Product Naming

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Martin Hash
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Product Naming

Post by Martin Hash » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:04 am

My first 3D program, using voxels as its modeling & rendering element, was called "Animator Apprentice" but a software publishing company at the time, Ageous, had a product called "Ageous Animator" and they thought I was infringing on their trademark, so I changed the name slightly to "Animation:Apprentice" after a series of fantasy books I was reading during the time called “Magician:Apprentice,” “Magician:Journeyman,” and “Magician:Master.” After Apprentice 2 & Apprentice 3, I named my first product to use splines as its modeling & rendering element, Animation:Journeyman, which was introduced on the Amiga.

When the Amiga market crashed in 1990 and I went to Will Vinton’s Studio with a Windows version of Journeyman, they insisted on holding the copyright on the product’s rename, so I steered them to something other than a name I eventually wanted to use myself. (Will Vinton actually suggested “Animation:Master” several times but I remained silent, and nobody else seemed to like it – so we ended up with “Playmation” – sounds like “Claymation” – Will’s trademark.) After separating from Vinton's (they got a new director who used a competing product), we tried “Martin Hash’s 3D Animation,” and “3D Animation Pro,” before finally settling on the inevitable "Animation:Master" a couple years later.

At first, it was version “2,” “3,” “4,” “V,” but Microsoft released Windows95, and we jumped on the annual bandwagon, with “Animation:Master 96,” “97,” “98,” “99,” and finally “Millennium,” before switching back to version numbers. We also had a mid-year release that we called “8.5,” “9.5,” “10.5,” and “11.1” but change slowed and now there’s lucky to be a new version per year. New versions are important because the large portion of our sales come from trade shows, and often people buy when they see us every year and we have to have something new to sell them.

My last version was V15 in 2008. Stephen Gross, a long-time A:M programming contributor took over after I left for Africa, so subsequent versions have come from him.
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