Maxon's Paul Babb Talks New Releases, Choosing The Right Prices & More

Chief Marketing Officer at Maxon Paul Babb has discussed the most important changes Maxon will introduce to its tools this Fall and talked about the company's communication with its users.

Introduction

My name is Paul Babb, Chief Marketing Officer and often the face of Maxon at industry events. I joined Maxon Computer in 1998, to help develop the company’s US presence and find ways to better serve the North and South American markets. With nearly 30 years of experience in the 3D animation, visual effects, and motion graphics industry a major part of my role has involved helping to build an ever-growing community of users and constantly finding new ways to enhance the artist experience.

Maxon's Important Changes This Fall

For our fall release, we’ve updated nearly every product found in Maxon One – there’s a lot to be excited about! We’re fortunate to have a very engaged community of users who help us help them by telling us exactly what tools could make their workflow more frictionless. We’re continually working on our products to find new ways to creatively empower our users. 

The latest release of Cinema 4D R25 provides significant new functionality that creates an intuitive experience for digital artists. In addition to the major UI update, new features in R25 include Spline Import options, which allow users to easily use Illustrator, PDF, and SVG vector artwork in their 3D scenes. The addition of Capsules will allow anyone to tap into the power and flexibility of Cinema 4D's Scene Node system, with plug-in-like features directly in the Classic Object Manager. 

The Trapcode 17 update realizes the long-requested ability to work with the Particular particles and Form’s immortal particles in the same 3D space by bringing Form behaviors to Particular. The release also sees upgrades to the Flocking simulation with the addition of On Predator/Prey Contact and Team designations as well as improvements to system organizational capabilities in the Designer. To round it out, Form will also be sporting a number of quality-of-life updates. All Trapcode tools will support Adobe's multi-frame rendering.
In VFX Suite 2, we’ve introduced Bang, a fully procedural 3D muzzle flash generator with 3D positioning, allowing for the quick and easy addition of muzzle flashes to your footage. Bang gives full creative control over the look of muzzle flashes, including shape, color, decay and duration, representing several improvements from the previous public version which enhances both the visual quality and user experience. For example, gun wireframe overlays have been added for accurate positioning and scale while heat blur adds a wave of heat distortion after every shot. In addition, the interface has been optimized, making it easier than ever to lay down flashes. VFX Suite 2 also upgrades the Primatte Keyer to be compatible with Apple Metal GPU acceleration for optimal performance on supported systems.

We’ve also taken measures to ensure that Magic Bullet 15 is compatible and optimized for Apple Silicon-powered Macs; along with Universe 5, it also now has support for Multi-Frame Rendering (MFR) in Adobe After Effects. In addition, Cosmo, Mojo, Film, Renoiser now take advantage of Apple’s Metal Graphics API for optimal GPU performance on Mac. 

And finally, the public beta of Redshift RT is a new rendering mode that provides near real-time rendering performance while using the same shaders, lights, and efficiently co-existing with the standard Redshift render engine in the same DCC and scene. Perfect for artists to use during the development process of a project or even final render if the project does not need the same amount of fidelity as standard Redshift.

Cinema 4D

As with any update we do, listening to our community and understanding what they want to see in this next stage of development always plays a key role. With this update, we wanted to improve workflow and retain the ease of use aspect of the software, which is what has made Cinema 4D stand out from anything else on the market for the last two decades.

Redshift

The Redshift development cycle is very different from our other products. There are a lot of renderers out there, and hardware/OS/host application improvements/requirements are constantly evolving. Therefore, Redshift is on a much more agile development cycle. Whereas you might see Cinema 4D or Red Giant updates every 6-12 months or so, our Redshift users will experience updates on a regular basis to serve immediate needs.

Communicating with Users

The facilitation and accomplishments of our community of artists is the most important aspect of our success. Their feedback is essential. Yes, we heartily welcome input from our community, and regularly analyze what is working and not for current users. However, there will always be an aspect of the product roadmap or the “bigger picture” so that we can continue to improve and build on the foundations of our products for the future and adequately respond to customer requests and needs. 

Educational Aspects

Community plays such an important role in our company, especially within the educational aspects, and we love to celebrate what our users have achieved in a meaningful way. We have a top-notch training team who keenly understand the struggles users face when getting started.  Paired with our Cineversity program of free online tutorials, we’re constantly working to make getting started with 3D design accessible to anyone who has an interest. We’re always on the lookout for experienced Cinema 4D users to become certified trainers and further expand access to the tools we offer while continuing to grow that sense of community people love about Maxon. 

Conclusion

I’ve been in the industry a long time. I believe our products are more accessible to a wider audience than ever in the history of the industry. When I first started, 3D products prices were in the tens of thousands. As the technology evolved and became more approachable to a wider market, the pricing became more accessible. A little over three years ago, Cinema 4D was still over $3000 for the initial perpetual purchase and annual maintenance was around $700. Most of our customers took advantage of the annual maintenance; meaning they were already on a sort of annual subscription cycle – paying once a year to maintain their software on the latest version. So when we started offering subscriptions, the pricing was set to be comparable to the annual maintenance we already had in place. We figured that was the easiest way to keep our current and loyal customers happy. And for new users, we just eliminated the initial $3K buy-in. The only real unhappiness we have experienced is those users who inherently dislike the concept of subscription. They are a very small but vocal minority. 

All our product’s functionality and performance are fully dependent upon third-party hardware and software solutions. In order to maintain compatibility with the latest hardware, drivers and host application updates our development teams are constantly updating, optimizing, and ensuring stability. In order to provide the best customer experience, Maxon believes all customers should be running on the latest version. 

Paul Babb, Chief Marketing Officer at Maxon

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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Comments 3

  • Anonymous user

    And it's just lovely how they basically say that everyone who didn't complain absolutely loves or agrees with the change. Who cares about those that didn't complain but just accepted it because they have no choice and complaining is pointless anyway? It's not like making their users happy matters for Maxon as long as they pay. Which they'll have to no matter what Maxon does, if they are tied to their products.


    And yes, it is an actual change. This mouthpiece is trying to make people believe that with subscription the only difference is that you don't pay the 3000 dollar "entry fee". Just out of the goodness of their heart. You see, now they lose 3000 dollars for every user. That's what this lying scumbag is trying to make it sound like.

    Oh, and let's not forget that they still offer you the possibility of getting a perpetual license for C4D (though a fairly hidden option) and they said they will offer it as long as there is enough demand. So, how about those? No removing the 3000 dollar fee? The vocal minority is creating enough demand? Maybe they're not so small after all, you lying scumbag?

    0

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·
  • Hesseling Jasper

    The subscription model felt like a stab in the back for loyal customers, this was the case with C4D and also with Adobe. I had a license for years and had MSA (Maxon Service Agreement) but the subscription model forced me out of the possibility to keep using C4D. I've switched to Blender but I still own an old version of C4D which I use from time to time. In the end cold hard profit is more important then the end users.

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    Hesseling Jasper

    ·a month ago·
  • Anonymous user

    What a load of crap. Yeah, they were totally on an annual subscription cycle, except they could stop at anytime and still be able to use the software.
    And of course those who don't like this are a small minority. I've never ever seen a spokesperson for any entity that faced some backlash say anything else than the backlash is from a small minority.  You see, somehow they always make the best choices and only the small minority idiots can't see that.

    0

    Anonymous user

    ·a month ago·

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