Coronavirus software resources Coronavirus software resources

As the coronavirus (Covid-19) shutters animation schools and studios around the world, developers behind some of the industry’s most widely used software are stepping in to help. Many are offering free temporary work-from-home licenses and other types of deals. We’ve listed them below — this page will be updated with more resources as we learn of them.

Adobe

Students can receive home access to the Creative Cloud software suite at no additional cost to their institution. The school must be an existing customer “with an active device, shared device license, or serial number plan.”

The free license will be available until May 31 or when students return to campus, whichever is sooner. More information here.

Additionally, professional Creative Cloud users are reporting online that anyone who has a monthly CC plan can now receive two months free. Here’s how to do it:

Apple

(Updated March 27) Anyone, existing user or otherwise, can now sample 90-day free trials of the company’s Final Cut Pro X video editing suite and Logic Pro X recording studio package. “We hope customers who are home and looking for something new to master will try out these free trials,” reads Apple’s announcement. The Final Cut Pro X trial is offered here; details about the Logic Pro X trial will be made public in the coming days.

Autodesk

(Updated March 20) Select products and services from the software company are now free to access for commercial use, including the Shotgun project management program. Andrew Anagnost, CEO of Autodesk, said in a statement:

With the coronavirus (Covid-19) affecting communities, families, and people around the world, this is a difficult time for all of us. Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected, directly or indirectly. At Autodesk, our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our employees, customers, and partners.

Beyond the health and safety of the Autodesk community, we are also working to ensure our customers have reliable access to their software and Autodesk support. To that end, Autodesk is closely monitoring the guidance provided by governments and health organizations so we can make informed decisions with our entire community in mind.

Our goal is to respond quickly and compassionately, while balancing the needs of all the constituencies in our community. We are taking several precautionary measures to minimize the potential impact of coronavirus to our communities and our business. As we have updates to share on how we’re supporting customers, employees and communities impacted by Covid-19, expect us to share them here.

The software will remain free until May 31 at the earliest. More information here.

Avid

The company behind a range of editing and content creation software is offering free 90-day home licenses to companies and educational institutions. The policy covers Media Composer Ultimate, Pro Tools, Pro Tools Ultimate, and Sibelius Ultimate.

As an added measure to assist our community in adjusting their workflows to accommodate Covid-19 virus precautions, Avid will make a limited number of temporary licenses of our creative products available to eligible customers at no charge.

The offer is currently open to existing clients only, and valid until April 17. More information here.

Celaction

The developer is extending free home licenses to clients of its Celaction2D animation software until the end of their current project.

Andy Blazdell, Celaction’s CEO, issued the following statement:

Here at Celaction we’ve been helping our clients prepare to work from home for the past few weeks, quietly and without fanfare. Everyone who asked us for help has been helped, and this situation has been our highest priority. We didn’t even think about publicizing it, because our clients know they can talk to us about their needs and we always respond.

So it was with surprise and some disappointment that we saw other major software companies in our sector offer help in the form of at-home licenses that were limited from 90 days to as low as 30 days. While we hope that the Covid-19 disruption doesn’t last for months, nobody knows how long it will last. But what is certain is that the effects of shifting work to home will take time, cause stress, and have an ongoing impact on schedules.

So we’re calling on animation software vendors to allow their clients to work from home not for a set period of time, causing extra pressure as the clock ticks down, but to give people that freedom until the end of their projects that have been affected. For students, this means until the end of the school year. This is what we have offered our clients, so that there’s one less thing for them to worry about in these challenging times.

In our judgement, it was the obvious and right thing to do. We sincerely hope others will follow our lead.

Blazdell added to Cartoon Brew:

We’re proud of our clients for how they’ve stepped up to deal with the situation with professionalism and in a calm and courteous way. It’s really brought the community together for a common cause.

It would be great if the giant tech companies offering collaboration software, who stand to benefit from many smaller companies suddenly needing to use it, could lower their prices during the current crisis, to lessen the burden.

Clients are asked to contact their Celaction representative for more information — see the company’s website.

Ftrack

(Updated April 7) Ftrack Review, the widely used review and approval tool, has been made free for all until May 31 at the earliest. “There are no obligations to buy following the free period,” said Ftrack CEO Fredrik Limsater. “We are donating Ftrack Review solely in the hope that it will help to ease the burden on creative teams as they react to the sudden changes imposed on us all.” More information here.

Microsoft

The tech giant is offering a six-month free trial of the paid version of Teams, a software centered on virtual meetings, for businesses not yet registered with the platform. The deal is actually part of a trial for the full Office 365 package. A free version of Teams is also available to educational institutions.

Jared Spataro, corporate vp for Microsoft 365, issued the following statement on behalf of Microsoft:

With Covid-19 continuing to impact people and countries around the world, teams everywhere are moving to remote work. Earlier this week, I posted a letter from Lily Zheng, our colleague in Shanghai, detailing her team’s experience using Microsoft Teams to work from home during the outbreak. Lily’s team is one of many.

Here at Microsoft in the Puget Sound, we’re encouraging our teams to work from home as much as possible, as are many organizations in this region. And we expect this trend to continue across the world. At Microsoft, our top priority is the health and safety of employees, customers, partners, and communities. By making Teams available to as many people as possible, we aim to support public health and safety by keeping teams connected while they work apart.

Businesses looking to claim the free license are asked to contact their Microsoft partner or sales representative. More information here.

Reallusion

(Updated March 20) The creator of a range of animation softwares is offering free remote access to its main products: iClone family, Character Creator family, Cartoon Animator family, CrazyTalk family. The offer is open to anyone with an “academic multiple seat licensing account” or a “workgroup account.”

The free licenses will end on June 30. More information here.

Toon Boom Animation

As we reported earlier, Toon Boom is offering free 30-day home licenses for its Harmony and Storyboard Pro animation software to studios and educational institutions.

Being a technology company, remote work has always come naturally to us; over the coming months our clients (both studios and educational institutions alike) may be facing realities of working from home for the first time. Toon Boom wants to help. In light of the current health concerns worldwide related to Covid-19, we are providing our studios and educational institutions free 30-day home use licenses for their staff, teachers, and/or students.

The offer is currently open to existing clients only, and valid until April 17. More information here.

Ziva Dynamics

(Updated March 26) The company is extending free remote licenses to clients of its Ziva VFX character creation tool. This offer is available until May 18 or until further notice. More information here.

Vfx guidelines

(Updated March 24) The Visual Effects Society has launched a document that’s being continuously updated with advice for vfx studios transitioning to a work-from-home setup. The advice is sourced from professionals and includes a comparison of remote desktop solutions, as well as guidance from software developers. Access it here.

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