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Apple Shakes compositing up

20 September 2006

Apple’s latest news on its Shake system could have significant ramifications for the entire compositing part of the vfx industry, writes Carolyn Giardina.

Apple released a Universal version 4.1 of its popular Shake compositing software and cut its price from $2,999 to $499 during the summer, which was considered earth-shattering enough. Since then it has raised the stakes further, now stating that it will no longer sell the Apple Maintenance Program for Shake, nor will further develop the product.

The company is offering an alternative for customers that use Shake and had the maintenance program, reported Kirk Paulsen, Apple’s senior director of pro applications marketing at IBC. “Apple is offering a Shake site license and access to the source code to those currently with Shake on maintenance, which gives them a virtually unlimited number of seats…” he explained, reporting that a site license is offered for $50,000.

“We did feel it was absolutely essential to take a talented group of developers and give them the chance to work on a next generation motion graphics and compositing application that would be able to leverage the performance of the great new Intel hardware,” he added.

The move is viewed as both a potential opportunity and challenge for competitors in the compositing space. “It’s a brilliant idea… a smart and standup thing for Apple to do,” opined Ben Grossmann, visual effects supervisor/creative director for the Computer Caf_ Group in Los Angeles. “In the world of software development for visual effects, the biggest hindrances we face are backwards compatibility and outdated legacy code… In many ways, this is very similar to what Discreet (Autodesk) has done with Toxik; they acknowledged that there’s a new way of working that provides a better experience overall for the artist if they start from the ground up.”

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