I'm really pleased to share that Autodesk are trialling indie versions of their DCC packages. I have been lobbying Autodesk for about a year now to do this, so it's been terrific to finally get traction. I've been on my high horse about software piracy for a few years now, but as a freelance artist genuinely trying to do the right thing by software developers, I am very much sympathetic to the argument that software can be prohibitively expensive in some instances, especially for freelancers who are charged the same amount as ILM or Disney for a seat. For at least some, perahps many, it simply isn't feasible, especially if you're at a point in your career when you can't charge much for your work, or you are working with a client who doesn't have a large budget for professional artists.
My argument was always in support of the tiered pricing policies of companies like SideFX, Maxon and Adobe, which allow stepping-stone models for smaller players to get access to industry standard tools without resorting to piracy or shirking the educational licenses.
I really hope as in industry we can get behind this, so please show your support for Autodesk's initiative and get yourself an indie license, if you're at all on the fence or have been unable to do so in the past.
A huge thank you from me to Autodesk for making life much easier, this is a breath of fresh air for freelaners like myself.
The 3ds Max indie page can be found here.
The Maya indie page can be found here.