There are programs with value that greatly exceeds their price

loocas | opinions,software | Saturday, November 22nd, 2008


There are a few software packages I stumbled upon or have been using for ages which are, at least to me, of a much higher value that what they’re being sold for, which is always a great thing! Here are four I picked from a number of programs I use daily in my work or even for fun and personal enjoyment. It is rare in a high-end DCC world for an app to be worth more than its price tag. Don’t get me wrong, they all are worth their fee, however, at least with some I feel the app delivers more, in a better way or faster or what have you, than it’s supposed to or the developer markets. Here’s my pick for todays encomium:


Autodesk to acquire universe.

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,software | Monday, October 27th, 2008


A shocking news struck upon the CG community on October the 23rd as Autodesk and Softimage announced the acquisition of Softimage and its intellectual property etc… by Autodesk.


Siggraph 2008 is coming!

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Siggraph 2008 banner

I can’t wait to finally see what’s been cooking in the industry for the past year. I was lucky enough to attend the last year’s Siggraph and see it for myself, but, unfortunately, I’m unable, due to work, to attend this year’s exhibition in LA, which is a real pitty as I’d love to see LA and the biggest CG event that gets even bigger in LA.

What I’m most interested in, obviously, are the progresses of Autodesk and Softimage, but I’m also interested in MoCap evolution as well as various other areas: rigid/soft body simulation, rendering technology, data interoperability etc…

Hopefully Max 2009 SP2? Or perhaps Max 2009.5 (as I don’t believe Autodesk would release software from a way too distant future, like Max 2010 :D ) will bring some sweet new features or at least a long-time wishes (i.e. bug fixes) to the table. Especially since ICE is making so much noise these days. Which is always good. I’ve heard some rumours about a complete core-rewrite of Maya, but who knows, this has been said about Max for years as well. We’ll see in a few days time what these software giants have to offer.

For the time being, if you’re interested, here are
some photos I took last year at Siggraph 2007 in San Diego.

Serious technical limitations of proprietary languages.

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,Maya,opinions,Python,software,technical | Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

The more time you spend developing some more complex tools and code, the more you start appretiating all the open-source tools and add-ons you can get. Thankfully, Max and its MAXScript language is very widely used throughout the CG community, so, some times you don’t even have to start developing your own tools from scratch, you can get either the whole package from sites like ScriptSpot or at least build your tools up on somebody else’s script. However, there are certain limitations that even a huge community, such as the one Max has, won’t be of much help.


I’m loving Python!

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,Maya,opinions,Python,software,technical | Sunday, March 2nd, 2008


Interestingly enough, when I started looking into extending my technical skills and knowledge beyond 3ds Max itself at first I got a bit frustrated. The reason was I thought (as probably many other technical artists out there, based on many discussions I read) that I spent years developing some scripting and technical skills to find out they were useless and I’ll have to learn something entirely different in order to stay at the cutting edge and still being competitive. Now while 3ds Max isn’t a factor here, it’s just a platform anyways, I dived into Maya recently and faced a, seemingly, difficult decision: do I go the MEL way or do I learn Python (available in Maya since 8.5)? The decision turned out to be petty simple! I’ll learn both! As I devoured the user reference files, some tutorials and some books, I found out that once you learn one scripting language syntax and logic, picking up any other (similar) language is quite easy.


3ds Max 2009 announced! (milking the cow dry continues)

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions | Thursday, February 14th, 2008

autodesk’s message to the 3ds Max usersOut of the blue, Autodesk today announced a big news, the release of 3ds Max 2009 and also a “brand new” package, 3ds Max Design 2009. So, what is so special about Max it deserves a new full version number and a specialised, different, version? Well, let’s take a look at the facts.

According to the press release and the additional, more detailed and concrete PDF documents, the new 3ds Max 2009 introduces a new technology called “Reveal Rendering” used for complex iterative rendering workflow, which, in my opinion, sounds great and quite useful (if only I didn’t have to write all those scripts and tools for such tasks in the past…), but we’ll see what it really is and how this technology really proves itself in the harsh and unforgiving real studio environments. The next one is enhanced UVW editing that introduces a Spline mapping tool and enhances the current Relax and Pelt tools. Good, helpful, but is it really worth the update? I personally think not. Then biped, finally, you can actually create a quadruped with the enhanced system. I can’t resist to not mention that I personally don’t even load biped up on my Max installation, so, there you go. Then the documents go about a better support for inter-application workflows. This is great news as we’ve actually been more successful at bringing Softimage XSI’s rigs into MotionBuilder than from both Max and Maya, considering that MotionBuilder, Max and Maya have been developed by a single company, one cannod stop wondering, WTF?! Well, to be fair, yes, I’ve managed to bring rigs from Max to MotionBuilder to Maya and vice versa, but XSI has actually been a bit more comfortable and easier to do so than the aforementioned packages. The other question is a direct transfer between Max < => Maya, I hope this got addressed in this service pack full blown brand new release.


3ds Max vs. Maya EULA, what does it mean in practice for the end user?

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions,software | Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

max_maya_packshots.jpgEULA stands for End User Licence Agreement and everyone that has ever at least intended to install a US manufactured software must have met this caluse’o’law. So what’s so special about 3ds Max’s and Maya’s EULA that I should write about it? Well, first of all, EULA is, arguably, completely void in other countries outside of the US, especially Europe, due to its nature. That’s not only my own opinion, but also a lot of actual lawyers agree on the same argument.

But I’m no lawyer so, that’s not what I want to write about. What I want to write about are some significant differences in those two softwares’ EULAs. As you probably know by now, 3ds Max and Maya both belong to the same company, Autodesk, after, not long ago, aquiring Alias’ intellectual property. (more…)

Where is Autodesk headed with 3ds Max?

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions | Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Autodesk 3ds Max 2008 banner

The “new” version of 3ds Max, renamed to a fancy “3ds Max 2008”, has been out for a few months now and one can’t resist to ask one self a question: “where the hell is Autodesk aiming at with 3ds Max?”
I don’t know, but let’s take a look at the features that might at least suggest the way Autodesk might target the market with 3ds Max:

  1. The, I need to say great, new MAXScript Pro Editor
  2. Some modeling enhancements
  3. New Scene Explorer lists
  4. Very nice “WYSIWYG” viewport systems
  5. Couple more additions and features, but mainly some bug fixes and polishing

All these are great and very much welcomed additions to 3ds Max, however, something “feels” wrong about all this.


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