Buying a commercial license for 3ds Max?

Some time last season (or perhaps the prev. season) did Autodesk offer FIRST Team members a special price for 3ds Max commercial licenses?

I vaguely remember an email with some type of special offer…

For the 2007 season they offered 5 3DS Max licenses for team use. They were not commercial licenses(only given to companies). Still they give you a 1 year license for use of the whole product(almost no limitations).

Every now & then I get requests for commercial work, which according to Autodesk’s EULA is not allowed with the educational license.

3ds max is $3500.

If you want to buy a license, you need to talk to your local reseller. There is a subscription plan. For a few hundred bucks a year, you get the latest releases and tech support. Tech support is actually good (they actually know what they’re doing, actually use the program, and will actually contact the dev group).

A good alternative is Lightwave, which is very affordable (about $700). If you can take the time to learn it, it can save a lot of money. It is missing stuff that you might take for granted, like hair, but $700 is a very competitive price.

Blender3d is free. It can do cool stuff, but the interface takes some getting used to.

Oh, and you’re right that you can’t use educational versions to make money.

For anybody that might be reading, if you make money by using 3ds max, Autodesk should be making money too. Selling models on Turbosquid with the 3ds max you get for FIRST is definitely a No.

This is Autodesk’s plan for world domination: have students cut their teeth on Autodesk products, so that when they enter the workforce, Autodesk will have more force (and presumably more market share).

Unless your seriously getting calls from big time companies offering to pay a couple grand for graphics. (especialy if the entire thing is animation). I wouldnt buy a commercial license of 3ds max unless you know for sure that it is going to take off. If you can make very good graphics with 3ds max (and im talking good, like stuff that you see on tv) then chargeing $3,500 for a thirty second graphic spot is actually dirt cheep as graphics go. (TNT charges companies $30,000 for graphics no matter what it is) Production companies pay up front. So techniqucally you could buy a commercial license with your first gig. The problem with getting a graphics is that you’ll have to get it done FAST. They normally want it within a week.

If any of you get a call from a company here is what you must do.
  1. disscuss Payment: Should be the first thing you do. especially if the production company is calling you. Dont say “I’ll see what i can come up with and then we will talk about payment” Some comapanies will pay you for concept designs. If you charge them for that they are more likely going to be specific with you.

  2. Shoot high: You want to land a job that pays $75 - 145 per hour. Tell them thats what you work for $200/hr and then they will bargain with you. be reasonable and the price will come down. remember, they called you so they want you. (unless you called them then you take anything)

  3. Dont work on the projet at random times: set a day, perhaps a weekend and get up at 7:00 am and work till midnight and do the same thing sunday. Dont work on the project a little here a little their, otherwise it is harder to clock your hours.

  4. Plan: try your best to advoid getting stuck on a problem mid way through. Like if your trying to make a model dissovle away slowly like sand dune and trying to figureing it out durring the project. Write everthing down. even if it is simple then look at it and plan.

  5. Communication: I cannot stress this enough. The production company wants somthing and it is your job to figure it out. keep comminication bettween you strong.

  6. Look like your important: Pretend that you have another job somewhere else and they should give you a reason to do work for them. (this only works if they called you and they are a new client.) (this only works if they called you)

Freelancing is the best job in the world. You get to sit home all day in your pajamas and make more money than you would make the whole summer at a fast food joint. The only down side is that they are short, and it may be months before they call you again. And make sure that if its a new production comapany that you blow there sock off with a graphic to make sure they keep calling you.

Ooh, and i want to add one more thing, production companies LOVE you if you can composite. its a must have skill. And im talking about serious compositing. Like taking raw footage and putting in a dancing machine with no measurements and the camera has to be moving. yeah, If you can do that and match reflections, you’ll have two buy two cell phones they’ll be ringing so much.

Thanks for the tips Mazin & Buddy. Good stuff to know.