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View Full Version : XSI has been eaten, who next?



ackees
07-24-2003, 05:33 AM
Takeover times are here.

http://www.xsibase.com/news.php?detail=564

TyVole
07-24-2003, 05:40 AM
Maybe I'm stupid -- but I read this as meaning they purchased the software for use in their studio -- not the company.

ackees
07-24-2003, 06:11 AM
Youre probably right, I thought they had gobbled it up.

Joe
07-24-2003, 08:57 AM
That just states that Ubisoft has selected XSI as a production tool I am sure they still use max as well.

ackees
07-24-2003, 09:13 AM
Who uses LW as a production tool?
Or is LW mainly an app for the lone wolf?

JReble
07-24-2003, 12:20 PM
Most of the production facilities I've worked in, and there have been many, use Lightwave for some aspect of their production work. I think the only limiting factor is the initial cost for the stand-alone version for anyone who hasn't worked with LW already in one of Newtek's various toaster systems.

ackees
07-24-2003, 03:05 PM
I use LW because it seems to be able to do most things (even if many options are somewhat painful to use), but I get the fealing that a lot of the big studios only seem to use LW as an odd job tool, you know hop in to LW to do a bit of this or that and then move back to something else.

colkai
07-25-2003, 08:01 AM
By and large, I've always thought the reverse was true.
Seems a lot of folks use LW, dump into Maya and such for 'animating' then back into LW for output.

What has been interesting for me is seeing articles in the likes of 3DWorld and SFX with screenshots of people working on film/TV effects and thinking "Hmmm..that looks strangely familiar".

Last one was an article about the Buffy final episode, for sure they were running LW. Which was kinda cool. :cool:

Like everything else, these folk tend not to limit themselves to one tool. Just as they still use live / animatronic / CG within a shot I guess. Not like us little people - who thankfully Newtek still keep a caring eye out for. ;)

ackees
07-25-2003, 10:18 AM
Yea, I am a firm believer of the little guy over the big studios. It is great that NT have been able to hold their own out there. Large companies are so destructive (something to do with size I think), I have seen really good guys go into a large company and have all the creativity knocked out of then, then they are thrown away like trash and some other new kid on the block take their place (poor kid). That?s why I think NT opening up their plans to the LW community is the way to go, like the new interface post, what a great discussion, shame it wasn?t done earlier.

colkai
07-28-2003, 02:53 AM
Well,
I've certainly seen the downside of large-guy vs small guy.
We used to visit a holiday site run by a family, which was bough out by a company, which was bough out by a bigger company..then again...
Result - the place lost all its charm, got turned into 'max profit / min outlay' typical holiday place. We don't go there anymore :(

It doesn't *have* to be that way, but greed is a powerful motivator. Those companies that don't rise to its seductive charms are like pots gold in their own right.

ackees
07-28-2003, 04:45 AM
Thats something that has interested me for some time. I think when creatives (anyone with good ideas) come up with an idea they are closer to the concept, its like a baby and they want it to benefit everyone, but when big business takes over then creatives take a back seat and as you say greed takes over. Actually most creative people quickly become slaves when they join a big company because it is big business that has the money to pay for the tools that creative people need to use, but things are changing, almost anyone can buy their own tools now so there is going to be an even bigger explosion of individual or small group projects that will push the big productions aside because you cant beat a good idea.

Randog
07-28-2003, 12:59 PM
Originally posted by ackees
Thats something that has interested me for some time. I think when creatives (anyone with good ideas) come up with an idea they are closer to the concept, its like a baby and they want it to benefit everyone, but when big business takes over then creatives take a back seat and as you say greed takes over. Actually most creative people quickly become slaves when they join a big company because it is big business that has the money to pay for the tools that creative people need to use, but things are changing, almost anyone can buy their own tools now so there is going to be an even bigger explosion of individual or small group projects that will push the big productions aside because you cant beat a good idea.

Do you really believe this bull****? Or are you 12 years old?

"A friend of mine told me that....."

ackees
07-28-2003, 03:04 PM
Randog, what do you believe, I mean what are your opinions on this?

novadesigns
07-28-2003, 03:06 PM
Actually we use LW for all our modeling, texturing, lighting and VFX. Its a great and inexpensive program for the show we do. Only our animation depoartment uses Maya. And I think that they will want to take a second look at LW after v8 comes out.

But we do see it limitations every day, and we find ways to work around them. Its a major undertaking to change over a whole workflow to a new app--on a deadline, especially if that new app has a whole lot of flaws of its own.


I know that there are quite a lot of studios that use LW for some portion of their pipeline. But they also use a lot of other tools, like Maya, Electric Image, XSI, and comspoiting fx apps like fusion and Houdini. There is no one trick pony that does it all. And its all driven by the needs of the production. In many cases NO commercial software can do what is needed so special apps are written. Almost all the really big places have proprietary apps like that.

In the end its about getting the look you want. Brand loyalty is for hobbyists and really small/one man studios. The big places really can't afford to be limited like that.

ackees
07-28-2003, 03:47 PM
Novadesign, I see what you mean but I am not sure, I did work in a place that had five full time 3D animators and programming support, and these guys stuck to one app, wouldnt touch anything else. If they had a problem the programmers would dig into the SDK and solve it, I guess these guys were working at the top of the food chain, lower down you would just have to buy another app to solve such issues.

wacom
07-28-2003, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by Randog
Do you really believe this bull****? Or are you 12 years old?

"A friend of mine told me that....."


I think you might be after your rather rude, crude, and very non-professional attitude slanted post. Let us just pray you're 12 and are going to grow out of this stage you're in.:D

Randog
07-28-2003, 06:36 PM
Originally posted by ackees
Randog, what do you believe, I mean what are your opinions on this?

OK. Let's take it piece by piece.

I think when creatives (anyone with good ideas) come up with an idea they are closer to the concept, its like a baby and they want it to benefit everyone, but when big business takes over then creatives take a back seat and as you say greed takes over.

I really am not too sure who you are making these statements about. Do you have experience in a production environment, at a "big company"? I assume you mean a big VFX company. If so, then what benefit would the company gain by chasing only the dollar? If they were to do so, chances are the work would suffer. If the work suffers then they will get less business. If they get less business then they make less money. See the trend?

Actually most creative people quickly become slaves when they join a big company because it is big business that has the money to pay for the tools that creative people need to use..

How exactly do they become slaves? Please be specific. Slaves to the company? Slaves to the software? If they were to become slaves to the company, refer to my words above.

[B]...but things are changing, almost anyone can buy their own tools now so there is going to be an even bigger explosion of individual or small group projects that will push the big productions aside because you cant beat a good idea.[B]

This is true. Currently market share is a big battle. As the battle continues, it will drive the price down. This is great. Smaller VFX companies will in fact become more common. However, if you have a film with 200, 300, 400+ shots you don't want to take it to "Mom and Pop's VFX Tech Shop" You want to take it to a company that has the ability to deliver. The big shops. There have been a lot of smaller shops that take on a project of about 100 shots and it balloons up to, say, 250. They are then in a world of hurt because they no longer have the ability to produce the shots in a timily fashion. You want to talk about ensalving the employees - this is when the artists get totally screwed. I have been there.

Have you?

I understand what are ou are trying to say. But I can stand here (ok, sit here) and tell you you are wrong Judging from my experience.

Randog
07-28-2003, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by wacom
I think you might be after your rather rude, crude, and very non-professional attitude slanted post. Let us just pray you're 12 and are going to grow out of this stage you're in.:D

I am not 12. I also have no plan to grow out of anything.

I just happen to have a low tolerance for people who make blanket, wide sweeping statments, based on nothing at all. I have experinces that contradict everything that was stated...

If something is BS, I call it BS.

prospector
07-28-2003, 07:07 PM
big buisness go after the dollar because as a stockholder, I would demand it.

Money is put into stock to make a profit and hopefully a huge one and not just 3 or 4 % that banks like to give out.

They don't make that premium payment for the stock then the kids don't eat.

having said that for the large company I will say this for the small company..

when their prices get so high and my premiums get good, I can undercut their prices and get more buisness.

WinWin

Ain't capitalism great:D

novadesigns
07-28-2003, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by ackees
Novadesign, I see what you mean but I am not sure, I did work in a place that had five full time 3D animators and programming support, and these guys stuck to one app, wouldnt touch anything else. If they had a problem the programmers would dig into the SDK and solve it, I guess these guys were working at the top of the food chain, lower down you would just have to buy another app to solve such issues.


I dunno, 5 animators is not a lot. We have more IT people than that ;). Seriously though, we have nearly 45 full-time animators and they all use Maya. The rest of the company (the other 50-60 of us that do 3D) use Lightwave. I'm not sure of all of the circumstances that lead to the animation department going over to Maya, I'm sure that for whatever reason Lightwave wasn't cutting it. But I do know that its something that allows them to get their job done faster and it integrates with LW well enough. The powers that be felt that was worth the trouble. As far as I know there are no programmers writing for the Maya users, but we do have a few writing kickbutt stuff for LW. :)

Thing is, it takes a rather huge issue to make our studio change apps and with that will come a period of non-productivity while everyone learns the new tools and gets up to speed again.

So in light of how often new versions of all the apps come out, you can imagine that bigger studios don't switch around too often, and only if the current tools aren't doing the job. The artists do get some say, but really its the directors and the producers who decide what tools we use. In a smaller studio, like the one you mentioned I can imagine that the artists have more of a say in what they use.

ackees
07-29-2003, 05:56 AM
There are several points Randog. Firstly you havent given an opinion about the corporate versus the individual in regard to ideas and development, you have only reacted with disagreements, I would like to know weather you believe more creativity springs from a large company or from individuals and smaller groups, to simplify the argument we have to break it down to a dichotomy (of course there are exceptions).
I would say that large companies mostly buy in talent.
Yes I have seen creative groups taken over by big business and destroyed with the new business chasing ever increasing profits margins and putting more and more pressure on the creative team who earn the money, I have seen artist disgusted with the low quality of the work they have been forced to produced to gain larger profits for the company, and at the point of failure I have seen such a company simple buy in more talent.
The big question is can a large company create leading edge talent, I am not sure, mostly they dont. Its the little guys working away in bedrooms that are the bleeding edge of development and new ideas, not the managers of large companies.
Novadesign, you are right I think it was the time and disruption cost why the animators did not like switching.

Randog
07-29-2003, 07:09 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by ackees
There are several points Randog. Firstly you havent given an opinion about the corporate versus the individual in regard to ideas and development, you have only reacted with disagreements, I would like to know weather you believe more creativity springs from a large company or from individuals and smaller groups, to simplify the argument we have to break it down to a dichotomy (of course there are exceptions).

You suffer under the delusion that if there is a "corporate" then there is no "individual." I can tell you this is an erroneous assumption. A corporation is a collection of people all working together. Right? Each person contributes to the company. Small or large is does not matter.

Larger companies are able to concentrate people in areas where they are able to use their talent (that is being creative) to solve problems.

Smaller companies tend to distribute the work across fewer people, thus increasing the work type performed.

Are the people in the smaller company being less creative than the people in the larger corporation? No. I can speak from experience. I have been at both types of companies.

I would say that large companies mostly buy in talent.

Where does the talent come from? Is there a talent tree? How do you get your talented people? Is there a "Talent Farm" some place? Everyone buys talent. Sheesh. Corporate or the smaller shops ALL buy talent.

Yes I have seen creative groups taken over by big business and destroyed with the new business chasing ever increasing profits margins and putting more and more pressure on the creative team who earn the money, I have seen artist disgusted with the low quality of the work they have been forced to produced to gain larger profits for the company, and at the point of failure I have seen such a company simple buy in more talent.

You are right. Profit sucks. It is a shame to make profit. If Digital Domain were to make no profit I would be out of a job. So would the other 300+ people here. That is so EVIL of them to try to make money! How dare they!

"creative team to earn the money"? WTF? Everyone earns the money. Not just the guy humping away on Lightwave each day. But everyone. Even the guy who sweeps the floor and wipes the toilet. Everyone pulls their weight.


The big question is can a large company create leading edge talent, I am not sure, mostly they dont.

Talent comes from ARTISTS. PERIOD. A company does not MAKE a single thing. People do.

Just like it takes parents to raise a child. Not a villiage.

Its the little guys working away in bedrooms that are the bleeding edge of development and new ideas, not the managers of large companies.

You have your head so far up your cornhole you could probably see out of your mouth.

Do you think Joe Blow working in his mom's basement is developing the latest effect? SERIOSULY? You actually think this? Do you think the guy sitting there is the one developing the latest fluid simulation tools for DD? Good lord.

prospector
07-29-2003, 09:56 PM
Gee Randog

I'm pretty sure that's how the Toaster and LW got started
I'm pretty sure that's how Apple started
I'm pretty sure that's how Ford started

some guy at home making something

there must be lots of programmers that started at home

Even the 'big' antivirus companies were one man started, and usually by the original hackers.

So yes people that work at home usually ARE at the bleeding edge of everything

Almost ALL companies of anykind started (if you got to the origin of it) started by 1 person
from high tech (aka howard hughs)
to sandwich shops (aka subway)
to burgers (aka mcdonalds)
to planes (aka wright brothers)

colkai
07-30-2003, 02:16 AM
I think the point Randy is trying to make here is that, contrary to how some think, talent doesn't evaporate when you join a company.

Sure, you haev the likes of Meni, doing things on his own, very talented - but wait a minute - he works for a large FX company as well. So for sure, just because he's part of the big machine, doesn't stop talent.

I have to agree with Randy, the guys in the companies are the ones who tend to develop cool products because usually, they need them for a specific project.
If I recall, Sasquatch started out as the fur shader, which came about because a studio needed a fur shader.

Massive for LOTR was the same sort of thing - now a cool product - originally developed for an in house use.
Away from coding, what about all the cool effects we see, done by guys *within* a company.

As Randy says, companys sell / market product, its is the people within the company who create, be it code or "ART".

Don't forget as well, these guys rely on good talent to make money, no talent, no profit, no job.

ackees
07-30-2003, 02:28 AM
Randog, when I say corporate I mean the creative team have lost control and steering of the company and it becomes driven by share holders, greedy managers and a destructive drive for larger profits (yes everyone must make a margin but there is a point when that becomes the raison dietre of a large company). The key is this, is the company creatively led (creatives at the top of management) .
The larger companies often do not nurture creativity because much creative activity is non productive, how much time do you allow your staff to play about with new ideas that have no income related objective? How many young students do you bring on through the company? How many do you train up? Is there so much work going through the company that there is no time for this?
What I have noticed is that you cannot force bleeding edge development when everyone is busting a gut for ever increasing profits, that?s what the big companies try to do, the smarter large companies try to create an atmosphere where new ideas can develop

colkai
07-30-2003, 07:37 AM
Ackees,
For sure, greed is bad, I see it every day in work - but one cannot assume that is the case in all effects houses. I would imagine they would soon get such a bad name that no-one would willingly work for them.

As for larger companies not nuturing -trust me - it has nothing to do with the size of the company.
My boss has a "pet" in the company, they get massive pay-rises and bonuses, whilst the rest of us are told that "due to the current economic climate" and "lack of funds" we will only get a 2% pay rise.
The company has 8 people - which includes the 2 directors! However, they rely on our skills to dig this guy out of the hole.

I guess it is down to too many factors to be able to apply "rules" as it where. The best place I ever worked was within an I.T. department of a large multi-national company. The boss was cool, treated everyone with respect. He trusted our skills and backed us to the hilt and always made time for our concerns.

I think it's more about the close working attitude than that of the company really. People are people, good and bad, it's a shame you can't vet your probable work collegues, never mind your boss ;)

Heh - "sorry can't work for you - make it a policy never to work with dingbats!" :p

ackees
07-30-2003, 08:56 AM
What I cant understand is why creative people loose control of the companies they start up, it seems to happen often, is it a size problem? Once the company gets to a certain size, Bam! the creatives are pushed around even though they earn the cash.

prospector
07-30-2003, 10:35 AM
Greed is BAD ???

that has to be the funniest thing I've heard in awhile:D

I'm out to get every ounce of gold on the planet and will keep tryin til I either do or I die.

Greed drives all buisnesses in the world.
And there is NEVER a limit to the amount of profit a company should stop at.

limiting profit...thats, thats, thats, well thats just pure socialism

ackees
07-30-2003, 11:16 AM
Well prospector the issue is can you earn as much even if you are not greedy?
If all you needed to be was greedy then things would be very easy don't you think, say a group of greedy people get together and said, ?we are the best model makers out there? even though they could not make a poly between them, and "We will be successful because we are greedy". Would this work? Or do you need more than greed to succeed?

colkai
07-30-2003, 12:38 PM
Originally posted by prospector
Greed is BAD ???

that has to be the funniest thing I've heard in awhile:D

I'm out to get every ounce of gold on the planet and will keep tryin til I either do or I die.


Alright - call me an old fuddy - but if I was running a company, I'd like to think I'd put the needs and welfare of my staff above a better profit margin. Happy staff are Good staff == better work == stability.

If you'd take every penny over the care of your guys - well, I kinda think your making ackees point very clearly.
Hey - scr*w the animators - I want a bigger profit margin!

ackees
07-30-2003, 02:31 PM
This is exactly it colkai, there are people out there that see creative staff as a disposable resource. What strategies can creative people use to counter this abuse?

colkai
07-30-2003, 03:23 PM
Ackees.
Guy - ya got me there!

I don't think for a minute it happens everywhere, but as Prospector has proven, there are those for whom the pursuit of money is all that matters.

The only way I defend myself in my current, crappy, un-appreciated, low-paid, hate the damn thing, job.. Is to be true to me and what I hold to be real, whilst turning out what they want, even though you know it'll require a re-write. Seems to work for some here - never write any good code - but NEVER disagree with the boss - they go far. I alas, have a terrible habit of pointing out the flaws in his arguments, can't help it ;)

If you aren't true to yourself and what you are doing - they truly have got you. The only other alternative - become your own boss I guess.

Though by and large, many 'top' people that frequent these places have written articles saying this stuff is in their blood, so bad conditions or no, why not get paid to do it?
Kinda like that with me - I enjoy a challenge - just ask the wife :p :p :p

ackees
07-30-2003, 04:12 PM
You sound pretty sorted, that thing of giving the client what he wants is very good weapon (as long as you make it clear it is their choice and you cannot be blamed as they did not take your advice).

prospector
07-30-2003, 07:11 PM
colkai..If ya did run a buisness your way, you would eventually run across people whose welfare and needs are such that it will either put you in the poor house or out of buisness, (their welfare and needs will come from your bottom line), and therefor you would by necessity have to put limits on where their needs and welfare ends... and greed then takes over.

As I said..greed runs every buisness everywhere.

ackees..
can you earn as much even if you are not greedy?

no

You develope a product or some code for a computer program (hopefully LW:) ) (and yes, you do it at home...so we can stay on topic)

you sell your product and make money (unless you intentionally sell at a loss)

that's greed..step1

you improve your product
do you
A..keep price the same even tho the extra time or resources you put into it will cause you to lose money

or

B..raise prices

or even

C..keep prices the same but go to colkai and say you have to lower working conditions to save money so we can stay in buisness?:D

B & C are greed steps 2 & 3


getting it all (which is where I am) is greed step 9 ;)

ackees
07-31-2003, 02:11 AM
If I make something and sell it at a fair price, and someone buys it at a fair price, that?s not greed its fair trade. You do not have to be greedy to trade successfully. How do two greedy people trade? Does the greediest one do best? Total greed is theft, you pay nothing but get what you want.

colkai
07-31-2003, 02:48 AM
Yeah,
I think you need to draw the line between wanting to run a profitable and succesfull business and keep your workforce inspired, happy and productive.

I consider greed to be the pursuit of money above all other things, however, pursuit of money whilst balancing the needs of you, your staff, and clients is fair game.

Don't think that because I would look after my staff that I would tolerate people 'using' it, or over-coddle someone.
Prima donnas would be shown the door in short order - we have one at work - boy he brings morale down so badly it affects people not even in his department!

No, treat 'em well, keep 'em happy, but that's a two way street.
I always remember a thing John Gross wrote in an article, they slaved their guts out to do a gig, never went home for about 4 days. However, the company laid on everything they needed, including someone to massage their stiff neck and backs!
After the gig, they were taken out for the day to celebrate.

The company made money, the jobs was done, the hard work rewarded - don't see no greed there!
I'd like to think I'd operate a place like that.

prospector
07-31-2003, 09:37 AM
but what is a fair price??

Take Newtek for example...

If they recover all thier investment from software in the first 1000 copies they sell at 1500..
then what should the rest sell for?
it only costs 39 cents for blank CDs after that
maby 10 cents for electricity to run machine to burn them
20 min a day for a guy to stack more blanks on spindle to fill machine once a day. So at min wage (not a very high tek job) that,s around 32 cents.

Thats 81 cents

10% profit is 8 cents

so now the software should sell for 89 cents a copy
yet it stays the same 1500

At what point does Microsoft break even on thier investment?
should not the price then go down?

OR
is the continuing price GREED ?

BeeVee
07-31-2003, 09:53 AM
You are missing out on some vital calculations in there Prospector.

Let's say that you do recoup the cost of development by selling 1000 copies (although I really doubt you would). Don't you want to further develop the software? What about the costs to have the other people in the company, besides the programmers? What about the rent for your offices, the business cards and brochures you'll print and so on?

B

ackees
07-31-2003, 10:02 AM
Prospector that is a very good point. The answer is simple though, it all depends how much value NT put into the new version, and that depends on how much resource and effort they put in, after all you would not pay much for 5 year old app for use in today?s environment.
If you are too greedy then you will loose out, Maya learnt that the hard way.

gjjackson
07-31-2003, 02:18 PM
Originally posted by BeeVee
You are missing out on some vital calculations in there Prospector.

Let's say that you do recoup the cost of development by selling 1000 copies (although I really doubt you would). Don't you want to further develop the software? What about the costs to have the other people in the company, besides the programmers? What about the rent for your offices, the business cards and brochures you'll print and so on?

B

And what about upgrade pricing. How many are purchasing the product at an upgrade price. That negates the full product price for new users. Newtek has a good policy on upgrades. Most of what I deal with is limited to a year and that's it. After that it's full price.

Just browsing some of the messages here, sounds as if some would prefer a commie, socialist type of system. As far as I'm concerned any company should charge what the market will bear. The 'Market' will ultimately determine the price, and so it should.

ackees
07-31-2003, 03:45 PM
I fail to see how not being greedy makes you a communist or a socialist , nor do I see the free market as necessarily a system of greed, you can trade successfully without greed.

Maimo
08-04-2003, 05:20 PM
People dont get into this for the money, there are alot of things you can do for money. This is love, and I think even the Executives love their work. They may not have as much fun as the lower ranks (due to the responsibilty and all) but they love it just the same.

I worked for a large company for about 2 years and was laid off 2 years ago, since then I've been working freelance doing television comercials (ironically for the same accounts as the companie that laid me off) also Web Graphix and Multimeda and I make twice what I made back then, Although I work 3 times as much. I've always used LW and MAX (only when absoulutly necessary) I cant afford to have to many seats of other software.

But I love it, and i would do it for free, If I wasnt so Damn Greedy! :D

colkai
08-05-2003, 02:42 AM
Maimo
Yeah, I've heard the same arguments from the likes of John Gross and Mojo.

It's that creative streak thing I think. Let's face it, the thing most people complain of when they get a job, is not the pay, it's the fact they don't have enough time to do their own projects ;)

Whether it's good business practice or not, seems a lot of folk have done the odd freebie here and there as well.

I doubt I'll ever be lucky enough to land a paying job using LW, but for me the "pay" is seeing the result of my work. :D

Maimo
08-05-2003, 08:35 AM
being a freelancer though can be more scary since you dont have that job security, your always scrambling to get the next gig (i've been blessed with 2 regular clients that kick *** (Disney Channel, and a Dental Education Company), but i have to always keep my eyes and ears open just incase, sometimes i think if i worked at an agencyt or studio that i could spend my weekends doing something other then work. I guess thats just for ditch diggers.