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Autodesk, The New Rental Model & Flame Premium 2014

COW Library : Autodesk 3ds Max : Debra Kaufman : Autodesk, The New Rental Model & Flame Premium 2014
CreativeCOW presents Autodesk, The New Rental Model & Flame Premium 2014 -- Autodesk 3ds Max Editorial


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Autodesk created a buzz with the unveiling of a new strategy to rent the company's latest Design and Creation Suites, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, and the new Autodesk Maya LT. The rental plan -- which enables customers to purchase access to several Autodesk desktop software solutions on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis -- is in addition to the continuation of traditional perpetual licenses. The rental model provides the same benefits enjoyed by customers with perpetual licenses and Autodesk Subscription, which provides product updates, access to some Autodesk 360 cloud services and basic support.

Marc Hamaker
Senior Product Marketing Manager - Creative Finishing at Autodesk
Marc Hamaker
Autodesk Industry Marketing Manager
"The simple answer is that we're doing this in response to what our customers have asked for and what we're seeing in the industry," says Autodesk Industry Marketing Manager Marc Hamaker. "It gives our customers more flexibility with how they license." Hamaker noted the trend of smaller start-ups, which may find it difficult to get started with a perpetual license, as well as larger facilities that scale up for specific projects.

In addition to the media and entertainment industry, Autodesk has introduced the rental model to all its design suites for other industries. New rental plans apply to products including Autodesk AutoCAD Design Suite, Autodesk AutoCAD Inventor LT Suite, Autodesk AutoCAD Revit LT Suite, Autodesk Building Design Suite, Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite, Autodesk Factory Design Suite, Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite, Autodesk Plant Design Suite, Autodesk Product Design Suite, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, and Autodesk Maya LT. The rental plans are available as of September 16, 2013; availability varies by country.

Hamaker stresses, however, that the rental strategy is an addition to Autodesk's on-going sale of perpetual licenses. "We expect a majority of our customers to keep perpetual licenses, because it works well for them," he says. "If you buy a perpetual license, you can purchase a subscription plan, which gives you access to the latest versions and support. With a subscription, you add a relatively low cost to keep the perpetual license current. With a rental license, you're paying on an on-going basis, but with the same benefits: support, latest versions." More information on rental plans is available here.

"The cost of rental varies with product and length of term," Hamaker says. "The longer the commitment, the more savings on a per month basis. You get a break by going for the longer commitment. We've been clear that people understand that if you go for a rental only option, it'll cost more than a perpetual license over time. The magic number [at which rental becomes more expensive] is between two and two-and-a-half years. So we encourage our customers to think of what works for them best. If you want to manage the costs month-to-month, rental might be better but if you're a more established business and know you'll be using it on an on-going basis, perpetual license makes more sense."


Autodesk Rental Infographic
Autodesk rental plans.


In addition to announcing the new rental plan at IBC 2013, Autodesk also unveiled a new release of Flame. Autodesk Flame Premium 2014 integrates visual effects and editorial finishing as well as adds new 3D visual effects creation tools, a GPU that extends across the application to improve interactivity, and enhanced real-time color grading tools. The new Flame achieves some of these goals by combining the capabilities of the Autodesk Flame 2013 20th Anniversary Edition software, Autodesk Smoke Advanced software and Autodesk Lustre software.


Autodesk Flame Premium 2014 -- New 3D Warping Workflow
Autodesk Flame Premium 2014 -- New 3D Warping Workflow


Flame Premium 2014's new workflow -- which links the dynamic Flame desktop, effects and editorial timeline, Batch procedural compositing environment and Action 3D compositing -- was first introduced to Autodesk Subscription customers in the Flame Premium 2013 20th Anniversary edition. In response to Flame user feedback, the new release also includes support for 3D warping in action, enhanced tracking to improve tracking accuracy on challenging elements, and Reactor 2.0, the GPU-driven Batch pipeline, which provides 16-bit floating point precision throughout the application. Reactor 2.0 enables creatives to preview and reorder effects in the timeline during playback and access effects tools such as GMasks and a single layer Action.


Perspective surface in Action
Perspective surface enables four-corner perspective transformations.



Lustre ShotReactor


The new Lustre ShotReactor offers real-time color grading to improve background rendering and image processing speed. Some Autodesk Flame subscription customers have been beta testing the new workflow.

Autodesk's rental model [download PDF] and the new Flame Premium 2014 are both savvy responses to industry trends. Flame Premium 2014 now encompasses many important tasks within a single workflow, resulting in efficiency and cost effectiveness. The new rental model isn't enough to save the VFX industry from a broken business model, but it is a potentially powerful way to give start-ups a chance to compete on a level playing field, with regard to software. It's also a break for more established and/or larger facilities that may only need specific software for the duration of a project. Although perpetual licenses are expected to dominate the marketplace, it will be interesting to see how many companies -- and what kinds of projects -- will rent instead of buying.



The Autodesk release video: Introducing Autodesk software rental plans for Media and Entertainment









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