Autodesk 3ds Max
Posted by Ken Pimentel, 10 December 2012 8:49 pm
This has been a crazy year for me, perhaps for you too. After I left on my sabbatical in June 2012, I came back to a much changed work environment and soon after that, Autodesk announced a restructuring that included layoffs. Unfortunately, many of those working for me were impacted, though I wasn’t. However, I did decide at that point to move to the new “Industry Strategy and Marketing” team and leave the product team that had been my home for the last 12 years. It’s taken more months to figure out exactly what my new role is, so I didn’t really want to blog until things got more solid.
I won't bore you with the details, but it involved taking a 40' sailing catamarran from South Carolina up to North of Boston and back to Milford, CT. It involved roughly 1,400nm in 6 weeks, a few gusty storms, minor damage, no injuries, lot's of amazing memories. Here's a peek at what we experienced:
While I won’t be involved from now on, the great news is that Frank Delise is doing a repeat performance. In case you didn’t know, Frank was lead designer for 3ds Max way back in 2000 and saw the creation of 3ds Max 4 and 5 before leaving Autodesk to work on various projects (see www.frankdelise.com for more background). It’s comforting to me to know that the product is in such good hands in these complex times.
I feel my biggest achievement was showing how we could be better at communicating with users. That involved being active on the forums and responding to comments. I also led the adoption of Uservoice so that you can give us feedback and vote on it. This has since been recognized as a valuable tool inside M&E and now all our products use it too. I created the XBR initiative and figured out how to talk to you about the future without violating the internal rules that constrain us more generally about these things. I also drove various user surveys to understand what you all thought to give us better mechanisms for prioritizing our efforts. I then became a principle blogger at M&E by sharing all this information (or as much as I could). Much of this will survive my leaving, and Frank will figure out his own methods of managing the product going forwards.
It’s up to Frank to decide how he wants to share it with you. I remain excited by what I see in the progress videos that I’m exposed to. I’ve always enjoyed teasing you about what we had cooking in the lab, or doing the sneak peeks before release. I hope Frank has some time to do that too, but be patient with him as he’s got many responsibilities.
My new job now revolves around figuring out how media and entertainment companies can better leverage the rest of Autodesk products (things like AutoCAD and Revit for example). I also hope to lead an effort to develop next-generation storytelling for engineers, designers and those working with CAD data. I also believe that we’re on the early stage of disruption around the capture of physical spaces. I think this will transform many processes and that should lead to interesting times. I hope to play a role in it.
I believe I made a difference, and that is always my foundational goal. I truly appreciated the level of passion many of you have for 3ds Max and I tried to show you that we have passion for the product too. It wasn’t always easy being on the forums, but once you taught me how to behave, you welcomed me into the community. Some of you even complained enough on the forums to find yourself in our beta program and now you’re part of the solution to improving 3ds Max. I think I’ve made many more friends than enemies on the forums and I’ll miss the forums until I figure out how to talk to the new community I’m focused on. So please, make a difference with your use of 3ds Max or in your lives. It’s what passion is good for!
I’ve got a question for you, was the “XBR leak” really a leak? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you haven’t fully immersed yourself in all things 3ds Max.
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