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MB In terms of archiving we use all kinds of stuff. It really depends on the project. If it is video we will archive it to multiple DV or sometimes we will use DVD-RAM for archiving. A lot of CD-R archiving too.

AFR So what are you using Unix machines for?

MB Well, the web server.

AFR OK, that makes sense.

MB Just Linux stuff on Intel hardware...well actually it's AMD, and Web server stuff with Apache. Pretty standard things.

We are also starting to look at the render farm stuff. And we will probably end up with Unix on that end as well.

AFR As a render farm?

MB Yes, just because the hardware is so cheap.

AFR Is Lumentik's pipeline with Macs typical or atypical of most 3D studios?

AA Most 3D studios are really not doing a whole lot with Macintosh right now. And the reason why they are not using Macintosh seems to be a lack of education. For example, when I was at a special effects house, another PC guy, who was a Lightwave guy actually told me that he did not realize that Elastic Reality ran on the Macintosh. But it actually started on the Mac! So it's primarily education.

AFR What is Apple's role in this?

AA We've managed to do a little bit of feedback to Apple to make them aware of the 3D market as far as its growth and potential because currently in the PC market—and the consumer and business markets—things are down. The fastest growing market right now is definitely the workstation market.

And the gaming market is going to pass film in revenue this year at $6.07 billion. You know 87% of teenagers play games, and 92% of boys play games. Teenagers control $20 billion dollars of spending money according to Licensing Magazine last month.

AFR So if it is an education issue, why are 3D pros not getting educated to the Mac and its abilities?

AA Well, you know Apple suffers from a really bad publicity. The reality is that Apple has not made many contacts in this industry to try to educate people.

I think it is partly Apple's fault and partly bad image. And that hasn't been changed in awhile.

AFR How do you see Steve Jobs addressing this?

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AFR Clearly there are always going to be some applications that don' run on particular operating systems (Windows included) but are there some 3D apps that you would like to see on the Mac that aren't there now?

AA I think I would like to see Houdini.

KC Definitely Lightscape. It was a Unix platform app ten years ago, and it went to NT, and it got bought up by Autodesk. But it would be sweet to have that on OS X.

Maya on OS X is definitely something we are interested in. But it is Maya Complete not Maya Unlimited...which is a bad move on their part.

Some good translators would be nice.

AFR What is the number one high-end PC graphics card you would like to see support the Macintosh?

KC Probably the Wildcat card. The one we use the most. It is a great card, just blows away anything else around. Some of the nVidia cards are obviously catching up to it and the price points are less, but the graphic card support on the Mac has been poor at best.

Other people have told me that too bad Autocad didn't stay on the Mac. Because I know a lot of Autocad people that were using it on the Mac ten or so years ago and when it didn't move forward on the Mac they ended up switching to the PC because of it.

AFR Yes, we are very aware of the Autocad on Mac OS X issue. In fact we have collected well over 4,000 petitions for it.

In closing up Kevin, as the CEO of Luminetik, where do you want to see your firm in five years?

KC Basically we are trying to take the tools for 3D and apply it to commercial work as far as TV spots, gaming, film and special effects. And we are in talks with a couple gaming companies at the moment and branching into that division...as far as being able to do opening sequences and things like that.

We will use this as a stepping stone to do online games which is a whole new market which hasn't been established yet. As far as making a name for ourselves, Luminetik will get recognition from film but as profitability goes we will probably get it out of the gaming market.

AFR Do you think there is an Oscar in the horizon?

KC Who knows. That would be awesome but I think it will take us a few years to get there.

AFR I am sure you will get there at some point. I just have one more question for Akiko and then we can wrap it up.

Where would you like to see Apple in the 3D market in five years?

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AA I think what Steve Jobs is doing right now is definitely a really wonderful thing. He is making a personal effort to actually meet with some of those clients [3D firms] and help grow the platform. Which I think is remarkable.

AFR Right. As a 3D professional, what else can Apple do to make your job even better?

AA I think that Apple has to think about diversity, because they are very limited about what is on the platform. For example, when you got a Macintosh about two years ago, you were stuck with an ATI Rage card. The ATI Rage card was very good for a consumer-based person, but it was not a professional person's card.

When you are dealing with 3D software, and you are dealing with 3D rendering, and you are dealing with architecture, every package tells you to get the best 3D graphics card available, because even if it cost $4,000, if it can save you four months on a project that last a year that's going to save you a lot more than $4,000.

And one of the things that we have noticed that has been missing on the Mac platform has been support for a variety of 3D graphic cards.

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AA I would like to see Apple in the 3D market in five years where it is now in the 2D market.

AFR How do you think they can get there?

AA I think that they are going to have to get aggressive pursuing the clients in that business especially the high-end clients...which in this case are the visual effects houses, the advertising agencies—because many of the advertising agencies in New York are moving from 2D to 3D—and most of the commercial 3D work that is done is done by them.

We see that there is a relationship between the print work and the commercial work because they are often tied in to the ad campaign.

So we would like to see Apple provide a total solution rather than just part of the solution. Many people migrated to the PC because they were able to get the total solution from the PC.

We think providing the total solution for print and commercial 3D work is well within Apple's abilities and historic strengths.

AFR Kevin and Akiko, David, Mike and Mark, thanks to all of you for talking to me and providing this very indepth and interesting interview.

KC From all of us here, thank you for the opportunity.

This marks the second installment of our Firm Profile Series of articles. If you read this far you are either a very patient reader or an extremely passionate user of Macintosh in the 3D/CAD world. Hey, perhaps both.

If you are interested in being featured in one our next Firm Profile articles please send us an email.



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