Saturday, February 29, 2020

RIP Soulburnscripts for 3dsmax


The Soulburnscripts is a suite of tools for 3dsmax that I initially wrote back in 2002. A little background, I worked from 1999 - 2002 at Blur Studio in Venice California, where I helped write the Blurscripts. Once I left for Pixar in 2002, I could no longer maintain the Blurscripts for obvious legal reasons, so I wrote a whole new set of tools from scratch, and released them publicly that year, dubbed the "Soulburnscripts". I have supported and added to these free tools over the last 18 years, and I am honored that they have been used at a bunch of vfx houses, videogame companies, and by dozens of freelancers on projects too numerous to name.

Well, all good things sadly must come to an end. As many of you have read, Autodesk is going 100% rental only in May 2021, and this means that the Soulburnscripts will be discontinued at that time.

https://cgpress.org/archives/autodesk-to-end-maintenance-plans.html

I am 100% against Rental Only software, if you want to read about my reasons, I've made a separate post here: http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/rental_only_software/rental_only_software.htm that explains in detail all the reasons rental Only software is bad, and why I will not purchase such software.

So since max 2022, which will likely be released Apr 2021, will be the last version of the software I can buy with my maintenance plan, I can no longer continue to develop or maintain the scripts after that time.

So what does that mean for you, the user of the scripts? In April 2021, I will release one last update to the scripts, compatible with 3dsmax 2022. No further update will be released. I will keep the scripts in that form on my website in perpetuity, frozen in time. The good news, scripts don't need to be recompiled, so they should work in future versions of 3dsmax. At least for awhile. It is likely that 3dsmax will eventually change the location of where the scripts need to go. Or change some maxscript calls that will cause the scripts to no longer function. If that's the case, then they are truly dead. If someone who has bought the rental only version of 3dsmax wants to modify the script pack to be compatible with later versions, and wants to distribute it for FREE on their website, be my guest. But my involvement will end April 2021.

Some people have asked why I don't just get myself on the 3dsmax beta so I can continue to get the software for free without having to get the rental only copy. That to me is not what this is about. I am taking a moral stance here. I do not want to participate in a rental only system. Just because I might be able to avoid it doesn't make it ok that other people cannot, I do not want special treatment, I want all customers to be treated fairly.

A number of people have also asked would I consider moving to new software like Blender. If I was still a kid in college, the answer would be yes. But I have a family and full time job, and as such, do not have the spare time to both learn a brand new 3d package to the same level I know 3dsmax, and no time to port over all of that code. This is a fact Autodesk is actually counting on. They know it's tough to relearn everything, and so they use that to persuade you to take the easy route and just buy in to their rental only scheme.

My plan is to use 3dsmax 2022 until I retire 20 years from now. :) Yes, it's possible that 10 years in the future my computer will give out and I will no longer be able to use my copy of max. If that's the case, then yes, I may move over to new software, since I will have no other choice. But that's a big if, and its very far away. I will say that my last copy of Photoshop was CS6, since they also moved over to rental only, and here I am 8 years later still using CS6, the latest version of the software has almost no features I would need to do my artwork. So I am hoping to have a similar experience with 3dsmax.

In closing, I would like to thank each and every one of you who has used this software, sent me bug reports, asked for new features, given me a donation, or just been a part of the 3dsmax community. I started with 3dstudio DOS and joined the community on Compuserve back in 1994-95, and have been a proud member of the 3dstudio community ever since. I have had a chance to work with or meet so many amazing people thanks to this community, from the original people who made the software, to the super users, to the next generation of 3dsmax developers and designers who picked up the mantle. A huge part of who I am today is because of our strong community, and I have been very sad these past few years watching it slowly die off. But change is inevitable, and not all change is good.

I will continue to post artwork and cg educational material (mostly 2d stuff now) for the rest of my days, so I hope you continue to follow along. Below are my various social media contacts. Let's raise a glass to the 3dsmax that we all knew and love! It's been quite a run.

http://twitter.com/ArtOfSoulburn
http://www.facebook.com/ArtOfSoulburn
http://www.instagram.com/artofsoulburn/
http://www.artstation.com/artist/ArtOfSoulburn

- Neil

12 comments:

Unknown said...

Thank you for 20+ years of max improvements Neil, and thank you for taking a stand - you shouldn't be expected to prop up Autodesk in perpetuity, especially when they continually jerk around the user base.

Unknown said...

Your Contribution for the 3D World is invaluable Neil ! You are a generous genius, and Soulburn scripts saved a lot of time providing more quality of life and of work to many artists. Thanks for everything !

Undersky said...

Thanks for your contribution to the community. You were one of my first inspirations (especially during the Brazil r/s days) when starting out with 3D, some 20 years ago, and I've always held you in high esteem. The Soulburn scripts are a pillar in the 3ds Max community and while I'm sad to see them go, I fully understand and support your stance.

Unknown said...

I use your scripts every day. A giant Thank you!

Kir said...

Thank you Neil.

Mr.MAX said...

This is really sad news :(
Thank you very much for all the hardwork you put on this and the other learning material for 3ds max and CGI in general you shared through the years . Soulburn scripts is a crucial part of my daily work for the last decade,so big thanks for that too.
Anyway, I fully understand and support the reason behind this and I wish I could do the same or jump to other software (which I am working on slowly) but as you said Autodesk know how hard the move is and count on that.

Neil Blevins said...

Thanks everyone for understanding and your kind words. I'll still contribute as much I can to the digital art community, it'll just be less 3dsmax focused unfortunately. But thanks again, your messages make my day!

Unknown said...

Thanks mr. Blevins for all the hard work and soul you put into those scripts! Still using then on daily basis. Cheers!

Steve Burke said...

Thanks for all you've given to the community over the years Neil! For whatever it's worth, I completely agree with your decision. I will say that, compared to maxscript, creating sophisticated tools in Houdini is like magic. Still figuring my way around polygonal modeling in Houdini though . . .

Adam Walker said...

Thanks you for the scripts over the years, we have been using them since Blur Scripts was publicly released way back. Autodesk's approach is frustrating and IMHO crazy; In the early days I used 3dsmax in my studio because that's what the college graduates knew, now that has changed to Blender - Autodesk's decision makes it even more obvious that making the studio-wide move to Blender is the smart choice.

Nate said...

I was having a conversation the other day about how good it was back in the 90's when software was upgraded like everyt 3 years. Thanks for the years of providing the scripts I use them all the time.

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