Jeff is reclaiming his unique digital identity with a sense of clarity.

History of Caligari… and a little 3d industry history.

This is all ancient news to those that pay attention to the 3d industry, but I’m posting here anyways just for folks that may not be aware…

1982, Roman Ormandy defects from Czechoslovakia and spends three years in New York. Starting in the shipping department of a suitcase factory making Apple suitcases, he breaks into the PC business.

1985, Roman attends Siggraph ’85 in San Francisco. He admires the SGI workstations, but buys an Amiga PC and the trueSpace vision is born!

1986, Video tape of Caligari prototype is displayed in Commodore’s booth at 1986 Siggraph which generates tremendous interest. Octree Corporation is founded, setting out to revolutionize the 3D marketplace.

1988, Caligari1, one of the first 3D visualization products for the Amiga is released. It does not do much yet but it has a novel interface and integrated workspace.

1990, Caligari2 is released for the Amiga. Positioned as a design and video production tool, it supports photorealistic rendering and “real time response to all user actions”. (2Mb of RAM required)

1991, Caligari Broadcast sports animated deformations, sweep tools, interactive spline based hierarchical animations, a visual time editor and resolution up to 8000×8000.

1992, Caligari24 is released with upgraded features such as 32Bit color, organic deformations and further improvements in perspective interface. It soon becomes clear, however, that MS Windows would become the standard operating platform.

1993, Octree moves from New York to the Silicon Valley. Leaving the East Coast behind, it designs a new software architecture and changes its name to Caligari Corporation.

1994, trueSpace, powerful, usable 3D graphics and animation for Windows is released. It changes the landscape of the 3D market with the first integrated 3D animation and modeling package.

1995, trueSpace2 is released to receive critical acclaim and industry awards. It is the first 3D software to support 3D acceleration, alas no 3D accelerators are shipped at the time.

1996, Pioneer is released as the 1st VRML authoring tool integrated with a built-in browser. Wins critical acclaim but VRML fails to live up to user expectations.

1997, trueSpace3 builds upon the excellence and ease-of-use legacy by integrating VRML, inverse kinematics, physics, metaballs, 3D paint and collision detection. More awards follow.

1998, trueSpace4 – Born to Accelerate. 8th generation and a major step forward in 3D authoring, trueSpace4 closes the gap between high end and ease of use.

2000, iSpace – a web graphics tool that enables the creation of stunning 3D graphics in HTML and Flash format. It delivers photorealistic web sites and uses simple drag&drop interface.

2001, trueSpace5 – Reality Designer, providing designers access to an affordable and powerful 3D design tool for all stages of the creative process including conceptual design.

2002, trueSpace6 improves workflow and professional design tools like layers and deform tools. It also reduces repetitive tasks through arrays, mirror modeling and more, making everything from modeling to final render, faster and simpler than ever before.

2003, trueSpace6.6 – introduces non-linear animation, and improved physical simulation. Workflow and modeling are further enhanced, keeping trueSpace the ideal choice for animation, design, illustration and game creation.

2003, gameSpace – 3D content creation for game development software and game engines, based on the trueSpace6.6 core and providing tailored modeling and animation tools, import and export, at a realistic price point. 2006, truePlay – free application to allow anyone to enter the shared 3D spaces, for collaboration with colleagues, friends and peers.

2006, trueSpace7 – introduces a whole new software core, which includes the first ever collaborative workspace that allows people to work together in the same shared 3D space. V-Ray renderer, new DX9 real-time view, and new scripting, physics and procedural objects also introduced.

2007, trueSpace7.5 – expands on the tools introduced in trueSpace7, adding better character animation, and more tools in the new workspace aspect of the program.

2008, Caligari and Microsoft join forces – Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, Caligari is able to release trueSpace7.6 for free. With further expansions and improvements to the tools, now anyone can make professional 3D at no cost

It’s been interesting seeing this company come to life, and die by being bought by one of the biggest companies around. Caligari was a neat startup. Unfortunately, a lot of neat startups get gobbled up by gigantic corporations. This is just one of the latest examples of this in the 3d industry…

Autodesk and Adobe are too other giants that eat their competition like Microsoft did with Caligari, and other companies are too to various degrees..

Alias bought Kaydara in 2004. Kaydara had created some awesome software called Motionbuilder, and they actually were selling it to individual artist very cheaply. Go check out the history of it on the forums at 3d buzz… Back when I got my personal edition from Kaydara itself it costs about 100.00 or 200.00…

Autodesk bought Alias in 2005 thereby taking over both Motion builder and Maya…

and looky here at what happened… Now the personal edition is long gone and Motion Builder costs $3995.00!

Adobe did the same thing with Flash a long time ago (originally owned by Macromedia).

It is nice that what used to cost a lot (TrueSpace) is now free… I originally bought version 3, then upgraded to 4, then 5… and quit upgrading after that because I switched over to Lightwave around that time… but it is sort of sad to see a company get gobbled up… especially one that was nice to new users and had a very good interface that helped developing 3d artist learn the ropes.

If you like the fact that trueSpace if free since you are an artist or want to become one, you might check out,, and Wings, anim8or, and blender are also free. Other freebies are out there, but these are the main ones that I know of that a lot of folks use.

Gmax is also free, but it’s several years old and is really just a dumbed down version of 3d Studio Max, which the big corporation Autodesk owns and wants you to pay a lot for…

It’ll probably just be a matter of time before Microsoft execs figure out some way to make Caligari’s trueSpace and gameSpace technolgy become massively expensive toys for the rich.

(If you can’t tell by the tone in this post, I’m not a huge fan of Micro$oft. I can’t tell you how many crashes have killed my artwork and other creative endeavors because Windows 95, 98, and XP all were pure junk. Vista is not far behind, but it a little more stable… Also, as someone that plays Entropia Universe a lot, I have a little bit of a grudge against Microsoft for when they tried to kill of Project Entropia in it’s early days by falsely accusing them of being pirates.)


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