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Phadrus Karu

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Everything posted by Phadrus Karu

  1. LlazarusLlong wrote: For clarification, I non-loosely define a professional as any individual who does something for money. As any good dictionary confirms. Especially since graphic design is not a profession, which obviates the other meaning. Graphic design is a discipline involving the pre-arrangement of elements for the purposes of visual communication. A graphic designer is a profession. 3D animation, modeling, texturing and special effects may incorporate some overlap from design theory but are regarded as separate disciplines in themselves (this is what Maya is for). In any case, I never confined the definition of the word professional to any particular niche nor does it really have anything to do with your original assumption regarding my views on hobbyists. It would seem to me that the original discussion on Maya is no longer a topic on this thread. I will also hazard a guess and assume that you don’t have anything further to add on the subject other than to line up strawmen for me to knock down; an exercise I find neither stimulating nor productive. So with that, I consider this exchange as having run its course. I wish you all the best of luck on the new platform.
  2. LlazarusLlong wrote: Phadrus Karu wrote: For hobbyists without plans to commercialize their work, price might be the sole motivating factor; but the hobbyist demographic isn’t what we’re talking about here, the professional/semi-professional content creators are. You sound like Ebbe voicing Peter Gray's words in the corporate attempt to flush your scorned "hobbyists" out of SL2. Do you not realise that 99% of the content creators in SL started as "hobbyists", whatever they might consider their status now? And why on earth would non-loser "professionals" bother creating in a world that, even if you give it 200% of the effort that you would a normal "professional" designer job, barely allows you to scrape a living? For clarification, I loosely define a professional as any individual whose primary focus is the creation of content for the commercial market and the management of said enterprise. The how and why is outside the scope of the point I was originally addressing; which is the reasoning behind Linden Lab’s decision to select Maya users first for the alpha stage of the next generation platform. Furthermore, never have I at any time disparaged hobbyists or their contribution to Second Life. Mischaracterizations, attempts to misconstrue and false constructs that state to the contrary are merely that.
  3. LlewLlwyd wrote: Phadrus Karu wrote: A perpetual license costs $795 more than Blender, a quarter of the price of the studio variant of Maya, [which is therefore $3,180 more than Blender] . A subscription is also available for $30 a month more than Blender costs, or $240 a year more than Blender; which is $20 a month more than Blender There may be a multitude of other reasons why some individuals choose not to use Maya, and cost is certainly one of them. FIFY! ***Thank you for the anti-advertisement*** Context is everything. For hobbyists without plans to commercialize their work, price might be the sole motivating factor; but the hobbyist demographic isn’t what we’re talking about here, the professional/semi-professional content creators are. At the forefront of concern for commercial artists is striking a balance between workflow, features and price. The perfect 3D animation package does not exist – each come with their pros and cons. Blender’s free price tag on its own is its major selling point. There are even a few features in Blender which are comparably better than some paid offerings. However, this does not make it necessarily the best choice for every user. So, why would a professional opt for commercial solutions over open source software? Workflow. This includes the UI, procedures for performing certain tasks and most importantly, the design philosophy behind a specific package. Consistency. How often do the behavior of features and overall UI change from version to version and do these changes offer any benefit? This is critical for studio environments and anyone with pre-established workflows. Specialization. Some packages have particular strengths which are more conducive for accomplishing certain tasks (i.e. sculpting, baking, etc.) Feature exclusivity. Some features and workflows will remain with only certain packages because of patents or biased third party plugin developers. Job prospects for the real world. Should any commercial content creator in Second Life have the desire to position themselves for a career that involves working in a major film or game production, they would be better served by knowing industry standard tools. Familiarity. Both paid and free education abound for commercial software online; more so than open source software at the present time. In addition, accredited institutions lean heavily towards professional tools, particularly in light of the fact that both the educational and corporate sectors share a symbiotic relationship (mainly in Europe and North America). As such, artists with formal education are already comfortable with using commercial software. With the advent of the Steam marketplace for independent game developers and the popularity of mobile apps, companies whose traditional customer base were large studios have taken notice of the trend and adjusted their offerings accordingly to cater to this new demographic. Where an individual previously had to shell out a substantial amount; the same software (minus high-end studio centric features) can be had for considerably less at a subscription level. For an example, Autodesk’s MayaLT is $20 a month; The Foundry’s Modo is $10 a month or the Modo/Mari bundle is $16 a month; Substance Designer, Painter and Bitmap2Material 3 each range from $100 to $160 for a perpetual license or less than $300 for all three; Silo is less than $100 for a perpetual license, 3D-Coat is $104 for a perpetual license; Adobe Photoshop is $10 per month. Each of these low cost solutions are part of the 3D pipeline with features or workflows that are either better implemented or have no equivalent in Blender. They also have the backing of on-call support. At the end of the day, it boils down to maximizing efficiency at reasonable cost. When you consider what you once had to pay for some of the aforementioned software, the current price range for freelance developers are a drop in the bucket by comparison and are thus, accessible to virtually everyone. For some, Blender will suffice but for others with more specific needs and workflow preferences, commercial tools make more sense.
  4. I generally have great respect for content creators, particularly animators as they have a very tough job. However, when critics dabble outside their field of knowledge (i.e. Maya software), hubris can sometimes strike in a big way and wisdom becomes nothing but the championing of willful ignorance. Unfortunately, both the first two posts in this thread fall firmly in that camp. Medhue Simoni wrote: First let me talk about the Maya centric attitude in silicon valley. Why? Why? Why? I swear, they never learn. Every single platform that started out Maya or 3ds Max centric in their tools, ended up failing or having to redo their whole mindset around it. Why? Because they could not get enough feed back. This is incorrect. Cloud Party did not fail to attract content creators or suffered from a lack of feedback; it had plenty of both. What it lacked throughout was consumers. Two primary reasons led to its developers selling off their IP to Yahoo: The underlying dilemma facing any virtual world startup seeking to attract in-world users is precisely the fact that they are new players in a very small niche. Second Life has had an immense head start for a number of years, allowing it to garner a base of hardcore residents. Human nature to resist change; particularly if it entails dividing their time between what they’ve left behind and their newly adopted virtual world was what ultimately betrayed Cloud Party’s potential as an alternative to SL. In short, serious in-world consumers who had the patience to learn the intricacies of a virtual world were already deeply rooted in Second Life and unwilling to abandon their social and economic investment. The Facebook users, by and large, required considerably more time than Cloud Party had available to acclimate themselves into the concept of a virtual space where any one location had yet to fully mature. New American banking regulations on virtual currency proved too large an impediment to overcome. Content Creators were unable to cash out their earnings (Cloud Cloins) for months on end which removed any economic incentive for them to establish a presence. The result was a massive hemorrhage of developers. Both Blue Mars and Cloud Party fell short of their goal to reach critical mass but the underlining causes had nothing to do with being biased towards pro 3D animation tools. Medhue Simoni wrote: Blender, in which 90+% of SL creators use. The Blender community has ALWAYS supported the SL creators, and actually built extensive tools around SL. It is ridiculous that LL doesn't have a dedicate set of Blender users on their team that is creating this new world. Again, RIDICULOUS! Heck, what they should be doing, is working with the Blender devs to make sure there are dedicated tools for the new world in Blender. That would be thinking ahead. In actuality, commercial products such as Maya, 3dsmax, Modo, Cinema4D, 3DCoat, Zbrush, etc. are what remain the primary tools of choice for professional developers across various platforms. This is especially true for a good portion of the upper echelons of content creators in Second Life. I also know some very talented and successful creators who use Blender exclusively too, but their numbers do not predominate at the top tier. The Blender user base is significant with its large foothold in Second Life, I suspect the adoption rate of Blender may soon see it overtake 3dsmax/Maya completely within the aforementioned subset of users. Be that as it may, large swaths of Blender users, much akin to Gimp users in Second Life, are not serious merchants whose income is derived solely off Second Life - not because Blender is incapable, but because the artists who established many of SL’s iconic brands since the early years were already workforce veterans who cut their teeth on professional tools. These individuals were educated in accordance with market realities which are not aligned with knowing just Blender; you have to be familiar with industry standards if you wanted a job. Medhue Simoni wrote: 2nd, Ebbe is totally wrong about content, or he needs to catch up. Ebbie Altberg is the Chief Executive Officer. The fact that he knows next to nothing about 3D production tools is a forgone conclusion – such things are merely details outside his immediate concern as it would be for any other company bureaucrat. His engineers, whom I presume do know a thing or two about the production process, most likely advised him to start with Maya for a number of reasons. Alias originally developed Maya to cater to the needs of large studios working on visual effects and film. As such, priority was given towards facilitating the animation process, simulation effects and team collaboration. Its animation, graphing and rigging functionality are the industry standard to which all others are compared. Animators in a studio environment often choose Maya (and to a lesser degree, 3dsmax) because its tools have proven themselves to be fully mature and robust after more than 20 years. Maya is what they know – it was utilized by Linden Lab back in 2003 to create the original Second Life avatar. When you consider that the same developers will also be creating avatars for the next generation platform which we, the content creators, will be working with - possibly for the next several years – it makes sense to use the tool they know best. Given that animators are especially at the mercy of edge loop placements for proper deformations on a human mesh body, would you really want Linden Lab dropping Maya and learning Blender on the go at this critical phase? The ideal way to troubleshoot problems is to limit the number of potential variables in a testing environment. The difficulty of determining the culprit during the debugging phase would be exponentially increased if LL had to sort through FBX files that have been exported from several packages. What’s causing the problem? Is it Maya? Blender? Modo? Daz3D? Is it our own software? Narrowing it down to two vectors streamlines the process. Once Linden Lab have localized all problems originating from their own platform, they can focus on testing individual software packages. As you said, FBX is the standard. But who controls the FBX file format? Autodesk. Blender’s support of FBX has often been shoddy at best. If there are immediate changes to the FBX format, Autodesk will propagate those changes in their own programs first. This means Linden Lab will have access to the latest version, for whatever that’s worth. Maya was designed for extensibility. Integrating proprietary solutions is what Maya does best. It includes the easy to use MEL scripting which is an interpreted language that has everything that can be done in Maya pre-defined. Essentially, every action has an equivalent command in MEL that shows up in the script editor, which facilitates rapid prototyping. You may recall in 2007 when Qarl Linden wrote his sculpty exporter via Mel. There is also a higher end API if you need C++ and I suspect the engineering team at Linden Lab may very well leverage this to add additional functionality specific to its game engine. With Blender, you can use Python (the whole UI is built via Python) but its scope is less defined compared with MEL. You can resort to re-writing sections of the software if need be given its opensource nature, but that workflow is painfully slow when you need to re-compile it. Maya is thoroughly documented. Part of the reason for the program's legendary price tag is because everything from workflow specifics down to individual nodes is exhaustively referenced and easy to find. Unlike most software documentation, Maya’s help is ACTUALLY helpful. For Linden Lab’s engineering team, that’s essential. The one notable advantage of using professional software over opensource solutions is the level of support provided. If the engineering team behind NexGen Life becomes stumped, top level support is a phone call away, “I see your problem now. Have you tried this workaround? It didn’t work you, say? Alright, we’ll inform our crack team of programmers about this bug right away and have a patch sent out ASAP.” Meanwhile, in Blender land, you’ve hit a snag but there’s no number to call. When you have a looming deadline to implement a feature demanded by your user base, hedging your hopes on the Blender forums having an answer at hand within the next few hours is just not good enough. This one is speculation on my part. Linden Lab may have likely surveyed those whom they have had business relationships with in the past and concluded based on the results that Maya was the common denominator among them. This would be especially true among brands which had their start in the pre-mesh era when Maya’s NURBS made it considerably easier to model sculpted organic forms with curvature. If this is indeed the case, then supporting the people who have been producing the grid’s best quality content for several years would avail Linden Lab equally quality feedback from partners they already know. With that said, the majority of modern 3D software adhere to the same principals and feature similar functionality to such an extent that it is now mostly a matter of preference. Fundamental skills learned in one application can be transferred to another; although workflows may differ between individual software. The point is that high quality results can be achieved in virtually any package. At the end of the day, it all comes down to one’s artistic abilities rather which program is chosen to showcase those abilities. In the case of Nexgen Life however, Linden Lab is faced not with artistic dilemmas, but rather a series of mounting engineering problems. As Maya was written for software engineers in mind, this makes it the best tool for the job at this particular stage. Pussycat Catnap wrote: For now I will say I agree with you that Maya is the wrong path for anything that is meant to be community developed. Sure, a LOT of people have Maya out there, a lot of people also have 3DS. But... Maya is a huge expensive platform. This means the only people with Maya either are companies, or people with pirated software, or people who cannot tell the difference in price between a latte at Starbucks (~$3-6) and the new Apple LIMITED Watch ($10,000). Pasted below is my response to a similar statement made in another forum: In addition to the full featured version of Maya, Autodesk also offers MayaLT, a product targeted towards independent game developers. MayaLT has everything a content creator will need for both Second Life and Nexgen Life. It supports all recognizable industry standard formats and retains support for popular auxiliary tools like Substance Designer. A perpetual license costs $795, a quarter of the price of the studio variant of Maya. A subscription is also available for $30 a month or $240 a year; which is $20 a month - less than what many paying consumers spend in Second Life within the same time frame. There may be a multitude of other reasons why some individuals choose not to use Maya, but cost is no longer one of them. Pussycat Catnap wrote: Just about every time you mispell a search result for something 3D related you're going to land on a website offering Maya or 3DS for free, with half the page written in Russian and the other half in Chinese... The last thing they want to do here is start approving of the use of illegally made content (we already know SL is full of pirated goods... putting a stamp of approval on that - is a bad move). I'm afraid there is little useful to be said in the face of such ignorance other than to suggest you visit http://www.autodesk.com/store/maya-lt and then reflect on the error of your ways.
  5. This was a previous test project completed during the mesh beta. It includes individual planks at the highest LOD while using facade flat textures for the lower LODs. The bridge is modular; being divided into four sections. It is just 10 prims but can be further optimized. With some careful management and consideration for how Second Life implements mesh, many large objects can be made equivalent to their prim or sculpty counterparts with respect to land impact.
  6. I await the day when I can utilize Apple's iPad or Samsung's Galaxy as a poor man's Wacom Cintiq.
  7. Unfortunately, only the FBX/DAE 2011 plugin is supported at this time. I have a separate copy of an older version of Maya for which I have this plugin installed for use as an export platform to Second Life.
  8. For the combat oriented crowd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10ij7joI9uY&hd=1 A few test renders of the F-15 (sans the interior): http://img841.imageshack.us/img841/3824/f151.png http://img510.imageshack.us/img510/2935/f153.png http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/7393/f154t.png I seem to be unable to directly embed images and video on the forums. I assume these privileges are only made available after a certain post-count threshold has been reached? The knowledge base resource was unhelpful.
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