I love to render in 3D and started, as many, with Bryce then added Poser for content for my Bryce scenes. A couple or three years ago Poser came out with a new version that (1)had a very restrictive license (2)instituted a user-unfriendly copy protection scheme and (3)was buggy as heck! The community of users felt taken for granted and were furious. The company, Curious Labs, removed the added restrictions in the license and removed the copy protection and put out a patch. Still buggy. Another patch. Still buggy.
There was a danger the company, which wasn't in too good financial straights anyway, would fold.
There is also a company that makes and brokers content for Poser users. Figures and scenes and props and clothes. Wonderful stuff. There are several 'stores' that broker Poser content, but DAZ3D shines because of high-quality standards and brilliant marketing. They realized if Poser died, they'd be out of business too.
So they decided to create their own Poser-like program from the ground up that could utilize Poser content. So if Poser died, they'd still be okay. They announced their intentions and also let it be known that they planned that the base program would be free. Bring more users into the community and they'd, naturally, purchase content, and most likely purchase it from DAZ3D. (Believe me it's easy to get hooked on content AND DAZ3D.)
The Poser community was all excited about it!
The program, named DAZ Studio, came out of beta last September and it's wonderful! and free! And it does almost everything Poser does with a more user friendly interface and content management.
In the interrum, Poser's parent company went into bankruptcy and the Poser part was purchased by (Oh, man, I'm going blank here) a company in Japan and they came out with the next version of Poser which is excellent with a lot of new features. It's the program the previous version should have been. Poser users are ecstatic.
And then, what do you know, but human nature took it's course and along comes rivalry between the users of DAZ Studio and Poser 6. My program's got more features! My program works better!
Poser's company purchased a 3D modeling program (Shade) and some other stuff and offer bundles for Poser 6 purchasers. One online content store does not even test products in Studio though DAZ3D makes sure the content it sells works with everything (more customers that way, of course). Poser's company has a storefront called Content Paradise where partner stores (Renderosity and RDNA) sell products. They also instituted a club called (blank again---I think it's a mental block) which mimics DAZ3D's Platinum Club. I don't know the exact details of Passport (I remembered!) But in Platinum Club one pays a certain amount annually, or monthly, and products put in the club are available to members at 1.99 and discounts on other stuff. GREAT for folks like me.
Competition! I love it. Even the grousing and wars.
But when you get right down to it, DAZ3D are marketing geniuses. AND they have a certain advantage over Poser in that DAZ3D also creates content--it doesn't just broker it--while Poser's company only makes the software and runs a storefront for merchants. But Poser also has Shade, as I said.
Meanwhile, DAZ3D has released several plugins for DAZ Studio that add features. At DAZ famous reasonable prices and introductory sales.
This week DAZ3D made a big announcement. They just purchased another 3D software company: Eovia. Eovia makes Carrara and an extremely well-regarded fairly new 3D Modeling program called Hexagon.
All right! I don't know what DAZ plans for a 3rd renderer (Carrara) but we (heh) have our own 3D modeling program now to go along with the content and renderers (DAZ Studio and Bryce). And we were all sure that DAZ would give their customers a nice discount on the price.
So I hop over to DAZ to see what's new and everything is slow as molasses. Just like the day they announced V1.0 of DAZ Studio and everyone on the 'net was downloading at once. (An announcement at Slashdot didn't help matters.) And what do I find?
DAZ put Hexagon in the Platinum Club!!!!!!!!!
DAZ promises they take care of their customers. AND THEY DO. And we're all gonna be 3D Modelers now! :) I love it!
What does this have to do with Microsoft? Well, Shade don't cost 1.99. :)
------------- Just a note to add that after May 31st, the price of Hexagon will go back to its normal retail price of US$269. I missed that leetle detail when I first got the news. I think I may be excused because I was in shock. :)