3-D or not 3-D, that is the question…

One of the applications I like to use has just come out with a major upgrade and for someone without an unlimited supply of cash it is a very tempting offer. The application is Eovia’s Carrara (formerly a MetaCreations tool) and it is a very good 3-D animation app. The new features are great with the new and/or improved rendering options, the volumetrics, the environmental settings. I want it. If I trusted them at all anymore I would jump at the chance to upgrade but I have a little problem with Eovia…

I made them aware of two problems with Carrara 2.1 almost a year ago 1) that the particle system did not work as advertised in that the particles did not ‘shade’ properly when the birth, life, and death settings were chosen and 2) the fire primitive will not render in place unless an object is behind it and they never saw fit to address them with a patch. I didn’t just make them aware of it once, I sent them bug reports on four separate occasions until they eventually told me that many other people had made them aware of the issue, please stop sending us bug reports smile . I also made them aware of a problem with the rendering area in their VectorStyle 1.0 (an add-on plug-in that renders your animation in flash) and again, they have never bothered to address the issue. Apparently problems with their software do not concern them. Why should it? A new version that they can charge for will be along in a year or so, why on earth would they care about putting out fixes for their core users?

Are these huge issues that make the software unusable? Of course not, they even gave me some (imperfect) workarounds for the fire primitive issue. But imagine that you buy a new car and it will not go in reverse but they tell you the work around to this is to always park facing the street and also imagine that the air conditioner does not work unless you wedge a matchbook in the control panel to hold the knob in place. When it comes time to buy a new car will you be considering that particular car? Considering the service you received will you be considering that particular company?

I imagine that the Carrara 3 probably works as advertised and they fixed the particle system and the fire primitive, unfortunately I will never know for sure because I will not upgrade due to the inattention they gave to the problems I have had with their products. It’s not like I was complaining that the background color of the windows clashed with my living room, these are real problems with the tool that some of us would like to use. The inclusion of a particle system was one small consideration in my purchase…too bad it never worked right.

Anyhow, I just needed to bitch about this because they sent me an e-mail asking me to upgrade today and I thought the top of my head was going to blow off. Did they think I was looking for a new way to flush my money down the toilet?


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