By August 6, 2013 Read More →

Autodesk has plenty to talk about away from the Siggraph show floor

New management is guiding the M&E into acting more like the rest of the company.

A consistent topic of conversation on the Siggraph trade show floor was, “So, what do you think of Autodesk?” The open-ended question wasn’t about new products or big initiatives; it was about Autodesk not having a booth. “Poor leadership,” groused one vendor during a private interview. “Sign of the times,” mused another.

Autodesk had its own reasons. For the past year it has noticeably increased the number of virtual events it oper­ates, simultaneously decreasing its pres­ence at trade shows in all of its markets, not just media and entertainment. With chief marketing officer Chris Bradshaw now the official head of M&E, this for­merly rogue division is acting more and more like part of the Autodesk family.

Monster review FBX Review for Win 8

Monster Review: New FBX Review is a free app for Windows 7/8 devices. (Source: Autodesk)

Senior M&E industry manager Rob Hoffman told a gathering of journal­ists and analysts how budget pressures are driving changes in the industry. The public expects mind-boggling special effects, but studios want more for less. On the gaming side, no studio is spend­ing money until things are more settled regarding next-generation consoles. So Autodesk is using the slowdown as a time to standardize its product line and provide additional utility.

Plug-ins for Maya were a constant theme on the Siggraph show floor, and Autodesk was talking up its new Open Data Initiative to help make it easy for users to move data from other products in and out of Maya. “Even Houdini is supporting working with Maya,” says Hoffman. Autodesk knows a thing or two about man­aging proprietary file formats that its customers think are public standards, having been at times both obstinate and welcoming in the CAD world with its DWG file format. In the case of Maya, welcoming seems to be winning out.

There were some bits of news from Autodesk. FBX Review is a free review app available as a Windows 7 desktop program and a Windows 8 app (tab­let or desktop). Similar to its review tools for architecture and manufactur­ing, FBX Review eliminates the need for management to own authoring tools just to view and comment on work in progress. FBX Review also borrows Autodesk technology to support view­ing in OBJ, DXF, and Revit. Other for­mats will be added in the future, Hoff­man said.

Autodesk is moving its support and teaching material for all 2014 M&E products to a Creative Commons li­cense, a usage license that is to copy­right what open source is to software. So far 20,000 pages of text, 70 videos, and 140 downloadable 3D assets have been relieved of copyright restriction and made available for reuse under the Creative Commons principle of authen­ticated sharing. The process of sharing training and support material will con­tinue, Hoffman said, going both back into previous releases and forward as new product materials are released.

The highly anticipated Leap Mo­tion I/O device—the one where you wave your hands and things happen onscreen—shipped last week, and Autodesk is on the bandwagon. If you go to the Leap Motion Airspace store (their version of an app store), a free plug-in for Maya awaits.

Wave your hand: Leap product manager Avinash Dabir reveals Autodesk’s support for the Leap Motion controller at the Siggraph press breakfast. It was a slow news week for Autodesk, which is steering its M&E division in a new direction. (Source: JPR)

Wave your hand: Leap product manager Avinash Dabir reveals Autodesk’s Maya support for the Leap Motion controller at the Siggraph press breakfast. It was a slow news week for Autodesk, which is steering its M&E division in a new direction. (Source: JPR)

 

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Posted in: BIZ, DCC, Featured, Siggraph

About the Author:

Randall S. Newton is Managing Editor of GraphicSpeak. He has been writing about engineering and design technologies for more than 25 years.

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