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Why isn't formz more popular?

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40 minutes ago, Gary said:

Agreed about SERIF, if you built it (and build it right), they will come.

It faces an uphill battle, though! So called professional users tend to stick to industry standard software such as those from Adobe, Autodesk and MS (Word).

The introduction of their much maligned subscription models did not result in a significant reduction of their user base either, despite all the doomsayers predicting otherwise.

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On 1/12/2020 at 4:57 AM, Tech said:

Paul was a valuable member of our team as our tech support lead for many years and we miss him professionally and personally. Paul was enthusiastic and always someone who would be the champion of the end user to our team. However, he was never a developer of form•Z. False rumors like the lead programmer is dead simply do not help our situation. form•Z was created by Chis Yessios and David Kropp. Chris has retired but is still a valued advisor. David continues as president and leads the development team (not the rumored sole developer). 

The Joint Study Program still exists and between this program, the form•Z student edition and form•Z free there is a solid install base in schools (but it could always be better). We stopped the Partnerships in learning publication as it became increasingly difficult publish, as a younger generation of faculty became less interested in providing the student feedback that made the publication interesting. In general schools no longer teach software leaving the student to pick their own solution often without much guidance. We give the software to students and faculty for free (in Switzerland as well), yet others charge (some significantly).

We are not sure where these market share numbers come from, but form•Z is used at a lot more than 930 companies, this number is at least an order of magnitude off.

Are we a small team at the moment? Yes. But we challenge you to find another group that is as dedicated and believe in what they do. Do we make mistakes, sure, but we will always try to address the issues as fast as possible. Are we great are marketing? No. Andrew has provided some stunning images and kindly allowed us to use them in promotional material. We need to get better at marketing and ideas are always welcome.  

Thank you for everyone’s feedback, it will only make us better and we believe that the best is yet to come.

 

 

Tech, I appreciate this post. Things seemed a bit quiet for a while and I have been worried. Great to have the honest update. Glad the small team is solid and dedictated. Please focus on getting the user interface spot on, an excellent default set-up that new users can get to work with without fiddling around. I think 8.6 has become a great product and it's a shame the marketing hasn't done it justice in getting more new users on board. I really miss the great tutorials by Matthew Holewinski, he was so inspirational and Paul always so helpful too. I still believe and hope there is a great future ahead with V9 in time. FormZ is too good not to be marketed more effectively, the world is missing out.

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I've noticed there are hardly any press releases about Form Z 9. Only vendors appear to be promoting it and some don't mention v.9's availability. 

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You Tube is probably the primary place people will look to evaluate.

The content has to be good which it is but the age stated is too old 4, 7 and 12 years old. Please leave it there but add new good content. (I clicked the first link searching youtube for FormZ which said FormZ3d)

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Hi All,

I have been thinking about this for a week. I only want to proffer a facet of a possible solution. I think in the current market for 3D tools, your tool has to do something very exciting and if possible be the only tool set that offers that feature. It needs to make something hard very easy. I want to explain what I need formZ to do from now on.

Please look at the following website:  https://oneirosvr.com/

These folks make super hi res VR and game navigable scenes (read executable) using Autodesk products and Unity. The idea is simple, pre-bake the wonderous lighting and appearance of your arch space you can get with VRay onto low res models and use that to construct a real-time experience that appears to be rendered. You must be able to place a game control into the hands of your client and let them wander around in the space. I feel (and I am not the only one) that this is the future of Arch-Viz.

Currently, creating something of the ONEIROS level doing this is a huge series of fiery hoop jumping getting into UNITY see: https://www.ronenbekerman.com/the-making-of-a-virtual-reality-experience-for-archviz-with-unity/

So, I wish for a future in which formZ can simply generate this executable for the client from the formZ files with VRay light bakes and textures saved. That would bring in people, because currently this involves Autodesk products and you have to pay for UNITY. It is very, very expensive and time consuming.

Note: this needs to be made EASY, and look great, not just possible through FBX...(I am not talking about: well... you can already export to FBX... so...) so that we can make real-time content executables EASILY in order to sell designs. This will also encompass and support AR and VR in whatever form these evolve.  I would like to see AutoDesSys take up the tech to backbone this feature and make it home for it. No one has been bold enough in the 3D world to do this whole hog, and only in the last few years game companies are stepping in to be the end part of the chain in this because they have specialized for so long in streamlining huge files for real-time display. (Game companies noticed this need and are selling licenses by selling only the executable maker.)

Currently I have an order for a real-time home theater that you can explore in real-time and turn off walls and ceiling and so forth to see the acoustical treatments. I also have an order long term for a real-time "sound city" a user can explore on their own.

I can't make these only in formZ. At minimum it would need a magic "send my VRay rendered scene the way I have it set up now into UNITY and have it only a click away from exporting the executable" button. I do not think that with VRay already on board and VRay Next coming, that you could be so far away from an AutoDesSys controlled executable that would be an awesome element of the coming real-time arch viz business out there.

This would give users a whole new reason to come to AutoDesSys.

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Sorry but I have to disagree with John Alexander for our own purposes, which is good in a way, it shows how broad a spectrum FormZ covers. I am not that interested in photorealism. I am attracted to FormZ by fast modelling capacity and being able to output manufacturing data from it. Only an average quality realism is required for our purposes. If it is too realistic, it accentuates any little discrepency which would need more faffing around to put right. Speed of modelling, adjustment of sizes and csv output data, all at an affordable price is what sells it to me as a bespoke furniture maker. Maybe FormZ could split into two directions or have a base level and a manufacturing pack and a rendering pack, which it does to some extent, as I don't buy the V-Ray, Lightworks is sufficient.

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Yeah, I disagree too.  It sounds like huge and complex new features are being requested for a new market, from a small development team.  FormZ is already an extremely capable 3D CAD system which is a great fit for many markets.  ADS is just not marketing it properly.

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Agreed. If anything, I would personally prefer to see a simpler rock solid form.Z. I feel that adding more and more complexity is the wrong way to go. Remember "less is more"!

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In my opinion it’s a mix of marketing and the visibility of the company on these forums.

How would a potential user fare visiting the web site? - 10 days or so after the release of v9 (seemingly a major new version given the number) and there is barely a mention of it - where is the marketing, even on their own website? Suppose someone reads a short review in one of the 3d mags and decides to visit the website - it is out of date (and subjective I know, but it looks old fashioned).

Want new users? then why not scream about v9 from the release date on and with a great big ‘download a trial’ button that delivers not only the programme but a few models of varying sophistication and some tutorials about how they were achieved (I know there is the training section of the website, I am saying offer this as a one stop download to get started with evaluation).

Can I, even as a long term user/customer even download a version of v9 to evaluate at this time? Sure, you can find the little trial download button, but the page you end up at looks old and I am unsure if it would deliver v9 (I’m not interested in 8.6, it’s barely different from the version I have).

Again as that long term user, I remember when these forums used to get a response from ADS on what seemed like every thread - this was great and set them apart from a lot of other vendors. Now they seem invisible mostly. I logged into the v9 beta forum and asked a direct question about whether there was a way I could participate with my v8 license and never even got a reply - a reply to someone that wanted to help.

Sorry, but I get the impression they are struggling which I am afraid is not good when being asked to spend what amounts to 1000 dollars on a programme.
 

 

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Right. I also think that FormZ does not necessarily need new functions and features. What I need is an easy to use 3d modeller, which for example is able to solve complex roundings. And I want many import and export filters that work accurately and are robust.

For a fast output of my designs I want a renderer that is easy to set up. V-Ray is on the right track. I would find the integration of Eevee or Cicles Render even better, as well as the possibility to export good line drawings

That's 87% of what FormZ does now and so I don't think it's because FormZ is not so popular.

FormZ finally needs a new fresh communication strategy and a contemporary user interface

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41 minutes ago, danshaw said:

In my opinion it’s a mix of marketing and the visibility of the company on these forums.

How would a potential user fare visiting the web site? - 10 days or so after the release of v9 (seemingly a major new version given the number) and there is barely a mention of it - where is the marketing, even on their own website? Suppose someone reads a short review in one of the 3d mags and decides to visit the website - it is out of date (and subjective I know, but it looks old fashioned).

Want new users? then why not scream about v9 from the release date on and with a great big ‘download a trial’ button that delivers not only the programme but a few models of varying sophistication and some tutorials about how they were achieved (I know there is the training section of the website, I am saying offer this as a one stop download to get started with evaluation).

Can I, even as a long term user/customer even download a version of v9 to evaluate at this time? Sure, you can find the little trial download button, but the page you end up at looks old and I am unsure if it would deliver v9 (I’m not interested in 8.6, it’s barely different from the version I have).

Again as that long term user, I remember when these forums used to get a response from ADS on what seemed like every thread - this was great and set them apart from a lot of other vendors. Now they seem invisible mostly. I logged into the v9 beta forum and asked a direct question about whether there was a way I could participate with my v8 license and never even got a reply - a reply to someone that wanted to help.

Sorry, but I get the impression they are struggling which I am afraid is not good when being asked to spend what amounts to 1000 dollars on a programme.
 

 

I think the slow publicity is due to a lack of confidence that V9 is quite ready yet, and needed a bit more time in Beta, it had been promised for so long, they wanted it out for the new year. I suggest a bit more time, and when AD really is confident that V9 is ready, that will be the time to do it. Maybe an Easter promotion would be well advised if it is properly polished by then. It is important that when the reviews in publications are made, they are good ones.

Edited by Alan Cooper
Added info

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Some years ago, there was talk about making form.Z modular. Perhaps that is something that should be put back on the table. Personally, I like the idea of a rock-solid, stable, crash-free core, call it "form.Z Core" or "form.Z Nucleus" if you like, at a reduced price perhaps, with a number of industry-specific plug-ins, such as architecture, industrial design, and product design, for example.

Also, what are the thoughts on product naming? Pro and Free seem apt, but I am not sure about Jr. To me it brings up negative connotations such as immaturity, which is not conducive to attract the next (younger) generation of users. If the current three-tier offering is to be maintained, how about renaming Jr. to the original "form.Z Bonzai" perhaps. It has a more exotic, almost gamy feel. In fact, do we need three tiers?

Is V9 in general release? My impression is that currently it is only in the hands of those who took up the pre-realease offer that ended a couple of weeks ago. Is this right?

Edited by santa

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Participation is the key, imho. "Tech" was very candid in this thread setting the record straight and sharing some insight. Its never easy to run a small company in today's world and get it all right all the time. I sense a renewed commitment with the release of v9 and the discussion of improving vRay to next. Do we all crave info and insight so we can make decisions about how we use these tools in many different workflows? Yes. We deserve to know as much as ADS can share about the platform.

 If we share out work, contribute on the forum, participate in the beta tests and submit bug and questions to ADS with this community will grow and keep thriving. Bigger is not always better, but quality and playing well with others always brings excellence and richness to life. I'm glad to have a robust community of dedicated users to share with and I'm thankful that formZ is still the best creative environment for scaled, detailed design and modeling work.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. I'm really grateful for all of you.

 

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