Unless studios pick this up and integrate it into their work flow, then I don’t have the incentive to learn it. It’s a bad attitude, but there are 1000 plugins and software addons out there to do everything better, but if I get hired somewhere and they don’t support my method of work, then i’m a fish out of water.
Does sound cool though. I hate wasting polys just to terminate edge loops.
Unless studios pick this up and integrate it into their work flow, then I don’t have the incentive to learn it. It’s a bad attitude, but there are 1000 plugins and software addons out there to do everything better, but if I get hired somewhere and they don’t support my method of work, then i’m a fish out of water.
This does indeed sound very interesting, as my main frustration with modeling in NURBS (industrial modeling) is being left with patches that are a pain to texture. So the idea of being able to combine these surfaces (no patches) along with being able to use UV tools for texturing I’m liking that idea alot. :drool:
I have to admit though, I gagged on the price as well . I mean as a plugin to maya? seems like $200-$300 tops would be more appropriate. It’d probably be better to license the technology to 3d software companies and let them integrate it into their apps for their next release, rather than sell it as a seperate product.
Im bumping this thread in hopes of hearing more about t-splines from the general community.
I read the papers on this but looking at the galleries Im finding that basically in laymans terms we’re talking spline based modeling with quad output?
With Modo and soon Lightwave support of N-gons why would one need to move back to a quad based modeling procedure?
Even Steven Stahlberg has said in a round about way that n-gons and tris are basically important to a artist to prevent limitations in topology creation.
Clean convertions from poly or sub-d to nurbs is all Im seeing important here and really only nurbs to me is important to speed up openGL display and rendering.
I guess I will reread the papers but I would like to hear from others .
I remember reading about t-splines before. They seem very powerful. Good luck, I will read up more about it. It seems like it really could be the next thing for modelers.
I’m not a Maya (max) user however so may be hard to test it at the moment.
What you are missing is that with t-splines, the t-junctions (basically N-gons) All render out the same as a quad, you don’t get any wierd unpredictable smoothing. So you see you are not moving back to a quad only procedure but rather insuring predictable performance of n-gons.
This technology overcomes the limitations of both nurbs and subd’s while bringing the advantages of nurbs and subd’s.
We now have a version compiled for Maya 7.
You can get it from http://www.tsplines.com/resources/download_v7.html
Don’t suppose you’ll be supporting Maya5?
For the money, I’d rather have Modo, which has insanely great modeling. I think the people behind t-splines have a poor understanding of the term ‘value proposition’. Their pricing reflects a typical, antiquated ‘cost plus’ attitude among manufacturers. They want to make X dollars, and they figure their market is Y seats, so the price is $800.
They need to get some professional marketing assistance or professional management who understands strategic planning. I bet they sell less than $100,000 worth of T-Splines with their current ‘model’. [And that $100,000 figure is GENEROUS IMHO.]
Are you listening Mr. Finnigan?
As someone who has been modeling since 1994 with 3D Studio/DOS, I don’t find anything special about modo’s modeling tools. They may have a novel approach, but it’s nothing ground-breaking or special. I can model as equally fast and with the same quality with, say, Silo or Hexagon.
I think you’re oversimplifying things. T-Splines is a not just a new tool, it’s a new technology. It’s a new paradgm in the way you construct your mesh- it gives you the power of NURBS with the flexibility of SubDs and none of their weakness. If you understand this, it’s really quite a breakthrough. I, for one, am very interested but since I don’t own Maya, I’m hoping the technology will garner support from software manufacturers and license it to use in their own products. I think this is where they’ll get the bulk of their revenue, hopefully.
Companies like Alias, Softimage, Autodesk, Netwek, Maxon, Luxology, et. al. seldom invest their dollars in research- they usually let others like universities or other institutions (e.g. Pixar) do the academic work and just implement what researchers put in their whitepapers or thesis. Reaserch require major investments, both in time and money, and that’s why outside of universities, government institutions, and big corporations, it’s quite sparse.
Regarless, I do agree that the company needs to market this product a lot better (the entire company is probably made up of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers)- just getting the word out in CGTalk is probably not the best strategy. It would be a crying shame if this technology won’t see wider general use. Probably go after the big boys first and then let it trickle down to the common man.
Hmm. I’ll repeat myself and elaborate. [And check my post record, I’m not a random jerk.]
1.] “This company has zero understanding of the term ‘value proposition’.”
[This isn’t an insult. It’s just the truth. Maybe T-Spline’s technology is great and new, just like the original Macintosh and Mac O/S. We all know how that tale ends and we all know why it ended that way. Microsoft had a superior value proposition. Modo has a superior value proposition. Maya has a superior value proposition. Regardless of interoperability, T-Splines still has to compete with these products for a share of the customer’s money. In business, this is called “Availability of Substitutes”. This is one of five market forces a company will encounter. Can Maya or Max or Silo or Modo serve as a substitute for T-Splines? Of course they can. At $800, will a lot of customers decide to use a substitute isntead? Absolutely.]
2.] “Their pricing reflects a typical, antiquated ‘cost plus’ attitude among manufacturers.”
3.] “They want to make X dollars, and they figure their market is Y seats, so the price is $800.”
[What can I say? Their product is expensive. Sure, it might be useful, but at that price it won’t diffuse. Not when they have to compete with the likes of Modo, Hexagon, Silo, Max, Maya, Softimage, etc. At their current price, they do not deliver superior value, regardless of their technology. They have a revenue target and they price accordingly. This is convenient for them but not convenient for the consumer.]
4.] “They need to get some professional marketing assistance or professional management who understands strategic planning.”
“I bet they sell less than $100,000 worth of T-Splines with their current ‘model’. [And that $100,000 figure is GENEROUS IMHO.]”
[What can I say? They have a product and it is expensive relative to the available substitutes. I stand by my words. Their marketing is 100% about them, and zero percent about the customer, except the part about purchasing of course.]
I’m going to go further out on a limb with respect to t-splines. This company is product-focused, inward-focused, and money-focused. This means they’re not customer focused. [You can’t have it both ways!] One or two glances at their web site is all it takes to see this. $800. For t-splines. Are customers stupid or not? [You can’t have it both ways!]
For the record, I have no association with Max, Maya, Modo, Hexagon, Softimage, etc.
I have to agree with Operativem. I really think T-splines are the next step in surface modeling, but the price is just too high. It’s a new paradigm which makes it a tough sell, fortunately though it’s a backwards compatible paradigm. If the T-Spline company can play to the strengths of thier technology (of which there are many) and license this out to the big software developers they will be successful, eventually. This just isn’t the kind of thing you buy as a plugin.
I couldn't care less if you were.
Let me make it clear that I’m not disagreeing with you. I just think you’re comparing apples and oranges. T-Splines isn’t an end-product or even a tool in and of itself- it’s a peice of technology (or a component) that allows you to work with meshes in a different way. If the company were to develop something like modo or Silo or Hexagon using T-Splines at it’s core, then you’d have a fair comparison.
So, for argument’s sake, let’s say they do develop their own modeler and price it at $1,200.00. Do they have good ‘value proposition’? It depends on your market. For pure character modelers, maybe not. However, for mechanical modelers or those that have to output to a manufacturing process (e.g. prop modelers and designers who also need to have the props manufacutred for live shots), or even character modelers that send their models to maquette shops for 3D printing (e.g. modelers who work in the creature department who need 100 variations of a goblin prosthetic), it might make better sense than modo or Max or Maya.
The fact is, even if it costs a lot of money, if it can enhance productivity 100-fold, it will end up paying for itself anyway. Why do you think Boxx is planning to produce a 4-way dual-core AMD monster priced around $10,000.00 when you can run the same software on a $1,500.00 Dell workstation?
If you look at pure technology-oriented companies or groups, they’re seldom customer-focused. Look at AT&T’s Bell Labs. Look at Xerox’s Palo-Alto labs. Look at IBM’s Research Division. This is nothing new and they are vital to the evolution of the industry. But unlike these other organizations, their company is probably small and self-funded (or probably funded by grant money). Remember that 20 years ago, SGI was probably in the same boat at these guys. And they aren’t competing with Modo, or Hexagon, or Silo- quite the opposite- they probably want to work with those guys so that T-Splines would get more industry support.
Marketing to individuals might not be the way to go, I agree, because at that level the price doesn’t scale very well- they’re asking the little guy to shell out a lot of money for something that’s in it’s early-adoption stage. That’s why I suggested going after Alias, Softimage, Autodesk, Side Effects, NewTek, Luxology, et. al. and heve them buy into the technology. This business model is nothing new- that’s how NURBS kernels are marketed (I think this is one market that they’ll be competitive in, if they develop their core technology a bit further).
I, for one, would like to wish them well in their endeavors to get this out to a wider audience. It’s a fantastic peice of technology and if they play their cards right, we won’t have any more debates whether NURBS are better than SubDs and vice-versa.
Perhaps T-splines is more a piece of technology and less a product or tool. Their product ‘launch’ certainly suggests otherwise. Here’s why my argument is not comparing apples to oranges.
If they charge money for this product, for which Maya/etc. is a prerequisite, they are then competing with Maya/etc. In a situation like mine, where dollars are not limitless, who gets the money? The established platform applications or a ‘piece of technology’?
Substitution is a real force in markets of every type. Thus, it’s fair to compare T-splines to Maya/etc., and it’s fair to say that T-splines competes with those applications for end-user dollars. Here’s why. First, it’s commonplace to compare value propositions between competing products. At the end of the day, who made the claims, who set the price, and who invited the comparisons? T-Splines did of course.
If they were to develop their own comprehensive modeling product, they certainly could not get away with charging $1200. That would only make things worse. Why on earth would someone pay half what Maya costs and almost three times what Softimage Foundation costs to use a modeler that could never match what those products offered? They could never be ‘first’ in the eyes of the customer and they could never match the game/feature film heritage of any of the big packages. However, this strategy could be very successful if the modeling product were very focused and very inexpensive. T-Splines might even make a lot of money. I would further advise them to make the best, most focused T-Splines modeler in the world, and not stray or do anything that would invite comparisons with the market leaders.
Failing that, I suggest that T-splines do whatever it takes to get their product into the hands of every single Maya, Max, Softimage, Luxology, and Lightwave user on the planet. Lower their prices if need be. That would give them some real market ‘force’. Whereas, taking the position that their technology is world-beating and worth a lot of money comes across as properly arrogant, even if that is not their intent, and I’m sure it’s not. [A lot money = house payment territory. They’re in it.]
Let’s engage in another comparison. I’m not really a huge fan of what Luxology is doing right now. Initially, Modo was focused on modeling, and they have [my perception] some of the best modeling technology on the planet. However, they are in the process of overextending themselves and adding features that will only invite comparisons with the established players. Who do people tend to believe? A specialist or a generalist? Modo was a specialist, but it’s becoming a generalist. Hmm. As Modo becomes more like the established packages, they’re going to lose their edge, regardless of their price. Oh, and the reason that Maya/etc. can get away with being generalists is because people perceive those brands as market leaders whose purpose is to be general. The market leaders always get away with things. New entrants rarely get away with anything. Just look at Microsoft. Look at IBM. And wait until Alias lowers its prices on Maya. It’s going to happen eventually. Where will that leave Modo? Right now, low-pricing is part of the competitive strategy Luxology is using with Modo. It’s definitely true to say that better technology doesn’t usually win. The market leader usually wins. This has been proven many times. The market leader is the only organization who can act like the market leader. When non-leader organizations try to act like the leader, they invite credibility problems.
How did Modo gain traction in the market? Easy. Luxology positioned Modo as a specialist application with a low price relative to the market leaders. T-Splines is positioning their product as a single, albeit specialized, plugin with a very high price relative to the market leader. I’ve said it before. Are customers stupid or not? T-Splines can’t have it both ways. They can’t simultaneously be perceived as an overpriced, powerful new technology and as a powerful new technology that’s a great value. Potential customers can’t inhabit both sides of this argument. T-Splines needs to choose which perception they want to foster.
I digress. Branding is all about perception. Right now T-Splines is building their brand. Unfortunately, they’re creating the impression that T-Splines is a very overpriced plugin for the established packages and that their organization is arrogant. If their product is as revolutionary as they believe, they have commited a serious strategic blunder. Once perception is established, it’s very hard to change people’s minds about what your product/organization stand for. Even if you lower your prices. Or change your model. People don’t care, because they actually can’t ‘forget’ their first impression on it’s been made. Why would T-Splines want to associate the word ‘overpriced’ or ‘arrogant’ with their product?? ESPECIALLY AT LAUNCH?? Why haven’t they injected clarity?
So that’s my two cents. I have to thank you kindly for being civil. I sometimes am reluctant to participate in online discussions for fear they will spiral out of control!
I’m sorry. You sort of lost me there- it’s a plug-in. How can they be competing with Maya when they require Maya as a platform? They need Maya in order to function because they’re NOT a stand-alone application. They only thing they’re competing with are other modeling paradigms like NURBS or SubDs WITHIN Maya, but so what?
IMHO, the comparison should end at the point where you said T-Splines and Modo, XSI, Max, etc. were competing for the user’s money. That’s as far as it goes. But isn’t this true for everything else? Aren’t there a lot of other applications/plug-ins competing for the user’s money? What makes T-Splines unique in this manner? Because they’re out of your price-point? It may be that they have a higher price-point but that’s because they actually INVESTED money in research and development of new technology. What’s wrong with wanting a little ROI? If you look at the modeling tools we are using, the last innovation was when Pixar introduced hybrid SubDs when they premiered “Gerry’s Game.” All the other “advances” that you see are in terms of getting more efficiency out of the old toolset and streamlining workflow. That’s it.
To my knowledge, T-Splines does not have anything to compare to. I mean, honestly, who can you their product against on equal footing? Sure, you can probably acheive close to the same topology with other packages and use n-gons. But there are instances where you can’t use n-gons because of the way they deform when subdivided. If you’re going to compare T-Splines against everyone else, compare the resultant workflow when you’re using T-Splines as opposed to using NURBS and SubDs. That is the only acceptable and logical comparison you can have because that’s the value that they provide.
The same reason people pay for $10,000.00 for a seat of Alias Studio as opposed to $2,000.00 for SolidThinking or $800.00 for Rhino- they’re all excellent NURBS modeling packages but if people think the pricier option has something to offer them that will help streamline their workflow, make it easier to acheive the results they want and, in the end, help them make more money, it will find a market. They just have to figure out who they are a find a way to reach them.
I think there are two routes T-Spline can take:
Sell their product cheap and get as many seats as they can. However, they run the risk of not getting their ROI and eventually folding because it becomes a numbers game: you have to sell X number of seats to break-even. It also requires then to invest a significant portion of their budget on marketing and advertisement. Unless they want to be in the retail business, this is probably not the best business model.
Take their technology to the shows like SIGGRAPH (which they’ve been doing for the past two years, I believe) and try to garner support form the industry. Try to get the software makers like Alias, Softimage, Maxon, Autodesk, Side Effects, etc. and the big studios like ILM, Weta, Digital Domain, Deamworks/PDI, Pixar, et. al. to take a look at and even endorse it. This way, they license their technology to the big players which eventually trickle down to the common artist. I think this is the better option because it takes the retail aspect of it away alowing the company to focus exclusively on the product’s continued development.
I think one of the executives in Alias commented that the industry cannot go on with this price war and expect quality products and new technological innovations. Softimage is unique in this aspect because they can offer FND at a reduced rate to gain marketshare but still have Essentials and Advanced to sort of “cover the bases, so to speak.” But for a one-product company, that’s tantamount to finnancial suicide.
And speaking about industry standards and market leaders, Maya isn’t an industry standard just because a lot of big studios are using it- it’s the reason WHY they’re using it. Becaue Maya allows these companies to acheive the results they want and if there isn’t a tool to do the job, it’s open enough that you can write your own. And besides, market leaders didn’t get to being where they are by being complacent and just following the crowd. At some point, they took great risks that got them to where they are.
Lastly, I fail to see your point of T-Splines being arrogant. I’ve been to their website and have personally communicated with some of their engineers and I found them to be warm, hospitable, professional and knowlegeable- traits hardly consistent with being arrogant. They just want a fair ROI. And to be honest, I think the price is fair for the amount of manpower that went into developing this new technology.
I’ll agree that their current price-point is kind of steep for the singular artist or even small studios. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to call them arrogant. Maybe misguided but definitely not arrogant.
I’m a professional. I treat others the way I want to be treated unless they’re being very arrogant and disrespectful. Besides, I can’t tell who I’ll be working with five or ten years down the road, right?.
So, there have been some very long posts about business decisions with T-Splines. We are indeed a small company, staffed almost exclusively with computer scientists and developers. In fact, if you look at the authors of the most recent T-Splines paper, they’re all working at T-Splines LLC except Tom Sederberg, who is a professor.
T-Splines is a new technology, which makes popularizing it rather difficult. Personally, I agree that the best option would be for people to simply license the technology and implement it themselves, becaues they’d be better able to integrate it into their product, and we’d probably be better off doing research on new things you can do with the surface. The most fair competitor to T-Splines would be Nurbs or SubDs.
I’ve mentioned this before, but every year at Siggraph there are a couple of new surface types. In Siggraph 2004, there was more discussion about Point-based surfaces, a new scheme titled “A Simple Manifold-Based Construction of Surfaces of Arbitrary Smoothness”, and a new scheme in a paper titled “An Intuitive Framework for Real-Time Freeform Modeling”. However, chances are not that good that Alias or SoftImage will run out and implement any of these in the next year or two, because they’re not proven technologies. Do they have some advantages? Sure. But they’ve never been used to make a movie, they’ve never been used to design a car that’s actually been manufactured, and established companies aren’t really good at taking big risks. Plus, there aren’t any artists asking Alias for those surface types, and if the customers don’t want it, why would they bother?
However, we think that the technology is valuable enough that we don’t want it to disappear into the Siggraph archives, never to be used. We think it can save time, save money, and make the process less painful for everyone involved. Dr. Sederberg has said several times that he thinks it’s the most important thing he’s ever done. He also invented FFDs, did a lot of work on early implicit surfaces, and various intersection algorithms. He’s also invented a few other surface types, none of which are commercially available today.
So, we’re taking the risk. The employees are focusing on implementation of a robust library and plugin, rather than pursuing research interests. The company is funded by a few grants, as well as personal funds, because we wanted to avoid venture capital. I really hope that we don’t come off as arrogant. I guess some discussion of the pricing is in order.
I should make a disclaimer that I’m a dev, not the one making the business decisions, and these opinions and perceptions are my own, somewhat based on discussions we’ve had inside the company.
The main problem is that the technology straddles two very different markets - CG and CAD/CAM. A plugin priced at $400 would be expensive for CG, especially for freelancers and small studios (“I could almost buy XSI for that!”). However, CAD/CAM software is insanely expensive compared to Maya - just look at pricing for Unigraphics vs Maya. As developers, we want T-Splines to get out to as large an audience as possible, but from a business perspective, pricing the plugin at $150 or so would make it impossible to introduce T-Splines into the CAD/CAM arena at anything much higher than that. And, to be honest, when comparing T-Splines to Nurbs, it’s a no-brainer since they convert back and forth easily and without any loss, while comparing T-Splines to SubDs is a lot less clear-cut.
In fact, every business person we talk to tells us to get as much VC as we can, and sell at a much higher price point to CAD/CAM. We didn’t go for it, because our main goal is popularizing the technology, not making money and getting out. There are also some practical reasons behind the pricing decision.
I can understand that for many people, the value proposition is, well, just funny. I had a couple of people laugh at me when I told them the price during Siggraph. I don’t think our current plugin and price is attractive to many users of Lightwave, or Modo, or Silo, or Max. But to people who need to output Nurbs, who need to deal with large Nurbs patches and the problems they introduce, our plugin is low-priced. For example, we spoke with some modellers who said that removing unwanted ripples from Nurbs on their previous project took 2 modeller-weeks. For them, our price is inexpensive, because we could get the same job done in about a day. For people who are making models for manufacturing, our price could very well be inexpensive. There are some operations with large datasets that simply aren’t feasible with Nurbs, that T-Splines can handle just fine.
However, we certainly don’t want to ignore the CG world. We’re planning on making plugins for lower-priced packages, which would, of course, be lower priced. We also have had some discussions about selling previous revisions of our plugin at a price point that would be attractive to smaller studios and freelancers (After we get to 2.0, that is). We’re doing aggressive educational pricing, as well as putting out a learning edition for people who just want to play around with the technology. We’re interested in feedback, and features that are necessary on the CG side. We’ve gotten a lot of suggestions since Siggraph, and we’re working on implementing those. We’d love to provide libraries to 3d software companies, for inclusion in their products.
In any case, we’ve made some business decisions, and we are trying to make it work with them. Most new businesses fail, and our company is certainly no exception to that risk. But we’ll try to make a go of it, and see what happens.
I hope I didn’t offend anyone by posting the news here. While cgtalk is probably not exclusively filled with potential customers, I like cgtalk, and I thought the news would be interesting to most here. Again, I think that the best route would be if the 3d companies would integrate T-Splines with their software. But, that’s not going to happen unless artists tell the companies that they want T-Splines, and that’s not going to happen unless we bring it to market and let you guys get your hands on it.
Tom, thanks for taking the time to make that explanation I think it helps keep things in perspective for most folks So you mentioned a learning edition and an EDU version to help get this out to people more. I didn’t see this mentioned earlier, so this is very encouraging for people who want to explore this more. I think it’ll help too for people who want to be able to provide feedback on the functionality before making a large investment. I haven’t checked your website (yet), but are these going to be available when the beta version expires next month?
I’ll reiterate. T-Splines directly competes with Maya for customer dollars. Directly. The market force of substitution offers a written guarantee in this respect. If I must choose between the next upgrade to Maya or T-Splines, I wonder which I’ll choose. Actually, I don’t wonder. Neither will anyone else.
Similarly, if I can buy Modo or T-Splines, the choice is easy. Luxology gets my credit card number, not T-Splines. If an organization uses Maya, say 10 seats, they have to look at an $8000 dollar investment to add T-Splines. Plus annual upgrades. Hmm. For a single plugin. That’s a really tough sell.
You state that T-Splines does not have anything to compare to and you ask who is on equal footing. Sure, if you focus on their technology, they might have something good, great, or better. Again. At their current price, which is sky-high, their business will have all the roar of a wet fire. They have to price lower. Period. Or reposition their product in some manner that justifies the price. That’s certainly an option.
I’ll repeat myself again. T-Splines cannot simultaneously be the new, super-expensive, powerful tool while being the new, affordable, [powerful?] tool. At present their position is as a new, super-expensive, [powerful?] tool. Their technology is NOT the issue. No one uses technology they can’t afford.
With respect to arrogance. They’re new, their technology is new. Their sky-high asking price lends the appearance of arrogance. Again, it doesn’t matter if T-Splines is arrogant and overpriced or not, it only matters if customers think T-Splines is arrogant or overpriced. Charging a mortgage payment price for what amounts to an entry level product [a single plugin] seems arrogant to me. I’m trying to make the following point. Customer perception of value is the only reality there is. The technology could be fantastic, it could be terrible. The technology doesn’t matter. The value perception matters.
I was interested in the comment from the executive at Alias. If I’d heard him make that comment, or if I’d had the chance to respond directly, here’s what I would have said. Who is responsible for the price war anyway? You are free to lament the price war, but the consumer doesn’t set the prices, the manufacturers do. A price war has occured because the manufacturers are driving their products toward commodity status. How? What’s the difference between Alias and Max and Softimage? What’s the difference between an airline seat on American and United and Northwest? I agree that price wars aren’t fun for manufacturers, but the manufacturers are the ones who are making their products so similar that customers can’t tell them apart. This isn’t the customer’s fault. Again, perception rules. Is Maya basically the same as Max or isn’t it? You can’t have it both ways.
With respect to Mr. Finnigan’s post. Thanks for spending the time clarifying some of the issues. You are clearly a professional and very well-mannered. Still, I have to repeat myself again. T-Splines is either an inward-focused organization that solves its own problems, or it’s an outward-focused organization that solves the market’s problems. You can’t have it both ways. [It’s definitely worth noting that the market tends to care far more about its own problems than those of its suppliers.]
With respect to inward-focus, I was especially interested in the following paragraph:
“However, we think that the technology is valuable enough that we don’t want it to disappear into the Siggraph archives, never to be used. We think it can save time, save money, and make the process less painful for everyone involved. Dr. Sederberg has said several times that he thinks it’s the most important thing he’s ever done. He also invented FFDs, did a lot of work on early implicit surfaces, and various intersection algorithms. He’s also invented a few other surface types, none of which are commercially available today.”
What I get from the previous paragraph is as follows.
[-]We think it’s valuable.
[-]We think it saves time and money.
[-]He thinks it’s the most important.
What about the potential customers? Where do we come into play, besides our ability to pay? If the people you talked to at SIGGRAPH laughed at the price, and if people don’t ‘get’ your value proposition, aren’t you doing something wrong? If you don’t think your price is attractive to many users of Maya/Etc., then why are you trying to sell it to us?
Well, that is your choice and I'll leave you to it.
That’s where you are wrong. Just because you or your studio can’t afford T-Splines doesn’t mean that you speak for the rest of the industry. Because even if you believe you do, the fact is that you can’t because the industry is bigger than you (or I). Please do not impose your beliefs like it’s the only truth. THAT is arrogance.
Let’s see. $8000.00 for 10 seats OR having 4 of those modelers spend 2 weeks cleaning up assets for, say $30.00/hour- that comes to $9600.00. And these are conservative numbers. So, the product paid for itself in less than two weeks. I don’t know what economics you subscribe to but, to me, that’s a good investment.
Also, they’re not targeting just the CGI sector- they’re also going for the CAD/CAM market. If you’ve been in that sector, $800.00 for a plug-in is literally nothing- it’s a completely different ballpark. An entry-level Pro/E package will be upward of $5000.00 per seat. Open your eyes for a change and see that CGI isn’t the only game in town.
If the point is to get the product to a lot of people’s hands so they can see the product for what it is, aren’t they addressing this by (according to them) doing aggressive educational pricing and putting out a learning edition? And “super-expensive” is quite relative. To a four-man studio that does animation primarily, it could be expensive. However, someone like Viewpoint, or Chrysler, or Bandai, or Pixar might view it differently. Really. Go download the beta and play around with it. Then come back and talk about value. Otherwise, you’re just trying to prove a point out of your @$$ (pardon the expression).
Of course. That’s why Alias hasn’t lowered their prices the way Softimge or Lightwave has. They know that in that companies can’t sustain themselves in that climate. I mean, look at Houdini. It’s Master version is one of the priciest 3D animation packages out there at $15,000 but they’re still filling seats. I don’t think the artistic community is as naive as you seem to think it is. Of course people want a bargain. Who doesn’t? But there is also the question of time: almost everything we do has a schedule. That means a deadline. If something is inexpensive but doesn’t provide something in return that helps the artist make full use of their talents and keep the deadline, it won’t have a market share (or a very small one at best). That’s why, eventhough most of the 3D applications out there have basically the same tools (a Boolean is a Boolean or an extrude is an extrude no matter what package you’re using), you still have artists who prefer Max over Maya or XSI over Max, et. al. There isn’t a panacea solution and that’s why we still have a plethora of 3D packages to choose from.
I don’t understand your POV. It HAS to be both ways. I haven’t worked in a company that’s not BOTH internally and externally focused, especially if you have clients, unless you DON’T want to keep them. The moment you sell to clients, you have to support those clients as well as give them a reason to choose your product over somebody else’s. T-Splines answering e-mail inquiries with great professionalism and even Mr. Finnegan’s reply is proof that they’re also externally focussed. If you’re sole argument centers around the price, then you’ve failed to prove you point for this statement.
Funny. You should ask that from ALL your software vendors.
Well, you have this:
So, in conclusion, I agree with you on the pricing. However, as for the rest, I respectfully think that you should just chill, let these guys do their work and see where they could take this product. And If T-Splines ever come to XSI, I’ll be right in line trying it out for myself.
P.S. How about other NURBS packages like Rhino3D or SolidThinking? Any plans to port to those platforms?