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Since I’m sure this thread will deteriorate and given CGTalk‘s shitty moderation policies (and the Cinema 4D forum being moderated by Maxon staff to boot) be shut down, let me post Nigel‘s wise words reflecting the sad state of affairs here.

As for trying to get Maxon’s attention before and with my departure. Not something I’ve set out to do. The issues I have are similar to what others have been saying for ages. I’ve just become more vocal about these issues this year. In no particular order, Maxon has the following problems as I see them:

Price to high for Studio edition. The price would be fine if there was consistent development across the application. Instead something will get enhanced and then be left for years.

Recent upgrades have been a bit weak. Many areas of the program are now years behind the competition.

Almost a code of silence when it comes to communicating with their customers in social media. The Team Render thread here for example is probably the worst example of PR I’ve seen by a software company. Initially there was no response from Maxon. We’ve then had a few posts from lower level Maxon staff. Great but someone higher up should have dropped in and said “Sorry folks, we’ve stuffed up and we’re working on improving Team Render / Team Render Server”. That would have helped. We’re now at the stage we’re Maxon subsiduaries are acting as intermediaries between customers and Maxon H.Q. An improvement but why the hell can’t there be direct communication between customers and Maxon management / developers? And yes I have seen the developer post in the thread a couple of times but he kept a fairly low profile. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong and don’t understand things? I’m just going on what I see around the place with software developers and customers. We’re in a social media world but Maxon is still in the CB radio age and all the customers are out of range.

Suggestions from customers largely ignored unless they fit in with Maxon’s own development plans. Now I’m sure Maxon wouldn’t agree with this view but that’s the perception I have and I reckon many others have as well. See, if they interacted with their customers and I’m talking about management interacting with customers and not just a staffer talking off the record then things would be greatly improved. Maxon’s entire management should spend an hour or two browsing The Foundary / Modo forums and look how well The Foundary interacts with their customers.

Still selling boxed versions of C4D. Yes I know you can download C4D from some resellers but by having a boxed version means a significant lead in time before release date. Virtually everyone else has gone to downloads only. This means they can be bug fixing / coding up until release date or a couple of weeks before.

I can’t buy C4D from a US reseller / shop around for the best price. I bought Modo 801 for $1299 from a US reseller, saving myself $200 from buying direct from The Foundary. I then downloaded it from my Foundary account as if I had purchased direct from them. I also receive a free upgrade to 901. The same US reseller isn’t allowed to sell to me as ordered not to by Maxon. Just crazy. I’m not interested in Maxon’s excuses about support, regional prices. It’s a global / digital world out there and I can buy virtually any software application from anyone without any restrictions.

Now when you combine all the above with Modo 901 delivering an awesome update and tools that I as a hobbyist use and and can use now rather than waiting another 10 years for C4D to catch up (if ever) then combined with my own personal desire to step back from running a forum and have more time for my cycling and my own 3D work it’s a no brainer to jump ship. I jumped ship before from Truespace when Truespace 7 was in alpha stage as I thought they had completely lost the plot. In time I was proven right as they never properly finished it and then eventually were closed down when Microsoft pulled the plug after buying them. Now I don’t think Maxon is in the same boat and they are in a much better position than Truespace was but the writing is on the wall that they need to move with the times. The thing is a lot of what I’ve harped on about has nothing to do with writing software so isn’t that hard to fix if there was a willingness to do so. However, I’m not sure there is a willingness to move with the times. Maybe a year or two of lower sales may make them wake up?

Edit: I should add, that over the years the Maxon people I have come into contact with have been very pleasant to deal with. Thanks for that.

Nigel Doyle

Now it’s not the time to gloat and we all have our own special personal relation with the companies producing our favorite tools, but personally I find so much truth in there and it reflects my own decision earlier this year. Maxon are living in the past and are hanging on to a somewhat self-deluded view of their product, when in fact for years they have only been serving some niche markets and trying to catch up without ever getting a foot into the door in other areas. Someone, who has been on their Beta for the last decade and runs a Cinema 4D forum, jumping ship three months before R17 is due is indeed very telling…

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Saturday Night

As has become a bit of a habit and ritual in recent years, I was once again watching the Eurovision Song Contest (battling hard to not fall asleep after I already had to put in several extra half hours of rest throughout the day) and it just didn’t click with me this time. While the show as such was gorgeous to behold, the songs were pretty much all over the place, and not in a good sense. In fact it scared me to no end when the first vote counts came in and those unbearably kitschy Italian and Russian songs scored big. Luckily this was later rectified, but I still feel that the Swedish song wasn’t the best one, either. I really would have loved to see Latvia or Belgium win. Having Australia join the ranks was a complete fail, too. I don’t need to watch Eurovision for a boring run-off-the-mill radio song. And Germany? Well, we didn’t score a single point and quite deservedly so. It was once again just a bad song. Lucky we didn’t send something even worse. Seeing the local qualification here in March was just a painful testament to how little true musical talent exists…

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With The Foundry now in “safe” hands everyone can relax their cramped muscles and actually look forward to upcoming releases like modo 901. Detailed info on the new features has become available. As usual, I’m not going to repeat the marketing hubub, but let me point out my personal highlights.

  • Mesh Fusion – Of course, who wouldn’t love it? It made quite some waves last year and having it “free” inside the program is certainly welcome. On the other hand it is of course pretty much the only real “new” feature, as most other stuff is unglorious workflow enhancements.
  • Speaking of which, unglorious doesn’t mean not useful. In fact how would you like modo not crashing when deleting your thousands of extraneous locators and groups from your imported CAD data? While I’ve never been one to break a stick over modo‘s head, it is those things that earned the program a reputation to be a bit too crash happy for its own good. This is a lot better now, trust me!
  • The Advanced viewport is tearing me apart. While I would love to say that I love it more, it actually kinda sucks – on my ageing GeForce GTX 580, that is. It’s not crashing or anything, it just takes forever to initialize the shaders and then of course the performance isn’t that great with a reasonably complex scene. I really need a big stack of cash to fall out of the sky to get me a GTX 980 at least or something like that. This is really becoming an issue even with Element 3D, Freeform Pro or my Sapphire plug-ins in After Effects – not much fun when you’re always half scared to use some features because your performance goes down the drain. Incidentally I even noticed that 4 GB are missing from my RAM because a module is damaged. Oh my. I really need a new computer. Too bad I’m too old and sick to serve blowjobs to elderly wealthy men as a gay escort… *lol*
  • Physical shading is certainly welcome, but even I’m beginning to join the ranks of people who beg for an unbiased renderer and other advanced features. Tweaking materials is getting more finicky the more features are added and it’s too easy screw things up. Perhaps they should finally sit down and make it fully node-based, after all?
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Saved by a Bell…

…well, a stack of cash that is. Yepp, all speculations about Adobe gobbling up The Foundry and (potentially) digesting and dissolving it into their portfolio blob can now be put at rest – for a while, anyway. While everyone is leery of investment groups, the good part usually is that they leave the companies they buy alone as in “they understand their business best and know how to make money with it”. As I wrote a few weeks ago, the products wouldn’t have made much sense in the hands of Adobe in the first place. So I guess we can all relax now and look forward to the soon to be released modo 901 as a “safe” investment…


Queer as your Neighbor

Yesterday my family and I were celebrating my grandma’s 89th birthday, we had a cycling race in the area and it was the international day against homophobia. I usually don’t make too much of a fuss over it, but since I’m still watching Queer as Folk, it seems fitting to throw out a little comment. It so happens that just on Saturday I saw that episode on where the police officer that then later dates Debbie says:

I don’t hate homos, I just don’t “get” it

or something to that effect (don’t nail me for being inaccurate). It ultimately describes the tragedy of the whole matter. It’s not so much that people hate gays, lesbians, transsexuals and whatever you can imagine, it’s just that they are unable to imagine a different way of life…

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Calendar Fail

When things go wrong, they seem to go thoroughly wrong, it seems. Today while I was at my parents’ yet another heavy parcel arrived and it is a good thing I was around. It contained my mom’s photo calendar and while it actually looked quite nice, it once more had this ugly issue where letters were cropped from the names of the months and all kerning in those headings seems to have been lost. Now this wouldn’t be so bad, but it actually already was the second attempt at fixing these issues. So after explaining the issue on their customer phone line, I’m now waiting for some of the developers of CEWE‘s software to track down the bug/ issue or provide a workaround, ‘cos naturally everything looks just fine on my end. What’s also frustrating is that they can’t just accept a PDF file and load it into their system. For obvious reasons this would be quite simple for me to do in InDesign or so, but as it stands, you have to use their unsophisticated software. *grmpf*

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While these days I barely can get even the simplest things done (too busy with the mundane issues and daily battles of a person with a chronic illness finding its way in the German healthcare system), whenever I have time I still love to geek out. Now I missed my window of opportunity for getting a new toy with The Plant Factory (at the time my bank account was painful to look at), but there’s a new tool coming out every week it seems, so I’m already giddy about Fabric Engine coming to modo (and Cinema 4D, and Maya, and Houdini, and pretty much every other 3D program out there). At least for modo this could also solve one of its more fundamental issues: building your parametric generator setups that you can re-use easily, which so far is not realyl the program’s forté…


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