One of the things that I liked as a teenager were all those TV series where kids not much older than I was had a computer, a garage full of equipment and many friends. These guys spent a lot of time designing, planning and accomplishing things that they can laugh at now, but that at the time were science fiction. All that was fascinating to me, and I can’t deny that I do what I do today because of that experience. These films gave me ideas and now I work in an industry that is overwhelmingly defined by multimedia and 3D graphics.
This year at Siggraph, many revolutionary ideas were presented in the Art Gallery and Emerging Technology areas that came from other people who have not lost this strong enthusiasm around making and producing.
One of the things I like about Autodesk, especially with respect to the software 3ds Max, is the development of a community which, thanks to web solutions, allows the beta testers, enthusiasts and professionals an opportunity to have their say. This virtual “garage” allows anyone to be a leader in the future development of award-winning software that last year completed 20 years.
The Beta Tester Community
A number of people today are working to test the new features of Autodesk products as part of the beta tester community. The beta test system for Autodesk (http://beta.autodesk.com) has grown significantly in recent years and I must say that the system has mainly grown thanks to the community.
To access the system, a tester needs to register and, if the entry is approved, must accept and sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) because the information processed is of vital importance for the future of the software and discusses topics that often are for internal use of development. Just by the nature of this agreement, I can’t write much of what is discussed in this forum, but I can only say it is really impressive for me to see, know and talk to people around the world who have the same passion and dedication for the software. The beta test is a good opportunity for comparison and discussion and is useful for the end user, as it’s often where ideas become reality. Belonging to this circle is interesting, can help the tester’s career and can provide the necessary skills for a competitive advantage.
The FeedBack (Users’ Voice) Community for Autodesk 3ds Max
Relative to the beta, which is accessible only for approval, another good way to put your ideas forward and provide feedback or innovation hints is the community feedback site now hosted on the portal of Autodesk Media & Entertainment called Area (http://area.autodesk.com). This feedback system can be reached at (http://3dsmaxfeedback.autodesk.com).
This system allows you to propose innovations and ideas, to comment on the ideas of others and to evaluate the ideas and vote on ideas you like better than others. It’s very simple, but gathering ideas and suggestions are important for software development and is a real help for personal growth, for the community and for your software.
The Autodesk LABS Community
Autodesk Labs (http://labs.autodesk.com) is the community for technological development and production of innovative systems from Autodesk. This community is truly revolutionary and you can find a lot of new and future applications for Autodesk 3ds Max, such as the system of intelligent people called “Geppetto” (Pinocchio’s dad – Carlo Collodi, 1826 / 1890). I also like the choice of the Italian name. 🙂
These are just some examples of what Autodesk now offers the user community, even for those who are not direct customers of Autodesk. Recently, Autodesk strengthened the system for students (http://students.autodesk.com) and provides its products freely to help young people understand and use the latest software and officially certify their skills. Also thanks to Autodesk University, there is a great opportunity to meet fans, friends and professionals who use Autodesk software (http://au.autodesk.com).
Maybe you will not have time to follow these communities, but the contribution of all of us is key to the future of the software. It requires dedication, teamwork, knowledge of work flow, pipeline and interoperability, but you have to give something if you expect to receive something.
I like to think that today many teams of young people are at work creating their own entertainment product, developing their ideas and, hopefully in the near future, will be the new guru of 3D, the creators of the 3D web of tomorrow or maybe a new Pixar. I like to imagine that someone in a garage or bedroom is working on the software with the idea of wanting to do the best. I hope this happens as in the past, because the world is full of people with talent and I hope that by both companies being more open to assess projects and ideas and by providing greater openness to these guys that they will provide new opportunities. We must invest in the future; we must invest in young people and also in their ideas.
We need to return to the spirit of the ‘80s and give due importance to the idea of excellence. The spirit is to have the freedom to create, imagine and to dream. It’s hard to find people who are proficient with the software, are able to create, who have marketing knowledge and strong business skills. But today more than ever, it is necessary to look at the opportunities and not stop just before the problems. We do not need super geniuses, but ordinary people with ideas, dedication and extraordinary abilities.