Is Autodesk trying to commit Suicide?

I actually like the various subscription models for assets on web sites and for software. And it’s not because I don’t know anything different - I’m 44 years old and I’ve been a technology-lover all my life. The only (minor) complaint I have now is that I had to spend a couple of hours designing a nice Excel spreadsheet for myself to keep track of stuff, and half an hour a month maintaining it.

Overall I feel like I spend much much less on software than I did years ago, and if I don’t need something for a month or three, the companies usually aren’t so draconian that they’re going to really push you against a wall. And, if they do, it’s 50 bucks at most. I respect the fact that not everyone can afford that depending on their circumstances and their nation’s economy, but if you’re using this software professionally and you’re reasonably talented with it you’re probably making enough to cover your costs while still making a good profit.

Hell, one time not too many years ago I fell on hard times and wanted to cancel my Adobe CC subscription for a few months. I went to their web site, explained to them that I was having trouble, and explained that I knew the contract didn’t allow for what I wanted to do but asked them to give me a break anyway. Not only did they release me from my subscription, they also threw in a free month when I resubscribed a few months later.

My first 3D software experience was 3DS Max. I liked it and might have stayed with it if there wasn’t a $190 per month price tag. Blender 2.79 and I didn’t get along, but I love 2.8. If Autodesk wanted to sell me 3DS Max for $50 a month and if somewhere I was working required me to use 3DS Max, I’d have no problem at all with signing back up with them. It doesn’t mean that I love Blender any less, it’s just a hoop and jumping through that hoop would be worthwhile to me.

Sure as hell beats the $3000 up-front price tag for 3D software some years ago, or the $1200 price tag for the pricier Adobe Suites - it’s not like you got free updates with those.

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You could be right. I don’t know. I just have my personal experiences (and observations) over the last 10 years that say something completely different than your experience I imagine.

That’s cool. And it is certainly an interesting topic none the less. :slight_smile:

Houdini have some great tools and it’s the best vfx app out there but hell i am so tire of having to switch between 12 different apps to get a job done!

There is only a few contenders but not a single one is capable of doing everything in a decent way.

Yet i am again fighting with a pipeline where a lot of precious man hours are lost just fixing export, scales and vertex count issue etc.

I know thing are not going to get better anytime soon so better get use to this insane pipeline.

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… until you realize that you have to keep paying for the rest of your life just to have continued access to your own work.


Earlier on, ‘freeware’ used to be just an abbreviation of ‘free software’.

A quote from your Wikipedia link: “In the 1980s and 1990s, the term freeware was often applied to software released without source code.[3][10]

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That is the sense in which the term is still being used.

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Ok, but @Richard_Culver wrote “a free version of their software”. That’s what it is.

I’m afraid we’ll have to take over this conversation to address the very important difference between ‘Freeware’, ‘free software’ and ‘free version of software’, or @ldo won’t be able to sleep tonight. :grin:

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As a graphic designer I have 15-year-old InDesign and Photoshop source files. I keep them for giggles and for nostalgia’s sake.

I have the feeling that, at least in my case, if I need to edit a source file more than, say, a decade old and if for some reason I don’t have access to the source file editor, I should probably consider becoming an accountant or a construction worker.

Your point isn’t wrong, but it isn’t a significant or practical negative for me.


To be clear. No one here disagrees with the power of using a software such as Blender. It intimidates the market.

In the last 5-10 years there has been - what I see as the best possible response to this by commercial apps - all kinds of licensing schemes that basically mean, you can use the software without paying, with varying degrees of restrictions. The end result is in trying to gain what is called “brand loyalty”, even if they don’t admit it. That is what it is. You get people dependent on, using, liking and learning their software without paying any money. It is the other side of the investment into software - learning and use over time - that a customer invests in. This is the biggest investment. Not the money. Even with FOSS. You have to invest time. And this is expensive time that takes years.


Other software companies have done either a) free or b) some kind of cheap indie version. With varying degrees of restrictions.

It is just an easy way to get people in and using the app without any financial investment. That is all it is.

And I was saying I predict you will see more of this from Autodesk once they realize that Maya LT, Subscription and free educational versions are not enough.

I predict this will happen in the next 5 years as Blender grows.

I am not saying it is as good of a licensing scheme or will be better than what you can get from Blender. But it will be an attempt to fight back against a growing use of a free Blender that has more and more professional tools.

Just mark this post right here and see if I am not right.


“Non-commercial/personal/educational” use is a popular one. Then you see people posting their work to commercial sites like YouTube and DeviantArt. Are these sites allowed to make money off your work, while you are not?

Autodesk could be gaining back former user’s if they decide to have a friendly indie pricing like Houdini but knowing their mentality i really doubt they will go for it.

Honestly i cannot see what they would lose since the big studios would still make them rich like kings and the license pricing would be according to revenue of user just like Substance did it at the beginning.

Put Max and Maya at let’s say 299$ yearly subscription for indie and they would gain people and stop the current migration of many user’s to blender.

My sincere thought is that autodesk will prefer the status quo over change.

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100% agree.
IMHO ADSK still thinks that most blender users are potential Max/Maya users. They don’t see that, thanks to the affordeability of other software, there is a growing number of personal pipelines growing wich do not rely on max/maya. ADSK practically locked themself out of this growing market.

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To this I say, wait and watch. Personalities have a way of changing under duress. And they have been feeling it. Trust me on this. It will only get worse.

If you ever want to get a sense of this. Just sit down with a calculator. And try and add up all of the licenses they are not selling right now.

It would not be hard to come at a figure someplace between 10-20 million USD per year.

I think yearly entertainment software for them is something like 300-500 million.

I don’t know. Just think about it a bit. People change when it comes to money. Attitudes can and will change when they are forced to.

And there will come a financial breaking point when they can see, they will have to shift policy.

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Excellent post full of truth and like they say only fool never changed their mind but i think the determining factor will be the first medium size or even big size studio that start switching to Blender.

I could easily see a big studio making a hit game only with a custom Blender pipeline while keeping their autodesk one since blender vanilla is missing too many essential tools and this would sound the alarm bell very loud in autodesk headquarters.

It’s happened already.

Yep already saw about this but a a triple AAA game that sell a lot would get their attention even more since there are a lot more game studios then movie or series studio out there.

This is my own personal opinion after 17 years working in various game studios!

Having argued a bit in favor of “big subscription” software, as a relative newbie I’m having trouble seeing why small and even medium sized companies haven’t abandoned paid software en masse. I understand that, in general, the larger you are, the less agile you are, but unless I’m missing entirely the vantage point of greater experience, why not use Blender to make all the games and movies around? Unless you’re Disney or something and you’ve customized the hell out of Autodesk stuff that you’re probably using for free just because Autodesk likes to slap your logo on their web site.

I mean… you want to create a mesh? Blam. Blender’s got your modeling stuff right here. You want pretty textures? Blender can do that. It’s got nodes and everything. You want animation? Blender’s got lots of animation tools. You want specialized fancy stuff like grass and trees and hair and physics and stuff? If there’s not a really inexpensive add-ons for it, have one of your Python guys modify something someone else did. If you like add-ons to make your workload lighter, you can buy basically every add-on in the Blender Market for less than 1 or 2 months of Max or Maya.

I dunno. What do other 3D packages have that Blender doesn’t have at this point? I’m trying to be silly with my phrasing, but it’s an actual question I have, looking at things as someone with less than a years’ experience.

Edit: Coming from this as a graphic designer, the only reason that my company uses Adobe is because other companies that send us files use Adobe and the cheaper stuff (Affinity) isn’t quite there yet as far as importing-exporting. If we were just going by what we did, which is throwing links and images and text on a page and touching up things with paint brushes and stuff, there’s absolutely no reason we couldn’t use something much cheaper.

I would say there are a number of smaller outfits doing exactly that. They’re just not as visible as the big players.

On the other hand, there are lots more not doing this, simply because they can’t find the expertise to help them with it, so to be safe, they stick to the well-known, albeit expensive stuff.

This kind of thing spreads by word of mouth. Sometimes it’s difficult to make yourself heard above the din of big companies with million-dollar PR budgets telling the world how wonderful they are, but you can still get noticed sometimes.

@markholley why? Because those paid apps innovate with technology aimed towards movies. Subsurface scattering and face mocap for Gollum for example and Massive for crowd battles in the Lord of the Rings.

We tend to hate Autodesk or paid apps but we kept forgetting the movies animators achieved using XSI, Maya and 3dsmax, or the plethora of technology that helped them.

I totally agree on one side, on the other hand though - Weta’s facial system, crowd sim, hair system, renderer, shading pipeline, flesh sim, etc. are all internal tools. ILM’s pipeline is built around Zeno, most other big players have a very big set of own tools they’re relying on for most things.

I think it’s mostly about the talent pool. I remember 15 years ago when I was working at a medium sized gaming studio the executives asked the team of a 150 people what they’d think of switching to Blender. The response wasn’t pretty. Might be a different picture soon, I’d hope.