- Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:07 am
There are at least two equally legitimate views about the value of software - without one of those views being "correct" and the other view being "wrong" or "illegitimate."
Mr. Hopf accurately describes one view - software, such as Maxwell Render, at any given point in time, is only a means to an end and has no value or worth other than as a means to that specified end. And Mr. Hopf as provided a good service to the Maxwell community by systematically and methodically identifying bugs and unnecessary inconveniences in Maxwell Render. By identifying and comprehensively documenting these issues, Mr. Hopf makes it easier for developers to prioritize improvements and respond to user needs.
Mr. "Nasok" describes another, equally legitimate view - that Maxwell is a constantly developing software of good worth because it adds value to model-building by making pictures that are remarkably good - sometimes wonderful. Pictures of such high quality that they enhance the model; that is, contribute to the overall worth of the entire model-building/production enterprise. In this view, because Maxwell Render is a software, never perfect, but always under development, ... users should participate in a "community" formed around the software. In this community of users, people should help each other to learn how they might develop better renders, help each other with contributed materials, scripts and various add-ons, perhaps. Try to help the developers where that is possible, and be a little patient with the imperfections or issues with the software itself. Also, we members of the community should "celebrate" and encourage the work of the Maxwell developers, the efforts of each other in making great pictures of our work, and, in fact, "celebrate" the existence of the software itself, because it allows us to do things we otherwise could not do.
Mr. Hopf probably disagrees with the second attitude toward the software - based on the idea that there are competing software products that may be able to do the same job as Maxwell Render, or that might be able to do a better job in some instances. Those "competing" software products may pose fewer issues for users because they have fewer flaws of various kinds. In a purely utilitarian view, the idea of "celebrating" the existance of any piece of software makes no sense, and the idea of "investing" one's time and effort in a given "community" of software users would be counter-productive to the end goal of making commercially valuable renders of models or environments.
Personally, I don't think that one of these attitudes is "illigitimate" and superior to the other, as is implied by some of Mr. Hopf's comments. (For example, "Few designers have the time or desire to celebrate software." As if this is a statement of fact of which all persons should be aware.)
I would not entirely dismiss the attitude of a utilitarian approach to Maxwell Render, because we all certainly need to get on with the business of making models and renders for the purposes of making a living. But, it helps to remember that ALL software products (Octane, Redshift, Corona, Arnold, V-Ray, etc.) are applications under constant development, and none are free of issues. Also, none of these have reached some kind of end-state, where they can perform every rendering task perfectly out of the box, and so should be obviously chosen for use over any competitor by some kind of "rational" user.
So, I find myself being just a little impatient with what is sometimes a narrowness of vision in the utilitarian attitude. While recognizing the good and valuable work that has been performed by Mr. Hopf to the community of Maxwell users and developers.
And, I guess I find myself in most agreement with Nasok, in that I also unabashedly feel like "celebrating" the existence and continued development of Maxwell Render, and I "celebrate" the work and efforts of its developers. In fact, without apology, I celebrate and am made happy by the efforts of my fellow users.
I say this, not as a "hobbyist", but as a person who uses Maxwell Render to earn a living. That is, one who only eats, manages to keep dry and warm, and provide for the well-being of my family because of my work - with Maxwell and Maya. There is nothing really wrong with making a long-term investment of time and effort in the community of Maxwell Render users - even for us commercial users. Development of a complicated piece of software is a very human thing to do. Of course, it is always going to be an enterprise full of imperfections - problems of where to place priorities of effort, problems of seemingly insurmountable technical issues, problems of constantly changing standards, demands and objectives. I just feel that we users ought to be a little humble in the face of all this, and be grateful for the efforts of the developers because they go well beyond just a crass desire to provide a barely satisfactory product.
I think we need to acknowledge that we make a sort of longish time commitment to learning and mastering any complicated piece of software, and we cannot afford to do this for every competing product. (Personally, I feel that mastering Maxwell and Arnold, but maintaining only a decent working knowledge of V-Ray and maybe Redshift is about all that I can do, given the need to keep up with the ever-changing Maya, Houdini, Marvelous Designer, etc. Not to mention Phython, Substance Designer, CorelDraw (or Photoshop and its competitors) and the tens of utilties I need in my work. God-forbid I should need to learn Z-Brush someday, too!) Given this longish time commitment, I think there is nothing wrong with investing in a "community" of users and developers, and if fact, it may be entirely "utilitarian" or pragmatically practical to do so. Whether anyone else wants to do so, is up to them, and depends upon their individual circumstance. No penalties in my opinion, if others choose differently. But, I guess I'm with Nasok in thinking that it would be wise for those that can, to help each other where we can.
And, I too, feel like "celebrating" Maxwell. Some days, I am just completely blown away by a Maxwell render. An unexpectedly great picture of some model set of which I had, long since, grown tired of. ... Days of working on some models that have become way too tedious - can't stand it anymore, ... and then suddenly there is this wonderful render! Or, if I'm lucky, a whole set of wonderful renders. Makes the whole thing worthwhile, in the end. I didn't do this - I just made the models. But Maxwell turns them into something glorious. And if that is not the properly humble and entirely appropriate "celebration" of Maxwell Render, then I shouldn't be doing this work in the first place. ... Just my humble opinion...