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Thread: Tough questions for NT...

  1. #1

    Unhappy Tough questions for NT...

    This post was originally a reply regarding the concern of so much user speculation over the luxology debacle. In reponse to that, my reply drifted into the more generalized concern over the perception of LW that I have had since the last siggraph. what do you guys think?

    Sorry Elmar, but that was one weak post. I think by posting hear alerts Nt to our concern, alerts new people of the participation and passion of the users, and is perhaps the only place that Nt has posted a response to this situation.

    I find it deplorable that NT has allowed Luxology to attract such uncertainy to the public/industry perception of Nt and LW by NOT publicly clarifying the facts. This is perhaps why the 3D WORLD Published what they did... they have no other facts.

    A few months ago, NT did a wonderful "state of the Union" article regarding the toaster that appeared both in print and on line. It clearly stated the direction the toaster is headed and what plans NT has.

    I wrote an email to Phillip pointing out that such an article on LW would do wonders considering the uncertainly that was presented to the industry with the inital press releases from Luxology. Why is it that Luxology was profiled in CG channel and not NT? And note when i say industry, I'm talking about people who AREN"t using LW.. thats where Nt should be focusing.

    Regardless of what the facts may be, I think we can all agree that losing the San Francisco team is a loss on some level, even if its just of loss of sheer manpower. My fear is that we are entering a toaster centric era for NT. I'm not saying that LW development has actually stopped. What I'm saying is that there is a PERCEPTION that development of LW has been affected. I hear Larry speak of Lw programmers rubbing elbows with FX artist working on the next version of Lw. i believe him. How about even a CGChannel article to revigorate the industry's perception that LW is still on the shelf.

    Speaking of shelf, I was just in the new apple pasadena store. Any reference to 3D is given to maya. Its like LW for the mac doesn't exist. Even less excusable is the apple web page. Under the creative section, there's no mention of LW. This is absolutely deplorable...it smells of Amiga mishandling during the last days of commodore. I know, apple = small market share. But its a high profile market share. You should have apple install the Lw demo on all the macs in the store as they do with Photoshop and other aps. have LW BE the photoshop of 3D for the mac community. Hello, inspire 2.0?


    I don't understand why the sudden absense of Brad seemed synchronous with the absense of Lw's promotion. there seems to be a shift from promoting Lw to the industry, to promotion LW to the Lw centric crowds. Ads in Newtekpro and keyframe? What is this, software narcissism? How about in macworld at least, or in Rez. All see is alot of Video toaster promoting, and only William's extensive effort to the current Lw community (tutorials, contests, etc). Promotional sales are great, but I'm talking about perception.

    Why is it that Luxology does high profile articles on Zoic, Digital Domain and others while at Nt site all I see is how you are giving away everything but the kitchen sink if you buy LW. I click onto the LW page and I get a rather amateurish looking images submitted by contest winners. Looks like its 1995 al over again. I mean this is fine, but it belongs in the community or tutorials section. The splash page of LW appears as a hub for fans of LW, which is great in one respect, but it should really show LW's best foot forward. And that best foot is commercial work.

    Really, its like Luxology and NT should switch web pages. If I went to Luxology, the site that "provides educational and support materials" for Lw users, and found the tutorials from the NT site, that would make sense, Conversly, if I go to the LW splash page at NT and saw spreads on Zoic and DD, that makes me want to buy LW and that I'm buying a polished, professional app. See what I mean?

    I understand william is the evangelist, and I respect his current efforts. However, i gotta ask, william, who are you evagelising LW to? Current Lw users? I mean really, who? What markets have you outlined and stradegized? What plans do you have for Lw having a larger presence at apple sotes. what is your Solution to the Maya/shake sale that Apple is promoting? Why isn't Lw included if LW's native float render compliments shake float compositing engine so perfectly. Why is it that I never received the LW demo disk that I ordered from siggraph for a high profile friend of mine. She was willijng to give Lw a try, but since I could never get the demo disk, she went with maya. She is convinced that LW can't do character animation since she's stuck with the impression from Lw 5.6. What are your plans to aleviate an oversight like this? How about making just the LW demo app downloadable for your web page?

    I saw you at the last LW user group. While your efforts evident in the tutorials and so forth are great, my fear is that your expertise isn't well rounded enough to cover the visual effects field. I also saw Duece who seems well rounded in the toaster/LW/aura arena, but thats in service of Lw products. My concern is that, again, the current staff at NT is toaster centric. I'm seeing alot more of LW being promoted within the confines of the Toaster universe. There appears to have been a shift towards promoting the benefits of Lw and the toaster as a package, as opposed to LW on its own as a universal solution.

    I think you guys need to suppliment that with at least one more person who works in the visual effects field who can relate LW to both the profiles and circles that Discreet and Shake operate in. This would prove invaluable to LW's current disappearing presence to new customers. Who cares if CURRENT LW users know about Lw and can enter contest. Most of us are too busy to enter contests.

    There I go pissing upwind again....

  2. #2

    Angry

    So Arthur you think that this was a weak post?
    Maybe you are right, but at I did not get lost in stupid speculation, without knowing any facts. You know I am a bit angry about all those speculations and rumors. I help out the local dealer by doing customer- support for LW and I get calls from concerned users lately, that read that **** and take it for real. And no, I dont get hour- based salary for setting those things straight again.

    >This is perhaps why the 3D WORLD Published what they did... they have no other facts.>
    If one doesnt know anything for sure and has no facts at hand, one better shuts up and keeps searching for more info before writing ****. Sorry but this is not professional journalizm, but boulevard- niveau at best.

    >I don't understand why the sudden absense of Brad seemed synchronous with the absense of Lw's promotion>
    Sorry, but I see more LW- promotion now, than I have ever seen before(and I have been around for quite some time)...
    And I think, that your attack on William is very, very unfair.
    I know him a bit and man I have never seen anyone working that hard, trying to be everywhere at the same time day and night and doing so much great stuff with so little budget.
    But obviously there are always people, that find something to moan about in everything. I can still remember people moaning about missing tutorials i.e. Now that there are plenty (thanks to William), they say, that they would rather like something else... I cant understand that sorry. You will also find many great pics in the LW- gallery- section of NTs page, BTW.
    Videos are much harder to get though, because of copyrights etc...

    >Why is it that Luxology does high profile articles on Zoic, Digital Domain and others while at Nt site all I see is how you are giving away everything but the kitchen sink if you buy LW>
    Sorry, but there are more userprofiles around than ever, not only on NTs site, but on CGfocus, on NT- Europes site etc(again thanks to William). The people featured there are all great artists. Making an interview takes its time, I am sure we will see even more in the future. It also would make little sense redoing an interview for NTs site, that Luxology has done...

    >I think we can all agree that losing the San Francisco team is a loss on some level>
    It was never officially stated, that NT lost the SF- team!
    In fact Chuck wrote the contrary clearly enough, right?

    >You should have apple install the Lw demo on all the macs in the store as they do with Photoshop and other aps. have LW BE the photoshop of 3D for the mac community>
    You know that one has to pay for having a product displayed like that, right?

    >what is your Solution to the Maya/shake sale that Apple is promoting?>
    There has been a wonderfull bundle of LW/Toaster etc with Digital Fusion and it has been there for quite some time now.
    For your info: DF4.0 is floating- point as well, in fact it is completely bit- depth independend, and also flow- based and widely used in the FX- industry, especially since Shake is Mac- only. Many compositing- artists I know, say it is up to par with Shake. This may also be the cause for LW not being bundled with Shake. A bundle with DF and a bundle with Shake at the same time would have been impossible for obvious reasons(they still are competitors in some way).

    >She is convinced that LW can't do character animation since she's stuck with the impression from Lw 5.6>
    One could do great CA with LW5.6 as well. Just check out what Foundation Imaging did for "Troopers" or all the other animated series they have done (the last were done with LW 6+ though). I think Larry "Splinegod" Shultz will be happy to tell you more about that. And then there was Messiah at the time too.

    Finally I want to say, that I am a bit confused with your moaning about LWs- promotion, as the original topic of the thread was "Luxology", you remember?
    I would also like to admit that crossposting to here and taking everything out of context is not that much a great idea.
    CU
    Elmar

  3. #3
    Gold Member Beamtracer's Avatar
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    People shouldn't take Arthur's post as offensive, although I'm sure some will, including some at Newtek. Arthur has long been a passionate user of Lightwave, and has long offered suggestions on how Newtek could improve promotion. A lot of what Arthur says about promotion has merit, as he is well versed in the broadcast and film scene. I'm sure the comments were made in the interests of Lightwave. It's a bit ironic that one of Luxology's stated whinges was that Lightwave wasn't being promoted enough in high places.

    Of course people are wondering about Luxology, and how this issue will get resolved. Newtek has no obligation to openly discuss it's thoughts on Luxology. However there is a fire burning, and it is now in Newtek's interests to put this fire out. Sure, Newtek's stated position is that it has no relationship whatsoever with Luxology. However, everyone knows that there is a major conflict with Luxology. We can't pretend that it is not there. I wonder how long this messy saga is going to drag on for. Another year?

    I note that when people at the LA user group meeting (that Arthur mentions) asked Brad Peebler what is going on between Newtek and Luxology, Brad said that "he is not at liberty to discuss the matter."

    So both parties have gone silent. Both Newtek and Lux believe that Lightwave is fantastic software and the best 3D application in existence. Surely it's in both party's interests right now to ensure that Lightwave doesn't get harmed by incorrect rumors or innuendo. Can't both party's meet and work out a way to minimize this damage? I guess, thinking realistically, this will never happen. I just can't stand the thought of the issue dragging on for a lot longer.
    Moral of the day:
    Worry about your own morals, not someone else's!

  4. #4
    here's a funny idea...

    The issue will be done when it is done. That's how law works in this country. It's called a legal resolution.

    : now some meandering thoughts and ramblings :

    LightWave is continuing to be developed as a cross platform solution for Digital Content Creators.

    The big Studios are still using it and will continue to use it.

    Modeler will continue to be a great modeling environment for technically complex models and a great tool for people who are concerned with quality and speed.

    Layout will continue to be a bad *** animation and rendering environment for people who care deeply about the quality of their final rendered images and animations.

    Everything that is currently happening in the LightWave community and culture is a good thing and it is great that NewTek is willing to step up to the plate to make it happen. Remember how things were being handled when a certain someone was around managing the ship? It was like pulling teeth. Did he even use LightWave or did he just rise through the ranks by proving he could do the job?

    But I digress.

    More changes for the positive will continue to happen. William and Chuck and the whole crew over at NewTek are doing a great job of getting over this hump which transpired because of greed and a struggle for power. But you know what...in the end, the right people will have prevailed and we the user will be the better for it.

    It's both a curse and benefit that we care so much about the product we use daily...it shows what a great piece of software it is...and will continue to be.

    These times are tough for us all but I feel and know that the current people involved with the evolution of LightWave are doing everything right to get the mission back on track so we can all go into the Future with our Pride and Joy close to our hearts.

    And you know what...that's enough for me.

    Thanks for hearing me out.

    Keep on Waving and amazing the world with your singular talent!
    Last edited by policarpo; 02-10-2003 at 06:56 PM.
    policarpo|visual designer
    http://www.policarpo.us

    "think what you will.
    will what you think.
    anything less is pure folly."

    - something to live by

  5. #5
    Thanks for the kind words, beam....

    elmar, so that you don't take my reply too personally, my opinion that your reply was weak is in regards as to how it relates to NT situation. 3D world's crediability aside, you have to keep in mind that what is concerning is that that information is out there. So to an outsider, one that doesn't frequent these forums (i.e new customers), there perception of LW comes from such publications, including online publications like CGchannel. Perhaps its Luxology's professionalism that is to be question for creating such doubts in the first place. My concern is NT lack of clarity in areas outside this forum.

    As to the particulars of the cause of this debacle, i'm less interested. I'm more interested that there is to be no doubt outside NT/LW circles regarding Lw future. And a LW article like the VT toaster article is something I proposed to Phillip as a means to smooth out any wrinkles.

    Understand that I heard about this Luxology/NT stuff not from CG channel or 3D world, but from industry people around LA. people who knew programmers and artist. I was expecting NT web address to be up for sale after I heard what these people had to say. Most were and are LW fans. While I'm used to hearing stories of doom all the time regarding NT and LW, never had I heard it from the actual users and fans.

    As far as my harshness on Nt, it dates back to last siggraph when I noticed a "paradigm shift" in Nt's approach to promotion. The retro promoting that was so unnapproapriate at someplace like Siggraph was like a blow to the face. I can't help if my reponse to it was equally blunt.

    And my comment of NT go to NT, not to magazines or other online forums. I post at NT's forum with the intent of stirring up some rethinking. It can't hurt. its not meant to hurt. Its just tough questions, as this topic is defined.

    I believe William has doing a great job in supporting the Nt community. And after having gained a peak at what he's working on, I believe he is really trying to address many of the support issues that have plagued users. While I think this creates a strenthened infastructure that will allow new users to pick up on LW, I see little in promoting key LW features. Its just an observation, and an opinion. something for NT to digest or discard.

    Its just seems odd that nobody here can't really debate that there is at least some confusion regarding this matter of Luxology. What I don't understand is why NT doesn't try to even sidestep it with even just a fluffy coverage of LW's current state.. Something that just puts it out in print or online that says "hey we have a pulse". And I can't state this any more: high profile, high profile, high profile. period. With the recent price wars, or parity I shoul say, high profile can't be more important. Christ, maya gives me a training DVD with a demo of maya for $20 and I can't even get a demo of Lw for free. I can get mental ray for Free. What good do tutorials on the web do if no one can try your software? These are major cracks in Nt's ability to push Lw in what is now a crowded market. Instead we get efforts to appease current users like contest. This is all very kind, but just not smart.

  6. #6
    Defender of Mankind Emmanuel's Avatar
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    Hi,


    couldn't we just agree on the following:

    1.Everything that is not written bei NT-employees is pure speculation and leads nowhere.

    2.The best thing we users can do is suggest features and improvements or write them in C or as Lscript, and support third party creators.

    3.If You live in fear and uncertainity using LightWave as it is, consider changing the app.

    Everything else is purely theoretical, might be completely false and just a waste of time and brainpower, as far as I am concerned.
    No one here is in a position to have NT tell everything to everyone, its their business, and I vote with my money if I dont like whats happening, easy as that.
    I for one have already subscribed to a MAYA-Basics-course.
    Bye,
    Emmanuel

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  7. #7
    Hmm being situated in LA and knowing any programmers does not necessarily make one a credible source of information.
    Trust me! I will say it another time and loud and clearly again: LW IS FINE! EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT!
    Chuck said this more than once in the past too...
    Concerning the articles at CGchannel and 3d- world. NT did not know about these articles before they appeared. Chuck clarified this with CGchannel and he posted clarifications in forums etc. I am not sure on what was done in the 3dworld issue, but I guess that you will be able to find a tiny correction hidden between some advertizing in the next issue of 3dworld (so as little peole as possible read, that the journalist there was wrong).
    Yet people seem to ignore what Chuck says. I dont know why.

    Even if your comments are aimed at NT(if so, it would be better to PM them), people reading this here do not know that and many obviously love to understand things wrong. This is how rumors start. This is why I got so angry about the speculation going on in the forums. Too many people take speculation for serious, which it is not. Speculation is speculation and it is most likely, that it is very wrong. Trust me, I know(!) that more than 99% of what was said in this discussion(please read the rest of it in the old forums) was far, far away from the truth, ok?
    Another thing I want to give you all on the way is: Be patient! Things will sort out and you will all be happy. Until then relax, wait and have a good cup of tea.
    CU
    Elmar

  8. #8
    what i find most presumptious about all of this is how we, yes all of us, go about speculating on what the future is, will be and should be.

    it will be good when it is all settled.

    I have to get back to making art.
    Last edited by policarpo; 02-11-2003 at 09:09 AM.
    policarpo|visual designer
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    "think what you will.
    will what you think.
    anything less is pure folly."

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  9. #9
    NewTek Social Media Chuck's Avatar
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    Hi, Arthur!

    Thankfully, the notion that all we're doing is holding a monthly contest while some huge amount of activity goes on elsewhere really does not accurately reflect matters.

    There is a lot of activity in marketing and it has been very effective at reaching new users, and any bases that we don't seem to have covered at the moment, please rest assured that we are working on them. We have added a lot of direct email marketing activity and that is producing a nice rate of sales of new units. Our free texture collections have drawn huge numbers of hits from folks not previously familiar with our products and that effort is also generating new sales. The Bonus Pack is also very successful.

    We've added a number of new profiles on our site from a range of users, and have also placed a number of profiles and interviews with other sites, where they can be seen by lots of folks who may not already be LW users. After a reasonable exclusive time for the hosting site, we'll add those to our site as well. Several high profile interviews and profiles are in the works, as well.

    The bulk of the marketing content created during the past eight months or more has been LW content. We've done a new LW brochure, written and recruited well over a hundred tutorials (many of these we also place with other sites first, before adding them here), done loads of LW profiles vs just two VT profiles so far, one of which is not yet online, placed dozens of review units, doubled the size of our press contact list, seen great and growing response to our press releases, been able to encourage lots of other coverage of houses using LW, and more. After a time that was pretty restrictive on ad budget, we've been able to do more print ads lately, as well as banner ads on a number of sites, with more in the works.

    One thing that has been problematical is that while studios are quite happy to provide image content to journalists for print and web publication, they very often are difficult for a vendor to get permission for use of content from, and it is the studio client, not the FX house, that can provide permission for a vendor to display images on the web or in print, or in a distributable demo reel. FX houses can allow use of material on a reel shown only from the stage at a trade show, but for more you need to negotiate the rights and permissions procedures of the studios and then religiously observe the restrictions they set forth on usage. We're working on developing those relationships, so that we can indeed use more of the highest profile content currently being created with LW than we have so far been able to.

    It is also the case that is is very important to market to current owners of your products. Contrary to being a mistake or an oversight, it is critical to the health of a company. Upgrades are in themselves a very significant source of revenue, and satisfied customers also help bring in new customers. And some things that you may consider an effort to market to existing customers are actually very applicable to new customers. The existence of plenty of good learning material is important to people looking at purchasing LightWave 3D, not just to those who have already purchased.

    As to the LW Discovery edition, we've tried a number of approaches to distributing it, and between what we've issued, what our reseller partners have issued, and coverdisk appearances, we're now well over a million copies in distribution. We do have plans to make it more widely and easily available in future, however.

    The template for the flavor of our future marketing efforts for LightWave 3D would be the course we set with our new brochure. Anyone who would like a look at a copy can contact our CS department to request a copy, and we have an online version at:

    Virtual LightWave 3D Brochure

    At any rate, you've certainly provided some food for thought, and we are taking your comments and those of others under review as we consider our plans for the future. Thanks for taking the time to let us know your thoughts.
    Chuck Baker
    Senior Manager of Communications
    NewTek, Inc.
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    Software Developer's Dilemma: The better the new feature, the more feature requests it will generate. - C. Baker
    Please note that any statements regarding future product development are forward looking and subject to change without notice.

  10. #10
    Hey Chuck...it's always a pleasure to see you take your time to present your thoughts clearly and perfectly.

    One thought I had, as have a few other LightWavers, is to make the Discovery Edition available for download.

    It's time to get LightWave into even more hands than it already is in.

    Keep up the great work!
    policarpo|visual designer
    http://www.policarpo.us

    "think what you will.
    will what you think.
    anything less is pure folly."

    - something to live by

  11. #11
    I'm taking notes, Chuck,
    As one can truly learn from you as to how to deal with... issues.

    You guys give us such input on your tools that many of us think we own and run the company. Ha, I just play one on my VT. Company presidents, that is.

    As an owner of all the tools you sale at the moment, I would simply like to say, "Keep up the great work... and give us spoiled asses MORE!"

    Back to my aurawavetoastin',
    Robert Wilson
    UnCommon Grafx

  12. #12
    Chuck,

    Thank you for the reply. Thank you for also sharing whats going on under the hood in your marketing engine.

    As if by fate, we were talking about aps at my job. My colleages, both shake and Maya artist, were discussing the recent trend of less specialization and more task sharing at Studios, i.e. 2D compositing and 3D lighting. How much of its is handled by custom lighting and Maya. We mentioned houdini as an FX engine and discussed its learning curve. Then someone asked what about Lightwave...

    "is anybody even using that anymore?"

    "yeah, I think DD for rendering, maya for animation."

    I chimed in on its rendering engine and its integrated features. Nobody seemed to pick up on what I mentioned.

    This may sound trivial to you and others here, however it proves my point exactly. Granted, the FX industry is still relying on the open architecture of maya, and thats not going to change unless the bid wars get REALLY bad. However, the manner in which LW is overlooked is disconcerting. People, like my friend who never received the LW disk, have little reason NOT to move to maya.

    Perhaps NT's market is the personal animation market. It seems Brad's intro of 6.0 was a big step towards pushing LW to a more high end level, same with 7.0. I reiterate my fear: with the current FX climate, the price point of software is converging as such that they no longer distinquish a particular product.

    Again, this issue of the LW demo, as compared to A/W. What needs to be "planned"? Are you afraid of piracy? I lost count of how many cracked copies of ALL software most PC users have. I, for one, have 0 bytes of cracked software, but its not because I can't find any. That discovery edition should be on your site tomorrow. Nothing draws me to a software package more than a dl-able demo. period. For up and coming 3D animators, a/w offers an elegant demo and training package for $20. NT not even having a dl-able demo, I believe, would seriously deter many from persuing a copy. I'm not debating your numbers, but its simply a matter of leveling the playing field. When a friend asked using Lw for animation, I sent him some info. Then he asked why he can't just dl a demo like he did with maya. What do I say? So he's messing with maya now. See? its that easy.. pretty soon, he see's Maya's current special, like $500 more than LW, and gets that. Heck, he'd be paid more to do FX in Maya than LW.

    So chuck, while I greatly appreciate your frankness and thorough outline regarding what you guys have planned, I can't help but to report what i hear in the trenches. My main question is how do you see yourselves pitching LW to Fx houses, large or small, considering maya's accesablility (from a stand point of price and exposure) and acceptance in not just the film FX area, but TV and commercial.

  13. #13

    Unhappy

    Hi,

    just read this message in the cgchatlist, an electric image related forum. This guy replies to someones question wether to update his LW 5.6 or Electric Image.
    Now, thats bad advertising.

    christian


    >Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 08:43:40 -0800
    >From: Northern Lights <[email protected]>
    >To: CG Chat List <[email protected]>
    >Subject: Re: Universe 5 and/or Lightwave 7.5 questions...
    >Message-ID: <BA6E683C.3AA4%[email protected]>

    >The only piece of advice I'd offer is that (as I understand it) there won't
    >be any more upgrades or bug fixes to Lightwave. The reason being that the
    >two lead programmers left NewTek back in April and they own 80% of the code.
    >I'm also hearing that production houses are beginning to migrate away from
    >Lightwave.

    >Blair M. Burtan
    >Northern Lights Productions
    >http://www.northernlights3D.com

  14. #14
    hey Christian
    Again this is very wrong, not one part of this is true...
    Now you can believe me or the fellow from E.I.
    Its up to you!
    CU
    Elmar

  15. #15
    Hi Elmar,

    I know, or at least iīm believing that I know something, or lets say I trust what Chuck & Co are saying. I know at least nothing.

    But the point is, the people on this cgchatlist donīt know it better. This guy who considers updating LW or EI believes this crap īcause its coming from a software developer who claims he has insight in 3d Business. So this hurts Newteks Business at last.

    christian

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