MFA Thesis – Excerpt 18

Nor can any of these packages, costing thousands of dollars, handle as many steps in the production pipeline. Furthermore, none of them alone can produce an entire film. In addition, proprietary software suites are not available for open alterations to the code and are not fully adaptable to production needs despite the ability to add features with the proprietary languages some of them have, like MEL for Maya.

Buying proprietary software like Maya, 3dsMax, Cinema4D, Modo, ZBrush and others is, in the words of Bob Young, former CEO of open source software company RedHat, like buying a “car with the hood welded shut.” One cannot alter the source of the proprietary software as is possible with open source software. Because of this and the easy availability of the software itself, open source is having the unintended effect of democratizing industries where socioeconomics keep disadvantaged groups, i.e. poor families, from accessing better education, training or employment opportunities. In the VFX industry, for example, protectionism among the established studios influences employed artists to believe that open source software is unprofessional. That notion, in turn, denies artists not employed by established studios the chance of ever belonging to the artistic “elite” because they cannot afford the accepted industry standard software like Maya, Cinema4D and so on.

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