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Home ? Feedback ? An open Letter to Muvizu's developers

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02/09/2016 21:50:54

primaveranz
primaveranz
Posts: 524
Hi Pat,

I'm afraid your initial post shows you are just following the Muvizu "Path of Despair" that many of us have been down already. You can probably see some of our signatures carved on the walls in the flicker of your dying candle

From the first arrival full of excitement and wonder, to the supportive messages to those vets who seem to be complaining unreasonably, to the tentative questioning of Muvizu staff about the future, gradual angry realisation of "the Truth", then a last burst of enthusiasm and effort to ignite things again. Then comes the final pleading for "a Sign". Followed by the apparently irreversible slump into apathy.

Its such a perfect tragedy, someone should make a movie about it.... Cool
edited by primaveranz on 02/09/2016
edited by primaveranz on 02/09/2016
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03/09/2016 00:27:35

PatMarrNCMuvizu mogul
PatMarrNC
Posts: 1742
primaveranz wrote:
Hi Pat,

I'm afraid your initial post shows you are just following the Muvizu "Path of Despair" that many of us have been down already. You can probably see some of our signatures carved on the walls in the flicker of your dying candle

From the first arrival full of excitement and wonder, to the supportive messages to those vets who seem to be complaining unreasonably, to the tentative questioning of Muvizu staff about the future, gradual angry realisation of "the Truth", then a last burst of enthusiasm and effort to ignite things again. Then comes the final pleading for "a Sign". Followed by the apparently irreversible slump into apathy.

Its such a perfect tragedy, someone should make a movie about it.... Cool


man, that really WOULD make a great movie! ;-)

But I honestly don't feel any sense of despair... I'm having fun with Muvizu, and I expect that to continue for the foreseeable future.
The original post is more about identifying the elephant in the living room. If Muvizu is OK with not making any money, that's their call, and only they get to make it.

But if they aren't making money because they truly don't understand why nobody buys their expansion packs.. then that can be addressed. It's pretty clear now what we want and what we don't want.

It is still to be determined what happens next... and it is entirely in Muvizu's power to choose.
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03/09/2016 08:33:46

mindiflyth
mindiflyth
Posts: 79
MrDrWho13 wrote:
There are free alternatives to Muvizu now, unlike when it started.


What would those alternatives be? I'm not aware of any 3D animation programs with anything like this level of customization, or ease of use.
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03/09/2016 08:39:18

MrDrWho13Muvizu mogulExperimental user
MrDrWho13
Posts: 2220
mindiflyth wrote:
MrDrWho13 wrote:
There are free alternatives to Muvizu now, unlike when it started.


What would those alternatives be? I'm not aware of any 3D animation programs with anything like this level of customization, or ease of use.

Have a look at source filmmaker. If you can play any first person shooter game then you're already half way there to knowing how to use it. Additional animation can be keyframed in.
I'm sure I had another in mind but I've forgotten what it was.
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03/09/2016 10:37:15

ukBertyMuvizu mogulExperimental user
ukBerty
Posts: 976
I looked at Source Filmmaker very, very hard around 2.5 years ago and it's so far advanced of Muvizu.

However, in the end that's why I decided not to jump ship - it's a bit too advanced. I think if you were an animator then that would be a great choice, but I just thought the learning curve and the sheer amount of action customization would mean that my film would take 20 years to produce rather than 6 !

I don't regret my decision.

I mean this is just staggering...
but where are all the great movies made with SFM ? This is 4 years old and there's virtually nothing. And what there is seems to feature the exact same characters and settings. This must mean something.
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03/09/2016 14:59:52

urbanlamb
urbanlamb
(Account inactive)
Posts: 1796
ukBerty wrote:
. This must mean something.


The system to get things into source are mind boggling the file system is very bad basically its just a game (that game) they glued a filming sort of looking thing on like you would get in any film editor package and a way of recording things (which was already part of the unreal engine).

so yeah *cough* there is something geared towards movie makers that is easy to work with ... and then unreal 4 has released its own film package for making movies/videos so there is no need for source any longer.
edited by urbanlamb on 03/09/2016
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03/09/2016 17:12:42

DreekoMuvizu mogulExperimental user
Dreeko
Posts: 1258
The problem as always if finding the assets and actions for characters. Here's hoping some kind of Muvizu unreal movie maker hybrid can be developed.

Or in other words Muvizu 2!
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03/09/2016 17:16:57

PatMarrNCMuvizu mogul
PatMarrNC
Posts: 1742
but where are all the great movies made with SFM ? This is 4 years old and there's virtually nothing.


I think this is a significant observation. One of my benchmarks for evaluating any software's "ease of use" is to look thru its forum to see what users are posting.

If you see mostly demos and exercises, it tells you that people are having trouble bringing their projects to completion. But if you see lots of good finished projects from a lot of different people (not just from a few experts) that tells you the average forum member is successfully assimilating the skills needed to use the software.

Muvizu passes that test. In fact, a quick youtube search for the keyword MUVIZU will yield more hits than you can watch in a day...

In contrast, most other animation forums are full of 30 second long walk cycle exercises or phoneme mouth projects or blinking eyes, and none of them are even half as good as Muvizu's
edited by PatMarrNC on 03/09/2016
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03/09/2016 17:31:12

PatMarrNCMuvizu mogul
PatMarrNC
Posts: 1742
then there's the problem you run into when you start down the path of hyper realism, as touted by iClone and Poser. It's the graphical equivalent of bands making the decision to play a cover song in their own style, or trying to nail the original recording note for note.

Nobody ever nails the original recording. Playing your own version changes the audience's expectations, and a good custom version is generally received more favorably than an equally good note-for-note replication of the original. Unless it sounds EXACTLY like the original, in every way, people will mock it.

The problem with the iClone approach is that Hollywood has raised audience expectations to the point that anything you produce will fall short of the expectations. Far better (in my opinion) to create stylized content that makes no claim to Hollywood realism.

This is exactly why I'd like to have modifiable characters in Muvizu. Ideally an animator could make stories in Muvizu that are customized enough that it isn't obvious that it was made in Muvizu. At this time, however, the characters are so identifiably MUVIZU that you can't really create your own branded look.

In my opinion this is the most serious roadblock to artists using Muvizu for commercial projects.
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03/09/2016 18:27:55

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 172
I think I'm coming from a slightly different direction here, I recognized Muvizu as a modified game from the start, and like most games it is like a car that is already built. It's a very complex car and to dive under the hood would be a very daunting task. Whenever I get fancy with Muvizu I run into problems, so I use other software, like my video editor, to pick up the slack. With Muvizu it's best to work in tiny chunks of 10-20 seconds or less and to really plan stuff out, especially character movements, which is my particular peeve.

With a bit of experimenting you can put Muvizu characters and props anywhere, in any environment. Although it's cumbersome in use, it gets the job done, without the mind-blowing complexity which is the hallmark of most 3-D programs. I just finished trying to figure out Amazon's Lumberyard to no avail. I've tried iClone and Poser and have given up on them.

I'll continue using Muvizu until something comparable comes along, but I might be in for a long, long, wait. I'd like to make my own 3-D environments for them in the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions they'd be gratefully received.
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03/09/2016 19:32:58

christian_clavet
christian_clavet
Posts: 26
Good point about Muvizu having stylized characters, that's one of it's strength and one of the reason I bought it in the first place. It would be interesting that they act on this and offer more content.

Here is a reference image of what I mean, we could have more types of styles like theses one:

Pixar styled characters:



Anime style:


For this, they would need to contract artists and get someone on dev team to integrate the art. They could even re-use the skeletons of the models already made (heros & vilain could surely work), so the animation that is already done could work also on them. The only work that would need to be done, would be on the expressions (morph? faces with bones?). Who would not be happy to get more types of character styles? If they were releasing more character styles like theses one, I would buy them immediately.

Even with a style character TYPES are also needed:
- Man, women, children, babies (geometry)
- Fat , skinny, muscular, regular (geometry)
- clean, sloppy, etc. (mostly textures)

As of other suggestions:
OCEAN / VEGETATION AND PHYSIC ANIMATION:
- The game engine can already do OCEAN with particles FX of water splashes, but it's not used in Muvizu because its not integrated in the software (game engine support this). Putting a dev to integrate it in the project, and sell this as a addon (object that is a water surface generated by the game engine), would surely generate more revenue.
The same could be done for trees that would be animated by winds. (By the way, the game engine have physic).
We could have a character trigger a ball and the system could animate the ball bouncing in the scene, or trigger a car accident (if physic was integrated with a trigger force element). More iteration and we could define wheels that would turn by themselves when we are moving a car (friction, and torque)

WALK SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS:
- As for the walking, right now. I'm trying to limit myself to using it to a minimum, because it's really not accurate. Directing the character to walk specifically in a position is quite difficult.

Would'nt it be nice if we could use "waypoints" to define exactly where the character would go and the position/rotation he will be? (Waypoints are position/rotation we define in a game so the AI for NPC can refer to it to move characters) This is something that should be in the game engine, but not in Muvizu. We could define between each waypoint if the character is running/walking and this could be made in another addon that lot of people would like to have including me.

CUSTOM CHARACTERS & CUSTOM ANIMATIONS:
- As for adding more customization, if we could have a IMPORT CHARACTER For each type of character (could have a licence for each type of character, that would give us the model in FBX with the full skeleton and rig). A person that would get a model say for example, the FAT MAN, could modify the mesh inside his modeling application and redo the skinning, but don't touch the skeleton so it would re-use the current animations that were done for the character. That would allow people with the proper skills (modeling/rigging and skinning) to do custom characters.

Having these characters assets on the market could surely allow to create new animations too that could be imported later as new CUSTOM animations for theses types of characters.
Having the possibility to creating custom characters for MUVIZU would be great but not for everybody. As this is quite challenging technically (skinning), and require quite good skills in modeling. So not in the reach for anybody, having a way to artist to resell their work on the asset store would be nice.
edited by christian_clavet on 03/09/2016
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03/09/2016 20:11:28

clayster2012Muvizu mogul
clayster2012
Posts: 653
theotherguy wrote:
I think I'm coming from a slightly different direction here, I recognized Muvizu as a modified game from the start, and like most games it is like a car that is already built. It's a very complex car and to dive under the hood would be a very daunting task. Whenever I get fancy with Muvizu I run into problems, so I use other software, like my video editor, to pick up the slack. With Muvizu it's best to work in tiny chunks of 10-20 seconds or less and to really plan stuff out, especially character movements, which is my particular peeve.

With a bit of experimenting you can put Muvizu characters and props anywhere, in any environment. Although it's cumbersome in use, it gets the job done, without the mind-blowing complexity which is the hallmark of most 3-D programs. I just finished trying to figure out Amazon's Lumberyard to no avail. I've tried iClone and Poser and have given up on them.

I'll continue using Muvizu until something comparable comes along, but I might be in for a long, long, wait. I'd like to make my own 3-D environments for them in the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions they'd be gratefully received.


I feel the same way,but I don't want everyone to think that I'm going against to what everyone wants muvizu to have, I want these things to, and yes they would make the money, but think of it this way, To make a character you don't really need a developer, what you need is a modeller, a rigger, a texture artist, an animator and a tester + web dev and marketing. Its a team job to design, create and publish a character. It can take 3 months to make the new asian style characters and 6 months - 1 year to make the full character that is the potato heads, I mean something like an attachment pack with 12 assets could take a month with 2 artist, a tester and web/marketing working on it. Realistically it might take 6 weeks. You could be looking at paying 4 or 5 peoples salary for a month so getting a return on that investment with a 3 dollar content pack just isn't going to happen. If you are talking paying salaries and other costs for 3 months with a number of people and selling at $15 - it just doesn't cover the investment, I say this because I used to work for a company that made software, and I was one of the artist along with three others, there was 4 programmers, a designer, and there was web and marketing, we had to sell the product at a higher price to cover our salaries, Take Buildbox for example, they are asking $2000 for their product, and Unity is selling at $125.00 a month, and other softwares like toon Boom (Harmony) is selling at $140, they do this in order to pay salaries and make a profit, so if muvizu took everyone's ideas and put them in production then you may see an increase in price, look guys I love muvizu just as much as yaw do,and i would like to see the things we ask for happen and I'm sure they have plans on doing more for it, like the Oculus rift pack, yea some of us think it shouldn't be apart of muvizu, but believe or not VR is in High demand and getting ready for the next generation of software's, and yes there are demands for VR videos, and since the Oculus is at a High price, muvizu offers a cheap expansion pack, so far every pack and expansion pack they sell for us to afford and considering some of the lost in profits, this is something we all should think about when we ask a lot from the developers, They will take ideas to consider, just Like I do when someone gives me one, but doesn't mean I'll get to it right away or not even at all, it just depends on what all can be done.


again I'm all for the same things that everyone is asking for, and I'm not taking sides, I'm just stating the facts that should be considered.
edited by clayster2012 on 03/09/2016
edited by clayster2012 on 03/09/2016
edited by clayster2012 on 04/09/2016
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03/09/2016 20:32:17

christian_clavet
christian_clavet
Posts: 26
I agree with you. At some point Muvizu would probably need to create more "versions" of the software. The current "play" version would be a basic paying version, then you could have PRO, and ULTIMATE, something along those line. (Or going with tech addons, like keyframing, etc)

As for the assets price, their prices should be revised. It's not worth it for any artist/team to create a new character for 3$!
edited by christian_clavet on 03/09/2016
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03/09/2016 20:42:05

clayster2012Muvizu mogul
clayster2012
Posts: 653
that's my point, they work hard to do what they do, so we have to consider that the prices they have now they are not really worth the effort, but they do it, I remember what I use to do, it barely put food on the table.
edited by clayster2012 on 03/09/2016
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05/09/2016 14:57:35

MuvizuTeam
MuvizuTeam
Posts: 25
PatMarrNC wrote:
I want to start by saying that I love this software. Whoever conceptualized it and created the amazingly intuitive interface is brilliant! At the current price it is by far the most affordable and usable product of its type on the market. In my opinion, you haven't even scratched the surface of your earning potential. If you focused on making money through sales of add-on products (and if you actually dedicated resources to CREATING useful add-on products) you could arrange deals with all sorts of hardware manufacturers to include Muvizu as bundles with their products. Every video card should come with Muvizu. That would position you for a huge active user base who would all want to buy your accessory packs.

Instead, you dedicate your development resources to create 3D rotation packs and Oculus rift viewer packs that are useless to 99.9% of the people who use your software. That's not good marketing strategy.

I have to wonder why the dev team would spend resources to develop useless stuff when there are features we've been asking for and which we are willing to pay for! It had to cost Digimania a fair amount of money to pay for the man hours involved in the development of the oculus and 360 degree rotation features, neither of which is really useful in the world of video creation. I have to guess its because Muvizu is based on a game engine, and you probably hire developers from the gaming industry, who come to the workplace with ideas and skills that are useful in that environment. But although there is some overlap, they are two different paradigms. Your customers are basically film makers, and until Muvizu starts catering to the specific needs of video production the products you release will continue to be useless to us, and money losers for the company.

Given the low price of the base product, the expansion packs are where you stand to make money. Develop what we want, and we'll buy it. Develop things we can't use, and we won't.

My suggestion (if anyone at Muvizu gives a d@mn about what the users think) is:
1) Devote resources to providing accessories for the new characters. Cool as they are, they remain fairly useless without the ability to change their outfits and appearance.

2) Also a utility character that has the best features of the potato heads (lots of skeletal attachment points) and of the newer characters (ability to turn off the various body parts we don't need) would be useful. We could use such a character to create our own specialty creatures without all the constraints we have when trying to modify the current characters

3) And finally, in the absence of dev team involvement with the forum, users have started experimenting on their own. We now know that it is possible to create quadrapeds by editing the XML files. True, we are prohibited from doing so by the user agreement... but knowing that it is possible changes our expectations for the dev team. You can no longer tell us that it isn't possible to do what we've been asking for.

We want at least one professionally designed quadraped that has enough attachment points that we can morph it into other creatures with a little modelling skill. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd pay whatever you asked for such a character! I think just about everyone would.


In summary: expand your user base with bundling deals, then fill the store with useful accessories, and I predict your revenue will take off like a rocket. Or not. Your call.

--------------------------
edited by PatMarrNC on 01/09/2016

Hi PatMarrNC,


As promised, we wanted to get back to you regarding the Open letter you sent to Muvizu's developers.


As an animated film making application we have to be aware and respond to modern film-making techniques, such as 360 degree videos and Virtual Reality experience videos. The VR market is forecast to be huge and the demand for both 360 video and VR experiences is growing rapidly.


Digimania as a company has been making waves within the educational technology market and these new methods of film-making are seen as emerging skills to teach. Although primarily developed for the educational market we also released these features to our consumer users.


We regularly compile users' feedback and suggestions to form the basis of development schedules. We appreciate the updates may not be as often as many of you would like and are also aware that the frequency of content releases is not as often. We constantly discuss the development options open to us as a business and all decisions made need to work across the whole business covering both the educational and consumer markets.


As clayster2012 points out the creation of assets for CGi is a lengthy and costly process. Professional animation software is extremely pricy with a huge learning curve, but with enough skill and time a user can make high quality animations. It is the aim of Muvizu to bring animation to the consumers at an affordable price. We appreciate that for some advanced users there will be limitations to what Muvizu can offer.
Thanks,
Jo
edited by MuvizuTeam on 05/09/2016
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05/09/2016 17:35:17

PatMarrNCMuvizu mogul
PatMarrNC
Posts: 1742
thanks for taking time to reply, Jo.

I think the most recent new characters are masterfully done... my hat is off to the designer(s) who created them and their outfits. When I compare what a professional designer can come up with compared to the kludgy things we do to create franken-characters out of bits and pieces of modelled body parts... well.. there IS no comparison.

We wouldn't lower ourselves to beg for more if we didn't like the product.

The topic has unleashed a lot of pent-up energies and sentiments, not all of which are shared by everyone in the forum. Given the price, complaining about Muvizu is a bit like complaining about the quality of a birthday gift.

I had hoped my open letter would come across as less of a complaint and more of a request for dialog. It was certainly challenging in its demeanor.... but effective communication benefits from a frank exchange of perspectives.

I support the notion that software companies should have a vision, and that development should support that vision.

I also understand the reality that user requests pile up so quickly and go in so many directions at once that trying to please users often results in disappointing more people than you please.

Am I correct in interpreting this to mean that your focus has shifted away from end users and development now serves education ?

----------------------------------
edited by PatMarrNC on 06/09/2016
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05/09/2016 18:39:17

theotherguy
theotherguy
Posts: 172
Well, muvizu IS a great teaching tool, I've used it myself to show someone how to plan out camera angles and placement. I guess, in essence, that's what it functions best as.

As I've said before, and nobody at Muvizu has disputed this, Muvizu is a done deal. The next step up is a huge one, making and rigging your own animated characters in Maya or 3-D studio or similar, is a daunting undertaking.

We'll just have to see what comes down the pipe next, for sure someone is working on something.
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05/09/2016 23:28:08

bigwallyMuvizu mogulExperimental user
bigwally
Posts: 389
PatMarrNC wrote:
Am I correct in interpreting this to mean that your focus has shifted entirely away from end users and development now serves education exclusively?


I don't think that's what was said.
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06/09/2016 14:49:56

Rocque
Rocque
Posts: 359
It is great that someone responded. I hope that they will keep the dialog going. I wonder if they look at what is being created on this site and the contributions of so many people who add characters and scenes? This is a great community, and I hope they will continue to support the users here, and we will continue to support them.
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06/09/2016 15:21:10

MuvizuTeam
MuvizuTeam
Posts: 25
Rocque wrote:
It is great that someone responded. I hope that they will keep the dialog going. I wonder if they look at what is being created on this site and the contributions of so many people who add characters and scenes? This is a great community, and I hope they will continue to support the users here, and we will continue to support them.


Hi Rocque,

Thanks for your post - we have a team member who looks on the forum and user contributions so we keep up to date with all the videos and activity. We know we need to get better at sharing what you guys are working on though.

Jo
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Home ? Feedback ? An open Letter to Muvizu's developers