I was pleased to read an announcement in the latest newsletter from Realflow that they have not only reduced the cost of the learning edition license but also expanded it to include a node and renderkit. This makes it much easier for freelancers and small studios (like me) to purchase a license and get to grips with software that they may not use very often but would come in handy from time to time.
This seems to be a growing trend alongside the move to subscription models by the likes of Autodesk and Adobe (although AD has been doing this for a while now and the subscription is great value). Houdini also offer an apprentice edition for free (with a non-watermarked version for $99) and I’m sure the standard bundle of Krakatoa has dropped in price recently. Is this a representation of the hard times the VFX industry (and the rest of us) finds itself in? Is it a measure to counteract piracy? Or is it an answer to the way people are finding themselves working (less large studios, more freelancers)?
Whatever the reason, this must be the way forward. As a freelancer the ability to have your main software (Max and Creative Cloud) on subs with all of the benefits it brings is great. Having the other software that you ‘don’t really use but would like to’ available (legitimately!) either for free or for a small fee means that you can easily pick it up and then pay for a full commercial version only when you need it (Realflow has an On Demand license which is charged weekly for example).
I wonder who will be next?