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Learning to use expensive software in order to reduce foreign competition?

Lukes3D
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Lukes3D triangle

Is it a good idea to learn how to use more expensive software in order reduce competition from other countries? The thinking is people in places like Russia, India, etc, will have a much harder time affording these expensive products, thus cutting them out of the competition. Some freelance jobs specifically list software that they want you to use such as Maya, 3ds Max, etc.

I did a quick search on freelancer.com for Blender 3d users, 3ds Max, and Maya. There does appear to be alot more people using Blender.


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Blender 3D users (204,865 results)

https://www.freelancer.com/search/users?q=blender%203d

Maya users (10,732 results)

https://www.freelancer.com/search/users?q=maya

3ds max users (53,044 results)

https://www.freelancer.com/search/users?q=3ds%20max

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  • Lukes3D
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    Lukes3D triangle

    In this article it says the average wage in india is 428.49 USD per month, so a 3ds max/maya subscription would be about half their monthly earnings. https://biz30.timedoctor.com/average-salary-in-india/

  • poopipe
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    poopipe godlike master sticky

    so the subscription is about 4% of yearly earnings - it'll be tax deductible as well.

    it's insignificant

  • defragger
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    defragger sublime tool

    There is regional pricing as well. A 3ds max license is roughly half the price in india.

  • Lukes3D
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    Lukes3D triangle
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky

    if you wanted to use money to get ahead you could invest in some high quality education or a mentor or maybe move to a hub place with lots of jobs.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe godlike master sticky


    The 4% came from your assertion that a subscription was half a months wages -which is about 4% of the yearly.


    My max licence costs around £300 a year. Not sure what that works out to in US .

    Probably close to 8% really.

  • Neox
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    Neox high dynamic range

    a non indie 3dsmax license is 10 fold of 300 a year. technically the indie version is bullshit, the regulations when you can use it make it useless, you might as well pirate the software, would be just as legal to use on most projects. Unless those rules changed, which i am not aware of, you are only allowed to work on projects below 100k USD worth of production value, which cuts out pretty much anything that isn't some indie game.


    -


    half a months wage in his calculation was meant as half a wage per month, not half a monthly wage per year.


    as for regional pricing, not hard to find

    so about 1260 USD per year, or 172 USD per month


    in germany/europe that license sums up to about twice that price


    tbh if the clients are in the local markets, pushing the possible wages down for obvious reasons, chances are. people use blender or pirated software. the moment you work for international clients you should be able to afford the license with ease, if not your clients are ripping you off.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe godlike master sticky

    fair enough - I didn't read the terms in detail since I'm not freelancing (only pay for it because Blender makes me angry enough that it's worth the expense)

    25% would be an appreciable chunk of your yearly revenue - tax deductible or not.


    however ...

    I still think the premise is silly - primarily because if you're working for a US/European company they aren't paying you Indian day rates.

    a not scientific illustration of my point...

    At UK minimum wage you see $1716 month (gross) at todays exchange rate. Ignoring the fact that nobody serious will work for that little and no serious business will offer rates that low you're still looking at 4 * the quoted average Indian wage.

    As an Indian resident, you can thus aggressively undercut any UK based competition quite comfortably whether you're paying for a license or not and still come out well ahead of that average.



    edit - just realised Neox said exactly the same thing without the hyperbole

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR interpolator

    Every artist I have ever known here or abroad has pirated software atleast once in their lifetime.

    With the subscription model it's more affordable to buy software for the duration of a project, but many who buy may still have a pirated copy for personal use.

    There are many well known game/film companies that outsource to 3rd party vendors in India/China that use pirated software, when the work gets sent over it comes out nice and clean.

    Ultimately it's not just people who can't afford the software that game the system, everyone is looking out for their bottom line.

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky

    "a thief believes everybody steals."


    I never stole anything. You know me!

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR interpolator

    The ones that did it didn't think it was stealing, more like borrowing for convenience/personal use with no scope to make any money worth prosecuting against

    And since there is no way to confirm if the source software was pirated (since they would run the model through a legit version/output to engine) unless someone reported them there was nothing stopping them.

    Majority were students who used legit licenses in the school labs and pirated software at home if there were no student/trial licenses available.

    The real major offenders were larger company's outsourcing to 3rd party that used pirated software. It's a smart business strategy since there is not jurisdiction in India about that and you can keep costs minimal.

    I'm guessing they just see it as doing business as usual.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe godlike master sticky

    The idea that a larger company would willingly outsource work to a 3rd party that they know use pirated software is utterly ridiculous.


    ill repeat that for emphasis


    it's utterly ridiculous

    I'm not saying that unscrupulous OS vendors don't use pirated software, I'm saying they don't tell their customers they do it because if they did, they would have no customers.

  • Lukes3D
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    Lukes3D triangle

    I'm not quite sure about your assumptions. Workers compete on prices, and companies usually try to maximize their earnings, which could include paying workers as little as possible, unless there are certain laws in place.

    I'm also talking more about Freelancing. When your freelancing, your usually on and off work. You may not be making a steady income from it unless your really good and do it full time. I think alot of people from Foreign countries are in the same boat as well.

    There are definitely ways around the price like piracy, etc. But for the part time freelancer in India, a 3ds max license seems like alot to me.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe godlike master sticky

    The point is that the cost of the license makes no difference at all to the fact you can be undercut by someone from India

    If you need $200 dollars a day to survive and your competition needs $50, you will not be able to compete on price whether they steal their software or not.

  • Lukes3D
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    Lukes3D triangle

    That's true. They can always be cheaper. Although a license may be too expensive for them to continue working with the software. So there might be less foreigners applying for 3ds max and maya jobs.

    There's also the time it takes to learn a new software before getting any jobs, which may take months or years. They will have to be paying for the software license for that time as well.

    Learning expensive software was just an idea to get some kind of advantage on foreign competition, since there's not a whole lot. That and maybe the language barrier.

  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter

    "[insert any idea] was just an idea to get some kind of advantage on foreign competition."

    Well, if you are setting yourself up to compete with third world freelancers that can live off one tenth of what you need in your country then you've already lost, pretty much by definition.

    Also not only is your premise flawed to begin with, but it's actually completely backwards. Because if for some reason a studio finds itself in a good relationship with a great freelancer who only owns an indie license of Maya for instance, it is in the studios best interest to provide the freelancer with a full floating license for the duration of the project as opposed to expecting the individual freelancer to foot the bill. It's not an absolute rule of course but this can absolutely happen, even just as a simple gesture of appreciation.

    "I did a quick search on freelancer.com"

    Overall you might want to stop basing your assumptions on the job market on such "quick searches" on Freelancer/Upwork/Fiverr. Why not put your energy into building a fantastic portfolio that you can then send to the reputable studios that you would like to freelance for ? If you put in the effort to match their inhouse quality then they'll have all the reasons in the world to hire you when they need some extra help.

  • Lukes3D
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    Lukes3D triangle

    Everyone seems to be fighting me on this idea. Not sure why ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

  • killnpc
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    killnpc interpolator

    yeah, using the software clients require will be beneficial. they'll want asset source in their chosen format so its use is streamline and are allowed the option to easily polish or make changes.

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR interpolator

    Well they don't admit to themselves or to others that the third party uses pirated software. But someone somewhere at the top always knows, and knows that it helps the bottom line to not talk about it.

    And as long as there are some license arrangements in house that keeps software companies happy with their logos presented at conventions and trade fairs. The idea is to make what you can considering the risks.

    When third party bids they already bid low, so they do use piracy to keep costs down. And because of the way the law works there, its okay not to care.

    The most I've seen is one license to a computer, the rest using pirated software, all it takes is moving the work through the licensed machine and you're home free.

    Also 3rd parties subcontract, so the person dealing directly with 1st party does have a legit license, its everyone else under him that doesn't, and this is extremely rampant with outsourcing that contracts freelancers in third world countries.

    Again the way to stop this would be to actually have a way to know the models source and detect if it came from pirated software. As yet from what I'm aware, there isn't one.

    It also depends on the end product and what 1st party sees as important to its image (or its bottom line) No way to know where a render comes from and if the model is in engine its as good as it never have been in a licensed modelling program to begin with.

    There is literally no way to tell unless someone rats them out and there's a raid which in the developing world rarely happens (least from some million dollar company in USA complaining about it)

    It really is don't ask don't tell, there are a thousand different ways to skim off the top.

    My most direct expereince with this situation was a company in Toronto that was a subsidary of the vfx company Trixter.

    They used subcontracters on projects that trixter was contracted from companies like Sony and Marvel. Much of the work from Trixter Germany that bid for the projects would be siphoned through this subsidary to 3rd party subcontracters in hole in the wall studios in India that subcontracted freelancers.

    The projects were a mix of major releases and direct to video, money was basically moved between these two for "tax purposes"

    The reason to have this Toronto studio was provincial grant funding that was given with very little oversight if the studio hired interns from local vfx and game dev schools who would contribute their time for course credits. They also used funding from streams like the Canadian Media Fund that has very little accountability should a project fail to even break even. So its a smart way to get hundreds of thousands of dollars and then liquidate with little to no consequence because for those few months you are providing jobs in a competitive market.

    There was also funding for hiring visible minorities. No one said that anyone hired from these schemes needed to be paid a fair wage.

    All the machines at the Toronto Studio save one had pirated licenses, they paid their workers far too little and many were unpaid. One of them did report them and lo and behold I walk in one day and find all the computers gone save one that had a fresh new license.

    And the company had a "restructuring" and dropped its name "Trixter Toronto", with Trixter corporate in Germany quietly moving away from the mess like it never happened.

    I was volunteering there with one of the studio's partners that was using the space so didn't really matter to me professionally, just odd to walk in one day and find all the hardware missing, and then come in next week to locked doors.

    Another company that did this was Legend 3D toronto, it took government funding to open a studio in Toronto, hired people with provincial funding then liquidated the entire Toronto studio, moving its work to its india office which had been established through siphoning of the funding. Hundreds in Toronto lost their jobs.

    You can read some reviews of the experience here.

    https://www.glassdoor.ca/Reviews/Trixter-Canada-Reviews-E1352369.htm

    https://ca.indeed.com/cmp/Legend-3d/reviews

    https://www.glassdoor.ca/Reviews/Employee-Review-Legend3D-RVW19303949.htm

    Suffice to say there was no need for 3rd party contracters to tell anyone that they used pirated software. Even if you work in first party you would never know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    This problem is a lot worse in vfx and film industry than games. But it does happen in video games as well. The only way to stop it is for contracters and subcontracters to strike a balance between outsource work and their own projects, or contract locally so there is more accountability.

    But everyone is terrified of being blacklisted.

    https://gizmodo.com/disney-marvel-movies-vfx-industry-nightmare-1849385834

    Reminds me a bit of the clothing industry where hundreds of dollars worth of designer brands are made in slums by daily wagers for pennies.

    Atleast in our industry you get a desk at these places and don't have to squat on the floor.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe godlike master sticky

    I'm not really sure what point your trying to make.

    It doesn't matter to the customer what the supplier does except where it affects their ability to deliver the product.

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR interpolator

    I was trying to say that there are several cases where the customer does know that the vendor pirates and fully endorses it by choosing to look the other way.

    Many of them (the customer) do willingly outsource to third party (vendor/supplier) knowing fully well that the work they do involves piracy.

    Obviously a vendor wouldn't openly say it, but it reflects in the vendors bid and the customer wouldn't ask.

    Atleast they wouldn't go too far in their ask.

    But all of them are supporting piracy in the end and acting like it doesn't matter as long as the product gets delivered.

    So as long as its don't ask don't tell, and the work delivered meets a certain standard regardless of whether the product is legit or not everyone is golden.

    Its more to address OP's point that "one must learn to use expensive software in order to reduce foreign competition"

    His point was that because people in India and China can't afford expensive software, people abroad using it gives them an edge. However people in India and China and abroad do use pirated software liberally. Even larger companies endorse its use through outsourcing with many turning a blind eye as long as they get the work they need.

    So it really comes down to what you do with the software in the end.

  • DorisMcHugh

    Regional pricing is also available. I was doing some research on google search regarding my college homework and while searching for it online I found your post as well. I will visit over here again to see more post on this topic. :)

  • poopipe
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    poopipe godlike master sticky

    it depends on the region

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