Every year, the 3ds Max team invites a group of power users from a variety of industries, of diverse company sizes, with varying uses of 3ds Max. This year, we invited thirteen customers working in Visualization, Film, TV and VFX, and Games: Aptitude X, The Boundary, Dbox, Foster and Partners, FuseFX, IM Designs, J Two, Kilograph, Polymachine, Provencher Roy, Scanline VFX, and Ubisoft.
Understanding how people are using 3ds Max
We spent 2.5 days having in-depth conversations about 3ds Max, with the goal of better understanding our customers’ workflows, pain-points, and desired improvements. We had many in-depth discussions, facilitated using “Human-Centered-Design” brainstorming techniques to surface issues that may not be readily apparent. With our customers’ help, we were able to identify the most suitable solutions for their needs.
The attendees were all what we consider a “3ds Max power user” – industry veterans who make their living creating content with 3ds Max. They know the ins and outs of the software, and they’ve got lots of opinions on how we can better improve their workflows.
A cross-industry tool
One of the benefits for the attendees was that they got to see how their workflows were similar, despite being in very different industries. In a few instances, they’d conclude that they all needed the same things, whether it was better UV's or more collaborative workflows, for example.
It was a benefit for our internal team to bring customers in so that everyone can hear firsthand exactly what our customers are struggling with, or what they want to do with new technologies that we're looking at. It also helps us prioritize what needs to be done.
Once we had a list of what needed to be done, we put the deliverables on a timeline and the attendees went through the exercise of ranking which were a bigger priority. There was lots of negotiating, as someone working in design and someone working in VFX sometimes have specific needs; in the end, the group came to a consensus, and we came out of it with a blueprint of what we need to work on.
Customer feedback is vital
Inside the Factory is always a great way for us to really connect with our very diverse customer base and get their feedback on what we’re doing and where we’re headed development-wise. With technology being ever-changing, it also helps us understand how we can help with things that we may not have enough information on yet, allowing us to fine-tune the product roadmap accordingly. Essentially, we want customers to spend less time on tedious, repetitive tasks so they can focus on more creative work.
The 3ds Max team is listening: you can connect with us online through our hub, AREA, or on the Forums. If you have ideas for 3ds Max, you can submit them through the Ideas Forums, or if you’re looking to be on the brink of what’s new in 3ds Max, you can join our Beta program.