This question is directed to those of you who use Animate or Studio professionally. I would appreciate it if you would give me the benefit of your hard won experience and your outlook on the CG industry. I would like to make the jump from a “wanna-be” to a “gonna-be,” and it is time for me to make some choices about key applications now and for the future. I am concentrating on setting up a one or two person operation, and I would have total control over what gets used for production and what doesn’t. I have used LightWave for years, and have been generally pleased with it. However, this latest revision has left me feeling somewhat uneasy. (Before I go too far along this line of thought, I would like to make it plain that I have nothing but respect for those people who work hard trying to make their software the best it can be. I have NO desire for this thread to turn into an application flame war, or anything of the kind. I know there is no such thing as the “perfect” application, and every program I buy now or later will have it’s own fair share of flaws; or should I say, “undocumented features?” )
Anyway, lately it seems that LightWave has been… I guess I want to say…“stuck.” I went for their latest $500 upgrade deal because it came with a compositor (which I didn’t have), but the new features in LightWave itself have left a lot to be desired. (“IK Boost” :surprised - 'nuff said.) Now LightWave has a very large consumer base, and there is a massive amount of community involvement with the software. It seems that eventually someone will come along and “plug the leak,” wherever one is found. BUT, to me it gives everything a “patched-together” feel, like everything that should be integrated is more or less “bolted on top.” I’ve always felt it was better to try to really master just one or two applications instead of being a player at many and a master of none. I had Animate 3, and gave up on it because of a softbody dynamic issue (that seems to have been addressed in one form or another). I focused all my attention on LightWave, and was excited when the new features were introduced. At the time it seemed I made the right choice. Now I’m not so sure.
I have been checking out the newest features of Animate and Studio, and I have to say I’m impressed. The $500 upgrade fee to Studio is well within my price range, but I’m hesistant to make another sizeable purchase so soon without knowing what you pros really think of Messiah and its future. I’m kind of concerned about the smaller user base, which means less community support, like plugins and add-on features (and who’s going to help me when I get stuck? ). pmG has a small development team, which might mean longer times between updates and bug fixes (although to be fair, some big development teams take a really long time between updates.) Long term use may also be an issue, but then again, no one can predict the future of the CG industry. But let’s also look at the opposite side of the coin. There are some very strong reasons to make Animate and Studio part of a production pipeline right now. Those feature videos were amazing. Muscle jiggle and weight. Armatures. Subpixel displacement renders. Faster GI. The list could go on and on. I am impressed, but I’m easily impressed. I would rather hear from those of you who don’t play around and are really out there in the CG trenches making it happen every day.
What do you think?