UPDATE, July 18, 2014
The day after this post was published, several forums and mailing lists started threads on this issue. Some examples: this topic in Modo oficial TF Forum and also this one in NewTek, or this one in CGSociety, or this thread in a Softimage List, and more…
Brad Peebler (co-founder of Modo and President of the Americas at The Foundry) made a couple of interventions (here and here) to explain “their side of story”. He expressed also his point of view on this same blog (look comments here, below).
Two days ago Brad also sent me an email where he wanted to reach out me personally to explain their side of the story. I answered, offering my blog in order to update this post with that notice (still waiting for his response).
Brad also expressed his desire to spoke with Víctor directly, and both them finally contacted yesterday by Skype, to try address this issue and smooth things. And finally this topic was added to Modo Forums were you can see a link to a new interview with Víctor Feliz on TF site (no mentions to Colorway/Colimo “affaire”, though).
It seems that all these differences have been finally polished and that looks great :-)
<— END OF UPDATE —>
As you probably now, The Foundry has recently released a new product: “Colorway”, a tool that makes possible to review and control ‘looks’ in our final renders in real-time. Users (our clients, for example) can also review and make modifications within predetermined material and lighting options.
Here is the teaser for Colorway:
The first time I saw this announcement I immediately have a counterposed feel:
Happiness, because another great tool was released by a company that owns the main application I use on a daily basis since 7 years ago (Modo), meaning that this one will be even more powerful, because the direct connection between both products.
Sadness, because this “new” product remembers so much to another tool that has been out there from some years ago: “Colimo” from the small but smart company Motiva. A firm leaded (and composed exclusively) by a couple of good friends of mine, Víctor Feliz and Alejandro Suárez, working hard on their small studio in the south of Spain.
Here is a quick presentation for Colimo:
But, hey, this is the “Real World”, one were competition exists and that is good for us, the users. It isn’t?
However I knew some interesting facts since time ago about Víctor, Alejandro, Colimo and Luxology (now The Foundry). I knew that Víctor and Alejandro were in near contact with different persons from Lux/TF several times on the past years.
And since I read a comment in Facebook by Víctor, a couple of days ago, were he didn’t show himself specially happy with this situation, I decided to contact him and maintain a small chat to get more details on this issue.
Here is the transcription of that conversation:
Cristóbal: When was your first contact with Luxology, Víctor?
Víctor: In April 2010 a retailer of Luxology in Portugal (Paraglobal), contacted me to see if we could create a version of Colimo for Modo. So I was introduced to Brad Peebler (co-founder at Luxology) and we started to work with a beta version of Modo 501. In September 2010 they released Modo 501 to the public in Madrid and Luxology invited us to come and show Colimo 1.0 (unreleased for public on that moment). We accepted, of course!
Cristóbal: How evolved these first contacts?
Víctor: Brad is a great guy and invited us to go to Bordeaux (France) to talk with more calm and to present other developments. In December 2010 we were showing a more evolved version of Colimo and the foundations of another project that would later become RealPerception OFX.
Cristóbal: All that means that you started a close collaboration?
Víctor: Well, not exactly, after that first contacts we received almost no other feedback, except for some emails related to diverse subjects, like trying to create another different plugins for Modo, but that stuff never arrived to see the light (this is the bad side of R&D: sometimes projects die on the road…)
Cristóbal: This means that contacts stopped completely on that moment?
Víctor: Nope! There is an extra important detail: much more recently, in May 2013, I was introduced to Bill Collis (CEO at The Foundry) and he asked me to tell them more details about Colimo in a video-conference with him, side by side with Andy Whitmore (who was the presenter for Colorway some days ago) and his “Chief Scientist” Simon Robinson.
Cristóbal: Yep!, that is an important fact! They seemed really interested on your work.
Víctor: Yes, but then the time started to run, and giving the fact hat I didn’t received anymore news from them regarding to this subject (even if we spoke about other projects) I just assumed that they simply were not more interested on Colimo.
Cristóbal: Until past latest week, I assume…
Víctor: Exactly. Now we arrive to July 2014 and magic!: Colorway appears. Bill Collis regularly and quickly answered to me by Skype, but no more actually. Although I must admit that Brad Peebler is standing up for himself, even if he don’t finds ethical problems with what has happened.
Cristóbal: I understand why you are not exactly happy, now… Some final words, Víctor?
Víctor: I want to stress that my “anger” is not because the competition, not at all!. It bothers me that they requested the meetings, asking for functions and other details, when they had this in mind (create their own product so similar to ours).
More details: this week they showed also a “Colorway Presenter”, a tool that allows to final user (the client) to change only some predefined options, and this is extremely similar to one of features we showed to them in our meet in Madrid (and they liked the more), the “Export to Web” in Colimo.
Obviously we have been too trusting and naive. Maybe because Luxology / The Foundry seemed so cool and nice people, specially comparing with other big companies.
In fact, it’s not “angry” but “perplexity”. And I wonder what the Lux/TF fans would say if this movement would be made by Autodesk, for example.
Finally: I understand that final users only want good tools that works fine for their needs, and Colorway, of course will do it’s job perfectly fine, I suppose. And all these disagreements between developers is not something of their interest… But this is something very sad even for the final users, because third-part developers can loose their interest on creating new tools for TF apps. In fact I had some other interesting ideas and proof of concept tools for Modo that finally, well… won’t see the light. I mean: the final users also loose something with all these issues.
Cristóbal: Thanks for you time, Víctor. Just a small advice: don’t show again an original idea to big companies, even if they look so cool and nice. Keep it closed under four keys ;-)