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Anwar

A way to make formZ more popular (but you won't like it...)

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In terms of AutoDesSys' products what keeps formZ competitive in the rendering arena is their V-Ray plug-in.  Interestingly what makes V-Ray powerful is it's support for NVIDIA - CUDA and RTX, and neither of these technologies is available on the Mac.  PC's are 90% of the market, Macs are 10%.

As long as AutoDesSys continues to support the Mac it means every time they write code they have to write it twice, and test it twice, and ensure cross platform compatibility of the file formats.  So, it stands to reason that formZ could innovate twice as fast if their software engineering effort was cut by 50%.  Considering advanced rendering technologies are only available on Windows it is clearly the platform that must survive.

As I said, you won't like to hear this, but the truth is that if you want formZ to innovate faster then dropping support for the Mac would go a long way to accomplishing this goal.

 

 

 

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Soooo, if they did not have to develop for the Mac, they would have functioning 2d capabilities, components would have been fully fleshed out by now and on and on (ten years). Just keep pandering. What happened to regular webinars? Why aren't the tutorials updated to match the current version of the software? Why can't I download a current version of the pdf for the software? I guess Mac development is to blame for all of this! This is coming from someone how loves this software and wants it to succeed. Pandering is not going to save your favorite software, but it most certainly will aid in its demise. I keep hearing about this Capitalist(business) and Market(consumer) relationship.

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47 minutes ago, Anwar said:

In terms of AutoDesSys' products what keeps formZ competitive in the rendering arena is their V-Ray plug-in.  Interestingly what makes V-Ray powerful is it's support for NVIDIA - CUDA and RTX, and neither of these technologies is available on the Mac.  PC's are 90% of the market, Macs are 10%.

As long as AutoDesSys continues to support the Mac it means every time they write code they have to write it twice, and test it twice, and ensure cross platform compatibility of the file formats.  So, it stands to reason that formZ could innovate twice as fast if their software engineering effort was cut by 50%.  Considering advanced rendering technologies are only available on Windows it is clearly the platform that must survive.

As I said, you won't like to hear this, but the truth is that if you want formZ to innovate faster then dropping support for the Mac would go a long way to accomplishing this goal.

 

 

 

i'm fairly certain formZ is primarily written on the mac (from it's conception!) and then ported (probably not the correct term) to windows.  sooo to improve efficiency between versions, it's the opposite of what you're positing lol 

Edited by snow

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If Mac is dropped I would also drop FormZ.  The LAST thing FormZ should do is pander to an utterly inferior OS.  All the savings from a faster GPU would be wasted dealing with windows.  Especially once the new iMac and MacPro's running M chips are released!

I willing to bet FormZ's users are more Mac based than your 90/10 split.

I can't take seriously everyone whining about the look of the UI who runs Windows.

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I think the reason it isn't popular is a marketing issue.  

The v9 UI definitely needs to become more stable.  It is still a work in progress.  More consistent updates would also help.  Once a year like other software would be great.

However, marketing is more the issue IMHO. 

There are many popular things that aren't really that good, case in point:  SketchUp and since I'm on that train - Microsoft Windows!

I agree with everyone that I don't know why there isn't aggressive marketing, social media, student/university training, youtube tutorials (just short 1-5 minutes each), instagram, a much simpler user gallery on the website, etc.

Maybe once v9 is fully stable?  

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I first came across FormZ when it was making the transition to V7. For me, it was Sketchup for grownups. I've been sticking around (even paying for the family plan( except the last time they went a whole year without a version update)). Twinmotion and all that other stuff is cute, but how about addressing the engine and transmission problems with the car rather than trying to sell me on CarPlay. Foundation comes before drapes not the other way around!

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11 hours ago, Anwar said:

n terms of AutoDesSys' products what keeps formZ competitive in the rendering arena is their V-Ray plug-in.  Interestingly what makes V-Ray powerful is it's support for NVIDIA - CUDA and RTX, and neither of these technologies is available on the Mac.  PC's are 90% of the market, Macs are 10%.

As long as AutoDesSys continues to support the Mac it means every time they write code they have to write it twice, and test it twice, and ensure cross platform compatibility of the file formats.  So, it stands to reason that formZ could innovate twice as fast if their software engineering effort was cut by 50%.  Considering advanced rendering technologies are only available on Windows it is clearly the platform that must survive.

This assumption is simply not true. Over 95% of the form•Z code base is platform independent and we develop and test on all platforms simultaneously (i.e. not “ported”). The platform dependent code is nearly all related to interface. The file translators are over 99% platform independent. Developing for multiple platforms actually makes the code better as the various development and testing tools can identify different areas for improvement in efficiency and stability. 

We have no plans to drop macOS (or Windows).

CUDA and RTX are great technologies for rendering performance, but offer no improvement to the linear double precision nature of modeling operations. We are also disappointed that Nvida is no longer supported on macOS, however the CPU rendering on macOS with V-Ray is very good and handles large models with ease. Performance alone is not the only reason to choose V-Ray as it offers excellent rendering features as well (not all of which are available in RTX rendering).


 

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FormZ's "problem" is that basic modeling is so enjoyable. This is addictive. This is not always the case when proceeding to a more complex project. A variety of small bugs appear here and there.

I use Rhino 7 and Form Z in the concept phase. Form Z is so fast that in a few minutes I can get everything I need for the concept phase! Rhino and Grasshopper are essential for non-destructive modelling. I hope ADS adds a non-destructive Boolean method to the program. It doesn’t have to be perfect and perform all situations. As long as the basic functions work. This will make FormZ more popular.

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I'm PC based now, but my first FormZ dabbling was on a Mac. Way back in '94 ...I remained on Mac until around 2005, then went PC.

Over the years I've worked freelance for long periods... All the studios I've freelanced using FormZ have been Mac based.

So, at least in the 'Design Consultancy' market, you would lose a significant market if you dropped Mac.

Though it may often seem like it, not all industries are PC based.

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Posted (edited)

I happen to have a master's degree in software engineering, and while I admit I don't have specific experience with CAD programming, I have designed and implemented several non trivial software systems in my time.  I just don't understand why anyone should invest any time at all in supporting a platform that does not support the state of the art hardware capabilities for rendering.  At this point, it's not formZ that would give up on the Mac, it's the Mac that gave up on formZ...

When it comes to multi platform development, there is an old saying "jack of all trades, master of none."

Edited by Anwar

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I believe tech support admitted most of the platform dependent code is related to the UI.  If you've been reading the forums lately you can see how much criticism of the UI there is.  As I said, "jack of all trades, master of none."  I do happen to be somewhat knowledgeable about these sort of issues.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Anwar said:

Still don't believe me about Apple giving up on formZ?  Read this:

 

Apple will no longer produce the iMac Pro as the company reportedly works on innovative new tech, like foldable iPhones and virtual reality gear (msn.com)

 

Apple is more concerned about phones and cars than computers.

I think the title of the article is misleading.  If Apple does away with the iMac Pro it isn't "because" of mobile tech, it's likely due to the fact that they are working on a new Mac Pro (possibly two variants), AND redesigning the iMac.  Couple this with the exceptionally powerful Mac Mini and there really isn't room for an iMac Pro in the lineup.  Also, there's a good chance that the specs on the redesigned iMac with Apple's M# processor will benchmark much higher than the iMac Pro anyways.

https://www.macrumors.com/roundup/mac-pro/

https://www.macworld.co.uk/news/new-imac-3696859/

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There are definitely some interesting comments in this thread.  I admire Anwar’s courage to share a suggestion that would likely not be well received by some.  I saw the original post before there were any replies and expected the first comment to be, “Them’s fightin’ werds!”  :-)

I have never seen any PC-only application that was so amazing that I would consider buying a Windows machine to run it.  Trying to use Parallels is not an option, that would degrade my Mac!  :-)

Regarding the cross-platform “jack of all trades, master of none” comment, that concept doesn’t seem to be affecting countless other cross-platform applications that seem to be well designed/developed and very popular, not that popularity should be the goal.

AsOne makes an excellent point about the importance of marketing.

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Microsoft released the Surface Pro X over a year ago - long before the M1.  It's already in its second generation.  Is formZ running on Windows on ARM yet?  No.  But they are sure in a hurry to support M1 Macbooks.  Why is priority given to a platform that doesn't have hardware accelerated rendering?

 

 

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There are a just a few things to consider here.

1. the iMac Pro was really merely a transition machine while they took way to damn long to come out with a Pro Tower.

2. The M1 in its debut looks impressive.  And thus far, we only have the low power mobile chip to give comparisons to.  The M1 beats anything currently in it's class.  Qualcom's SnapDragon, is simply outclassed. (for now)

3. Microsofts ARM implementation up to this point is sub-par compared to intel/AMD offerings on their own side.  Not so for the M1/Intel Comparison.  So much so, that the ARM windows was Quasi-Ported over to the M1 mac to run in translation, and it runs better on an M1 than the Microsofts own SnapDragon derivative.   I do not pretend this will stay this way.  It won't take long for MS to have their WTF moments and get moving again.  They can't afford to have another iPod/Zune or iPhone/windows mobile event, and I bet they know it.   Ultimately, this is a good thing for both sides of the argument.

4. Yes, there is software that I have had to run that was elusively windows, and I am disappointed that Parallels/VMWare no longer (probably temporarily) have a place.  I bet once MS beefs up their ARM hardware to match, the market for it will grow and software will make that transition.

5. As I understand, there is a fair amount of windows software that is not Native to WARM.  Stifling the market for the hardware, thus stifling the market for the software, Recursively.  This is likely to change now.  As much as people do not like apple (often for merit,)  they do change the industry, repeatedly.

6. Microsoft themselves have not committed to the ARM platform, thus giving rise to #5.  It has been more of a hobby if you will.  This too, is likely to change.

7. Microsoft did not really beat Apple to the ARM punch.  The M1 and ostensibly further derivatives are in themselves derivatives from  their phone chips they have been designing for quite some time.  Apple licenses the instruction set, they design the chips on their own.

8. Yes, GPU has lagged historically, pathetically.  However, even on the GPU integrated mobile chip, there is a significant boost.   Though certainly not on par with discrete GPUs of Nvidia or AMD currently.  For that we will just have to wait to see what they do.

9. For apple to push back into the PC market with their own chipset, is a pretty good sign of them showing commitment regardless of their other business models.   I too do think that they let the Pro business slide and slide way too far.  IMHO, they should have jumped ship from Intel a long time ago and embraced AMD or at least been willing to use the best option to fit their end goal (machine to machine) Should I B&M about MS and their foray into Business products?  I mean really?  A word processor, how lame!  Or their AI devision? or Quantum computing, or WebServices/Servers?  Hardware, Mice, keyboards, tablets, hybrids, AR glasses, tables.... yes tables?  That means they have an industrial design team, or at least doles out money to have it done for them.

10. The car is still a rumor.  And doubtful they will be designing building the chassis and other critical "Car" stuff.

11. Hate on apple all you want.  Thats cool that you think that's cool.  Damn, your so cool!  However consider this.  If it weren't for Apple or someone like them, Microsoft would not have needed to advance their products.  And quite frankly, likewise.  If Apple didn't have someone to rise up to, they never would have.   If you haven't figured it out by now, let me in on a little secret.  MS is like a grandpa hoarder.  They have an extremely difficult time letting go of anything legacy.  I sure do wish we could go back to MS Dos.  Ah, the good-ol-days.  You know, before CAD even existed on anything other than a Mainframe. 5.25" floppy drives oooh yea!  Hell, my first computer had a cassette drive.  I have even used a computer professionally that used paper punch tape (I "programmed" embroidery machines) (not quite far back enough to have used punch cards)   I was pretty good at getting around a VAX/VMS.  All legacy stuff, I am really honestly happy to be done with now that I know better.

While I am sure Apple and it's overwhelming willingness to drop legacy concepts is a thorn in ADSs side, as well as other developers.  Apple or MS isn't ADSs problem.

*Marketing, yes, is a strong part of it.  Much of their marketing used to be through Universities and students.  That market of marketing doesn't appear to be viable any longer.  

*Technologies, also a strong part of it.  Web based platforms are getting stronger.  There is a write once deliver anywhere model for you.  Would it be worth their effort too do so?  I do not know.  Personally, I prefer native... but as hardware gets more capable, this may not be an issue in the future (maybe not now, my brain might just be legacy.)

* Open source and free(ish)ware.  Many modelers get their feet wet these days on such "products" and have no need to move past them.  This has taken much of the student market.  In my opinion, ADS should embrace some of the OpenSource Base code to enhance the functionality.  How about an open source Physics engine?  I think Bullet is one.   There is a lot out there that they could, I think, Capitalize on.  Now that Python is in the works, this is all I will say about python in this discussion, there are tons of libraries that can be taken advantage of.

* Consolidation.  Well, just think of Autodesk.  They have so many products (and shelved products they have purchased.)   Modo has changed hands at least twice now and into a conglomerate.

* Base philosophy.   Things are changing.  ADS is small enough to lift its head and see this. Though difficult. This is to their advantage.  But it is up to them to do so.  And Up to us to prod them to do so.  Constructively, of course.

*** User Base.  Yes, I mean us!  We are a problem for ADS.  Why, because we are also aging.  We have less time to play and experiment and give word of mouth and build things just for the cool factor of it.  The youth, that is what they do, and as they push forward, they also push forward their toolset.  I am sure there are some younger folk here than I.  Probably some real young ones too, say in their 30's or 40's.  But these are going to be career people too. Not spending their free time pushing the envelope and showing off....   Showing off!!!! AKA word of mouth marketing.

* Predicting demise... Oh that helps.  Here, let's create the impressions a company is unhealthy so nobody wants to buy in.  Real responsible.  It is like a politician telling America what to think by telling America what he thinks America thinks..  (Apologies to any anAmericans out there, but this is something our politicians do and it is effective over our citizenry of both parties.  You may recognize the strategy in your homeland as well)

Picking one thing and pointing to it as "the" problem is quite frankly Myopic.  And I say this not to defend Apple.  It is just a simplistic and myopic mindset.  Nobody will solve real problems with this form of thinking.  This is meant as a constructive criticism, but take it however you like.  You have the right to be offended.

If we want ADS and fZ to survive... Help them help you!  Their last beta was open.Wide open.  Test, give feedback, not bitchfests  (though looking back, I am quite guilty of that too.)  Often the bug reports aren't specific but overwhelmingly non-specific.  Especially about the UI.  And regardless, they have to make decisions.  One group of people will want something one way and another will hate it...  Deal with it!  Or, better yet.  Devise a solution at least in concept... don't just tell them something sucks.  detail it.  And only hope that it fits in with their intentions... don't expect it.  I have suggested many things over the 27ish years of being a user... Many have been included, most have not.  I deal.   Which is why I love Py*** oops, so close!

Quit posting bug reports on the forum!!  They have no way to track them long term.  The forum just isn't built for it.

Let's quit being the fudy duddies we have become and show our passions like we used to.  Quit bitching like old men on a street bench.  Remember the days when we had self driven contests? (thanks Dan M! those were good times)    Let's quit thinking we are of responsibility mean while pointing the finger anywhere and everywhere else.

 

Don't get me wrong, ADS has work to do.  In some areas, a lot!  I formally make myself available to ADS to offer my input, not demands.  Should they have use for it.

¢£

Hah!  I doubt anybody will read all of that.  Can't blame anybody for that but me.  Though about editing it down, but WTH.

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Chris’ post is really good.  For me the best parts are the ones with the asterisks, I’ll comment on two of them.

Regarding the aging user base and how we have less time to play and experiment - that is so true in my own life.  Like maybe 15 years ago I remember doing three whacked out designs in my own time (two residences and a downtown nightclub,) they were the coolest designs I’ve done and all three made nice additions to my portfolio.  I’d love to do that sort of thing again but haven’t been able to fit it into my schedule.  I read about YouTube tutorials on the forum and think, “Man, I’d love to do that…” but that is quickly followed by, “but I just don’t have the time with everything else going on.”  I guess that’s an example of life getting in the way.

Regarding predicting demise, that is definitely not helpful.  One thing critics need to be aware of is their motives - to help or to harm.  snow put it well in a post in the thread “Why form•z is not popular any more:“, “Criticism is fine, but constructive criticism is better.”  Even then maybe critics should consider reserving highly critical comments to a private message sent directly to ADS.

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Posted (edited)

I have the greatest respect for AutoDesSys and formZ.  I want it to succeed.  But they are not a juggernaut of the industry like Autodesk and I don't see how having to maintain software on more than one platform is helping the pace of innovation.  As for Apple, well all I have to say is go to YouTube and watch some Louis Rossmann videos.

 

 

Edited by Anwar

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Posted (edited)

FormZ 9 runs as smooth as butter on my 2019 iMac.  With all the Shaded Full graphics options turned on (shadows, multi sampling, AO, antialiasing, etc) I have no issues navigating the model in real time.  It renders fast as well for my needs.  If I needed more speed to increase render times I could buy a Mac Pro.  There are a lot of options there.  Is it as fast as the top end AMD PC spec?  No.  But Macs get the job done and probably quite well for a majority of FormZ users I would imagine.  I also don't have to waste time dealing with Windows.  We will probably see huge speed increases with the M chips.  The low end models in laptops are already faster than most every Intel chip in single speed computing and they have excellent multicore speed for being low end mobile chips.  I bet the new iMacs and eventual Mac Pro will be incredibly fast.  There might always be a faster PC build out there, but I bet that is only an issue for a small percentage of FormZ users.  I agree that there are frustrating things about being on the Mac platform, hardware customization being one of them.  But the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, at least for me they do.  Integration between software/hardware, fluid transfer between phone/tablet/desktop, the best OS with the least amount of malware (by far), and from my experience hardly ever OS system crashes or even issues, configuration and setup is a breeze, and not that I care but the machines just look better.  Apple is still a very viable business ecosystem, especially for small business which I'm sure are the majority of FormZ users.  And FormZ runs on both platforms, so you can configure a top of the line PC if needed.  I doubt erasing Mac will at all benefit Autodessys in any way, nor would abandoning it help. In fact it would likely be very harmful as a lot of users are Mac based I would imagine.

 

I agree with Chris that the best way to help is with very specific bug and feature request reports.  That and using the product to produce great work that can be shown to others.  

Edited by AsOne

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Anwar,

I don't think you have any intent of harming ADS nor did I mean to infer that.  I just think it is short sighted to pick a single aspect  and point your finger to it as "THE" culprit.  I do not even deny that it takes energy from ADS.  Naturally it does.

Without looking it up, I believe Apples PC market share hovers somewhere around 11%.   What would be interesting to know, and I doubt we will get the opportunity, is how this ratio compares to the fZ users.   If it is higher (especially significantly higher) than 11%, then I would say you are probably wrong.   If it is lower, then your argument may have merit.   If it is right about the same, then it is a judgment call that only ADS can make (well, as are the other conditions.)

Full disclosure, I am close to being immersed in the apple ecosystem.  Not because I feel trapped in it, but because they make it a worthwhile place to be.  If Microsoft or anybody else manages to truly bust out and go superior to Apple, I will probably go.  I have no reason not to.   In hopes that ADS would follow as well.

Full Full disclosure, I worked for the fruit stand for almost 4 years.  From my opinion, this gave me a bit of a unique perspective of their faults, at least some of them.  Again, not choosing AMD as an option for processors years ago is one.  And yet, choosing AMD for graphics, but eschewing Nvidia doesn't make sense.

To clarify something from above.   The A4 was Apples first Processor and was released in March of 2010.  So, in simplistic terms, they have a 9 year jump on MS.   Additionally, the ARM processor that MS uses is a Qualcom Snapdragon derivative that MS had Qualcom build with additional specs.  The M1 being a full on descendent of the A4 Fully designed by apple (again, they license the instruction set not the silicon that implements the instructions)   The story at the time was apple paid for TSMCs (the foundry that produces the chips) upgrades to build them (the A series) so they could get what they needed.  MS ostensibly merely a customer of Qualcom.

To be generous, in my opinion, your breakdown is naive.  These situations just do not compare, nor do they need to.   As mentioned above, MS will fight back, and I suspect with gusto.   

¢£

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