Thursday, March 25, 2021

RIP Soulburnscripts for 3dsmax: The Time Has Come

The day has finally come, and here is the final version of the SoulburnScripts, compatible with Max 2022. Get them here:

With this version of 3dsmax, maintenance is now gone, and the only way to get 3dsmax is rental only, a software scheme that I disagree with, see this article for a deeper explanation why:

Therefor, Max 2022 will be my last copy of max. I'll be using it for the foreseeable future, and may move to something else such as blender one day if my computer breaks down and I can no longer authorize this last copy of max on a new one. The Soulburnscripts will likely continue to be usable in future copies of max, at least until Autodesk changes something in the software that breaks compatibility. I'll be keeping them on my website frozen in time, but they will receive no more updates from myself.

This new reality has given me a chance to reflect on the scripts, and the max community in general. I first joined the 3dsdos community on Compuserve back in the mid 90s, the forum was filled with so many helpful people that gave me advice, critiques, and support as I learned the software. I remember fondly the day that there was mention of some custom plugins written by Blur Studios that would be given away for free, and Tim Miller, the head of Blur, offering me a sneak peak, as he was interested in potentially hiring me once I finished my schooling. Those plugins were written by Steve Blackmon and Scott Kirvan, makers of the Brazil Rendering System, and life long friends to this day.

I graduated and moved to California to work at Blur summer of 1999, and along with the plugins developed by Steve and Scott, I started writing maxscripts to help automate my process (and a bit later Brandon Davis joined in the fun). Following in the footsteps of blurbeta, we released these scripts for free on the net to help out other members of the community, and the BlurScripts were born!

3 years later, when I left Blur and moved to San Francisco to work at Pixar, I couldn't continue to work on the blurscripts, so I took the opportunity to take the scripts I used the most and rewrite them from scratch, adding features and producing much cleaner code, and the SoulburnScripts were first released May 8th 2005, once again free to the public. The first pack contained 11 scripts, and eventually grew to a total of 86. I was never a particularly good coder, but I prided myself on writing scripts that would save people valuable time, time best spent on the more artistic aspect of cg, instead of doing the same boring tasks over and over again. Along the way, I've received so many emails from people who've used the scripts to speed up their workflow, people asking for new features, even the odd donation for the time I spent writing and maintaining the scripts, and to each and every one of you who interacted with me in any way over the years I give you my eternal thanks.

Change is inevitable. I know it's standard for old people to say "Things used to be better in the old days", but the truth is more nuanced. The max community has had many ups and downs, times when I felt the software was moving forward, and times when the software was going backwards. There were probably more good times towards the beginning, but at that time the computer graphics industry was new and anything was possible, so that excitement of course would lead to more good days. Just 5 years ago I feel max had another resurgence with the developers being given a chance to push forward, and really getting us some awesome tools. But the rental only thing that has been mandated from corporate has really put a dark cloud over the project, at least in my opinion. I know many of the current developers, and they are good people, talented people, creative people, and people who want to do what's right for the community. Creatives are supposed to be kept in check by the business side of things, but sometimes the business side gets too strong and instead of being a force of balance, they become an impediment. Wish it wasn't the case, but I've seen it time and again.

Being a part of the 3dsmax community has been one of my greatest joys, I've made so many amazing friends and had fantastic times at Siggraph and Autodesk University. It's all about the people. And it has been my privilege to offer all of you, the users of my scripts, what help I could to make your workflow a little cleaner and faster for the last 20 years.

I'll still be around of course, I'll be posting new artwork on artstation: I'll be posting new art lessons on composition theory and other art topics on my youtube:, and I have a book I hope to release later this year of scifi megastructures: So hopefully you'll still follow along. But it's finally time to say goodbye to my old friend. 

Rest In Peace Soulburnscripts!

This is Neil Blevins (Soulburn), signing off.


philllllllll said...

Thank you Neil! in my 10-ish years with 3ds your resources have been a constant input to my process. Thank you for sharing your talent and energy with us! Sincerely....some guy on the internet.

eagleeyez said...

It is sad that Autodesk doesn't sponsor people like or provide them with unlimited access to their software products!

Rock said...

I use your tools in my every day workflow. There is no replacing them. I'm sure I'm not the only one who whose work - at least in a small part - depends on YOUR work. If this is really the last version, I am with a heavy heart. And I thank you for all the work you've done and all the time you've saved me!

Nafees Imtiaz said...

Thanks for all your contribution. You saved us a lot of time. Love and respect for you.

Pittskrieg said...

Thanks so much for supporting these tools for so long! I've probably used them in most every project I've been on. I agree with the state of Max and rental software in general and in this case will probably start moving my workflow over to blender in the next few months. Thanks again!

Ron said...

Thank you Neil, Your script has been God sent, have used it from my first week in max (that's about 12 years ago. Blessings to you and your family.
I appreciate your stance.

Herb said...

A bit late to the party, but thanks a lot, Neil, for all your invaluable work for the 3ds Max community through the years. 3ds max 2022 will be my last max version as well. Perhaps with the exception of renting the freelancer version on a per project base now and then, but it's very rare that projects require the latest max version in my case.

@eagleeyez I think it's more about the principle than getting anything for free.

GMarinov said...

Neil, your scripts are a massive help to all 3ds Max uses. Really appreciate all the hardwork you put into this!!! Thank you!

Mihail said...

just move to blender man
we are waiting for you
its your new home )
its full yours!

Unknown said...

I Neil!thank you so much for all these years of scripts, they've saved me days of work and I couldn't thank you enough for that. Also, your tools made me explore maxscript further and have always been a source of inspiration to create new tools and as things moved further along those lines I decided that I wanted to learn more about programming and now I'm starting college again, at 33. One really never knows how far a good action will move someones life. If I ever meet you, I owe you a beer.
Good luck in the rest of your non 3ds max journey!

Vjeko said...

I've been using Soulburn scripts for 15+ years... from time to time I come to your website to update my scripts...but I never noticed the discontinued part at the top of your page... I found out about that just now, and it's old news already... I'll be using those scripts for as long as I can, because they are timeless. Thank you Neil for your time and effort, your scripts will always live in my system!


Unknown said...

I found Soulburn scripts in 2009 while developing a game with some friends.
Your work here and elsewhere is without par, and has made my 3ds journey a pleasure!
Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thanks a lot for all your efforts on those Scripts it was always awesome to had those as a lot of stuff isnt even working without your scripts in 3dsmax. i hAve been using those for about 10 years i think. and yeah Autodesk always makes those super dumb moves. its a mess that the comunity have to deal with their greed all the time. wish you all the best for the future.

Shawn said...

i love these plugins so much

Unknown said...

I and many of my collegues have been using your scripts for a long time and in my opinion these were the best, most pragmatic and solid scripts around. I fully understand your considerations. THANKS THANKS THANKS. Deep deep respect for al your hours spent for the community.

Frens Damen - Cradle Media