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Amurrell
05-03-2012, 08:48 PM
Looks like AD is moving towards phasing out SI.

http://www.cgchannel.com/2012/05/autodesk-reshuffles-softimage-development-team/

Dodgy
05-03-2012, 10:38 PM
They say the dev team is still larger than it was 2 years ago, but still, it's not encouraging. Shame, as it seems to be the best soft for character animation.

3DGFXStudios
05-04-2012, 03:32 AM
Newtek should buy it and put all cool stuff in lw ;)

Hieron
05-04-2012, 03:38 AM
"Softimage development will now be carried out by a six-person team in Singapore"

6?!
Just... 6?

Wow, for some reason I imagined a much bigger team.. for a software at 3.3k euro with a 800 euro yearly sub (ex vat), one would imagine more people involved? Surely they have more than 500 subs a year, let alone sales?

Damn, I would be seriously worried if I'd be using SI :/
(yeah yeah, learn more packages sure, but being a full generalist one does not jump package at production speed so fast)

Lewis
05-04-2012, 04:05 AM
"Softimage development will now be carried out by a six-person team in Singapore"

6?!
Just... 6?


From some of comments it seems that text is misleading:

quote:
"Matt Morris said:
The 6 people mentioned by Chun-Pong Yu are the main developers, they are not the only ones – its a bit misleading to say that its only a 6 person team now working on Softimage."

From what i understand it's 6 NEW persons (DEVs) workign on it in Singapore located team but old DEVs are still available for stuff/questions until new Team goes into speed and nobody says how much teams exactly work on it fully. BUT even if is just a 6 DEVs team if they are in same office it can be more productive than 15 scattered around globe.

Hieron
05-04-2012, 04:10 AM
From what i understand it's 6 NEW persons (DEVs) workign on it in Singapore located team but old DEVs are still available for stuff/questions until new Team goes into speed and nobody says how much teams exactly work on it fully.

Yeah sure, I'd say the same if I was AD. But people have only so many hours a day and only so much focus to spend. Anyway.. who knows. It is hardly good news for SI imho.


BUT even if is just a 6 DEVs team if they are in same office it can be more productive than 15 scattered around globe.

Sure, and 10 in an office can be more productive than 6, your point?
Ah well, I was just expressing my wonder over the number.

I'd probably be amazed at # of people working on LW and Modo too..

Lewis
05-04-2012, 04:23 AM
Sure, and 10 in an office can be more productive than 6, your point?


Point? you don't see the point ? Well let me explain it to you then :).

If they previously maybe had 15 guys (just guesssing of course) working on SI from all around globe in different time zones and stuff they spend great deal of time in meetings and organizing some remote/video meetings to check who's working on what and now if they all can be in same room all that will be bare minimum 'coz they can communicate easily while working so nobody has to wait anyone to wake up or check where is code now and what's he working on... etc. etc...

Heck even NT DEVs said it several times that their collective meetings are always extremely productive when they gather together in same room/office.

So my point is that it could be good thing for SI if they are switching from bigger scattered team to smaller focused. Also like i said this 6 don't mean total number of DEVs anyway now will AD ever confirm that :D.

I guess we will see with time will they kill it (development) or expand it :).

Maybe NT could catch modeling DEVs from them now :D.

Hieron
05-04-2012, 04:45 AM
Point? you don't see the point ? Well let me explain it to you then :)..

I know what you are saying, but it is hardly a valid point as an answer to my reply.

Sure, 15 scattered people may not be as ideal as 6 in an office.. but I could come up with tons of comparisons that may be less or more ideal.. all of it just guesses. How does it make sense concerning my point of it being merely 6?

Nevermind btw.. I was just saying that 6 sounds like nothing to me. Concerning the well known and priced package.

It may be a more focussed 6 now, it may have been 256 donkeys and a chicken working on it untill now, or it may even become 56 working in 8 different places atm. Who knows. I was just saying "6? 6 is little". But they will surely not disclose exact numbers.. keeping it in the middle is much better.

Time will tell ofcourse... perhaps these people have more energy and new ideas and it will improve, who knows.

safetyman
05-04-2012, 05:03 AM
This is what big companies do -- buy up the competition and incorporate their stuff into their main products. They'll take some of the better features from Soft and put it into Maya and 3DS Max. Nowadays, it's not cost effective to support 3 similar products. If AD buys Newtek (please God no), you'd see some LW features showing up in their flagship programs and LW would eventually go bye bye.

kfinla
05-04-2012, 05:43 AM
I wasn't under the impression the SI team was scattered. I thought they were all in Montreal. I assume this is a cost saving, downsizing move. I'd be most concerned that these are 6 new people with little experience with the SI code base, I can't imagine a lot of the current SI gurus wanted to move to the other side of the world.

pooby
05-04-2012, 06:24 AM
I Guess that what is happening here however is the taking of Softimage developers who have initiated ICE and doing something similar in Maya.

ICE and Softimage are relatively mature now. Softimage in its current state is very comprehensive, and with ICE, users can expand Softimage's capabilities enormously. For example. I am working on a facial mocap system that just needs a video file into Softimage and outputs a final quality animation. All within Softimage.

http://vimeo.com/40589904

Currently Softimage is the only package that can do this without an enormous amount of tedious coding. That work above took less than a week of experimentation and nothing more than basic level maths. That's to build an image-tracker from scratch , a mocap solver, and shape-blending rig based on ICE logic.
The concept of ICE's Visual programming language needs to become more commonplace. ICE allows you to pretty much do anything you can think of with vertices. Its comprehensive in that regard. But ICE could be even more and it needs some competition. (houdini's approach is currently far more reliant on knowledge of maths and coding so I dont see it as a similar beast, and houdini isn't a geometry animation centric package either like Softimage is)

Many studios are using ICE, even in Maya centric pipelines, Autodesk have been selling this concept and their is reliance on ICE as there is nothing to compare with its speedy approach to programming and prototyping tools.
Just look at the Softimage ICE channel in Vimeo, its very popular.
It makes sense to bring that functionality directly to Maya.
Until Maya has enough qualities to justify making Softimage redundant, I am confident that Softimage will be around. Softimage is a profitable business and as I have learned from doing Tutorials, and being able to view the geographical demographics, the densest population of Softimage users are in Asia, so it makes sense to centre a team there.

I do not see this news as 'Yeah great for Softimage'
What I feel is likely to happen long term is that an evolution of Maya will become the sole package. But thats quite a way off.
If they can make Maya as palatable and efficient and powerful to use (without coding) as Softimage, I'd be happy to jump ship. It has a more deeply customisable architecture and an equivalent of ICE in it could be amazing.
All us ICE users have a great head start. Softimage is like the future now.

geo_n
05-04-2012, 06:42 AM
Great post pooby. Very open minded approach about software to even consider jumping ship to maya. It is concentrated in asia especially the big cg and game companies. For smaller companies though its rare to see it maybe because smaller projects require less powerful software to finish stuff and the xsi guys are already working for top companies already.
If only work and time allowed me to learn xsi I would, but I'm stuck with max which is not bad and pays the bills.

Titus
05-04-2012, 08:12 AM
Newtek should buy it and put all cool stuff in lw ;)

Softwave?

Titus
05-04-2012, 08:20 AM
"Softimage development will now be carried out by a six-person team in Singapore"

6?!
Just... 6?


And this is a bigger dev team than NT dev staff :P.

Lightwolf
05-04-2012, 08:46 AM
And this is a bigger dev team than NT dev staff :P.
Hehe, close, but not quite (even if you only count the people that actually write code).
On the other hand, there's also a few things that the SI dev groups doesn't need to worry about... or spend a lot less time on (viewports/OpenGL and rendering are two prime examples).

Cheers,
Mike

3DGFXStudios
05-04-2012, 08:51 AM
Softwave?

Man! That's a snappy title :thumbsup: Now I even think this is a really good idea ;)

geo_n
05-04-2012, 01:03 PM
So the word on AD is "consolidation". People already saying in less than 5 years it will drop xsi. That's too bad but from a business standpoint, which AD is all about, it makes sense to drop the third place app and stop the bleeding support and development of three major 3d appz simultaneously. Max and maya individually outsell xsi by a big margin.
So its mICE for max and maya soon.

silviotoledo
05-04-2012, 01:20 PM
I think that when they transfer the ICE elements to Maya, Maya will be better and powerfull than XSI itself.

The sad part is that XSI have optimized code and a new core that Maya has not.

Hope they review the Maya interface.

Sad if they will kill Maya after and do the BIG 3D MAX :).

warmiak
05-04-2012, 01:40 PM
I think that when they transfer the ICE elements to Maya, Maya will be better and powerfull than XSI itself.

The sad part is that XSI have optimized code and a new core that Maya has not.

Hope they review the Maya interface.

Sad if they will kill Maya after and do the BIG 3D MAX :).

They are not going to do that ... having too many apps with heavily overlapping functionality is not a good idea but you still want to be able to attract different people to different products ( even if "different" means a different way of doing the same thing)

I mean, it all depends on how many licenses they sell, even if all these apps were pretty much the same, as long as each one sells enough licenses then I don't see a problem with maintaining them all.

robertoortiz
05-04-2012, 02:05 PM
Wow what a shock....
(I am not surprised one bit(

pooby
05-04-2012, 02:51 PM
There are big assumptions being made here, and that article is highly innacurate. There have been six new staff hired. But that is not the total amount.
Softmage could eventually get phased out, but this isn't going to be some 5 year end game.
It took about 8 years to make ice version one. And now is in its 5th iteration.
By the time maya may get its version one, Ice will likely be on version 10 or so.
You can't just drop that suddenly, after you have been selling the concept of suites and getting studios relying on it. Unless you have a decent alternative.
The most likely outcome is a much longer crossover, using Softimage as a kind of ice tech tested for stuff to put into maya at a later date.

Dexter2999
05-04-2012, 03:45 PM
You can't just drop that suddenly, after you have been selling the concept of suites and getting studios relying on it. Unless you have a decent alternative.

They are Goliath. They can do anything they like and what will the market do? Stop using AD products? Do you think all disgruntled Softimage users would suddenly switch to LW, Modo, or Blender? Of course you don't.

I'm not saying that they should or would drop Softimage. I'm just pointing out that with their chokehold on the market they could
do anything they like. Much like Avid did with their customer support (before FinalCut got a market hold) and much like Netflix did with their pricing. Which is to say that there wouldn't be an uproar, but it would hardly put them out of business.

Intuition
05-04-2012, 03:49 PM
The most likely outcome is a much longer crossover, using Softimage as a kind of ice tech tested for stuff to put into maya at a later date.

That idea sounds hardCore.

Wonder if they can pull it off?

;)

Softimage was poised well before AD bought them. It has done well under AD regardless of the doom and gloom forecast back then.

I think there will be no merging of the apps.

Maya is falling behind in the fx department. The latest Houdini engine is a game changer.

Ice has been packaged, for those not already using it as a primary app like I used to, to supplement Maya as an fx addon with ICE.

Now that idea is going to be integrated directly into maya.

Great news for us Maya peeps.

In the end I doubt Softimage or max or Maya will be merged or killed. Too much money to be made from the separate apps.

my 2 cents.

pooby
05-04-2012, 04:18 PM
They are Goliath. They can do anything they like and what will the market do? Stop using AD products? Do you think all disgruntled Softimage users would suddenly switch to LW, Modo, or Blender? Of course you don't.

I'm not saying that they should or would drop Softimage. I'm just pointing out that with their chokehold on the market they could
do anything they like. Much like Avid did with their customer support (before FinalCut got a market hold) and much like Netflix did with their pricing. Which is to say that there wouldn't be an uproar, but it would hardly put them out of business.

They could, but why would they? They don't have an alternative to ICE yet.
It would make no sense to kill a unique and valuable tool unless you have an alternative in your slate. many ICE users would be looking at Houdini rather than Maya.

Dexter2999
05-04-2012, 04:48 PM
Why would they? Return On Investment. Beancounters. Even if Softimage makes a profit, if efficiency experts come in and announce that every dollar invested in developing Softimage yields $5.75 but every dollar spent developing Max yields $7.50 and Maya yields $12. Contributing factors of staffing, facility expenditures, and benefits could be presented to make Softimage an unattractive investment.

Tools and productivity aren't the concern of beancounters. This is the same argument about MacPro's. It isn't that they don't make money. It is that they don't make as much money as management would like.

And I seem to recall that they originally said they didn't even want Softimage, but for $5 million they didn't see how they could pass it up.

alesxander
05-04-2012, 05:05 PM
if AD moves ICE to Maya or Max, bye bye SI, where "moves" = "migrate"

speismonqui
05-04-2012, 06:02 PM
I've read a couple of weeks ago in the SI-community a post about the posible future plans for AD. It's all speculation as there's no official statement but it makes a bit sense anyways.

So, apparently the plan is to make Maya the "ultimate" software for film and VFX, while max will be the tool for games/visualisation and freelance work. funny thing, a guy replied: softimage?. No response.
As I said it's all pure speculation but there are a few things that contribute to believe it could be true. The lack of Softimage presence in AD website is evident, actually Softimage is not easy to find in there. I don't know why.

Other things mentioned elsewhere are quite interesting, i.e. project Xcalibur (do you remember this? that couple of screenshots from the new 3ds max that looked a bit like LW?), apparently (again) the project is running and running fast as AD would like to launch it for their cloud software system (http://www.cgchannel.com/2012/04/autodesk-all-of-our-products-will-soon-go-online).

I don't think this SI exodus is going to help Softimage tbh, and this is quite interesting also:
the new staff have backgrounds in coding at Nvidia, Ubisoft and LucasArts. “It’s true that the team doesn’t know the code as well as [original developers] Luc-Eric and team but that’s not to say that we’re newbies to software development. Sure, we don’t have the 10-15 year histories with Soft that the ‘old’ team had, but we’re happy to say that they’re still around … and still helping out when there’s a need.”

My best wishes to the SI community and users as I think it is the best piece of software out there and we all know this is more than a "software talk/issue". I'm not an AD "hater", but I don't like them either.

geo_n
05-04-2012, 09:49 PM
Sad if they will kill Maya after and do the BIG 3D MAX :).

Probably not, a lot of film companies have invested in maya in their pipeline. Not just on the software and custom codes that make maya powerful but on the people and training. Xsi tried to sway these companies away from maya but couldn't even if some users know xsi is more userfriendly and powerful. Too late to the party.
You can't kill max either since there are more games, design and engineering firms buying max licenses than any other 3D software out there.

djlithium
05-05-2012, 12:18 AM
I Guess that what is happening here however is the taking of Softimage developers who have initiated ICE and doing something similar in Maya.

ICE and Softimage are relatively mature now. Softimage in its current state is very comprehensive, and with ICE, users can expand Softimage's capabilities enormously. For example. I am working on a facial mocap system that just needs a video file into Softimage and outputs a final quality animation. All within Softimage.

http://vimeo.com/40589904

Currently Softimage is the only package that can do this without an enormous amount of tedious coding. That work above took less than a week of experimentation and nothing more than basic level maths. That's to build an image-tracker from scratch , a mocap solver, and shape-blending rig based on ICE logic. .

that's pretty cool Pooby. It does give me an idea how it might be possible to do this in lightwave. I'm curious though about why you didn't key your green dots and then flip the mask just leaving them against black or alpha'ed and gone BG entirely. Any reason for that?
Would you be willing to share that Highspeed video clip of your mug for a test of a theory I have?
Let me know.
Cheers!

erikals
05-05-2012, 06:00 AM
that's pretty cool Pooby. It does give me an idea how it might be possible to do this in lightwave. I'm curious though about why you didn't key your green dots and then flip the mask just leaving them against black or alpha'ed and gone BG entirely. Any reason for that?
Would you be willing to share that Highspeed video clip of your mug for a test of a theory I have?
Let me know.
Cheers!

not sure if it can be done entirely in LW, but i did have some ideas, basically the same stuff, but tracking via Syntheyes or After effects (AE has a plugin that exports nulls to LW) (Syntheyes also exports nulls)

nulls would then drive morphs / bones etc...

hm, just got an idea, maybe polymove can pull something off...
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=88118

 

zarti
05-05-2012, 10:46 AM
Looks like AD is moving towards phasing out SI.

http://www.cgchannel.com/2012/05/autodesk-reshuffles-softimage-development-team/

ooHh !

thats sad for sure .. for every XSI user .

But not for me .. i was lucky when i 'reconsidered' things after NT 'reconsidered' the original Core Project .

didnt choose XSI .

--

additionally , i think biggest part of actual XSI users wd have a really hard time and costs jumping to Maya ( tools and assets to be transfered / accept their lost ) . sad for many , i believe ..

also , non-catching up for two or more latest versions of a software these days .. is really Hard too .

lets see ..



Good Luck to them all !

Surrealist.
05-05-2012, 04:43 PM
Happy for me. Not sad. Because Softimage rocks. That won't change anytime soon. It is at a fairly good place now. But I'm looking forward to fresh development from a new team. The old team was great but it seems things were getting a little stagnant.

I was thinking maybe an ICE tool in Maya, but now not so sure. Maybe something similar but integrated with the N system which seems to work pretty good.

Actually it has given me more incentive to learn Maya as well and prepare for some inevitable changes in the future.

In the mean time I'd like to see an interface uplift for SI and I think a new Asian team is a good choice. The old SI developers were getting to be like the old boys club. Up to 2013 version it was still defaulting to a quad view wireframe like something out of the 90's. Finally in 2013 they changed the default to a single 1920x1080 view. But still wire frame. lol. Come on guys. Looked at the calender lately? And finally a "quality viewport" which I have not played with yet but at least we are moving out of the stone age.

The interface in SI just has this overall feel that I am looking back into the past. I suppose the old developers were set in their ways. That said, there is power in it's simplicity. And it is functionally fine. But I could see it getting some love in the way that it could look a tad slicker.

But, what Maya is lacking seems to be what SI has. And with the interface drawbacks of SI I still choose it over Maya primarily because of ICE and Lagoa and a overall workflow I think is much better.

Note to Autodesk: Don't let the SI team touch the Maya interface.

Just say'n

Where I think SI I needs to go from here a new team is the best choice.

Where Maya needs to go the SI team seems a perfect fit.

In my eyes good times ahead for software all around.

cresshead
05-06-2012, 04:56 AM
As i understand it Xcalibur = XBR which is the re write of 3dsmax and one that has been worked on in the last few releases of 3dsmax.

Autodesk's future plans are to move to selling suites only, or that's what i hear from resellers anyhow. So i think that softimage will go the way of Toxik and be the bundled app in the 3dsmax suite or the maya suite...and there will be a master suite with all 3 in there [3dsmax maya and softimage]

Bottom line here is that softimage does not sell in the numbers of 3dsmax or Maya, so it will be maintained but not developed massively and the cool tools that came to be developed already in softimage [ice, face robot] will be ported to Maya and 3dsmax where they see it's worth the effort.

We've already seen maya's Ncloth ported to 3dsmax an re-named Mcloth.

Netvudu
05-06-2012, 06:43 PM
Wait, they are adding ICE nodes to Maya? Adding nodes and an open environment to program visually with nodes?

Heck...it took them quite a whilte to figure out they just had to copy Houdini :D

Ernest
05-06-2012, 08:11 PM
Autodesk's future plans are to move to selling suites only, or that's what i hear from resellers anyhow. So i think that softimage will go the way of Toxik and be the bundled app in the 3dsmax suite or the maya suite...and there will be a master suite with all 3 in there [3dsmax maya and softimage]

It is already bundled in the Max premium suite and the Maya premium suite. And the Ultimate suite already includes the 3 packages.

In fact, if you are a student looking to upgrade your SI student license, those premium suites are the only option you have. Though, at over $4000, it's cheaper to buy the full SI license, if that's the only one you're interested in.

Surrealist.
05-07-2012, 06:46 PM
Wait, they are adding ICE nodes to Maya? Adding nodes and an open environment to program visually with nodes?

Heck...it took them quite a whilte to figure out they just had to copy Houdini :D

Funny. I know what you mean. Personally I think that ICE is more intuitive than Houdini approach but I hear you.

Also I think that it will not be ICE exactly, or anything like it. I think that would require something far more drastic for Maya. But I could be wrong.

Now if they could just incorporate some of Blender's key shorts for modeling.....:)

I think overall there is a long range plan in store and suites are just the beginning. But I predict it will come down to numbers. It will come down to making Maya attractive to SI users and in fact become a no brainier to switch. Once there is a significant switch in number of users then it will be a simple formality to shut it down. I give it 5+ years to see the end of SI -for all intents and purposes. It may exist but people won't be using it anymore because Maya has become something that just made more sense.

And then in the end it will come down to economy. Once they get most users in the suite loop, then and the numbers shift it will be more economical to consolidate development teams further and cut back in that area.

I think the grand plan was to first swallow up the largest share of the market, and then gradually over time economize and then finally deliver a more efficient pipeline to that market. But this is a very long range and gradual/methodical plan.

Just is just my opinion on it.

3D Kiwi
05-07-2012, 10:34 PM
I don’t really see an issue here. It is just bad communication from Autodesk and that article isn’t worth blowing your nose on.
Softimage is in a good place. And even if they stopped developing it today it will still last for years. We are still on XSI 7 at work and (I know I will get shot for this) but I still consider it years ahead of Lightwave.

Everyone is just having a knee jerk reaction to that article at the moment. Those new developers have already been working on SI since 2010 going from info in the xsi mailing list so there not newbies.

And besides nothing lasts for ever. If they do improve Maya with SI tech etc and it works out to be a good app then fine, nothing wrong with that.

Heck Newtek could decide to ditch Lightwave and focus on there video products. Life goes on.

And they paid 35 mill for it not 5 mill.

erikals
05-07-2012, 11:00 PM
 
wouldn't it make more sense to make xSI more like Maya instead?...

isn't xSI more powerful overall?...

 

3D Kiwi
05-07-2012, 11:02 PM
Think about it. If they ditch Softimage they upset a few people. If they Ditch Maya they upset Alot of people. And also the transistion from Maya as it is now to new Maya for Studios like ILM, WETA etc will be pretty seamless.

erikals
05-07-2012, 11:05 PM
i guess, always thought SI deserved better. sucks that they dropped Foundation... :\
oh well...

3D Kiwi
05-07-2012, 11:09 PM
Yea i agree foundation was how we got into XSI. I think it started taking to many customers away from there other versions. Advanced and Essencials.

geo_n
05-08-2012, 05:14 AM
And they paid 35 mill for it not 5 mill.

35 million? Plus the development cost to pay annual salary to programmers, marketting and after sales support. They would need to sell more than 10000 license to get that back. Don't think softimage has that many users worldwide for a niche market.
They really bought the tech in softimage to implement it into the other 2.

3D Kiwi
05-08-2012, 05:50 AM
35 million? Plus the development cost to pay annual salary to programmers, marketting and after sales support. They would need to sell more than 10000 license to get that back. Don't think softimage has that many users worldwide for a niche market.
They really bought the tech in softimage to implement it into the other 2.

I think you will find they have more than 10000 users, how many are on subs is a different story. The word from the SI guys on the mailing list is that SI is profitable and is holding its own. They even mentioned a year or so back that it out sold Max and Maya (Percentages i think not number of seats). I remeber seeing a servey once, cant remember where but XSI at the time, was a few years ago had a higher user base than Lightwave and C4D, How accurate that is who knows.

The fact is SI is doing ok, and as a SI user that has spent alot of time learning it im not worried. Life goes on.

ncr100
05-20-2012, 02:30 PM
softwave?

"lice"

djlithium
05-20-2012, 02:40 PM
I think you will find they have more than 10000 users, how many are on subs is a different story. The word from the SI guys on the mailing list is that SI is profitable and is holding its own. They even mentioned a year or so back that it out sold Max and Maya (Percentages i think not number of seats). I remeber seeing a servey once, cant remember where but XSI at the time, was a few years ago had a higher user base than Lightwave and C4D, How accurate that is who knows.

The fact is SI is doing ok, and as a SI user that has spent alot of time learning it im not worried. Life goes on.

Numbers i've heard are not anywhere near that. current and up to date subs are less than 5000, when they moved to AD their user base took a dip and now with these latest details alot of users are choosing to not renew until they see some kind of long term forward looking statement on the matter from AD.
They may have gotten a big boost a number of years ago when they went to version6 and 6.5 because it looked like it was XSI not maya or max that was going to drive things home for the "ultimate app" in that category at least under the AD flag, but it ran out of steam. 2006 and 2007 are a long time ago now and many of those studios that adopted XSI are done and gone, taking their user base with them.

It's a shame really because I always felt that XSI was a superior app to maya and indeed over all it is.