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Re: Six foot under

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Luis Serra santosRe: Six foot under
by on Jan 13, 2010 at 5:37:45 pm


Thank you for your reply.
Smoke for the Mac is one of the best news i heard from Autodesk, for a long time. And the price seems a good price, to the point of view of Autodesk and the client. And i'm talking about the price, because the only (big) mistake Autodesk done with C* was the drop out to 1000 eur, still in version 2, when it cost 5000 eur when it was released. You can imagine what i heard from many people that bought C* for 5000 eur.. I remember being a beta-tester for Combustion 3 and posting a thread in the C* Beta Forum, about the price drop out, wondering if that was a good move, for Autodesk. Someone replied that it was strange a customer complaining about the drop-out of the price of a product. What i told then, was that if Combustion didn't sell the way that was intended, would Autodesk have the resources to continue to invest in its development? Time, unfortunately, gave me reason.

I know Marc, that you were not in that time, in the position you have now in Autodesk. Probably you didn't had nothing to do with C*. But i can imagine what happened. Combustion 2 was the top notch application in the desktop by that time. It had a new particle system, a wonderfull new text engine (still is!), a schematic view, among other things. It was a child of the state-of-art IFFFS's systems, incorporating some of their engines and a similar workflow. It was The Composition package in the desktop! It was sexy! I remember going to IBC and see Combustion live demos, with equal prime-time than Max, or the systems. AE was far away. I remember talking to a guy from Adobe in his booth at IBC and he telling me that AE was a good ad-on to C*! So, with all this mouth-to-mouth speaking wonders about C*, i can imagine some MBA exec of Autodesk, in his suit, with is education at Harvard, or Yale, but with no feeling to this industry, must have thought, that if C* would be at the same price range of AE, Autodesk could win the desktop video compositing / mograph market. It would become the new Photoshop for video! I strongly believe that this was the plan.

What he miss is that the peolpe who used C*, already worked in other video professional systems. They were not graphic designers that evolved from Photoshop to motion. The graphic designers, that represent the new generation in video, would not adapt to the Combustion's UI with the same ease that they do with AE's UI. And that was the big mistake with Combustion. You could have drop the price a little, but not that much. Suddenly, Combustion was not so sexier.. And didn't sell so much more. Autodesk lost the interest and pull the plug slowly..

I believe in simple answers to complex to be situations. I don't quite agree that the system's guys were against C* before the price drop out. The original idea of Combustion was born at Discreet Logic inside the systems team. With the new price, why release technology to a cheap product that doesn't sell as expected and it's indeed quite good and have a user base that is similar in terms of cultural aproach, to the system's user base and could in fact damage the sells of the higher systems? I understand that.

But as you told Marc, sometimes there are bad decisions, but things must move forward. I do bad decisions everyday. And i try to learn with them. What i don't understand is the lack of action when Autodesk discovered the mistake in lowering the price of C*, in version 3. What i would have done was very simple. I would release a Combustion v4 with a lot of new features, or a new product and raise the price again. I know the answer seems simple, almost childest, but that's the way i think.

Autodesk already had a user base for C* and among all the SW houses had / have the technology and the power to do that. I understand that sometimes the demands of the customers are not quite aligned with the corporate direction. It's business after all. But not speaking to, or hear their clients is a bad sign. And Autodesk have done that. The answers you had in this thread, are cold, to say the least. But they are fair. They express the frustration of waiting and waiting for a new release of Combustion, full of features that it should have for years. We all believed that a so well done product, couldn't die. Many were willing to pay more for a new release, because Combustion always got the things done!

With your answer, you are admiting the end of Combustion and i will move on. Nuke seems a good platform in terms of price and technology but I'm too excited to see the Smoke in Mac. It will be very difficult to leave behind the wonderfull technology of Autodesk, that finaly arrives in the desktop! But why only now? These are the things that i don't understand. I don't think it was because of the platform. It must be again the corporate vision.

Again Marc, thank you for your reply to this thread. To me it means that Autodesk is listening. And that is very important to the customers and partners.

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