… Well, it seems like forum posts are a bit like drinks in a party : late at night you’re always saying “ok, this is the last one”, before staying for another round...
After the last exchanges, I gave it some thought, and try to find a way to express what was wrong in all of this, and finally found an example that express how I feel. The analogy has its limits, and may sounds a bit lame, but, I think it helps understand the issue here.
So, we could see Thea Studio as a car, let say a ten year Renault Clio (I’m french..). It was a decent car, middle range, not very fancy but robust and, well, doing the job of driving us around town.
We use it for years, but, as the time goes, we start to hope for a replacement model, looking at other brand and evolution of the market : Cars are getting smarter, compacts, more fuel efficient, and even, best, electrical and autonomous.
In the meantime, the factory has been bought by an other company, and so, as customers, we've been curious to see what will come next, and told that a new fancy model will be out soon.
Unexpectedly, when it’s revealed, we discover a big american SUV. So, for people who were expecting some kind of intelligent, affordable, compact electric car, we don’t know what to do with this model :to us it’s enormous, slow, impossible to park, needs a lot of gas, etc…
We’re facing here a kind of unresolvable situation: you guys tells us “you should be happy, it’s a nice car” adding “look, we’ve rework everything, there is a brand new navigation system, the AC is really cool, the engine is more powerful etc”, and, as we’re all really surprise by the turn of events, our first reaction is to argue mainly on details, by saying “ok, but the tires are too big” or “I don’t want leather seats”, and so we appear picky and overly exigeant. You logically respond by : “seriously, do you guy really prefer your old Clio to our nice new SUV ??”... And that’s where it all goes wrong. Because what we’re all trying to say, and somehow fail to make you understand is : “well, what you’re showing us sure is a car, but it’s not the car we needed now, it’s not the right model for us customers”.
That’s where the main (and only ) question is : what is the right product for a market ? You could build the best SUV, it will never be a good city car. We could use it, sure, but it will always be less adapted to the need of someone living in a modern european city (to stick to my example..), and be more of a burden than a pleasure to use. And from that ground, no matter how good willing you will be, or how helpful we could be, it will not magically become something else. And in the meantime other brands have seen the evolution of the market and move forward, offering solution that suits the user demand.
If we go back to the subject of rendering Archviz, not understanding that users are needing something really precise is not understanding the market.
Actually, I’m not really doing all of this analysis / critic because I really believe that some solutions useful for myself or for my daily use can appear. I’m okay now with Thea4Su, barely using Studio anymore, I’ve build over the years a decent collection of materials, object, and a workflow that’s working... But I know a lot of Architects, and I see everyday what they need, and this needs have evolved over the last decade, so does this market. And for a decade, loving Thea, I hoped that my friends could use it too, but it needed some evolutions to be useful to them.
At some point, Claudio, you said that Inspire was not a “staging tool”, and was not gonna be anytime soon. Sadly, that’s the only thing Architects needs now, so, not offering them this means building a tool that they will not need ! Studio was a first, hesitant step toward that, and we were all waiting for it to evolve that way, because it’s the only possible way in this market.
( We could see two different sub groups of customers here : Pro Architects, for whom rendering is used only occasionally and Pro Archviz, doing rendering everyday)
Pro Architects : they don’t have much time nor finance for rendering, so they’re looking at the tool with the best intuitiveness-speed-quality ratio. Building material libraries or content libraries is time and money consuming, so they’re now attracted by tools that offers them the whole thing as a package. In the same idea, they don’t have much technical or material resources, so they want something that render fast on an average hardware, not bothering too much of the physical accuracy of things as long as it looks okay.
--> Inspire is not right for them as it does not contain a large library of vegetation, people or skies, and it does not provide either a near immediate photorealistic render. And Thea (not only in Inspire), require heavy equipments (multi high end GPU) to get good results in term of speed. They will more naturally turn themself toward Enscape, Lumion or Twinmotion, all three offering this, with different level of price and or quality, on more modest hardware.
Pro Archviz : They’ve already got their main working tools (Vray or Corona most of the time), they’ve got their libraries, forest pack presets, etc… The only thing that could push them to adopt, even partially in their workflow, a new tool, is pure speed, and eventually ease of use for some specific cases (mainly animation). If they realize that they could do in minute what they were doing in hour, they will seize the opportunity.
→ Inspire is not right for them as it does not offer any substantial advantage in term of speed compared to other tools on the market, and it’s, in addition, not bringing any fancy tool that could help them smooth their workflow (build in animation editor, etc..). In some cases (I’ve done that myself), they will, again, adopt Lumion or Enscape, that are now giving fast and good enough animations.
So, I’m sure that you guys want to do things well, but your SUV is definitely not a modern efficient electric car… And we don’t need an SUV. You were right by saying that you could not say yes to all our demands, in the current state of your software it’s just not technically doable as its too far away from the tool we need.
I must reckon that I did all of this mainly because Thea Studio was kind of family to me ,after all the hours I spent using it,for old time sake, but I had not much expectation that this discussion will end with a surprisingly positive turns of event...
...That being said, I’ve just seen the teaser of D5 official release, and they’re getting closer to the perfect Archviz tool in 6 month than Inspire and Thea in years of development, so maybe there could still be hope !