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3D-Pangel

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3D-Pangel last won the day on September 16 2019

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About 3D-Pangel

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    Custodian of the (now defunct) 3D World Database

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    Dave
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    R20.026 Studio
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    http://3dworldmagazinedatabase.blogspot.com/
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  1. So maybe Nemetschek should re-word its press release: n this transaction, MAXON acquires the US company Red Giant by combining a cash consideration of around EUR 70 million and granting shares in MAXON. Plus - I still see risk in handing over $77M USD at a time when MAXON is re-vamping its revenue model from sales to subscription as history has shown that this type of change always creates a short term drop in revenue with a return to profitability in 3 years. Add to that the cost of Redshift (whatever that may be and however that transaction was being handled whether it be by stock and/or on-hand cash or debt) and any reasonable person would begin to wonder about financial risk. Now, add to the financial risk is the fact that all mergers/acquisitions have some organizational risk. Any type of acquisition or merger always creates periods of instability for both companies. There is always some adjustments as management roles change and both companies try to figure out their place in this new relationship. Even if the newly acquired or merged company is left alone, the fact they have been merged and/or acquired implies that there will be a change to "something" - otherwise what was the point? So as the two companies come together, then there could be changes to long term product road maps, current product development, and/or product development teams. It is hard to go through something like this without some loss to productivity and/or headcount changes because not every employee is always going to agree with the "new" direction and/or management structure. That is just human nature. So again, there will always be some instability as MAXON tries to absorb not one, but two merger/acquisitions within 6 months. Now, if MAXON was a huge corporation (eg. > 5000 employees) then the risk would be less - but there is always risk. Even huge corporations can fail at the simplest of mergers. But MAXON is not huge - in fact they are quite small by comparison - so this will have some impact....and therefore risk. Plus, the majority of us don't see the synergies behind the Red Giant "merger" right away. That's a problem. For example, if it was Insydium we would all go "of course" because those two companies have alignment: X-Particles fills a big hole in MAXON's tool set. Therefore we would not be that concerned about how well Insydium merges with MAXON because we see the synergy behind that merger. But we don't see that with Red Giant and so we have to wonder how well this will work. So this news creates questions and concerns that are quite reasonable ones to raise and not baseless rumors. Can a small company like MAXON take on this amount of change in such a short time: change to revenue structure coupled with two big acquisitions or mergers. That is a lot to put on Mr. McGavran's plate and I do wish him the best. Despite how much I disagree with their new subscription and perpetual license models - I want MAXON to be so successful that their viability during my retirements years is a no brain-er because growing with (and being able to afford) C4D is how I I want to spend my retirement. Dave
  2. Wow. $77 million USD plus 15% of MAXON. What did they pay for Redshift? Anyone know? It would have to be at least equal this amount. Spending that much for Red Giant is kind of a risky move at a time when MAXON is still trying to absorb Redshift AND changing their entire revenue model. Financially, I wonder what their debt to equity ratio is right now? Are they starting to be cash strapped? No wonder perpetual licenses have gone up 53%. Sooo....don't expect any big changes in MAXON's prices for C4D any time soon. They need the cash.
  3. Just a thought, but we are all approaching this from the standpoint of how C4D will integrate Red Giant's 2D plugins. Maybe we are looking at this backward. Could some of C4D's architecture -- specifically its MoGraph architecture -- be adapted to a 2D plugin for Adobe? Or more specifically, maybe the merger will create a direct competitor to Element 3D? Or maybe the goal is to expand C4D Lite's capabilities as an Adobe plugin rather than C4D as a 3D application? My point is this: we all thinking that if MAXON acquire's it, it will be integrated in C4D. That may not always be the right assumption. This acquisition could have absolutely nothing to do with C4D (don't they already have enough on their plate?) and have everything to do with benefiting Red Giant. When I look at it this way, things start to make sense. Again....just a thought. Dave
  4. Hmmm...So MAXON (a 3D company) buys a major plugin vendor for Adobe products (essentially a 2D company). This is odd and I don't see what it gains both companies. Now, Red Giant has a annual subscription model of everything for $600 ($50/month). I really don't see their products being part of the MAXON C4D subscription package for the current price - but my hope is that it is part of MAXON moving in the Creative Cloud direction. Hey....if $60/month got me C4D, Red Giant and Redshift, then that is starting to be attractive. But if it just adds another $50 to their subscription program (like Redshift did), then that is a far cry from Creative Clouds value. I hope we get more an announcement - other than "Hi. We are merging with Red Giant. Merry Christmas" - that goes into "why?". It would be nice if someone could paint a vision of the synergies of these two companies and how they work together for the benefit of the user. Just cause they all get along at trade shows and drink the same beer is not a compelling reason. Dave
  5. Challenge MAXON's business model? I would never think of such a thing! err...maybe not. While I did not pour through every post of this thread, I do think that a strong case can be made for both charging and not charging for an educational license - the key deciding factory being how long a "free" educational license remains active vs. a "reduced price" educational license. Imagine these options: I think right now everyone can get a free 14 day trial license. If you can prove your are a college student enrolled in a computer animation course then the following two things happen: This free license extends to a one-time only period of 3 months (or about the length of an average college course) If you want to use the license for an additional 3 months, the cost increases to $75 and each additional 3 month block costs the same $75. For each additional block, you need to revalidate that you are a) a college student and b) enrolled in a computer animation course. The logic is this: The first 3 month block covers the introductory course. This should be free. Get as many people to actually take a course in C4D. Should they want to take more advanced courses, then they are charged about the same as a standard text book - which I think is fair and not a undue burden on the student. I mean, are all text books free? No. So why should the software be free. There is nothing that says MAXON needs to give the software away to every college student but they should at least make it easy/cheap/free for them to step into and consider using the software (thus the first 3 month block is free). After that introduction, if they find that they have a real aptitude for the software and therefore desire to learn more, then they are more likely and willing to pay for it at that point. Now, while I am not sure if any college campuses offer full degreed mutli-year program in C4D, this is still a huge 50% discount over the annual subscription program with all the same benefits (Cineversity, updates, etc). I would infer from Rick Barrett's post that MAXON is looking into something like this with their license server
  6. Yes...stability is important. No argument there, but my point was that history has shown that thinking that "stability" will preserve market share alone is not necessarily a wise choice. By example I was pointing to Lucent which was a bellwether telecom company. Lucent was slow to market on some products because they made sure that the product was stable as a rock and would last forever in the field. They charged a premium for this stability. Now telecommunications infrastructure has to be stable and redundant because if networks go down, commerce stops and (in the case of emergency services like fire and ambulance or hospitals) lives could be put at risk. So it should be a no brainer that you pay that premium for stability and you wait longer than most for new features and capabilities to insure that you always get a stable product. Well, that did not happen in the big telecom run-up of the 1990's. Being first to market with the new shiny feature won the day and today Lucent no longer exists. So when I said "stability is important but this is just DCC software after all" I was inferring that lives will not be lost and financial markets will not shut down should you lose your work on an animation...but they will when your entire network crashes or is hacked. Telecommunication network providers get quite angry in those situations and threaten all sorts of nasty things like law suits, full page ads in the Wall Street Journal blasting your product, etc. But still, they tossed the need for buying stable telecommunication gear and software out the window in rush to keep their networks competitive in the dot-com run-up of the 1990's. So while we all love MAXON's passion for stability, in the face of all the other things we don't like such as subscriptions and waiting forever for features, MAXON should not ignore Blender that doesn't have as strong a reputation for stability but is winning on a number of other issues like cost and features . Stability alone did not save Lucent...and my hope is that MAXON recognizes that stability is not going keep people dedicated to C4D in the face of something as universally distasteful as subscriptions (or conversely massive price increases on perpetual licenses).
  7. The improvements to the Outliner is a big one for me. It is amazing the number of features that Blender puts into a 0.1 release after a 3 month period. By comparison, this number of features is what MAXON would call a full point release after a year of development. Is the the difference that MAXON has stronger quality controls and extended testing whereas Blender does not? If true, you can hold onto that strategy as long as the market places a price premium on stability over new features. They want both (why wouldn't they) but they also don't like waiting for new features. There is strong evidence in other industries that access to new features is always more important. Just look at the telecommunications market in the 1990's. You had a big bellwether global telecommunication equipment company, Lucent, that built products for 15 year life with a protracted product testing phase to insure rock solid stability. And for good reason: telecommunication products were critical to pretty much everything (banking, emergency services, business, etc). Stability, not cost or features, was at the core of Lucent's product development culture. Well, along comes a whole bunch of telecommunication start-ups during the 90's that were pumping out products with the philosophy of "be first to market with the new feature and let the customer debug it" and guess who won? Well, Lucent, with a rich history of technological innovation in Bell Labs since 1954 (9 Nobel prize winners - one for the transistor) no longer exists. After reporting a $2 Billion loss in the dot-com bust it merged with Alcatel in 2006 and then completely sold to Nokia in 2015. So MAXON clings to that same culture on stability that Lucent did when you consider their pace of introducing new features. Just look at the lackluster R21 release along with a price increase for perpetual licenses. I think it is safe to say that MAXON does charge a pretty hefty premium for that stability. Hey, stability is important, but this is just DCC software - not something like telecommunications that forms the backbone of a modern society. So if stability didn't win a long term strategy in the telecommunications market, then it probably won't support MAXON's strategy all that well in the future - especially in the face of competition like Blender. Is it fair to say that people were loyal to C4D prior to R21 for 3 things: 1) stability, 2) ease of use and 3) a firm belief that MAXON would never follow a subscription plan. While I don't know what Blender's development road-map looks like, but I do find it interesting that 2.81 has some features that C4D users are interested in. Based on the backlash to R21 and subscriptions, does Blender sense a shift away from loyalty to C4D and adapted their development plan accordingly? Not sure, but consider that Blender 2.8 was released at the same time as R21 and then 3 months later we have Blender 2.81 which makes it easier to use (in a very C4D way) while showing that they have both an aggressive development pace and are quick to correct stability issues. Most importantly, it is free and requires no server activation. Blender 2.81 directly addresses the top 3 issues that kept people loyal to C4D. Coincidence? Honestly, I don't know. But I think it is a safe to say that Blender is a real, serious threat to whatever MAXON has as a long term market strategy. Stability and feature growth at C4D's price point is not going to help MAXON weather the subscription back-lash over the long term...not when you have options like Blender. Honestly, given that MAXON pays attention to (but does not support) the Cafe, I would hope that threads like this give them cause for concern. Add to that a key instructor, Toby Pitman, saying " Sorry - I can't do subscriptions" in his Twitter feed and moving to Blender should also scratch at MAXON's "belief" that rolling out a subscription plan will "only" result in a short term drop in revenue and that they will make more money in the long term. At the pace that Blender is moving, there may be no "long term" horizon that allows MAXON to recoup whatever losses they incur from moving to a subscription plan. That is a real possibility that MAXON cannot ignore. Dave
  8. I would really be shocked if C4D came with a built in compositor given all the work put into C4D Lite for AE (which is a built in 3D app for your compositor) and the interoperability between AE and C4D. Now, given the work done on dynamic fields and OpenVDB implementation, I do see a move toward native fluid simulation. X-Particles is the bomb (IMHO), but that doesn't mean C4D doesn't need its own solution. In fact, the absence of such a tool set, particularly as Maya has fluids integrated quite well into its motion graphics tools, is quite a noticeable gap for MoGraph. I do like the idea of a C4D Marketplace. The plugin/model/tutorial eco-system around C4D is both big and aging. Aging is a criticism as some sites that were quite active have gone silent (KDZ, Coffestock, etc). As each release of C4D tends to break all the plugins, some developers are starting to show exhaustion and simply giving up. So sorting through which tools are compliant to each release is rather cumbersome when dealing with multiple sites. I know that R21 has its own thread on compliant plugins but I think that there would be a better way to manage this by MAXON as they should keep track of which developers are downloading the SDK for each release. Simply send out a survey 3 months after the SDK has been downloaded inviting them to register their plugin at a C4D Marketplace run by MAXON. Keep sending out that email at 1 month intervals until they do register it or until they opt out. Ultimately, developers are not going to want the Marketplace showing their plugins as being compliant to only R15 so they are motivated to register their plugin to the latest version. One of the benefits of Blender is the Blender Marketplace. MAXON should consider something similar. Dave
  9. I hate to say it, but if C4D becomes part of Adobe's Creative Cloud that is actually a better deal than what MAXON is giving us today. Creative Cloud has more software options, cheaper price, true monthly billing plus cloud storage. It is truly a sad day when you start to prefer Adobe over MAXON. What has become of this world? Dave
  10. I thought all MSA's ended on September 1st OR with R21. That is, if your MSA expires after September 1st you will only get R21 and that is it. I never heard that in any situation your MSA would allow you to get R22. But what you are saying is that people with an existing MSA which expired after September 1st will get R21 under that old MSA and by renewing their MSA one last time will get R22 at the $720 price. Wow....if that is true, then for those whose MSA expired before September 1st have just one more reason to feel mistreated by MAXON as they only get MSA pricing for R21 while everyone else gets it for R21 and R22. That just can't be true, but then again nothing surprises me anymore about the new MAXON. EDIT: I just read the well-written and very clear explanation from Cairyn and now understand that there are circumstances for some on the auto-renew plan who have an MSA expiring after 9/1/2019 to renew and get R22. So as I understand it, for mostly everyone (especially those in the US who do not have the auto-renew plan), that ANY MSA expiring after 9/1/2019 would NOT be able to be renewed. But for those on automatic renewal, the contract stipulates that cancellation must occur 3 months before the renewal date. Now this creates a window of opportunity because MAXON would have had to inform auto-renewal MSA participants in June that their auto-renewal is canceled if they wanted to follow the same rules for everyone else with MSA's ending on 9/1/2019. This would have raised questions prior to the roll-out of the subscription policy on R21 which MAXON may have wanted to avoid. So they kept quiet and accepted the fact that people with auto-renewal date BEFORE (9/1/2019 plus 3 months) December 1st would be able to get both R21 and R22 at MSA pricing. I am pretty sure that for everyone else with auto-renewal dates after 12/1/2019 got their cancellation notices on 9/1/2019. Okay...so is there anything that MAXON is doing that makes ALL customers feel like they are being treated fairly? This whole transition is complex, confusing, legally entangled, and therefore poorly communicated because the implications of the transition are not well understood by anyone. However you want to coach it, it still feels the same: It does not put the customer first. Dave
  11. Probably no more work than setting up the whole licensing maintenance system and I view this a critical to subscription adoption rates and therefore critical to MAXON - without it, all previous work to realize this new business model is not a successful. So MAXON better start thinking differently and stop hiding behind accounting rules to do what needs to be done for your own future success. If it is EU laws that hamper you, there are work-a-rounds (create BV entities in other countries and manage the billing from there, etc). Geeze....I thought you people were innovative! You made MoGraph after all!!!! Your competitors do it so why can't you? Plus, you already have worked out the massively complex labyrinth off accounting rules when you offered the $89 per month license plan. So what is the barrier to applying those same accounting practices to the $60/month plan billed annually? Do you mean to tell me that if someone decided to do the $89 monthly plan for 12 consecutive months it would bring MAXON's financial infrastructure crashing down upon you? I don't think so. Not quite following you on the logic of that argument. It is imperative to your success...so you better do it. Dave
  12. What you suggested is the modo model ( all perpetual license upgrades are the same cost regardless of your past version). Not sure how this benefits MAXON but I do agree that it would be a great thing to have. But then again so wouldn't indie licenses, or bringing back the MSA. Unfortunately, while great for us, they are not great for MAXON and I really don't think there will be any movement on this as everything being done today is really about benefiting MAXON. The only thing that will move the needle in this discussion is to propose "win-win" scenarios. I use the term "win-win" because they have to satisfy both MAXON and the user. I recognize that MAXON needs to make money, change their revenue model to make shareholders happy, etc. But what saddens me is that it all just can't be about them to be sustainable. So some things to consider: True monthly billing for subscription licenses. This has already been discussed. Other companies do it, not sure why MAXON cannot do it. No word from MAXON either on this as well. Rent to own model. Convert you subscription license to a perpetual license. Right now, the conversion is only from perpetual to subscription and again for the reasons discussed before in that MAXON wants you to be on subscription models going forward. What would be interesting is the option to convert past subscription licenses to perpetual licenses at a substantially discounted rate. The issue with subscription licenses for most is "I don't like the possibility of losing access to my files when I stop subscribing". So imagine this: You are an R21 subscription license holder. MAXON is now releasing R22 and for extra $XXX, you can get R21 perpetual license at the time R22 is released. The cost would need to be much LESS than the difference between the R21 perpetual and subscription licenses at the time R21 was released because you are not dealing with the current version which is now R22 (which in this example would be $950 - $720 or $230). This is a win-win to me. It removes the user's concern about losing access and therefore makes subscriptions much more acceptable to users (thereby increasing subscription adoption rates which is a huge plus for MAXON). It also has the added benefit of another revenue stream for MAXON over their subscription plan while STILL preserving their current subscription user base. You could also say that this offer IS ONLY available to users who 1) were subscription license holders for R21 AND 2) sign up for an R22 subscription as well (thereby keeping people on the subscription program). If both 1 and 2 were adopted then I would be extremely happy. Imagine now being able to use C4D for $60 a month - PAID MONTHLY - and then, for say an additional $150 a year, convert that past subscription licenses to a perpetual license when the next version is released. MAXON get's both subscription users AND additional revenue. I get to hold onto my perpetual licenses but don't have to fork over $950 every September to do so. True that MAXON could stick to their guns and say "but we want $950 rather than (12 x $60 + $150) $870 dollars for perpetual license upgrade". But then again, you also want a re-occurring revenue stream more than you want perpetual licenses. In fact, your whole perpetual license cost is designed to motivate us towards a subscription plan. Subscriptions and the re-occurring revenue that goes with it is what you want more than anything else. Adopting both 1 and 2 as suggested above motivates me better to jump on subscriptions than a high perpetual license upgrade cost. It still allows me access to my files should I decide to drop out of the subscription, which is a big fear to me and others as well. But when you only have to pay $60 a month (paid monthly) and an additional $150 a year (paid annually) to keep my perpetual license, I am extremely motivated to stick with the subscription plan. If it motivates others as well, please speak up. Now that is true win-win scenario and I would love to hear Mr. McGarvan's thoughts on this proposal. In fact, does this proposal have a significant downside to anyone? Dave
  13. So far, someone from MAXON will gladly chime in to explain some aspect of the subscription plan. They will also chime in to defend the position that Prime MSA holders can get a Studio R21 license via their last MSA purchase for about 1/3 of what Studio users have to pay ($250 vs. $720). Their defense though again gravitates towards subscriptions: "that is why Studio users can get two years of subscriptions for a 20% discount". But what took literally a ton of emails to sort out was that if you should ever take that offer in the future, they will deactivate your perpetual licenses - in essence locking you into subscriptions. They were very shady in divulging that information and it took some robust dialogue and painfully direct questions to get them to finally answer it. Now, where MAXON is COMPLETELY silent is defending why we should accept a 50% increase in renewing their annual perpetual license over what they paid for via the MSA program. Not one word of explanation or spin as to how this is in our best interests. Maybe they can say "well we canceled the MSA program" and that is the price of an upgrade without the MSA program. So we really didn't raise prices, we just cancelled a program. But then defend this: WHY DID YOU CANCEL THE MSA PROGRAM? Well, there is no defense. The MSA program was cancelled because they want people dependent on paying annual subscriptions for the simple reason that a companies "appearance" of value increases with a re-occurring revenue stream. It is a great selling point during quarterly earnings reports to say that subscription revenue growth is increasing and makes up a large portion of their total revenue. So in Nemetsheck's and MAXON's eyes, their thinking is "hey, we will make the annual cost of a subscription the same as the old MSA price so users will eagerly switch over of a subscription model. While it won't increase revenue (this year), changing the source of that revenue to re-occurring revenue is a great message to our shareholders." So again, the benefit is all MAXON and there is no way anyone from MAXON can defend this position on a community forum in any way that users will accept. Shareholders love it, but we don't because it provides us no value -- so why defend it. They tried to put lipstick on this pig by selling it as "3D for the whole world". No. It is "higher stock price for Nemetschek" and don't ever forget that. Again, the only thing they will listen to is a drop in revenue beyond what they forecasted. Right now, we are all exercising our last MSA purchases. The true test will come with what we do with R22. Do we convert to subscription? Do we pay the higher perpetual costs? Do we go somewhere else? That is why R22 will be a critical for both MAXON and for us as well. And don't think for a second that subscription prices will remain the same over time. Trust me, once they have coerced a large portion of their user base to subscriptions, those prices will rise. Maybe not in huge jumps, but they will steadily go up. And now you are really stuck. There are no alternatives but to pay at that point. While I love the fact that we have this great participation from Mr. McGarvan in this discussion, our complaints will make no difference and will generate no discussion from MAXON. Sitting on our wallets is the only voice we have. Dave
  14. Its called Blender 2.8 --- again, not as smooth as C4D but just as capable (even more so in some areas) and very production proven with some good investing from game companies, etc. So it has a strong future and a passionate user community. Plus if you have used Cycles 4D, then you already know how to texture in Blender but if not, there are also some very good free tutorials on pretty much every aspect of the program (Blender Guru is rising to be my favorite instructor). Dave
  15. 850 Euro comes to around $938 USD....which is slightly better than the $999 USD that was the cost of upgrading by one version in the past should you not have an active MSA. Soo.......instead of a 54% price increase from the $650 MSA price it is only a 44% price increase. Not much movement there. Folks, the only way to get price movement is to NOT jump on R22 no matter how awesome it is and you have until right before R23 is announced to sit on your wallet....though I have no idea when that will be. Again, the real test of how successful this whole new pricing plan will be is when R22 is announced as I am sure the majority of R21 licenses were through the final days of the MSA program. MAXON needs to make payroll and needs the revenue from new releases but we don't need to buy the perpetual license as soon as they are released - if at all (don't forget Blender! It is still out there!). Nemetshek may give them a grace period for a downturn in sales during this transition in MAXON's business model so they will be watching R21 subscription performance and R22 perpetual license performance with great interest. But regardless of the grace period for soft sales, no company likes to lose money so if sales are worse than projections then changes will be made. Time is on our side so lets use it. Dave

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