I’ve had an admiring eye on Project:Messiah for several years now. It’s a sophisticated 3D animation system, though it’s gradually grown some nice rendering capabilities, too, like sub-surface scattering, global illumination, and a hair system.
The latest version is messiahStudio5. In one version or another, the program’s contributed to a lot of film productions including The Tripletes of Belleville, Hellboy, Jimmy Neutron, Ghost Rider, the Harry Potter films and, well, more.
The developers are doing a remarkable thing with messiahStudio5 right now. In a sort of self-built Kickstarter type promotion they’re offering their software for practically nothing… but only if enough people sign on to buy at these prices.
So the basic version of messiahStudio5 – at the moment – could be yours for $10, while the Pro version is offered at $40. Their normal prices are $499 and $1195, so you can see what I mean by "practically nothing".
Because it is a promotion your purchase won’t be completed unless enough people respond. If the promotion fails your money will be refunded and, well, that’s that.
It’s easy enough to see that they’re relying on everyone who wants to get their software at these prices to go out and tempt as many other people as possible, in order to create a viral groundswell. Pretty clever, no?
Messiah’s strengths are in its rigging and skinning system. Since it also functions as a plug-in it’s possible to use its animation features inside another 3D application like 3DS Max or Maya. It’s well worth a close look, and you can bet that it’s not likely to be available at these prices for very long. How long? They don’t seem to say. But a graph on the sale page shows how close they are to the goal.