The Discreet name is no more, while Avid has made a play for Pinnacle. Rebranding is coming to a desktop near you.

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3DS Max has had more name changes than I’d care to count (six, including company name – but then, I’m fairly lazy). From the early Kinetix 3D Studio to news that Discreet – the company making the top-flight 3D Studio (sorry, 3DS Max) – is to be rebranded, users will be more than confused, and slightly bewildered, at this latest turn of events.
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Discreet, which used to be called Discreet Logic (keep up at the back) is now to be called – deep breath – Autodesk Media and Entertainment division. Or AME, presumably, though if I were Autodesk, I’d have slipped a Creative in there to make ACME, which would have been cool.
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The reason for the rebranding? It’s a good ‘un: “the brand change signifies the incremental resources Autodesk Media and Entertainment will be utilizing to better serve customers,” parrots the press release. Makes it all worth it.
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As with any rebranding exercise, this will take a lot of work to get distilled into users’ minds. Discreet as a prefix to the likes of Flame, Inferno, Flint, Combustion, and 3DS Max has a high-level of cool – the word, the logo, the entire resonance of the Discreet brand has actively meshed with the mindset of those quirky, edgy, creative types who actually use the systems.
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<p>
Autodesk, on the other hand, is a giant in the world of architecture, engineering design, and stuff that demands extreme measurements and unstintingly rigid adherence to style guides and engineering demands. Architects, I think, naturally steer clear of ‘creative’ brands when using tools to design a building. Engineers want trusted values, predictable output, and none of your funky blue logos, ta very much.
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<p>
So how 3D and visual effects artists will take to a brand that is more at home in a suit than camo pants remains to be seen, but Autodesk Media and Entertainment Flame simply doesn’t roll off the tongue at the moment. Sorry.
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<p>
More interesting, though, is the rebranding that Pinnacle – maker of video-editing tools, is about to undergo. It has been picked up by Avid for $400 million or so in one of the biggest, and more dramatic, takeovers the video industry has ever seen. 
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<p>
This meeting of two brands – and cultures – will be an interesting time for users of the products. Where Avid has always enjoyed the professional high-ground, Pinnacle has shifted ten million consumer products so far. Avid has never had much success in the consumer space – as I’m sure it’d be the first to admit – so buying a complete consumer package (plus assorted high-end solutions) makes sense. It’s just that this move will most-likely see the end of the Pinnacle brand.
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<p>
Brands evolve – it keeps designers in biscuits and coffee – but some are wiser than others. Buying another entity, with a rich brand heritage, means you have to quickly stamp your own brand onto it, as in the case of Avid and Pinnacle. Avid is also the better-known brand among video editors, so in terms of buying into a name, it’s a no-brainer.
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<p>
Discreet, sorry, Autodesk Media and Entertainment – aside from being tedious to type out – is another story altogether. The jury is out on this one.
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