[Sidefx-houdini-list] Autodesk bought Softimage
ds_list at dsg.ro
Sat Oct 25 13:27:45 EDT 2008
Andy Nicholas wrote:
> just saying that it's a mistake to knock ICE based on the fact that it
> looks similar to VOPs, and therefore can't offer anything new. It
> it has.
I disagree with this. For me it's inevitable to knock ICE based on the
fact that it looks similar to VOPs.
I liked XSI quite a lot before and I always loved their implementations
of various stuff, their attention to UI, the shading/lighting part and
the very nice overall speed of the package. I began to dislike it in
time because of various reasons (mainly the lack of *real* R&D and
innovation) but the "breaking point" was when ICE appeared. Of course it
has some improvements over VOPs in workflow (after all, this is
something that Softimage does very well), of course it's faster (they
have a newer architecture, and, more important, they could concetrate
only on implementation as the whole design and functionality was
invented elsewhere, 10 years before). But in the end ICE tells me what I
began to sense some years ago, specifically that Softimage is simply
unable to do any worthy R&D and innovation by themselves. I'm not
interested in a package whose most important R&D effort for years is a
copy of what other package had since 1999, but less flexible overall.
Did they improve some areas? Of course, this is totally expected. It
would have been hilarious and even more shameful if they haven't had any
contribution at all in the end. Then I look at Houdini along the years
and I see proceduralism, CHOPs, VEX & VOPs, Digital Assets, DOPs etc.
These are real innovations, new approaches on problems, never available
before in commercial products.
People bash Maya a lot, because of various reasons and because of
Autodesk. I don't like Maya at all but if I try to be objective, those
guys are doing something. When I look at Nucleus, I see original, worthy
R & D put to work. Maybe as a Houdini user I don't like their solutions
to problems, but I see they *invented* their solution. They are doing
something unavailable before, and they have an edge in some areas. They
give their clients a *real* competitive advantage.
I don't see this at all in ICE. I see a copy of SESI's ideas, with
additional work on UI and speed (as I said, at least that was to be
expected). Of course, is nice to have this *in XSI*, instead of nothing
but in the end it's not something *innovative*, that wasn't available
By "innovation" and "real competitive advantage" I mean "you can do with
this product something that couldn't have been done before with any
other product". SESI does this all the time. Alias/Autodesk does it
sometimes. Softimage did "you can do what could already be done, but
faster, or easier, or more 'artist-friendly' (and sometimes less
flexible)". It's a *very* good thing to have that, but if this is *all*
that you do then something is not right.
To put it in another way, what do you think would have happened if SESI
had the marketing budget and the financial backing of Softimage when
they invented VEX & VOPs, many years ago (at that time XSI wasn't even a
More information about the Sidefx-houdini-list