R-Animation Studios have reached out to us to advise that they are taking remedial action regarding the stolen content. They have advised that they were not aware of any assets being stolen, as any content that was stolen was provided to them by freelance artists.
I understand that there may be concerns regarding the Nisarga add-on, and I want to assure you that I take this matter very seriously.
As soon as the issue was brought to my attention by Blender Market, I took immediate steps to investigate and rectify the situation.The core of the issue lies in the fact that those models in the Nisarga library were provided by freelance artists I hired(I got cheated). This oversight was not intentional, and I deeply regret that it happened.
I am actively working to replace these assets with ones that I have personally created, and I am also in the process of removing any assets that do not meet the necessary criteria.
From Nisarg-yah to Nisarg-nah: The Nisarga saga
(I spent way to long on that punchline)...
It's been somewhere in the region of ~18 months since we partnered with Nisarga to bring 'their' asset library to True-Terrain users. We worked (a lot) with them to convert all of 'their' assets into compatible files that could be installed in True-Terrain and then gave all you lovely people a "teaser pack" to test out the quality of the assets and if you liked them, a nice little discount code to get some money off if you decided to buy them.
As part of the partnership, we took it upon ourselves to do some due-diligence and ensure that all the content was theirs and we ran checks on each and every Blend file they supplied to ensure that we didn't come across any suspiciously named assets or textures and to our delight, all the content legitimately seemed like their own. After spending a couple of weeks ensuring the files were all formatted and ready-to-go, we shipped them back in the content pack formats, provided them with the details on how their users can install in True-Terrain and then set a date for the partnership to go live.
All seemed to be going well and our users were happy to get some free new assets they could add to their scenes, we were happy that we could partner with a new creator and the Nisarga team were happy they could partner with us.
Then things got a little weird
After a couple of months of smooth sailing, we had a few customers contact us regarding some missing files. Icons that were missing which was causing a miscount in the asset amount; Icons that had no assets so when a user tried to add it to the scene, it broke the scatter system and threw an error; assets missing textures... Which, all seems like some teething problems that could be easily ironed out by the Nisarga devs. However, when users were contacting them, they weren't responding, which then led to us fixing their assets and dealing with users on a case-by-case basis (because, y'know. They're not our assets and we don't have the rights to share the whole library). So we reached out to them to see what the issues were and were advised that they'd fix the problems, there were some personal issues needing to be resolved and they were now back at work.
This went on for longer than it should have.
Nisarga 3.0 or whatever...
They did a huge update about 6 months into our partnership, a big new batch of assets, new addon features and a 'brand new scatter system' (that looked eerily familiar), but we didn't bother looking too much into this because we'd been advised that the issues had been addressed and all was good with the universe again.
We laid off the promotion material for them though, and only made some small mention of them now and again. That was until we found out that they'd taken OUR scatter system, and copy-pasted it right into their tool.
Now, I'm (Richard) a fairly forgiving guy. However, with the whole debacle of dealing with their users (because we had pride in our work and didn't want users to get the wrong idea) and also the long stretch of abrupt radio silence from them, and now the very clearly stolen scatter system we worked very hard to make, I decided the best course of action was to rain down on them with force of a thousand suns... I was talked out of this very quickly. And provided a clinical email to send to them to discuss further our relations with them.
Radio silence 2.0
With our concerns clearly ignored, we decided to wash our hands of the partnership with Nisarga and leave it at that. However, we've not been active in updating True-Terrain (new blog coming about that soon) and we forgot that we had their teaser content still available to our users.
Fast forward to the 18th of September 2023:
A user of ours contacts us to advise of an error when trying to pack their blend file.
We let the user know (politely I think), that this wasn't an error of ours, and they were missing some files from an Evermotion content pack...
🤦... Should have seen this coming really
So, we took it upon ourselves to check the pack over. That filepath looks very wrong for someone who doesn't have any content from Evermotion.
I opened each file, attempted to unpack the files (which is what our pack option does first) and used the option for "use existing directory (write new when necessary)"; low and behold. Evermotion.
We proceeded to do this with every asset and more than 70% of them were assets from either Speedtree, Evermotion and Maxtree, which is a big no-no because they're copyrighted content and belong only to the original creators.
Reaching out to Evermotion
After spending hours checking all the files, removing access to the teaser pack from our users downloads, I contacted Evermotion to enquire whether they had a partnership with Nisarga and that they (Nisarga) were allowed to redistribute the contents of their (Evermotion's) library. This was at 1am GMT. 6 hours and 23 minutes later I received an email back. I sat and looked at it, wishing the content of the email said something along the lines of "Bro, of course. They're good guys and 100% haven't stolen any content". *Click*...
👁️👄👁️ And now we're here
So, to all our users:
We have removed all content related to Nisarga from True-Terrain. Technically (and legally) you all do not have the rights to use that content, as it is, technically stolen. Granted, not by you all; you have clearly paid for this and for that we apologise that this has happened to you. We will be removing any affiliation we have with Nisarga, and their stores on Blender Market will be removed, and likely (hopefully) also on Gumroad.
This is a sad day for us all. I (Richard) am truly and sincerely livid about this. Any affiliate that True-VFX has/had with R-Animation Studios (Nisarga) was entirely my own decision and. It was myself who has the final say on anything of this level regarding how the business runs, and I feel that it is my personal responsibility to have spent more time and acted with more care regarding this relationship. I allowed the idea of our users having an easily accessible asset library cloud my better judgment and going forward decisions of this nature will no longer hinge on me as a deciding factor. Decisions like this will be voted upon by the team and if needed, select members of our community.
As part of this apology, we will be providing all users of True-Terrain some new content from our unreleased library of content. This will be delivered in the coming weeks, as we have not had time to organise the content as packs for our tools yet. And due to the short notice of this issue, we have not yet had the availability to create the packs. We will email all users of True-Terrain when the content has been added. The amount of content will be the same for all users and in the region of around 10 new asset types. I and the team would like to thank you all for the support you have given to us over the years, and I assure you this will not happen again.