Dear Harry,…

Edit: Rewrote some sentences to make them more clear.

…Your comment on this little bugger finally made it clear to me that I think I need to explain myself a bit more. It’s not that I hate Universe, but I hate Universe. Why?

First, it reminds me of what Red Giant have been doing with some Magic Bullet plug-ins that were merely variations on a theme. I can’t count how many derivatives of Looks or plug-ins using its base technology are out there and in how many bundles you have tried to sell it to the masses, which in particular recently began to look more like a money-grabbing scheme than a real commitment.

Second, some tools are simply not up to snuff. You could work on Knoll Light Factory for the next 5 years and it would never even come close to Optical Flares, so why would I want to even spend 10 bucks a month on it? The same is true for some of the other plug-ins you plan on providing. It’s simply old tech and throwing it in the pot “for free” isn’t much of an incentive.

Third, and that probably is my biggest issue here, you promise to build a community and give them all the tools, yet at the same time withhold the most crucial part: Supernova. At least for now. Which, of course makes no sense to me at all. I have long been begging for someone to write a host plug-in for Processing in After Effects and here it kinda is, but I can’t use it. I’d gladly pay you those 400 bucks a year, if only…

In the long run I think this will be your biggest issue: People will swamp you and other developers with requests and you won’t have the time and resources to accommodate them all and eventually things will wear out and the community die off. After all, how many variations on a glow blur does one need? I think that’s the real flaw in your plan. There will always only be a handful of really active users, but those won’t work for free forever to feed your “community”.

The other flaw, but that is of course totally subjective, I doubt you will have enough funds to support your development in the long run. People could just buy a lifetime commitment and you will swim in money for a while, but then in two years you will have to again come up with ways to sell new tools for extra money and that will be a hard sell and cause groaning and moaning. Seen it all too often before. That’s always the problem with “free stuff”, is it not? Spare the cane, spoil the child…

So to sum up my thoughts: Overall, Universe just doesn’t feel right. It seems you went through all the trouble to develop the framework for the last few years and all you want to use it for is some lame “glow of the month” stuff that doesn’t hold my interest. If you had focused on rounding out Supernova first as a fully fledged development environment then I might see things a bit different. But then again, perhaps it’s just me and this will take, after all. Wish you the best of luck.


3 comments on “Dear Harry,…

  1. Would love to hear what your thoughts are on the new community model that is being touted by Digital Juice products.

  2. Dear Mylenium,

    My own blog post! I am flattered. So, trying to keep this short…

    Much of your criticism is speculation. If you are right, then you can place a big fat “I TOLD YOU SO” banner on your site. But, we aren’t there yet. So, I can’t really comment. I don’t see us running out of steam, ideas or falling short on our commitment to update Universe frequently.

    Speaking as Mr Harry J Frank and not Red Giant, Knoll Light Factory is pretty terrible. It is John Knoll’s tool and he simply didn’t opt to update it in time. When it got updated, he wasn’t really driving the bus. It’s old code, old ideas and would need to start from scratch to be great. But someone already did that, and it is called Optical Flares. I use it. I was even on the beta team. I was frankly surprised to even see KLF in Universe (then again, OF doesn’t run in other editing apps. Software businesses care about stuff like that.)

    But really, picking on one plugin out of all of the plugins isn’t really that fair. Or “some of the other plugins” which I am sure you mean ToonIt (which was totally re-written) or Holomatrix (which has never even existed as a plugin.) Really, you are getting hung up on 3 plugins. It’s like you WANT to hate before learning about it, as you haven’t actually mentioned any specific plugins aside from Red Giant’s oldest plugin, ever. Really, just relax and give it time.

    I’d rather you tell me that my Chromatic Glow, or Diffuse Glow or GloFi, or Glass Displacement, or RGB Displacement suck. That would at least be fair. And it would be constructive, too. And yes, version 1.1 will have another glow. Beyond that, I don’t have any planned. So, you can relax about my lame glow effects after that, or that they will be flooding your inbox each month.

    As for the dev tool: keep in mind that this public beta. Supernova isn’t public RIGHT NOW.



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