Serious competition - XSI Foundation


#1

Big moves by a big company. XSI Foundation.

I guess it depends what you want out of the software but moves like this have got to seriously impact on the sale of messiah:animate to your average artist/animator type guy with limited cash to feed their 3d hobby.

messiah:animate is unique in it’s design and workflow but is that going to sell licenses over pure name brand recognition?

edit: I was thinking how this could have been percieved as a negative comment… hmm, it wasn’t meant to be. Im just concerned for small software developers, I just wish more (non messiah) people knew and appreciated them. I’m sick of people I talk too thinking of messiah as ‘that plugin for Lightwave’… arrrggghhh it’s so frustrating.


#2

Well, I’m buying it. The thing that I am hoping for is an XSI connection now.

Cheers


#3

Lest we forget some people just like to collect 3D software. :smiley:

I was reading another thread about the XSI bomb and many people wanted Alias to jump on the price drop bandwagon with an equally priced version of Maya. If that were to happen Maya would make out better than XSI. That would be hilarious. Talk about backfire.

My opinion is choose a workflow, stick to it, and make cool stuff. Messiah is top notch at what it does. pmG should continue to create innovative features in a big way and stay far far away from the LW mentality of a zillion features as a plug-in here or there.

One other thing: Ease of use is a big thing and I would be pissed if I paid for a 3D app too difficult to be of any use. No fun purchasing a $500 turd.


#4

How would it be backfiring? Nobody loses with a price drop. Hell if Maya puts out a 500 dollar package I’ll buy that too, and Discreet. If I’m contracting I’d love nothing better than to be able to use whatever package my employer uses and not have to go into debt to get it. This kicks all ass. I hope everyone reduces prices like this.

And if you’re referring to xsi as a 500 dollar turd… man, THAT is hilarious.


#5

Im pretty sure a lot of companies are having headaches since the price cut announce by Softimage…but, it´s business.

I dont see any company out there that will not be affected by this move from Softimage, it´s impossible not to get affected, i mean, it cost´s as much as top plugin and it´s a full aplication (or at least full for 80% of the 3d users).

This does not imply that all users that buy XSi for $495 will only use XSI, even studios, if u need hair will u shell out $6995 just to have acess to it in XSI? I dont think so, unless of course the production really demands it and it pays for itself in 1-2 jobs.

For years the “small boys” tryed to get into the “big boys” arena with amazing features and much lower prices, they succeded in some cases (LW and MAX) but i think they never expected that the “big boys” would come to their playground.

Of course it will be thougher for other´s, the bar really got high and completly affordable now. It´s time to re-think objectives and plan ahead, the features vs cost issue is over now, from now on it´s only feature vs feature. May the best one win :thumbsup:


#6

Edit: Forget it! It was complete nosense. Next time I’ll read the post more closely. :smiley:


#7

I wish people would read my posts in their context. The first (said again FIRST) sentence of my post was about people collecting software. So the implication of my very first comment was about how people buy more than one package. I was simply stating that if XSI was trying to grab new users for good, they may have started a price war in which they may never get that user at all. Even as a contractor, I am not able to own and maintain licenses for all of the major 3D and FX packages. Hobbists do that. Software collectors do that. Unless I have the business to justify the purchases, I simply cannot do that. Learning is one thing but owning all the packages is overkill unless you KNOW you got the work lined up. That is all I meant by my comments. If I was unclear; I apologize. With that said, I would still by something to enhance my current workflow instead of introducing a new software package into it. Just my opinion of course.


#8

I don’t think GWOT didn’t get what you were stating, but it is unfair to label people as hobbyist or software collectors(whatever that means), just because that is how you VIEW it. I am in the same shoes as GWOT. Unlike LA, in NYC, jobs are not always for one app. Working competitively you need to be able to use other apps, like XSI which has a decently strong following in NYC, as well as Maya, Max and LW. If I had to choice I would have stay with XSI and improve my mastery of it and paid the continuing the maint cost since 1.0, but I had to adopt other software to make a living. I have worked professional with Maya, Max, LW and recently XSI, it isn’t “software collecting” as you say, it is staying competitive in the market place.

Cheers,


#9

Software collecting was said “tongue n’ cheek” and not aimed at GWOT or anyone for that matter.

Anyway…


#10

[size=2]I’m sure that other developers would rather avoid this kind of discussion, but we are actually artists as well as developers. Further, considering that everyone uses our tools in conjunction with virtually everything out there, these issues affect us, too. I feel it’s important that the users know my views since they help to guide us in the development of our tools.

Jrsunshine may be right about one thing, this price drop has a huge potential to backfire. I made a prediction a number of years ago that the big corporations would seriously damage the existing 3D market & greater industry by lowering to ~$1K. But they wouldn’t do this to be malicious, they’d do it out of necessity.

In “ye olden days”, if you wanted to do “high-end” 3D animation, you really only had a few very expensive choices. However, as “mid-range” software emerged and increased in power, there was less justification for the higher price tag on the high-end. Keep in mind that it’s from the “chooser’s” point of view that the apps would be considered over-priced; this is based on the fact that most users never had a need for, nor understood a high percentage of the features in those high-end software. Essentially, they were paying for a good deal of software that they didn’t even use. But slowly, the more advanced features started to trickle into the “mid-range” software. This began to blur the line between “high-end” & “mid-range”. Add to that the fact that the “mid-range” stopped merely mimicking the “big boys” and started innovating. Feeling the major financial pinch, the so-called “high-end” apps had to try to become more competitively priced. Over the years I’ve seen the prices drop from $100K, to $75K, to $50K, to $30K, to $15K, to $7K. Along with that, everyone’s witnessed the “big boys” being downsized, sold, re-sold, and restructured due to loss of revenue.

So here we are at that ~1K range that I first envisioned so many years back. Alias came close with a $2K Maya price, but now Avid has even surpassed my prediction by dropping to $0.5K. From what I’ve read, the users are very happy about the price drops… as one would expect.:smiley: But they don’t realize the greater implications this has on the future of the commercial 3D software industry. As the larger corps have already realized with their price drops, the market is simply not big enough. Unlike 2D paint software or word-processing, 3D is still out of the periphery of most. All the acquisitions, restructuring, TV commercials, and price drops won’t change that.

Realistically, no one would make such a price drop out of the goodness of their heart, it’s done out of necessity. The price drops are designed to make the software purchase irresistible, generate a quick influx of cash, and create further exposure for the higher cost versions. It’s also anti-competitive; this is a move that’s also designed to clear the playing field, i.e. completely eliminate some competition. Looking at the state of some companies, I suspect that it will. But the price reduction will have an additional affect: it will force most companies to build in their existing, more advanced technologies into the lower cost versions more rapidly than expected in order to compete. This would further accellerate the race to the bottom. Another side effect is that plugin developers may produce low cost plugins for those low cost versions which may circumvent the need to upgrade to the higher cost versions. And since the market isn’t very large (comparatively), expect all companies to have even less revenue as they sell those lower cost versions to a relatively small audience.

Why is all this potentially bad? Sure, it’s not a problem right now as it appears to be “all good”. Everyone will go through a major sugar rush over the next few months to a year. Large corps will move many units and users will get much software on the cheap. But all this doesn’t come for free. Expect less 3D innovation from all huge commercial software developers in the coming years as the sugar lows set in. Less revenue for the larger companies means even more downsizing, restructuring, sales, and re-sales. Some companies (big & small) will disappear and fewer companies means less choice in the immediate future. Further, less revenue ultimately means less marketing, (free) services, and R&D. It’s quite possible that we may be witnessing the very beginning of the end for huge 3D apps/corps.

But it’s not necessarily all bad. The industry must evolve and users will ultimately be the beneficiaries. As the industry will be forced even further toward smaller, specialized, manageable components with standardized communication protocols, smaller & more nimble companies will be the norm. Instead of huge applications published by large corps, new businesses may even emerge that merely combine the components into cohesive larger apps. We’d already anticipated this, which is why our company/products are structured as they are, and it is a belief that will continue to guide our development as we expand.

In the end, there may only be a few companies standing with all their teeth intact… and it may not be whom you would think;)

-lyle

p.s.: these are my views & observations after having been a “chooser”, user, teacher, and developer of 3D software over the past 15 or so years (man, I feel old). They are not intended to inflame, but to inform.

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#11

You mean this monster of an app (XSI), that all these minds worked endlessly on over the years to develop and sell at a high price tag, was only really worth $495 all this time?!?!?!? Heh heh. Don’t get twisted I’m only joking around. I’ve worked with XSI in production out of necessity.


#12

Im so very glad to hear your opinion Lyle, cause unlike every other person out there that thought, ohh fantastic, this is the best thing to ever happen, I was thinking, OMG this is bad for pMG and smaller 3d software developers.

I really like your positive outlook, and it reassures me that moves like this by XSI dont seem to have a large or long term negative effect on you.

You mention “… the industry will be forced even further toward smaller, specialized, manageable components with standardized communication protocols”, which is obviously what messiah is.
I sure hope this vision of the future is the correct one. :slight_smile: Then it’s all good.


#13

Yeah It sound good, I was excitied, but unfortunately I hope innovative software or greta features do not suffer badly by all this. Photoshop can exist because every artist, and thier boss, cousin, graphic guru wannabe uses it and it keeps the base larger but they aren’t necessaily kicking out a slew of badass features (just great management type tools).


#14

It will be interesting to see who hits the consumer shelves (CompUSA, Bestbuy, Walmart) first!


#15

Animation master.


#16

I dont get it, but then again I’m st0opid! :shrug:


#17

Lyle:
very nice comment. Other than you may have taken my rant on the mailinglist lately, I also think that now it is more feature vs. feature or quality vs. quality than price vs. price. I’m really looking forward to see which companies can stay alive in this storm.
I personally see no big future for Lightwave in it’s current state if they don’t get up into innovation again. That crappy patchwork stuff isn’t making it anymore. That is why I have bought XSI today after thinking about how to get the money to buy it for about half a year before. I have tested all three of the “big guys” as thorough as possible with the demos and my bias was very clear. I wouldn’t buy max or maya for the same money, but XSI is what will replace LW for me on the long run. In some areas it is very similar to LW/messiah but with different strengths and options and some very advanced stuff even in the Foundation version.
I find it kind of funny that the Luxology guys - after all the trouble they caused for the LW community - now will find a completely different market. I couldn’t care less about modo now, as nice as it may look.
I still see a good market for messiah, since it is unbeatable in what it does best: animation and very flexible setups. If the renderer is growing to be as good as that over time, it has even better chances - mental ray is still quite expensive.

So now I hope that PointOven will get a XSI connection soon. I prefer working with each package standalone over the memory hog of running them together with the plugin.

I also tried the direct X export today but the import in XSI has some trouble with it - distorted polys and wrong axes and also very slow playback… Since the export looked cool in the Microsoft DirectX Viewer, I assume that the XSI importer is causing that? If any programmer out there with some DirectX knowledge wants to look into it - it is already working 95% :slight_smile:

Like someone else said: “interesting times…” :bowdown:


#18

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lyle. I’ve felt for some time now that the 3D world was going to start changing, and this year’s Siggraph almost seems to be the start (XSI desperately trying to attract users, Maya buying Kaydara…). While none of that is overly important in context, I’m simply happy you have a positive outlook for the small and the nimble, which is what I prefer anyway.
Best,
Adam


#19

It is going to be chaotic for a while. I was with Maya since it’s early beta but I switched to XSI. Messiah, and Lightwave recently. And I am definately conflicted about Mental Ray. We have mostly PCs and The memory limitations is somthing we are all ways fighting. Plus it will cost you between $500 and a $1000 per cpu to set up a proper renderfarm. I don’t like paying for something that is free in many good packages.


#20

Good point EDDIEthePIRATE. One of the main reasons that I have not seriously looked at other applications (I use LW to render) is the cost of distributed rendering…I have a 20 cpu render farm but that does NOT make me a millionaire! The cost of buying licenses for all 20 cpu’s and then keeping them up to date with upgrades simply doesn’t make sense for a small 3D studio (at least not mine!). So, LW and at some stage possibly m:s look like the way forward.

On that point, it would be good to get the distributed rendering in the actual m:s rather than reliance on other 3rd party apps (unless I am mistaken here - quite possible as I am new to the PMG scene)