According to Xconomy.com, there's a new player in town in 3D design and graphics software—a field named Lagoa, which has rolled out a cloud-based interactive rendering and collaboration platform. According to the article, Lagoa has “raised $1.6 million in seed funding from 500 Startups, Atlas Venture, Real Ventures, Rho Ventures, and angel investors.”Describing itself as the only one of its kind, Lagoa allows for inexpensive 2-D and 3-D rendering and modeling with collaborative teams online, without having to download anything whatsoever onto your in-house computers. Pretty impressive. Also, from the look of the projects, there’s nothing cheap about their rendering assets and resources.
I signed into their system to take a look around, and the interface is smooth. However, they don’t seem to have placed a team member in the place of the user yet. That is a critical mistake on development teams; someone always has to take the voice of the user. Like many designers, I pride myself on being able to come into a program and get up to speed pretty quick. Their system glitched right off the bat and created 3 projects instead of one, and there wasn’t a quick and easy way that was obvious clicking around their system to delete the rouges that I didn’t want. It would have been nice to pop into a quick walk-through on their system, and although their helper on chat (a nice feature) said there should have been one, it didn’t appear for me when I signed in.
Despite these and other missteps in their UI/UX, the system itself looks like it’s pretty interesting. The idea that I can pop online to work on a 3-D project for a small monthly fee is awesome! Compare it to Lightwave, Maya, or AutoCAD, which are all break-the-bank programs with huge footprints on your computer, and Lagoa looks like it’s well positioned to disrupt an industry that has been taking a heavy toll on its users for quite awhile. An upstart is undoubtedly going to be welcomed by the designers, products designers, and engineers out there, especially in the small to mid-sized shops. This is one of the great uses of cloud computing.
I still have to put the program through its paces to see how it performs throughout all the stages of a project, but the first look is promising. For designers who live in the 3-D development, I would say that Lagoa is definitely worth a serious look.
My guess is Lagoa won’t have any trouble closing its next round of financing. They should take a look at their UI/UX for first time users, however. Some of the fundamentals that have been overlooked could seriously hurt their user acceptance and retention if they are not addressed.