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I saw somebody over on the Newtek forums using Google Trends to gauge 3d software popularity over time, so I decided to try it out myself. Of course I don't know how scientifically accurate Google Trends is, but it is a lot of fun to put in some search terms and see what it comes up with!

I decided to do two searches. My first search was to see which software programs are Autodesk's best selling products, and how their popularity has changed over time. I picked four that I thought would be big sellers, and I came up with this chart:

 

AutodeskPriorities_01.jpg

 

According to this, it looks like Autodesk's AutoCAD products are currently their best selling software. 3ds Max used to be a really big one too, but it has declined quite considerably! Is Max losing popularity for architectural visualization? Maybe architects are just doing their visualization renders directly inside Revit now, or they are using visualization software like LumenRT, Lumion, Twinmotion, or even game engines instead. Also maybe game artists are quitting Max and moving to Maya LT.

 

I also did a second search trying to see which 3d software is currently the most popular, and I came up with this chart:

ComputerSoftwarePopularityOverTime_01.jp

 

 

It looks like Blender and Cinema 4D are pretty steady over time. Maybe they have their user base locked in. That big decrease for 3ds Max and Maya is pretty stunning. But wouldn't the other software options increase if Max and Maya decrease? Where are those customers going? Have all the big studios just made their own software and they don't need Max or Maya anymore? Are there too many viable alternatives to Max and Maya out there now? I don't know, maybe these charts don't mean anything important really, but it is definitely fun to have a look and wonder about what is going on!  :)

What do you all think?

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your charts dont work for me, broken?

 

How is Google trend working? Does it analyzes only search entries, or does it analyzes also page visits?

Edited by chingchong

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This is what Google Trends help says:

 

"Where Trends data comes from

Google Trends analyzes a percentage of Google web searches to figure out how many searches were done over a certain period of time.

For example, if you search for tea in Scotland in March of 2007, Trends analyzes a percentage of all searches for tea within the same time and location parameters.

Data that is excluded
  • Searches made by very few people: Trends only analyzes data for popular terms, so search terms with low volume appear as 0.
  • Duplicate searches: Trends eliminates repeated searches from the same person over a short period of time.
  • Special characters: Trends filters out queries with apostrophes and other special characters."

 

So, I guess that it is based on just what people search for in the Google search bar.

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yes now they are working,

 

- Im not sure about this trends, because if you put "3D Modelling" as a search term, it shows the same decrease over time like 3dsMax?

- same with "3D Software"

- But if you put both in comparison Chart, "3D Modelling" seems to be steady over the time, so its a Interpolation issue

 

- Maybe Blender and Cinema4d will show also the decrease, if visualized solo

Edited by chingchong

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Who knows, maybe people are really not that interested in 3D modeling as they used to be? :) 

But yeah, like I said, I don't know how scientifically accurate Google Trends is. How can they even know if their search algorithm is working correctly? I guess they must have tested it somehow. But it is amazing to think that Google has all of that search data in a gigantic database somewhere!

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yes now they are working,

 

- Im not sure about this trends, because if you put "3D Modelling" as a search term, it shows the same decrease over time like 3dsMax?

- same with "3D Software"

- But if you put both in comparison Chart, "3D Modelling" seems to be steady over the time, so ist a Interpolation issue

 

- Maybe Blender and Cinema4d will show also the decrease, if visualized solo

Oh I didn't think about that, you are thinking in a more scientific way than me! I guess we should test Google Trends more to see how it works, then we will know what results to believe.

But I was just having fun with it. It is pretty interesting!

Anyways, I'm headed to bed now, it's late here. I'll check back in on this thread tomorrow.

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id say stuff like lumion probably took 3d maxs market.

Edited by Aleksey

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Not sure what to think about those charts, but at least from my perspective Maya has become significantly more popular in the Games industry over the past couple years. Max on the other hand seems to be in decline (especially for animation where Maya almost completely dominates atp). AD hasn't been very good to Max though which might have something to do with it, such as the half-assed implementation of Python, half-assed UI overhaul (graphite), completely abandoning CAT , and I've heard they made developing plugins with the SDK a pita too after Max2010 but don't know the details myself.

 

Blender has also definitely gained a lot of mind share ever since the last major UI overhaul and then support for N-Gons (They even got the smoothing groups / hard edges / custom normals issues solved apparently). I've noticed a number of very good artists switching to Blender, and I bet even more will if they ever get a good default setup for new users.

Edited by PolyHertz

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id say stuff like lumion probably took 3d maxs market.

Yeah a new version of Lumion is supposed to be released sometime this week. The new render engine is even better. The preview videos are showing very nice photorealistic architectural fly-throughs.

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Not sure what to think about those charts, but at least from my perspective Maya has become significantly more popular in the Games industry over the past couple years. Max on the other hand seems to be in decline (especially for animation where Maya almost completely dominates atp). AD hasn't been very good to Max though which might have something to do with it, such as the half-assed implementation of Python, half-assed UI overhaul (graphite), completely abandoning CAT , and I've heard they made developing plugins with the SDK a pita too after Max2010 but don't know the details myself.

Blender has also definitely gained a lot of mind share ever since the last major UI overhaul and then support for N-Gons (They even got the smoothing groups / hard edges / custom normals issues solved apparently). I've noticed a number of very good artists switching to Blender, and I bet even more will if they ever get a good default setup for new users.

Hmmm sounds like these Google Trends charts verify what you have seen happening in the industry...maybe they are somewhat accurate after all...:)

On the other hand people searching for the words "Autodesk Maya" or "Autodesk 3ds Max" on Google doesn't necessarily mean they are buying the product. Plus, like Chingchong said, the Google Trends tool itself might be a bit wonky.

On a separate note, I wonder about the effect that the hobbyist/indie/freelance demographic has had on the market. Are big studios still the biggest customers? Maybe all these monthly rental plans and indie pricing everywhere is becoming a significant source of income for 3D software companies? For example, they sell 10,000 expensive pro licenses to a big studios, but maybe they sell 100,000 cheap indie licenses of the same product.

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Is accurate ?

 

I had search Blender Comp Software

 

but the result show culinary tool

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On a separate note, I wonder about the effect that the hobbyist/indie/freelance demographic has had on the market. Are big studios still the biggest customers? Maybe all these monthly rental plans and indie pricing everywhere is becoming a significant source of income for 3D software companies? For example, they sell 10,000 expensive pro licenses to a big studios, but maybe they sell 100,000 cheap indie licenses of the same product.

 

Other then Maya and Modo though I don't think any of the big 3D apps have indie versions (Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Lightwave).

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Other then Maya and Modo though I don't think any of the big 3D apps have indie versions (Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Lightwave).

Houdini has a $200/year indie license. Also Lightwave often has big discounts on their pricing which makes it pretty much indie (like the crossgrade deal). Also Cinema 4D has a limited version which is much cheaper than the full studio version.

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It would be interesting to see the chart if you added in Sketchup and Modo to the list.  That might be where the missing counts are?

Edited by Grimm

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Aw, they only allow 5 search terms.   :(  It is a lot of fun, I did one for GPU renderers here:

 

post-38101-0-89162100-1446617941_thumb.p

 

Oops, forum software doesn't like embedded script.   :wacko:

post-38101-0-66884300-1446617792_thumb.p

Edited by Grimm

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It is a lot of fun

 

Ha ha! Yes, it is pretty entertaining!

 

It would be interesting to see the chart if you added in Sketchup and Modo to the list.  That might be where the missing counts are?

 

Ok, so I did this one:

ModoAndSketchupAdded.jpg

 

Wow, I didn't know Sketchup was that popular! But you are right, maybe the architects are rendering visualizations in Sketchup instead of Max these days. I think there are some pretty good rendering plug-ins for Sketchup. Modo seems to still be a small part of the market but solid with its fans.

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I also did this one for digital sculpting:

 

DigitalSculptingResults.jpg

 

It seems pretty accurate. Zbrush of course the industry standard, second place for Mudbox, and 3d-Coat relatively small but slowly getting more popular over time. These results match the results of a survey I saw on CG Talk a while back:

 

SculptingPollResults.JPG

 

There is also this poll on CG Talk which seems to support the results I got in my first post:

 

AutodeskSubscriptionResults.JPG

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The Modo results surprise me, I would have thought it would be more popular.  I'm starting to think that the 3D software world is tied mostly to indi and hobbyist users.  There just is not enough professional users to even make a bump in the graphs.  Those companies who price their software for the larger market are going to be the ones who survive.   I have a feeling that Modo is pricing themselves out of the market.   :blink:

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I also did this one for digital sculpting:

 

This is where it is difficult to add in Blender to that mix as it has everything and the kitchen sink.  It's too bad you can't further refine the search.  :)

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It is a lot of fun, I did one for GPU renderers here:

 

attachicon.gifgpu-renderers.png

 

Yeah that seems about right I think. Octane alphas and betas first came out in 2010 I think, so it makes sense that there is a big spike there.

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The Modo results surprise me, I would have thought it would be more popular.  I'm starting to think that the 3D software world is tied mostly to indi and hobbyist users.  There just is not enough professional users to even make a bump in the graphs.  Those companies who price their software for the larger market are going to be the ones who survive.

 

Yes, the more I look into it, I think this might really be true. There was a time when 3d software and hardware costs made it impossible for hobbyists to make digital art or animation, but that time is gone. Prices have dropped tremendously. Anybody who takes their digital art hobby seriously will be willing to spend several thousands of dollars buying a nice computer and some decent software. This indie market is quite similar to the serious gamer market. They invest quite a bit of money buying nice gaming pcs and video games. I think the 3d software companies have realized that their market has shifted and they are starting to target the hardcore digital art hobbyist and indie market. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the people buying 3d-Coat are not studios but hobbyists. I mean 3D-Coat's price (even the "pro" license) is pretty perfect for the hobbyist and indie budget. Does that mean that 3D software companies don't need to innovate since their customers are hobbyists? Not at all. If anything I think it makes the competition even more fierce than it ever was.

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It's actually is very exciting times, and I agree with you that 3D-Coat is perfectly positioned for this market.  I also suspect that is why some companies are moving towards subscriptions.

Edited by Grimm
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I'm actually surprised that blender is higher than maya and c4d in the graph. Too bad we can't put monetary results.

Paid projects for blender are so few and if they do pay its so so low its like pity projects.

Lightwave and modo, yup just as expected its at the bottom. Those two are better off as secondary support in most cases. 

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