of them at the same time. So we work full time to get things updated. HDRI Studio being the example of how we aim to get everything as a proper plugin, redesigned from the ground up. Months and months of time for a tool that we gave to every previous HDRI Studio owner for free. We are working hard to be a sustainable business. We are still doing tech support of LightKit users who bought the plugin 5 years ago for $30 everyday.

Topcoat, a small plugin we largely gave away for free was 6 months of development time. Over 6000 lines of code. Beta testing, versioning, training, bug fixing, tech support.

I do not understand how you think we had some sort of master plan to upset our followers and customers. People pointed out something they did not like and we worked hard to fix the situation as quickly as we could.

I have a live stream to answer C4D question to prep for. Join me at 1PM CST at if you anybody wants to hang out!



If those are all prices for the next versions, then they all seem perfectly fine; $100 for the initial product, then $30 when a new one comes out with extra stuff if you want it, makes sense to me. The only bit I don’t get, and which may be causing the confusion, is that update prices have been announced for products which don’t seem to have really changed since the initial release.


Not an equivalent comparison at all.

You haven’t announced or debuted or featured CityKit2 or any v2 of any of your products. How can you put a dollar value on what you might release two years from now? You haven’t built it yet! And if you don’t know what the features are…and we don’t know what the features are…how the hell are we even discussing sending GSG more money for it!?

You are asking us to pre-purchase a product that might never exist nor has an identifiable feature list. This is sheer madness!

The only way forward, IMO, is to renounce this whole thing as a bad mistake and work to renew trust. I won’t be tuning in to chat about this silliness.


Hi Paul and Matthew.

You are half right. Back in the day the early products were presets, xpresso, and scene files. Once I came on board we started getting into python. Transform is a fun frankenstein of python plugin holding a crazy xpresso rig that holds a lot of python nodes.

However we then moved into proper C++ plugins. It’s been a tough journey with lots of effort. Signal was a full C++ plugin. I am very proud of that project.

We then spent months and months redesigning HDRI Studio and HDRI Browser into a proper plugin. Which was a free update by the way.

Topcoat is entirely C++. 6000 plus lines of code.

Everything in the future will be C++ (or python if it calls for it) plugins. Both in updating years of older material, and any future ideas.



If I understood it right it is like the Maxon MSA.

If you dont’t have it: Buy once use it forever. If a update comes out pay a lot of money for it if you want it.

If you have it: buy it once use it forever. pay every year and get the updates that come out for free.

thats it.
It workes for cinema 4D as maxon updates their software annually.

But It just works if you already proved that you provide good value regularly.

so far so good. the question is. Do you get a serial (if you need one) for the new version of C4D without the GSG MSA?

I understand the need of plugin devs and If I need a Plugin I buy it. but on the other hand I HATE any forcement on me as a customer. (I also din’t buy into the CC cloud)

best regards


Buy nothing! Pay now!


That’s it in a nutshell. Capitalism perverted.


Chris and Nick have given a lot to the community and I won’t ever forget that.

My guess is that the two of them have a lot of smaller rigs and setups and ideas that could sell for $4.99 or $9.99 and at such a price could achieve a lot of sales. That could hold them over until their bigger projects–or some upgrades-- are completed.

If they took some of Chris’s expresso rigs and wrapped it with a couple of tutorials they could quickly generate a salable product. Especially with the visibility they have in place.

I sure wish they would do that over this current course of action.

I find what have done this week offensive. But I’m not going to overlook the good they’ve done in the past.

They are good guys who just lost their way a bit with this decision. I’m still rooting for a recovery from this.


Just to throw in a bit of balance into this topic, here’s an excerpt from GSG blog on the new policy (

Is Anything Else Included Other Than Updates and Customer Support?

Yes. You will also be able to download extra content related to your plugin. New HDRIs, New Textures, New Transform Presets, ETC.
Also, all renewed licenses will also add the ability to use our software on up to 10 team render nodes.
We will be sure to provide as much value as possible for our customers. We want this to be a “no brainer” when it comes time to renew next year.

So to be fair, it’s not exactly paying for nothing. I can understand asking questions and seeking clarification, but why all the hate?


I think you could see in my post above that I have ANYTHING but hate for these guys. I’m rooting for them. And rooting for them to do the right thing.

But this is still wildly amiss.

Asking people to pay years in advance for unspecified, unquantified, unknown items? That’s absurd.

In another post Chris Schmidt hypothesized them upgrading of City Kit in 2 years. That tells you everything. They haven’t even started to think about how they might upgrade the product. Yet they want me to send them my money for it?

Maybe that’s cool if the world was kickstarter. The world isn’t kickstarter.

In truth they would get booed off the pages of kickstarter because they haven’t even articulated any meaningful and specific upgrade features!