Near the end of 2012, Autodesk unveiled a new licensing option for their 3ds Max 2013 and Maya 2013 software packages, which had a lot of people talking. And rightly so. In what Autodesk presents as a special 'project license,' it provides artists and other creative professionals in film, VFX, and game development full access to the software for an incredible price of just $199 (USD).
Of course, this special licensing option is for a fixed term of 90 days, hence why it is being called a 'project license.' However, for many creative professionals this is a very welcome option to have available, especially with the present state of the economy.
I myself can certainly see the value in this if you should need the software for a short term project, or if you are doing some of your work from the comforts of your own home. I don't care who you are, but many of us do take work home.
Now, Autodesk does provide a free 30-day trial of both 3ds Max and Maya, but perhaps you'd like to fully evaluate the software for your needs while considering a purchase of a full license. That additional 60 days can help alot, especially if you are learning the software.
There is, of course, one thing that should be considered. While this fixed-term option is a really great deal, you cannot opt to extend or reapply for a second 90-day term once it expires, or upgrade from the 90-day term to purchase the software with the original fee going towards the full purchase.
However, for many this is still a very valuable option to consider, but it is currently only available until March 31, 2013. So, now is the time to check out the new project license available for Maya and 3ds Max while you can still take advantage of it. Also, important to note is that the 90 day period starts upon product activation, so you would want to make sure you are ready to start working under the terms beforehand.
It might be of interest to hear from a couple of artists who are currently lauding Autodesk's new fixed-term project licensing. Meet two creative professionals, Chris Bonura and Mike Terpstra, both of whom have plenty of feature film work to their credit.
Chris Bonura grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey where he lived, breathed and ate muscle cars and monsters. Upon high school graduation he moved to California in pursuit of working in films. In 2006 he attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University, where he studied illustration and 3D modeling. Since that short time ago he now focuses on vehicle and hard surface design in the film industry. He has worked on such films as Thor, The Avengers, Battle Ship and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Chris states, “I use Maya almost everyday at work. A handful of times throughout the year I would love to have Maya at home but can’t justify buying the whole package to only use a few times. The trial license is invaluable to have at your disposal. To artists with similar situations this is a great solution!”
Mike Terpstra was raised in upstate New York where he spent countless hours playing Origin System's Ultima series and experimenting with Logo and BASIC programming languages on an Apple clone. He originally studied Computer Science but when he realized his passion lay in creating art, he drove cross-country in search of a creative job that leveraged his technical abilities.
For 8 years, Mike worked as a Technical, FX and Cinematic artist in the Games industry before segueing into feature film and fulfilling a childhood dream: working at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch on the final Star Wars film, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. He has since contributed to over 20 feature films as a Technical Director, Compositor and Matte Painter on films including: Hellboy, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, Looper and most recently, Robert Zemeckis' Flight.
Mike continues to work as a freelance artist in the Bay Area as a compositor and matte painter, while also providing his motion graphics design and animation skills to such clients as Netflix, Salesforce.com and Snapfish.
My Maya experience and why a monthly licensing scheme this summer would've been awesome:
“I am a professional digital artist with over 10 years experience in the film industry and an additional 8 years in the game industry, where I began my career. I count myself fortunate to have been able to find consistent longer-term employment over the past 17 years in the Bay Area, where I have chosen to raise my family. This summer, VFX work in the bay dried up for me, so I began soliciting for freelance work in games, broadcast, business-to-business and web.
One particular job required me to quickly conceptualize a few 3D environments for a client. I wanted to use Maya, but could not justify buying a full license, so I started looking at learning an alternate software package. But because the turnaround on the the project was so quick, learning a new package was out of the question. The client was local, so I opted to work on-site at their studio with their Maya license.
If I had been able to license Maya for the 2 months I was going to be using it, I would have gained over 2 hours per day of work time, saved money in commuting costs, and would have been able to work in a more controlled environment.
As a professional artist who offers a wide variety of services, I have to have access to a quality 3D package for my toolbox. Having a reasonably priced monthly licensing model for Maya is invaluable to me in this new economy.”
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