bhouston

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About bhouston

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  1.   You can come up with additional collaboration structures to do things, that is always possible, but not having to create additional structures gives one freedom to operate in any way you feel like.  Google Docs technically isn't needed given that there is LibreOffice, but people still prefer Google Docs for its extreme convenience.     Clara.io is intended to be a platform for modeling, animation, layout, tweaking, texturing, lighting, rendering and simulation, rather than just modelling.  You are correct that there are many ways to achieve things and you will still be able to use screen-sharing, chat and telephone tools with Clara.io of course.     We just have a "render" button that works for Clara.io scenes.  It is pretty simple.  Why make things complex?  If you want to export to another DCC package for lighting and rendering you are free too.   I have some experience with render managers as back in the early 2000s I wrote a product called Deadline (which you likely haven't heard of but it is quite popular.)   One of Exocortex's most popular tools is our Alembic suite of data converters.  We hope to support Alembic in and out of Clara.io in the future.  That will considerably help interoperability.     We support exporting and importing in most common formats (FBX, Collada, ThreeJS, STL and Obj to start), so lock in shouldn't be too much of a problem.   Exocortex has been around for 7 years and our tools are used quite widely in the visual effects industry (almost every major VFX film uses at least some of our tools), so we are not completely unproven.  Our stuff was used on a lot of recent movies including Pacific Rim (which is awesome, go see it!), Star Trek Into Darkness, White House Down, Iron Man 3, The Avengers, Harry Potter 7, Titanic 3D, Jurassic Park 3D, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Hunger Games 2 (this fall), Jack and the Giant Killer, Snow White and the Huntsman, to name just some of the bigger names.     Getting this right is a big concern of ours as well.  It is possible to get it right though.  Cloud services are not for everyone, that is for sure.     The pricing of Clara.io is a lot more comparable to Blender than it is to comparable commercial products and we hope to keep it that way.     We offer our clients the ability to license our system and install it in house.  We already do these types of deals with a lot of our existing clients with our Alembic tool set, so we are flexible to meet our client needs.   Our history management tracks all changes related to a Clara.io scene.  You are free to track things externally as well if you need collateral.  We are not aiming to be a replacement for Shotgun if that is what you are thinking of.   One thing that I think you are ignoring and that I have found to be very true is that administration, configuration, deployment and maintenance of internal services are incredibly costly.  Also the sticker price for commercial tools is multi-thousands per seat.  We are much cheaper in cost and our total cost of ownership, because we are a managed solution, is much lower than do-it-yourself systems.   So in closing, I am not saying that Clara.io is for everyone nor does it replace all tools and all workflows, but I do believe there is space for a solution like Clara.io in the greater ecosystem of game, animation and visual effects tools.