Thinning out the 3D herd... who's first?


With all the new 3D apps (mondo, silo, and probably more) and existing 3D apps that have had updates (Max, Maya, XSI), and the HUGE price drops on some of the biggest players in the business I seriously think the market is oversaturated…

Which apps do you think are gonna be the first to go under?


I hope none of them do. I think its great having so much variety. If we all used the same tools I think we’d start to see even more work and styles being repeated over and over.

Having said that I wouldn’t miss programs like Bryce and Poser.

Yes I accept that Poser is useful for pre-vis, blah, blah but God I hate poser “artists”


Infini-D…uhmm Poser…uhmm…FormZ…uhmmm Metacreations Bryce…Uhmmm Strata…uhmmmm…those are all the sucky ones I can think of…I like MilkShape. It helped me when Max 3 couldn’t animate worth beans.

Y’know this thread is gonna turn into a pissing contest…I didn’t start it.


I’m a Lightwave user and I am feeling the pain. If I wasn’t doing my own thing I would be hard pressed to look for a long term position working somehere using Lightwave.
The low ball priceing I feel is a way to work up a user base quickly at the expense of revenue.
Any developer that can approach a studio with solid user numbers and bright new talent can try to pitch the sale for multiple licenses. The greater the talent pool the cheaper the hire is from an operational and employment stand point.

Poser, like it or not is a selective niche market. It has little or no direct competition for its market base. Although DAZ 3D has some sort of program thay have in beta.

Metacreations went belly up years ago. Too many apps that had no real market purpose. Speaking with some developers that worked there at its collapse said it was filled to the gills with managers.



Ooooh… this thread is dangerous!:hmm:

I think it’s safe to say most areas of graphic development either stick around or are absorbed by other companies. Absorbtion is the flavour of the year.


I think the market and user base are increasing enough to support all of these apps. The same increase in market is also driving down the price of the apps.
In the old days you needed high cost specialty workstations to run high cost specialty apps. Today we have an abundance of cheap hardware that drives the increase in users, especially in the hobby/independant artist market.


fyi, this thread is dangerous, so far its been decent, but I have a strong feeling im gonna end up having to lock it…so everyone be nice!


I’m just waiting to someone drops the bomb:D
Anyway, has any software in the cg bis went out? Just died and never returned?


i havent personally used other software other than maya, so i an’t gonna say nothing “negge” about anything. but it would be interesting to have big names like maya and z brush to merge. i wonder if there would be even greater technological advances for having such a merger. imagine having the power of zbrush modeling integrated with maya. i have seen many good works done by all the listed software, so to me, i respect that very much so. its like a martial arts form, its not the art, but the fighter who takes it to the next level. and one type of fighter still does respect another one who is skilled. but even with taht its to a certain extent. ohh well. but a artist who can take a poser model and “use it properly” and with inginuity (sp) still gains my respect, long as they list that they used a poser model… yah yah i read about the artist from the past. my defense is that there still is lighting, texture mapping, proper rigging, composition, redefining the model, theme, renderwork/post production etc. to work through. but im not here to start a poser flame anyway.


I have a feeling it will even itself out though. Mostly these apps have been so costly in past years because of a lack of competition. They could be buggy, but because they were the only ones producing it, it didn’t matter. Competition is great for the consumer because a. lower price, and b. we will see product. All of the companies are competing for consumer dollars but they also gain support by fixing bugs, adding features, and overall keeping the consumer happy so they’ll pickup more of a user base.


I think that there’s if there’s a need for some people, the smaller apps will continnue to survive. Lets not forget that many people are actualy using them quite a lot (Poser, Bryce,…), and don’t see the need for a bigger thing than what they have. My neightboor always talk to me about Bryce…he likes it and he use it and he have fun with it. I tried to present him, with a more powerful solution but he was just lost and actually don’t have the will to educate himself using an app that do nothing with one click only. They want to press a button and boom, you have a tree, boom you have a sky, and boom a moutain and the sea. He will never put more time than this. There’s a lot of sub-category in art, I think there is enough forums exposing poser stuff and bryce stuff so we can see there’s a need for it to some people.

Poser is the soft that developped my own interest in 3D, 3 years ago. I tried to use it for a little while and was unsatisfied with the results I was getting. It made me try to find a way to create my own 3d characters, I was already drawing them by hand. After a couple of research and looking around I trashed Poser fast:) But I had my own idea before opening Poser, not play with something already there, I wanted my own gang from my own hand. Many people will use Bryce and Poser and all the littles apps for fun mostly I think, not professionally. But even then, if used by the right hands, these apps can be used by professionals.


About using the same tool I think you are wrong. We can all use the same pencils and the results would all be differents. I think a pencil is a good analogy to a major app, since the pencil is useless if you have no idea to drive it, as most major apps does nothing with one button click.
I would also be interested in seeing a merging of 2 or 3 of the big players to incorporate all their best solutions into one potentially ‘flawless’ application. After that it’s up to the user to make something different and original. a good brush doesn’t make a good painter.


I don’t think a price drop is enough to cause a mass fleeting from one app that will utimately make it fall to the way side. I think the big determining factor among the below 1000 market will be customer support. If thats the case I can only think of one app thats in trouble based on what some of its users have posted.


:eek: I gottta admit - I thought it was kinda funny that more than just one person said this thread was “dangerous”. :shrug:

Anyways, just like in most indutries, there is always room for the small/niche players in the market (think Poser, Bryce). BUT when it comes to more ‘professional’ tools (not trying to offend the other tools ofcourse), the 3D market is just not THAT big to support sooooo many programs - atleast I don’t think so.

I think that within 2 years, atleast 3 of the big/semi-big players will have dropped out or been bought out by the competition, and that doesn’t include the ‘accessory’ programs (think, renderers, or other add-ons) that I think will just get merged into the ‘main’ 3D apps. Heck, wasn;t it just announced that Alias bought up one of the larger animation ‘add-ons’.
The nature of business it to just get bigger, so while there are a few new apps that are mainly just modellers, I think they would eventually get bought out.

Which of hte 3D companies do you think is the weakest and strongest? (and NO, I am not trying to start a VERSUS war between apps, I am thinking more in terms of company and their willingness to adapt to the new business climate).

I for one, think that Discreet has historiclly (atleast their recent history) been doing a bad job in changing with the market - and their stubborness to stick to the same pricing point that they have had for many years, just proves that to me.

NewTek, I also think is weak - which is a shame since they are one of the ‘original’ 3D companies.

What do you guys think?


A few years back I started thinking of my computer of more as of a tool and less like an appliance. At first this appliance was just plugged into a main default pc company designated operating system running on designated hardware that was more like a utility companies power supply. I only had the power to turn it on and use it as is or turn it off and not use it. I realized that after I had built my own computer system much of my view points of how things worked in a computer and how I worked with a computer changed.

Then I ran across open source software like Linux. And I found out that it was built by the same people who used it as an operating system. I could determine what went into my operating system and how it behaved. My ideas about software where changed from that point on.

I love great software. There is a lot of it out there. Most of it is prepackaged and the user has no say as to how it’s developed, designed managed, etc. They only have a say as to whether they choose use it or not. Even with the great current 3d software marketing tactics this fact has not changed. You buy a piece of software because it does the things that you want it to do.

The user can write scripts for a prepackaged app but they can’t alter the source code of a prepackaged app. I think that for more average users this is fine. The average 3d software user only uses a small part of their app. Even fewer 3d software users make more full use of their apps complete set of features.

Most large scale 3d app developers are aware of this fact and they are shifting their product offerings in favor of this current market situation.

I know that some of the people out there will even buy a lower end version of a 3d software app just because it’s used in the production of major Hollywood films. I would call this a “fan based” market of individuals who want to play with the big guys production toys . Most of these users will not work at the level of a serious end user at a 3d media production studio.

So a 3d software company who’s chief end user base is hardcore 3d pro’s will have a market of more knowledgeable 3d software end users. I doubt that it will take a price drop to really rock their main apps production pipeline. For these folks their long term exposure to the ups and downs of managing a workflow with a 3d app that they can count on will limit their making any swift changes in 3d software buying.

For just about everybody else we will see a lot of quick buyers who can know play with the 3d app for a few months and switch to another app until they settle with one main app or give up on their 3d software phase altogether.

I think that as time goes on we will see a “thinning” of the serious 3d software users and from the more casual “for fun” or bragging rights driven users. Let’s face it 3d is not like getting a new cell phone or boxed 3d game title.

Hey some of us were getting our fingers dirty with project driven art before we even heard of 3d software. As more new 3d software users from production backgrounds get wind of 3d software and realize that it makes building stuff and developing projects a breeze, we will see a definite growth in these professional users.

At least now project minded 3d designers will have a good set of real “3d pro” $500+ price range apps that can really perform at the rate of their intellect. Metacreations 3d apps never did this.

To me this is the best thing that I have seen software industry wise in years.

Have fun!


IMO, whichever apps had the highest hit in P2P search, will remain for a very long time. Simply, because everyone are into it.

So far, the top 4 in the industry are Maya, XSI, Max and LW.


I have to agree with Erilaz. Absorbtion and buy-outs are what I forsee for the future. I dont keep up on the buisness end of 3d, but for a while there I thought Softimage/Avid was going to be in the market to buy Mental Images for Mental Ray.

I could forsee Discreet buying Splutterfish for Brazil and Vray. Although both of them seem to be broadening thier horizon to Maya in the near future.

Maya seems to be good buddies with the render gurus over at Pixar. Maybe Alias would never be able to buy Pixar, but who is to say Pixar wouldn’t buy Alias?

Animanium, Z-Brush, Wings3d, Clay, JOT are all small enough companies with major tools that don’t have the exposure they could have if they were under the umbrella of some of the bigger companies.

Hell, can you imagine if Maya had the displacement and normal mapping abilities of Z-brush and/or the NPR possibilities of JOT? Or if paint FX was as good a 2d tool as Painter?

CEO’s: Email me for great ideas!


I’m with the thinking that just cause of cheaper prices, people aren’t just going to jump ship. One thing I haven’t really seen mention in a lot of these type threads is the training involved, skill set that has to be relearned by switching apps.

Minus the new hire that already knows it, you have to train your people on it. Take my place of work, we are a Max shop. For what we use Max for, Foundation XSI would suffice, and the price is awesome in comparison. But, you have people that have been using Max since it’s initial release and with deadlines that leave no free time during the day, when are you going to get trained up on this stuff? Sure, some people will learn on their own time, but you can’t count on that in the business world.


I don’t think things will change too much for the immediate future. You need a reason to change software. Not simply because the price is better. I think most people switch because the package they are in, isn’t doing what they want, or isn’t doing it well enough and then they look at “can we afford the switch.”


I think one company/program people have kind of put in the backs of thier minds is Eovia’s Carrara Studio 3. Nice rendering engine for the price, but it’s a bit slow. I’ll admit Carrara 1.0 was the first 3d program I bought…Got a sweet deal on ebay for 20 bucks. :stuck_out_tongue: I’d like to see no companies going under but I don’t think anything major will happen since each company seems to have it’s loyal group of users to keep them afloat.

Trying to keep it nice,
pnoland :wink:


As revenue thins from bigger companies due to lower price structures, the third party market may really flourish. Either in stand alone modelers/renderers or plugins that connect various aplications seamlessly. But those operation specific apps need to be priced right.
Selling a pipeline connector app for over $300 is going to be a hard sell if the full apps are $500-1000.