Finale 3D Hobbyist - Review

Discussion in 'Firing Systems And Fusing Fireworks' started by ProZ78, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. I finally broke down and purchased 3D Hobbyist. I want to state that this is my opinion and you may have a different opinion. I have been doing fireworks for the last 15 years, the last 5 or so with Finale Fireworks. I had the pro version which was great, I was able to print labels and sort them, see racks, change some things around, it did the job. When Finale came out with the Hobbyist I figured I would give it a try. I finished scripting my show and when I went to print the labels out I sort them so the fireworks are grouped together so I do not have to hunt and peck for them, wrong... have to have pro version to sort the labels. It sorts them by rail, pin, and angle. Now I have to spend almost a whole day just labeling product, which before it took me just a few hours. When I went to print them, everything I tried and what was recommended to me always through the label off center and got worst as each page printed out. Almost to the point I had half a firework on one label and half on the other. So I had to sit here and print each page one at a time so it would not mess up. Racks are nice to see and why he took that away just blows my mind. The reports on Hobbyist are horrible as well. Its more confusing than anything. The only thing I believe Finale 3d got better, was the visuals.

    I know Finale 3D really doesnt make much money off the hobbyist or the pro version, they only make their money on the inventory portion (around 700 bucks a month). So that leaves me to believe that they do not care about this software at all for the people scripting shows. I have heard that Cobra Scripting Software has a new version coming soon and hopefully it eases the pain for us small guys (which is majority) and it should be way cheaper. I have also gotten wind that Casabella Fireworks has a new inventory software and is regulated by the ATF. Its only about 700 bucks and you own the license to it.

    I will not be renewing my Finale 3D for next year unless changes are made. But then again, everyone is stating that and probably nothing is going to be done about it.
  2. Dodgey

    Dodgey Pro Firer/Crew

    Interesting. I'm on F3D hobbyist too. My feedback so far.

    - usability - a massive improvement. Much easier and faster to use when creating shows. Too many improvements to list really. So much easier. Mostly down to having active script, inventory and display screens open all at once.

    - labels work fine for me. No alignment issues. However... They sort, as you say, by module which isn't useful. Previous sort was by calibre.
    - reports - these are rushed and incomplete. This is because the full version let's lyou create bespoke reports and they locked this feature out of the hobby version, but forgot to implement default reports. I requested several of them and Will rushed them out, including the pull sheet. This is why they are a bit crap. I have already given Will a list of corrections, including the labels, and it should be in hand....
    - racks - they kept rack out of the hobby version to try and make a big differentiation between hobby and pro. I pestered them (Will) that regardless, we still need to know how many racks we need , and he added that, and it works!. No visuals, but you do get an accurate report showing how many racks you need.

    I got a lot of immediate responses from Will, and recently it slowed down. I think they have been at trade fairs / shows....

    I'm assuming fixes will speed up again shortly. Will has confirmed he's received my fix notes and will action them.

    We will see. I do know that he is keen to win over hobby version users, hence the addition of rack counts.
    Pyromania likes this.
  3. Dodgey

    Dodgey Pro Firer/Crew

    I posted this to will and he replied:
    "To his credit, the poster is absolutely right that the software has to be good enough to earn his continued business, and it sounds like it isn't yet. To our credit, he is absolutely not right that nothing will be done about it. We are trying to earn the business of hobbyists and pros alike by fixing all the issues that people bring up, and adding improvements that make scripting a delightful experience. For the last six weeks we've been working on a new effect palette feature, which we just released two days ago. I hope the poster will find this new feature as a step in the right direction. His problem with label alignment is probably his printer being set to "adjust to page"; we haven't had any reports of labels not formatting right. His problem with the missing label sort option is totally legitimate. I've been trying to get that out as quickly as possible, but we've been hammered with 4th of July support in the US."
    Pyromania, RocketRev and Pyro Pete like this.
  4. Dodgey

    Dodgey Pro Firer/Crew

    I've now designed about 6 musicals on Finale 3D hobby, and I have to say, it is STREETS ahead of Finale Business. It is so much easier and intuitive to use. I'll jot down some thoughts as I work on my latest 2 shows.

    1 - The script window is clear, big, resizable, and dead easy to sort (to spot if you have put items in the wrong positions, or wrong angles, or wrong calibre positions)
    2 - The inventory is infinitely easier to search through, and you can modify items on the fly, i.e. you can simply type in the duration box, overwriting it, and it'll change the item in your inventory, plus the same item/s in your current show.
    3 - Everything now has a keyboard shortcut (make chain = Ctrl-H yay!)
    4 - The visuals are a massive step up, and you can move the camera to the exact audience distance and then look up - so you can see all calibre shells, and how the layering will work.
    5 - labels are a massive improvement, using colour to help identify various features.
    6 - angles snap firmly now - not once have I accidentally left a 30 degree shell at 29 degrees, or 20 degrees, as happens with business all the time

    Just so much has fundimentally changed due to a new back end that it's hard to list all of the changes, it's simply a LOT quicker and intuitive to work with.

    It's just such a nice system to use, and for $350 a year I'm feeling it is worth it..
    Pyromania, Jon and Locky Smith like this.