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gatz
03-10-2006, 12:27 AM
I almost sprayed my CRT with Dew when I got to the end of this article.

http://www.cgchannel.com/news/viewfeature.jsp?newsid=4962

Really cool. Nice stuff. SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT Designer $95,000, but you'll need several seats of the Animator for $15,000. My credit card can't even count that high.

Need to check my calendar to see if it's 1995...

hrgiger
03-10-2006, 01:24 AM
I'm sorry, but do you get a Dodge Viper with this purchase?

adrian
03-10-2006, 01:34 AM
Small change for the likes of ILM though eh?!!

Dirk
03-10-2006, 02:58 AM
Poser for billionaires...

gatz
03-10-2006, 03:21 AM
Small change for the likes of ILM though eh?!!

Yea, but haven't you heard? The folks with cash get it for FREE.

I hear they were handing out licenses in the gift bags at the Oscars. Paris Hilton has $110,000 worth of software and she doesn't even know it...;)

Dodgy
03-10-2006, 03:46 AM
That is mental. There's nothing there that couldn't be done with a few nice morph targets and a bit of softfx I reckon! :)

AbnRanger
03-10-2006, 04:04 AM
Sounds like a slightly fancier version of Max plugin "Facial Studio/Voice'O'MAtic" for about 100 times more....sounds like a bargain. Where do I sign? :thumbsdow

TSpyrison
03-10-2006, 08:37 AM
$95,000??

Im sure I've got that laying around here somewhere...

<- Looks for change in the couch cushions ->

toonafish
03-10-2006, 09:28 AM
besides....for that kind of money I would expect better results then what I saw in the Making of Kitty Hunting .

Titus
03-10-2006, 09:28 AM
I remember when Massive came out at a price of $40,000, later they had to drop the price to $14,000, and now last SIGGRAPH a friend offered $12,000 and they accepted.

Earl
03-10-2006, 09:34 AM
Wow...what a joke. :chicken:

Signal to Noise
03-10-2006, 10:16 AM
Poser for billionaires...

ROTFLMAO!

Billionaire: "Hmmm, I'm in the mood to get into this CG craze. What app shall I buy today?"

GregMalick
03-10-2006, 10:31 AM
$95K to only animate the faces of Robots! :stumped:

Who would have imagined that there was a large market for this :screwy:










:jester:

Nicolas Jordan
03-10-2006, 11:09 AM
For that price a company could easily pay a few character TDs to come up with a rig that would work just as good in much cheaper packages that could be applied to a vareity of human characters since human faces are similair. Heck they would save a ton of money by doing it the old way. :)

Stooch
03-10-2006, 11:50 AM
i think the point is to replace the TD and riggers with several generalists and in the end save money by not having to pay insurance, salaries and equipment for a much larger department. i think it makes sense for established studios, or small studios wishing to compete with larger ones.

the price is ridiculous though, almost insulting. lets see how it holds up with time.

ercaxus
03-10-2006, 02:20 PM
I will buy it. 95k is not a big deal, I already started collecting soda bottles and cans, give me some time.:D

faulknermano
03-10-2006, 02:33 PM
i think the point is to replace the TD and riggers with several generalists and in the end save money by not having to pay insurance, salaries and equipment for a much larger department.

i think it's more akin to replacing actors. :screwy:

A Mejias
03-10-2006, 03:25 PM
It's NOT $95,000! It's $15,000.


$95,000??

Im sure I've got that laying around here somewhere...

<- Looks for change in the couch cushions ->

gjjackson
03-10-2006, 03:32 PM
For that price I Want the Girl in the ad.

WhiteBoy
03-10-2006, 03:43 PM
Of course! The software discs are solid gold and the FedEx guy presents you your package on a velvet pillow. When the software crashes, you get messages like, "Terribly sorry, sir, but we have a slight problem. I do hope you saved your work."

:screwy:

Celshader
03-10-2006, 03:57 PM
That is mental.

Naw, it's "mental ray." :D:D:D

Adrian Lopez
03-10-2006, 04:07 PM
It's NOT $95,000! It's $15,000.Actually, it's $95,000 for the "Designer" seat and $15,000 for each "Animator" seat.

JMYoung
03-10-2006, 05:10 PM
Anyone want to split the cost with me? :)

GregMalick
03-10-2006, 05:54 PM
Is it just me - or do those Kitty Hunting poses look mislabeled?http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/image_gallery/Default.aspx

"Self-conscious" should be labeled "tooth-ache"
"Proud" and "kinda-lost" look kinda identical.
"Melancholy" looks like it should be called "Smug".



Rock Falcon looks cool, though.... :D

Rastus
03-10-2006, 06:20 PM
This is Lightwave..

http://features.cgsociety.org/gallerycrits/120283/120283_1141917071_medium.jpg

this is not

http://media01.cgchannel.com/images/news/4962/facerobot_b.jpg


Any Questions :D

Gui Lo
03-10-2006, 07:11 PM
It doesn't look that time saving or easy. I guess the wrinkles and stuff still need to be put into the model. So you still need to buy the mocap rig and organise all the people, lighting and studio time. If it goes wrong some or all of this needs to be done again.

I think it is priced so high because they know they will not sell many units. Less than 50, 100, right?

cresshead
03-10-2006, 07:35 PM
so back to the 'good old days' when you had to buy a SGI workstation and softimage for $200000.....wonderful!

sota makes the3d range a truly broad one now from $495 to $95,000 making software for he masses sota dosn't fit now eh?

maybe they'll make a 'foundation' version suitabe for mo cap work for 'beaks'
or the hinged jaw of a smashed potatoe alien robot......[uk retro tv advert]

Intuition
03-10-2006, 08:48 PM
bwah hahahaha.

Ok, seriously. I would have thought this was a prank but John Teska here at Eden told me its true.

WTH? I mean, even a few high end animators could do the work for less.

I mean Endorphin can do entire physical simulations of phyical interactions and that is like $10000. You can easily see why its worth $10000.

This thing.....wow....maybe I just don't understand the functionality.

faulknermano
03-10-2006, 08:50 PM
This thing.....wow....maybe I just don't understand the functionality.

and i get this feeling they'd want to keep everyone that way... until you pay for it. :D

LFGabel
03-10-2006, 09:59 PM
It's not about render quality. It's about realistic facial animation.

How much should the "holy grail" of CG facial animation cost? If this had been used on Final Fantasy, would it have sucked?

Then again, for $95K + $15K per seat, it had better perform frickin' miracles...

Earl
03-10-2006, 10:11 PM
Well I was NOT impressed with the Rock Falcon demos. Maybe the Kitty Hunting videos will be better.

Did anyone else notice the weird and unnatural movement of the lower right eyelid during Rock Falcon's scream video? It started to cover up his eye from the bottom up! And it looked terrible.

Some of the eye movement when he wasn't do anything ridiculous looked natural. But anytime he tried to make an expression all sense of realism went out the window at ludicrous speed! :eek:

JBT27
03-11-2006, 02:48 AM
For that price a company could easily pay a few character TDs to come up with a rig that would work just as good in much cheaper packages that could be applied to a vareity of human characters since human faces are similair. Heck they would save a ton of money by doing it the old way. :)

It's only a matter of time before most of what we do will become wholly push-button.....it happened in the print industry years ago. I'm surprised no-one yet has automated building construction, though there again maybe it would be alot harder than I think, or someone would have.

The art won't be lost but the way you get there will be much simpler - the price is staggering, but if it saves time and money to a medium or small house, it might be worth it given sufficient budget.

Julian.

Dodgy
03-11-2006, 04:51 AM
God now I've seen those pics and demos I'm really underwhelmed... Forgetful and suspicious look like the same pic.....

Jeff_G
03-11-2006, 06:57 AM
The Kitty stuff is underwhelming, however, this looks promising:

http://www.keegan3d.com/movies/oldlady.mov

Ztreem
03-11-2006, 12:14 PM
Looks OK, but not that good. I expect more from a app costing $95000. It cost more than 100 times more than LW, but it doesn't seem to be 100 times more powerful.

Signal to Noise
03-11-2006, 12:22 PM
oops! misread a comment. Nothing to see here anymore...

Verlon
03-11-2006, 01:48 PM
Uhm.....so I actually read that.

Now someone tell me what is a *.lwo2 file?

We getting a new file format?

ercaxus
03-11-2006, 02:04 PM
Uhm.....so I actually read that.

Now someone tell me what is a *.lwo2 file?

We getting a new file format?
I think it's LW's object format since LW6.

Stooch
03-12-2006, 10:58 AM
i think it's more akin to replacing actors. :screwy:

nah, a real actor costs alot more then 100k and if you really think a 3D model can have the clout, audience pull and overall "presence" then you are way ahead of yourself. i doubt that will happen in our lifetime atleast.

radams
03-12-2006, 11:32 AM
Well, I think they want to get their RnD cost back with selling it to some BIG Studios and Game companies...But as far as the general markets...it is laughable. Talk about sticker shock ;)

Give it a year or so and some motivated programmer will make most of this into a small app or plugin that can be attached to one or more of the other applications out there...Heck look at what hair and fluids, etc..were before...and now are being included or as a plugin...Cloth etc....

I'll wait to see how others will implement these concepts in a better and more economical way :)

Have a great weekend All.

Cheers,

Matt
03-13-2006, 06:31 AM
Wouldn't it be just great if some LightWave plugin writer knocked something out just as good and sells it for $500!

:D

JML
03-13-2006, 06:52 AM
the animation of Rock Falcon looks really good and is probably very easy to do with that program,
but 95k that's crazy..

maybe it will go down in price, let's say to 80k :D

or maybe softimage will go out of business because of it and then newtek would buy them and would include it with LW10 ;)

grafikimon
03-13-2006, 11:42 AM
It is not cost effective at all. I'd find a freelance 3d artist who does rigging for a living and have him setup a rig for me. Or for that price have him rig all the characters in the movie and have access to support and updates to rigs as needed instead of waiting for a bug fix 6 months downthe line.

After owning an Avid station and a Final Cut station the $100,000 for the Avid just can't be rationalized unless a studio is using the most obsure features of it.

Puguglybonehead
03-13-2006, 12:03 PM
The Kitty stuff is underwhelming, however, this looks promising:

http://www.keegan3d.com/movies/oldlady.mov


Somebody's forgotten to take their medication, now, haven't they? :screwy:

Those facial expressions are hilarious! She looks a lot better than Linda Latex, er...I mean Kitty Hunting. OK, that was impressive, but that could be done with morph targets (couldn't it?....)

cresshead
03-13-2006, 01:37 PM
just to add some clarity..the 95,000 does NOT include the mo cap hardware i think so that's an additional costing....

compare that to facestation that came out in 2002-2003 for 3dsmax and maya which could use a domestic dv camera to drive a face 'LIVE' in the viewport and face robot looks positvley ridiculas...and i don't care about tissue dynamics if the result looks naff and costs load and still needs men in white coats with too many pencils to operate it!

facestation was the way to go..in fact the tech created is now used in facial recognition for banks/govt work....
shame you can't seem to buy facstation these days...it was only $1999...a ragular bargin compared to 'face do not' [animate well]

Gui Lo
03-13-2006, 04:50 PM
We all have the same skeleton and muscles which move in similiar ways, albeit in deferent places and sizes, etc. So why not provide a generic model highley dynamic model that already has a library of mocap stuff and use that to generate more blended mocap data. Then the library can be added to and the generic model could be altered to fit better with the character.
At first this is what I thought Face Robot was rather than a mocap catching app.

Emmanuel
03-14-2006, 08:32 AM
Well, in my opinion XSI is not hitting so hard, less hard than exspected, so SoftImage actually need something to make XSI unique in a certain niche, and that's Face Robot.
And maybe now the people who were upset that softImage is now affordable to anyone not just the "pros" and the "elite" will be happy :)
Boy, I would love to make a parody on face Robot, where everything goes wrong during the presentation to a big budget client and it ends with "All that for just XXXXXX dollars" and in the background a completely disfigured character.

TheDude
03-15-2006, 06:33 PM
I thought this was a NewTek forum for Lightwave, not the "slag off other software that you can't afford forum" :stumped:

colkai
03-16-2006, 03:10 AM
Aww come on, where's your sense of fun? A lot of folks come here simply to slag off LW - hehe.. :p

Bog
03-16-2006, 03:52 AM
Boy, I would love to make a parody on face Robot, where everything goes wrong during the presentation to a big budget client and it ends with "All that for just XXXXXX dollars" and in the background a completely disfigured character.

Introducing Motion Capture Man, and his sidekick Sensors-Fall-Off Boy!

:D

TheDude
03-16-2006, 04:15 AM
Aww come on, where's your sense of fun? A lot of folks come here simply to slag off LW - hehe.. :p

:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:

paulrus
03-16-2006, 05:50 AM
Head over to CGTalk and read what the creative director from Blur had to say about it.

LINK TO CGTALK (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=3336970&highlight=creative+director#post3336970)

First, the money you're paying gives you access to SI's development team and a boatload of direct support.

Second, the animations they demo'ed were done by just ONE guy in an extremely short period of time - as Tim said in his CGTalk post: "The samples didn't look sensational...especially compared to Kong and Gollum. Yes, that's absolutely true and we here at blur are very aware of it. The truth is though that the demo was put together by one guy (speaking of rigging and animating here) over a VERY short period of time with software that was evolving during the process. Not a scenario under which ANYONE could make a demo that surpassed the stellar work of WETA."

Calculate how much money they spent on salaries to do King Kong's facial rig or Golumn's and then the $95k figure starts to look a little more reasonable - especially for small to medium sized studios who want to compete with the WETA's of the world.

Bog
03-16-2006, 07:13 AM
Calculate how much money they spent on salaries to do King Kong's facial rig or Golumn's and then the $95k figure starts to look a little more reasonable - especially for small to medium sized studios who want to compete with the WETA's of the world.

Wasn't there some guy who almost got lynched at LEAF for saying "Lightwave's really cheap and you can get away with paying your animators next to nothing?"

I'm all for wonderful new tools, but TBH, I can't see this being worth replacing one-and-a-half or two really good character animators for. It does kinda look like Poser Plus. Unless I'm reallllly missing something fantastic about it, that is. I can get down with the idea of it all being really coo and having all the current advances in synthetic humans incorporated in it - features similar to TAFA/Lipservice, the Subsurface Scattering and nicely-handled hair and all that. But unless that cost includes a suite of sensors embedded in my face, then I just can't see it being worth THAT much money. How much was Gollum's face, in terms of hiring animators? Anyone know what WETAs salaries are like (TBH, them being in New Zealand I can't see 'em forking out hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for animators).

One of the things I've come to love about the time we live in is that just about anyone can afford to put an animation rig together. Consequently, it really is the quality of the animator using the equipment that counts. Pricing tools so very highly makes sense if you *know* you've got a couple of suckers^H^H^H^H^Hclients willing to pay that much in the immediacy, and then you get to recoup the programming costs. I imagine that's very much the case in this instance.

Invoice for 0.02 in the post - prompt payment is always appreciated. ;)

MrWyatt
03-16-2006, 07:51 AM
I think most of you haven't really dug into what face robot does and are assuming it is just another automated lipsync tool. I really think it is much more than that. having seen a few videos on FR It looks like you take your base geometry from your modeling package. then allign a few handfull of controllhandles all over the surface, for instance to define where the jawline is and so forth, and from that point on your head is rigged for facial ynimation, be it keyframe or mocap or both. It looks like you don't have to build a buttload of morphmaps as the software deforms the geometry with the controllers. You can though add morphs directly to the mesh and have them triggered by the controllers in a very straight forward way. You can paint in areas where the skin should wrinkle when it is compressed. so when you lift a brow wrinkles will appear above it. there is also a dynamic fleshy skin simulation integrated so that things like lips compressing are automated. It also simulates with the underlying controllers the muscle structure of a face. You guys probably have read the articles about weta and gollum and the fact that gullum was so believable because they used about 250 blendshapes for the second film and upped it to over 800 for return of the king.

So for a studio who really wants to do gollumlike characters, but do not want to spend the time of
1. building all of those 800+ shapes.
2. setting up a facial rig that allows for less controll objects to animate those 800+ sliders
3. getting the facial rig to import mocap data from an actor like andy serkis to at least capture a big part of the performance and then animating on top of that

Well If I where a studioboss and would have a project that asks for that ammount of workload, you can bet your *$% I would call my local avid dealer to buy me some of that face robot.

I have to admit though that it is really expensive. I guess the big studios wont have a problem paying it. But I read somewhere that the price is so high because they want to insure support is superb and there fore they want just a few customers so that the ones buying it get a programmer sitting in their lap if anything weird happens.

All in all I think FR is a really cool system and putting it in the same range as poser, TAFA or lipservice doesn't do it justice. Let's all agree that it is a fantastic approach and we are all simply angry about the fact that none of us has the money to play with it.

Bog
03-16-2006, 07:58 AM
Let's all agree that it is a fantastic approach and we are all simply angry about the fact that none of us has the money to play with it.

Not in the least, lad! Like I say, I imagine it's priced there with a small list of initial purchasers in mind, to recoup the investment made in it. For that amount of money, it can't *possibly* just be an amalgam of existing tools - it's nowhere near April 1st, after all.

It'll be interesting, and good luck to 'em and all that.

MrWyatt
03-16-2006, 08:00 AM
it's nowhere near April 1st, after all.


ist only 2 weeks though
:D

colkai
03-16-2006, 08:01 AM
But I read somewhere that the price is so high because they want to insure support is superb and there fore they want just a few customers so that the ones buying it get a programmer sitting in their lap if anything weird happens.

Whoa, now there's a mental polariod we could live without. ;) :p

I'm sure it's going to be more than presently advertised and I'm also sure that you're right that they are catering to an elite few.

I think the big shock factor is in anyone charging that amount, but, lest we forget, how much was Massive?

For "mere mortals" there are plenty of tools and frankly, even for many studios, I'm sure this is unrealistic for the amount of work they could put through it.

Same way we are all still using "workarounds" when plugins exist to do similar things. We can do 'em quick enough and good enough as and when needed that paying out for software is not really justified.

Naturally, the inverse is true, sometimes, the cost is worth it, but again, not for everyone.

Verlon
03-16-2006, 08:38 AM
OK, so it is slices and dices tomatoes, too. You know what that means? Car anaology time!

If I want to sell you a $95,000 Ferarri, I probably shouldn't make it look like a $1500 Pontiac Fiero in my advertising.

I do not know why they put that model up front, but it DOES look like poser at a higher price. If the guy cranked out that model and rigging in 3 days, he probably deserves the first $95,000 as a bonus, but it still doesn't seem like they should have put together a better demonstration of the software.

I don't know.....maybe the houses that can afford such things get a link to the 'super secret site' where it all looks better.

colkai
03-16-2006, 08:59 AM
True enough I guess, much is made of "it was done in a very short amount of time by one guy".
But you could read two very negative things from that.
1) Why was it so rushed, surely they want to show off the software to its best advantage. If they rush the demo, will they put as little effort into support?

2) If it was done by 1 guy in a short period of time, which is their pushing point, making this easy and fast to do, shouldn't have it been better?

Can you imagine the furore if Newtek put out something of this quality as a C.A. example? People would be so quick to point it as proof that LW can't do CA. So it is only natural that when something costs so much, the apparent lack of quality comes under fire.

Bog
03-16-2006, 10:24 AM
Yeah, but following the car analogy, this is like a $95,000 GPS receiver that lets you do faces.

Uhm.

OK, let's not follow the car analogy. Long story short, unless there's some huge project with zillions of people's faces requiring tolerably-detailed animation, I can't see this thing paying for itself. Not unless there was a big, face-heavy project, and there just weren't enough normally-qualified face animators to deal with the project using conventional means.

Any bets on what it is? Any rumbles about something in production called, oh I dunno, "Night of 20,000 Close-Ups of CG Heads" or something? ;)

colkai
03-16-2006, 12:44 PM
Yeah, but following the car analogy, this is like a $95,000 GPS receiver that lets you do faces.
Yes, I see where you're going with this - and frankly - that worries me :p

RedBull
03-16-2006, 01:45 PM
To be honest i saw this demo'd on the XSI love tour.....
And there was not a person in the room, who did not have their jaw
planted firmly on the ground, after the presentation.....

It's ultra impressive....... and It's super uber ultra expensive.....
But this happens a lot, look at Massive and Flowline for example.

As for a $500 LW morph plugin........

FaceRobot has taken a Billion dollar company like Avid, over 4 years of R&D
just to get to the quirky buggy stage it's at now......
You just can't fake this kind of thing from a single person, and a few bucks...
But thanks to Opensource stuff, large groups of people will try too... :)

Emmanuel
03-16-2006, 01:51 PM
Well, they day I see something coming out of FR that really took less time and still looks as good as Gollum or Kong I am convinced, until then, its just a glorified, expensive Poser like tool :)

cresshead
03-16-2006, 02:02 PM
results will tell....nohing else matters really...great results will bring people up to buy it....mediocre results will not.

Bog
03-16-2006, 02:51 PM
results will tell....nohing else matters really...great results will bring people up to buy it....mediocre results will not.

Yeah. When I first got into this game, it was something like that money for a full install of Alias|Wavefront. It would have to be truly something astonishing to be worth that money, and frankly - I don't see it. Then again, I'm all grizzled and jaundiced and stuff. It takes a lot for me to say "Wow, that's worth ninety five thousand Earth dollars". Especially for a tool that just does two jobs.

TBH, you'd have a job of work making me say "wow!" at head design and animation software that sold for five kilobucks a pop. That's more'n' twice the price of my core app, which has made me a very comfortable living over the last, ooh, 12 years.

Hunger3d
03-16-2006, 08:07 PM
This has to be a bad joke.

Stooch
03-17-2006, 02:58 PM
the only program that merits that kind of a sticker price is the one that does everything there is perfectly and more efficiently then any program out there...and have no bugs while doing it.

MikeMD
03-20-2006, 08:42 PM
So for a studio who really wants to do gollumlike characters, but do not want to spend the time of
1. building all of those 800+ shapes.
2. setting up a facial rig that allows for less controll objects to animate those 800+ sliders
3. getting the facial rig to import mocap data from an actor like andy serkis to at least capture a big part of the performance and then animating on top of that


Gollum, SChmollum, If you live in a city like New York, you can find a guy who looks just like Gollum somewhere in the streets, in less than a few hours ( if you know where to go ).

Give him some crack and he'll do the entire movie worth of performances in less than 2 hours. Who needs CGI for that?

prospector
03-20-2006, 08:47 PM
Your so right :D :thumbsup:

Sometimes just a bottle of Boones Farm Ripple will get ya an actor :thumbsup:

DiscreetFX
03-20-2006, 11:40 PM
Lets not forget the sticker shock for editing on SGI or Linux with a Flint or Flame system, it costs $70,000+. You do get the computer for free though.

:)

Meaty
03-21-2006, 07:20 PM
Too Expensive? Yes... for me, I am sure it is cost effective for someone.
Very Cool? Definately

http://www.softimage.com/downloadsrv/process.asp?file=/Videos/facerobot/kitty_sbs_960x540.wmv

Bog
03-21-2006, 08:10 PM
I am sure it is cost effective for someone.
Very Cool? Definately

Like I've said. It's priced for someone who'll pay it, to recoup development costs (and probably turn a tidy profit to boot).

I'm not complainin'... we'll be findinging plugins that do this on Flay.com in the next year or so. It's the way'o'the world.

jeremyhardin
03-21-2006, 08:26 PM
I'm not complainin'... we'll be findinging plugins that do this on Flay.com in the next year or so. It's the way'o'the world.

Haha. Like the 'Massive' clone for LW over at flay? Afraid I disagree with you there. Overpriced or not, this isn't easy sh*t to program, much less make it tie into LW. If it were, it would have been done. H*ll, we don't even have Syflex (or anything similiar) for LW. So I wouldn't hold your breath for the FR clone to be up on flay's frontpage.:D

Wickster
03-23-2006, 01:01 AM
Return of the BIG DOLLAR apps it is...Autodesk just dropped the MotionBuilder Standard and the only one that remains is the $4,000+ Motion Builder Pro. Or am I late with this news?

archiea
03-23-2006, 01:49 AM
95K and you would think that their servers can handle the bandwidth for the video demos...

95K could pay for the right animator....

colkai
03-23-2006, 02:34 AM
Return of the BIG DOLLAR apps it is...Autodesk just dropped the MotionBuilder Standard and the only one that remains is the $4,000+ Motion Builder Pro.
Ok, I saw this coming as soon as Alias took it over from Kaydara.
With each release, the STD got more and more shifted over to the Pro.
Sure glad I didn't waste my money beleiving that MB would remain in the reach of the hobbyist. :thumbsdow

One reason we really need some MB-Lite type features in LW. The more features to do with pose / anim blending we have in LW, the better.

Seems to me, Newteks policy of appealing to the likes of little Ole me is gonna pay off as more and more go for the "big money" approach.

JBT27
03-23-2006, 02:42 AM
Ok, I saw this coming as soon as Alias took it over from Kaydara.
With each release, the STD got more and more shifted over to the Pro.
Sure glad I didn't waste my money beleiving that MB would remain in the reach of the hobbyist. :thumbsdow

One reason we really need some MB-Lite type features in LW. The more features to do with pose / anim blending we have in LW, the better.

Seems to me, Newteks policy of appealing to the likes of little Ole me is gonna pay off as more and more go for the "big money" approach.


It's sound business and I agree, NT have a good attitude over this. The market is reverting to how it started - big dollar apps for the few who could justify it, the difference now is that the market is huge but not many are going to spend that kind of money, including small to medium companies.

You have to assume AutoDesk know what they're doing, but to me Newtek and others, like Maxon, have a better grasp of where the future markets will be.

Julian.

colkai
03-23-2006, 02:56 AM
Got that right.
Sometimes, a big price doesn't mean a big profit.
Case in point, I produce various things for charity, we priced our guides at 4.50, they just did not sell. We dropped them to 3.99, which meant we didn't make much money per copy, but , suddenly, I couldn't produce them fast enough, even whe nwe had to raise the price (after 3 years), they kept selling.

Making 50% profit over 20% is no good if you aren't selling the quanitities.
Better to sell 100 at 50 quid that 20 at 100 quid. :)

JBT27
03-23-2006, 03:05 AM
Got that right.
Sometimes, a big price doesn't mean a big profit.
Case in point, I produce various things for charity, we priced our guides at 4.50, they just did not sell. We dropped them to 3.99, which meant we didn't make much money per copy, but , suddenly, I couldn't produce them fast enough, even whe nwe had to raise the price (after 3 years), they kept selling.

Making 50% profit over 20% is no good if you aren't selling the quanitities.
Better to sell 100 at 50 quid that 20 at 100 quid. :)

Indeed! Our picture library in London started with that ethos 25 years ago - sell alot of pictures for reasonable amounts of money, instead of a handful for big money. It works every time......now, if only the developers of Massive would join the bandwagon.......!!!!

Julian.

prospector
03-23-2006, 06:19 AM
Same buisness theory that Sam Walton started back in the 50's.
Sell a lot for a little, make the profits in volume.
Made him the biggest company on the face of the planet.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - There's another reason for that smiley face -- for the third straight year, Wal-Mart Stores tops the annual Fortune 500 ranking of the nation's largest companies.

It must work.

Meaty
03-23-2006, 06:36 AM
Same buisness theory that Sam Walton started back in the 50's.
Sell a lot for a little, make the profits in volume.
Made him the biggest company on the face of the planet.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - There's another reason for that smiley face -- for the third straight year, Wal-Mart Stores tops the annual Fortune 500 ranking of the nation's largest companies.

It must work.
It doesn't always work. Remember that Wal Mart's profit margins are lower than average, they pay their workers less than average, and they use their size to squeeze their suppliers. It is only with these other aggressive tactics that they offer their low prices.

Avid probably has a way different business model. With exotic animation software, it seems to make sense to ping the market for a response on the price.

prospector
03-23-2006, 07:07 AM
Remember that Wal Mart's profit margins are lower than average
which is why they make it up in volume.


they pay their workers less than average
compared too? this is world economy now, if workers in Africa or India make 500 a year and if Wall Mart pays them 700 a year, thier lives are better off, that's ABOVE average for them. The US and European workers better get thier head wrapped around that concept.


and they use their size to squeeze their suppliers
nothing wrong with getting lowest prices. when you BUY in quantity you can ask for them (and usually get them).

If I went to Avid and said I want to buy 10,000 copies of thier proigram but they have to lower price to 30 grand, they would most likely sell.
Or if I went to Newtek and wanted 10,000 copies of the Video Toaster, but they need to lower price to 1200 each they would probably sell at that price too.

getting lower price is not squeezing suppliers.

Verlon
03-23-2006, 07:09 AM
well, for certain *I* won't be buying any $95,000 apps this week.

So Newtek gets my vote (and my business). Wal-Mart's volume selling would still work if they treated their workers better.

"Better to sell 100 at 50 quid that 20 at 100 quid" True, unless your cost is 75 Quid.

Maybe there is something in there worth 95k. Someone said when he saw the demo, everyone's jaw was on the floor (my immediate thought was, my jaw would hit the floor too if somone seriously asked me to pay $100,000 for poser).

I don't see it. Until I do see it, I will continue to think it is overpriced.

prospector
03-23-2006, 07:11 AM
my jaw would hit the floor too if somone seriously asked me to pay $100,000 for poser :D :D :D :D

Verlon
03-23-2006, 07:19 AM
"compared too? this is world economy now, if workers in Africa or India make 500 a year and if Wall Mart pays them 700 a year, thier lives are better off, that's ABOVE average for them. The US and European workers better get thier head wrapped around that concept."

Its not ALL a world economy. The worker in Austin, Texas still has to pretty much live in Austin, Texas (Wally-World doesn't pay enough to commute from India). Even a cheap apartment in Austin costs a LOT more than living in the countries you named.

And do you know anyone who has worked for Wal-Mart? Last I checked, asking hourly employees to work extra time off the clock was illegal in this country (and I am talking the time it takes 4 people to unload an 18-wheeler, not 15 minutes to double check a cash drawer).

prospector
03-23-2006, 07:35 AM
And do you know anyone who has worked for Wal-Mart?

Yea, the wife and I both worked for Wally World, we both drove truck cross country, we made 41 cents a mile, which comes out to 24 bucks an hour, when we were rolling, in traffic jams we made 0 an hour, but overall it averaged to 19 an hour, counting WAITING for people to get away from coffee breaks and unload us. They pay thier cashiers 10 an hour here. So they may have to work a little longer to unload a truck pass check out time.
doesn't seem a problem to me, it's not like they are workintg double shifts for the whole week.
I might be cold hearted but it's either that on have NO job. It would be easy enough to find someone who would do it.

jeremyhardin
03-23-2006, 08:00 AM
Interesting insight prospector. Thanks for that perspective.

My bro-in-law is a night stocker there now. also 10 an hour i think. maybe more for the night shift. not sure.

Verlon
03-23-2006, 08:04 AM
Hmmm..difference in philosophy here I guess. To me, hiring someone to work for an hourly wage, then asking them to work several hours free a couple of days a week is like.....

like software piracy (isn't that the analogy we always use? How would you like it if you were asked to work for free?).

But you vote your beliefs, and I will vote mine....we'll meet.....well somewhere a lot closer to yours judging by the current administration...but I won't give up without a fight.

Meaty
03-23-2006, 09:32 AM
compared too? this is world economy now, if workers in Africa or India make 500 a year and if Wall Mart pays them 700 a year, thier lives are better off, that's ABOVE average for them. The US and European workers better get thier head wrapped around that concept.

This is off topic, but I'll bite. Yes, it is a world economy, but what does that have to do with workers in American retail stores? American workers still have to live in America and buy American goods. Believe me, I am NOT a Wal-Mart hater. They employ tons of people who otherwise wouldn't have jobs and raise many small communities. I was not condemning their business practices, I was pointing out how different they are!

My point was that Wal-Marts business model is VASTLY different from that of a software development company! Someone earlier referenced an Avid employee who said that the price was so high because they were purposely gating entry into the market so they can work bugs and refine workflow in a production enviornment! I can't imagine Wal-Mart pricing the new flavor of Crest at $20/tube in order to get a tempered consumer response. My guess is the price will come down; however, there are other considerations than merely volume pricing in software development/deployment.

sbowling
03-24-2006, 10:34 PM
That is mental. There's nothing there that couldn't be done with a few nice morph targets and a bit of softfx I reckon! :)

Face robot is a truly innovative program (something newtek would know nothing about) that was created by working very closely with major animation studios. It's designed to work with all the big boys (Max, maya and of course XSI) and is well worth the price for those who need it (mainly game companies who need to do a lot of facial animation in a short time).

jeremyhardin
03-24-2006, 10:42 PM
:yoda:

it's the closest thing to a troll emoticon that I could find.

JML
03-24-2006, 11:35 PM
Usually I just laugh at you guys pretending to be professionals using a supposed professional quality program.

Judging from your comments, you don't seem more professional than us.
:rolleyes:

jeremyhardin
03-24-2006, 11:38 PM
no pros here apparrently. :D

Puguglybonehead
03-25-2006, 12:04 AM
OK, I know this example is not quite the same type of application, but I was far more blown away by the technology of FaceGen (http://www.facegen.com/modeller.htm) than by Face Robot. And the price is astoundingly inexpensive. How come a small company like Singular Inversions can have such a different approach to pricing than a big outfit like Avid?

Verlon
03-25-2006, 12:58 AM
Professional: 1. participating for gain or livlihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs. 2. having a particular profession as a permanent career. 3. engaged in by persons receiving financial return.

Hmm, according to Websters dictionary, even *I* can lay claim to the title 'professional' in 3D art, and there are guys who have done a lot more than me working with Newteks Lightwave.

Let's try another word... Idiot: 1. a feebleminded person having a mental age not exceeding three years [well that would rule out posting on these forums, wouldn't it?] 2. a foolish or silly person.

Well, coming to Newtek's forum and slamming a product that many of us like using on the 'home field' seems pretty foolish to me.

Think you can see where that is going.......

Jesse Owens wasn't a professional runner when he set those world records, so I guess he sucked. Chuck Norris got paid to act, so I guess he must be pretty good at it.

Just because YOU can't figure out a way to do facial animation in Lightwave doesn't mean that others haven't. If some of the VERY talented artists on these forums have been able to accomplish something that you haven't, then .....well I am sure you can figure that part out.

And if you think Newtek 'doesn't know anything about innovation,' you might want to do some research.

I notice they don't have a better model up yet. It still looks like Poser 4 to me.

Nemoid
03-25-2006, 02:09 AM
From the vids i've seen so far it seems like a good starting point towards easier setup and possibilities for realistic facial animation.

it all depends on seeing how easy can be to setup a realistic face, and animate it. i know mocap has to be tweaked alot to feel right in animation, so a faster workflow to do corrections for facial animation mocap can be highly welcome. as for manual animation, it could be interesting as well, even if a very talented artist could do wonders with endomorph and bone rigged faces.

Overpriced? honestly i dunno if its so overpriced. mainly, game production houses involve alot of money, more than production for a holliwood movie, to make games. so, $95.000 +$15.000 per seat (if i understood well) couldn't be a very expensive price for them.

what i also think is that in a couple of years we'll see FR in XSI, and so much more people will be allowed to buy it, while maybe updated versions will mantain that price tag for awhile. R&D costs alot.

personally i like to see innovations like this growing and growing,until we can see their results applied in common used packages.

prospector
03-25-2006, 03:23 AM
sbowling...dodgy is correct. Speed may be different, but there is no emotion or facial expression that can't be done with morphs.
And if I paid a person to do nothing but morph mixer day in and day out, then at the end of a few months they would be pretty fast....For less the price.

And what was the purpose of the 'big boys' comment? are you insane?
take a list of everything LW has done since it's inception (including motion pictures, down to the local TV stations, industrial films, welcome to *any company* videos, to local video producers) and then take a list of those other apps from thier inception. There is no comparison, when all taken into account then LW continues to run circles around the others.

And innovative??? Who do you think started the industry that makes it possable for someone to be able to sell $95,000 programs?

Do your homework !!!

jeremyhardin
03-25-2006, 12:09 PM
what's just hilarious about his comment is that he went after Dodgy, and active contributing knowlegeable member of the Community. And said that he knows nothing.

That's like walking into an art exhibition and slagging off a guy who turns out to be one of the contributing artists for the show, saying the guy doesn't know what art is. Haha!

And for all those who say this is a reasonably priced app, keep two things in mind. Tim Miller has even admitted that, whoa, that's really expensive and Blur wouldn't have been able to afford it had they not been involved in the development. (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=3336970&highlight=creative+director#post3336970)
And second, I work on a daily basis with folks from the Matrix Trilogy, Spiderman 1 & 2, ILM, DD, etc. And we're used to using studio tools that individuals couldn't afford. It's a fact of life. But I haven't talked to one person that has thought that price reasonable. Not one.

Impressive, and I understand what Softimage is trying to do, but still IMHO overpriced.

radams
03-25-2006, 12:58 PM
Hi Jeremy, & All,

I totally agree with you Jeremy, It is nice to see someone with a good sense of humor...and respect/professionalism on this forum...You've brought smiles and common sense to this thread.

There will be many opinions as to if Avid's facial robot is worth the price of admission...but it is still an interesting innovation and take...It will find its own place...and with time improve and the technology behind it will come down in price...look at almost all of the technologies over the years... Even 3D itself... some third parties will start to look at what this does and if there is a market need...if there is then you will start to see more options and apps getting into it. For now, it just is out of most of our reach...not that the end results can not be created other ways...it is just the workflow improvements and scale at which this operates that seems to be different...will it be ecomonical retailing at that price...the market will say if it is or not. Also understand that many a shop do NOT like being stuck to one vendor...or workflow option.

Now for all the hate going around....Why?

Why waste the time and energy (and bandwidth) ?

For those who wish to flame...Please take it OFF Forum.

And those with thin skins...please take a breath and second look before hitting "SEND".

The LW forum is a powerful and useful support and tool...One that can be extremely helpful...for BOTH professionals and users. We do not always need to agree but taking personal shots just wastes everyones time.

Stating that LW is not a professional app...is also not a smart thing to do...I've been in the production business for over 27 years. I will use ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that helps me get the project done on time and budget. From the oldest of the old processes to the newest ...including creating ones that don't exist yet.

Don't let technology or those with closed thoughts of how something can be done shut you down and limit your options....that goes to the wider LW community as well...don't become so fixed focus that you don't see other options and techniques that help you create what you are wanting to do...

That is the point...TOO many of us have gotten into the tools so much that we have forgotten why we got into this in the first place...

TO CREATE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please lets stop the flame war and look to helping each other create better and better.

Cheers,

Elmar Moelzer
03-25-2006, 08:01 PM
Gee, sbowling, 21 posts and mouthing off to some established members of the community like that?
Calling someone idiots is not very professional and claiming that NewTek knows nothing about innovation just shows how uninformed you are.
BTW, I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure that LW has a lot more big projects on its cap that XSi, so better be careful or you will force me to dig out some numbers...
Now on Face Robot. I can see the innovation in it and the power.
It seems to be a good product, but I have to agree with almost everyone else here, it is overpriced for something that just lets me do something quicker than usually. It does obviously not enable users to do something that would have been impossible otherwise, or almost impossible since "impossible does not exist in our business", right?
Now, I dont know, personally, even if I could afford Face Robot, I think I might be better off with a couple of animators that I pay very well for a year...
I can use them for other things than facial animation too, you know and besides I have yet to get a project here that does even remotely pay enough to justify an investment like that. So it would have to pay off over multiple projects, which is risky. First I dont know whether I would get enough projects in there that use that, second the price for the app might drop so much until then that it might have been wiser to wait (and honestly I can see the price for this app drop pretty quickly).
CU
Elmar

MikeMD
03-26-2006, 10:19 AM
In case of movies:

You can find bad actors who will work for practically free, and still do facial expressions better than any animation software. So when it comes to creating realistic humans, you are better off using real people than wasting money and time on something like this. CGI is a complete waste of time in this case ( as Final Fantasy proved ).

Wonderpup
03-26-2006, 11:21 AM
Why call the thing face robot? It's exactly the wrong image to evoke- ie -robotic, artificial and inhuman. Call it face dancer- (for all the Dune fans out there!) with that kind of price tag they could have spent a bit more time on thinking up a better name. :D

Verlon
03-26-2006, 02:42 PM
MikeMD, I disagree. I think CDI is improving rapidly, and I think the day is coming where CGI will do the job. Final Fantasy was amazing to watch because no one had ever done anything like that on that scale before.

The technology still needs work, but people have to try or it will never happen. I know people who think that CGI in general is a waste of time. They say "every time I see CGI, I just cringe." (I point out that the only CGI they 'see' is the bad stuff.....there is lots more done right that you never even notice, and whip out a few old movies to show how bad practical shooting can be, even when done right).

colkai
03-27-2006, 01:34 AM
Wow,
SBowling, [EDITED]
Indeed, as should his post....

riki
03-27-2006, 03:07 AM
LOL how did I know you'd be talking about Face Robot before even opening this thread. I guess you've all seen the CG Channel Podcast.

Emmanuel
04-01-2006, 10:36 AM
Well, I would be happy to see sbowling banned from this forum for good.
Not only because of his insult but because he uses every occasion to insult LightWave artists whenever he can, for example here in the modo forum where he says:

"
The one thing I really have to thank modo for is getting me to realize how much lightwave sucks and getting me to try out other packages instead of listenig to all the lightwave fools who keep saying lightwave is as good as maya or max or XSI, because it's not."

His opinion is completely obsolte I think, based on his behavior.

JBT27
04-01-2006, 01:15 PM
All this stuff is supposed to be about making pictures, and as such I will only usually look at the images or film, and then the tools as an afterthought. It has always been true that it's the artist that matters, not the tools - that's a given along with the argument earlier that you can sell high volumes for low prices, but generally lower volumes for high prices.

You know when you see award winning images on the forums.....do you see people saying something like " That would have been so much better if you hadn't used Lightwave"? Maybe you do....but I never have.

Life is way too short for all this nonsense - how many here remember the days when the only 3D apps out there cost tens of thousands and few could afford them? Geez, I recall the first word processors making national tv news, with some high paid best-selling author showing off her new toy that set her back thousands of pounds - that was even before the days of super-high priced 3D. A few years from now I bet all major apps will include something like Face Robot and Massive, come to that, and won't cost anything like those standalone tools right now.

All apps have their innovations and all of us whether we earn money with them or work as a hobby very often have a whole arsenal of tools - you have to, because no single app can do it all yet. I'm looking forward to LW9 and Modo 2 - there's plenty there to do what we do, and you know what, the odd time a client asks what we use, it turns out they've never heard of them, or rarely....they don't work in cgi or software development, they just wanted some animation and really couldn't care less how we did it.

Julian.

prospector
04-01-2006, 02:13 PM
how many here remember the days when the only 3D apps out there cost tens of thousands and few could afford them?

There were?

I been with LW when I think it WAS the only 3D app and it never costs more than 2400 and it came with a TV studio called Toaster/Flyer, CG studio, Non-Linear editor, and video paint program.

jeremyhardin
04-01-2006, 02:23 PM
There were?

I been with LW when I think it WAS the only 3D app and it never costs more than 2400 and it came with a TV studio called Toaster/Flyer, CG studio, Non-Linear editor, and video paint program.

So LW was used on Tron, Labyrinth, etc.?

There was no time to my knowlege that LW was the ONLY 3d app.

JBT27
04-01-2006, 02:39 PM
There were?

I been with LW when I think it WAS the only 3D app and it never costs more than 2400 and it came with a TV studio called Toaster/Flyer, CG studio, Non-Linear editor, and video paint program.

It might have been the only near-affordable 3D app - but it came after the original big studio big bucks apps.....didn't it?

Julian.

prospector
04-01-2006, 03:36 PM
From what I remember (and old age may be setting in here),Newtek started with Videoscape and Aegis Modeler in 88
Alias started in 88 (later in the year I think) with Personal Visualizer
Softimage started in 88 also with Creative Enviroment
And 3D Studio started in 89
the only ones before Newtek was Prisms 3D and Side Effects in 87 with Side Effects buying out Prisms 3D , but I don't remember them doing anything big in 3D.

Some of the others were in buisness BEFORE Newtek but only ran on 'supercomputers' and not a desktop.

But hey, I could be wrong, I am old

Elmar Moelzer
04-01-2006, 04:33 PM
In 1984 Wavefront was founded.
In 1985 Alias releases Alias/1
In 1988 Alias releases Alias/2
1988 Videoscape and Modeler came out (the predecessors to LightWave).
1988 Wavefront releases Personal Visualizer (a renderer for Cad- applications).
1988 Softimage releases Softimage software for SGI- computers.
1989 Renderman and Mental Ray become commercially available.
1989 Alias 2.4.2 was used for the modeling of the creature in Abyss.
1989 Softimage is sold with an SGI for 65,000 USD ;)
1990 NewTek Video Toaster and LightWave 3d.
1990 Autodesk releases 3d Studio.
1990 Alias releases Poweranimator and Alias Studio. Poweranimator is used for effects in Terminator 2.
1991 Wavefront launches the Composer product for 2d and 3d.
1992 Wavefront releases Kinemation with Smartskin (TM).
1993 Babylon 5 and seaQuest DSV use LightWave3d for its visual effects.
And the rest is history ;)
So LightWave was not first, but it was at least among the first and it was the first affordable 3d- animation software for sure.
CU
Elmar

Ztreem
04-01-2006, 04:46 PM
I think Wavefront was first at 84 then Alias released Alias/1 at 85.

Oh! Elmar beat me on that one.

Elmar Moelzer
04-01-2006, 04:47 PM
Considering that Softimage cost 65k back then(including an SGI- workstation), I think it is rather entertaining that Face Robot sells for 95k now (ok the dollar was worth more back then, but still...).

I dont think Wavefront had a commercial product until Personal Visualizer, but I might be wrong.
CU
Elmar

Ztreem
04-01-2006, 04:54 PM
According to this link (http://accad.osu.edu/~waynec/history/tree/ani-software.html#wavefront) wavefront's software Preview was used by Universal Studios for Knight Rider in 84.

lilrayray77
04-01-2006, 06:11 PM
I just don't understand why somone would insult lightwave and NewTek like that. What's more is he insulted all of the lightwave users. I'm not sure wht he is on, but lightwave has done some truely astonishing things. It is kind of depressing really. I am 14, and just got interested in CGI; I bought lightwave and was extremely impressed with what it could do. Now I come on to the forums and here about someone going off about how terrible lightwave is? I want to beleive I made an investment, but it is not easy. None the less I am happy with my decision. I played with Max, I disliked its interface as well as modeling style. I tryed Maya PLE and all of the icons made me nauseous.

Maybe Lightwave did not work for sbowling, but going around saying that lightwave is terrible because he did not like it, is unecusable. Its no9t like we march into the XSI forums and tell them how terrible XSI is. It is just disgusting.

Anyway, as for face Robot, I think they have a good idea, but for 95K, I think Ill pass. Heck, I'm happy for $95. :thumbsup:

Amurrell
04-01-2006, 06:45 PM
Bottom line. A tool will only work as good as the person using it. We all use tools in our life, some tools better than others. We search to find what works best for us in all things.

Cageman
04-01-2006, 08:16 PM
His opinion is completely obsolte I think, based on his behavior.

I think it is funny, because the guys that made LightWave the way it is from version 1 - 7.5d, are the same guys that created Modo. Going to Luxologys forums and ***** about LightWave seems counterproductive, because some of the fundamental things in how you work in LightWave are very similar in Modo.
:)

Ohh.. and sbowling, take a look at VT and TriCaster and tell me that NT doesn't know about innovation. ;)

JBT27
04-02-2006, 01:25 AM
<snip> I am 14, and just got interested in CGI; I bought lightwave and was extremely impressed with what it could do. Now I come on to the forums and here about someone going off about how terrible lightwave is? I want to beleive I made an investment, but it is not easy. None the less I am happy with my decision. I played with Max, I disliked its interface as well as modeling style. I tryed Maya PLE and all of the icons made me nauseous.

Maybe Lightwave did not work for sbowling, but going around saying that lightwave is terrible because he did not like it, is unecusable. Its no9t like we march into the XSI forums and tell them how terrible XSI is. It is just disgusting.

Anyway, as for face Robot, I think they have a good idea, but for 95K, I think Ill pass. Heck, I'm happy for $95. :thumbsup:

You did make a very solid investment, have no doubt - remember that you came here and saw LW taking some flak, but you must also have seen people praising it, and importantly doing great work with it.

I bought into Maya five years ago, when I'd been using LW since the first Mac release, version 5.0. I'll be honest and say I made an assumption about Maya - I bought it on the back of hype assuming that it would do anything, that it's the best. and I bought it when AW did their first price drop deals on Maya Complete. After awhile I started to wonder how come I couldn't do the same stuff I could do with LW, as easily as I could with LW - fact is out of the box Maya is not as fully featured as LW. You will see around the web many people saying that if you're not scripting/programming with Maya you're not getting the most out of it. I suspect that's true - Maya is a team tool which is endlessly customisable and in that it is fabulous. And if you're that kind of artist with those coding skills, great, go use Maya.

But when LW7.5 came out, I bought the upgrade along with a Maya upgrade, and very soon I was using LW again far more than Maya.....last year my motherboard got fried and all these months later I still haven't contacted Alias (now Discreet) to get a new code - not even sure if they'll care to give me one for Maya 4.5 now - but that's the point: I abandoned Maya and haven't missed it.

And the harsh reality is that by the time you reach 20, we'll all be using different stuff and who can say which companies now will have bought out whichever other companies and products. NT might not exist, or we all might be running the open beta of LW14, or maybe even Luxology and NT will have merged and we'll all be using a fabulous hybrid of LW and Modo!!!

But whatever happens, don't for one second think you made a mistake - you didn't....there will always be people hating certain tools and being very vocal about it, likewise people evangelising them. You should also have figured out by now the sheer level of support that LW commands, and the dedicated user-base, including those who openly share their knowledge and scripts and plugins to make our life alot easier and more productive....not saying you won't find that elsewhere, but you will particularly find it for LW, and that is more valuable than you can possibly imagine.

Good luck!

Julian.