Thursday is the last day of the exhibition. It’s time to take some final meetings and make a last sweep through the exhibition and Job Fair to see what’s up. I met some of our friends from CGSociety for lunch where we talked about some interesting collaborations for the upcoming year, including the possibility of offering CheckMate classes as part of their very successful CGWorkshops.
With Kristy and Andrew from CGSociety
In the NewTek booth, there was a lot of excitement around Lightwave 11. Although the release wasn’t new at Siggraph, there were nonstop presentations to large crowds interested in new dynamics tools and shaders for 11.5 (due out at the end of the year), and Lightwave’s seemingly bulletproof FBX import/export. For the occasion, NewTek brought back a familiar face: Kiki Stockhammer, the notorious demo jockey for the Video Toaster in the 1990′s. Kiki, who always knew her stuff, was an inspiration back when SIGGRAPH was very light on female attendance. Nowadays Kiki’s main occupation is Lead Singer in the Star Trek homage band Warp 11, but she’s returned to NewTek as a part-time presenter.
3D gals gotta stick together!
And what SIGGRAPH would be complete without swag? Strangely, the best swag was at the Job Fair. While I searched for a candidate for our newly listed Senior Technical Artist position, I picked up a few items to take home.
Belt pack from Globo
Mouse pad from Keyshot
Slot machine from WMS
On my way out, I discovered that SIGGRAPH was holding a $3 sale on Electronic Theater and Animation Festival DVDs from years past. This was, of course, impossible to resist. With my arms fully laden, I left the convention center with visions of home-based film festivals in the comfort of my living room, complete with microwave popcorn.
11 DVDs with more than 24 hours of animation and CG. Yes, I will be rather busy this weekend.
And with that, I bid a fond farewell to SIGGRAPH. Until next year, that is!
Today TurboSquid held a Birds of a Feather meeting on 3D modeling standards. About 100 3D professionals and students joined us for a lively discussion on the CheckMate standard in its current form, and possible future developments. In attendance were CheckMate Advisory Board member Jed Denjean along with folks from Autodesk, Pixar, Ikea, Boeing, and various other companies involved in 3D modeling.
Michele talks about CheckMate
Then it was back to the exhibition for more technology. I was particularly intrigued by the Keyshot renderer, which imports 3D models created in other programs and creates photorealistic product shots in a matter of minutes. I’m definitely going to try this one out as soon as I can.
The exhibition is finally open, giving us a peek at all the new technology for 3D modeling, animation, motion capture, and rendering. The AMD booth is showing off their lightning-fast graphics cards with this larger-than-life rendering of a female head from TurboSquid artist Komba3d. The rendering, besides being big enough to be seen from space, is absolutely stunning in its detail.
The Pixar booth is always great fun. This year the booth is all about their new movie Brave, with arrows sticking out of odd parts of the booth for emphasis.
You can always count on the graphics card gurus at nVidia to do something cool at SIGGRAPH. Here, they painted a virtual hole in the ground just outside the convention center. I’m not sure what the point of this was, other than to get people to take a picture of it and put it on their blogs. I guess it worked.
Mondays at SIGGRAPH are nice and relaxed. After getting my badge, I checked out the Birds of a Feather meetings. Terry Posthumus from Humber College gave a great talk on how experts are made, not born, and how to apply the 10,000 hours rule popularized by the Malcolm Gladwell book Outliers to become an expert in 3D modeling and animation.
Then I attended the Autodesk Educators event, where we got a sneak peek at all the new features for 3ds Max, Maya, and Mudbox. These are the same features the general public will see at the exhibition Tuesday through Thursday, but I got to see them in a comfortable seat while munching on a delicious array of cookies and dried fruit.
Walking through the vast halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center, you never know what you’re going to find. Small technology teams often set up a mini-booth right there in the hallway, showing off their products old-time market style. One such team is working on software to turn a 3D model into a pattern for fabric, so the model can be constructed as a plush toy. The stuffed animal they had on display was, of course, a giant squid. The technology isn’t ready for consumers yet, but it’s just a matter of time. I can’t wait to own my very own giant squid hat.
This week is the annual SIGGRAPH conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Tens of thousands attendees will convene over the next few days for classes on CG techniques, hands-on demonstrations of new technology, meetings, discussions, and gatherings of all kinds. SIGGRAPH also includes a nonstop animation festival and a feast-for-the-eyes exhibition of new CG technology. For CG aficionados in North America (and around the world), SIGGRAPH is like Disney World—there’s not enough time to do and see everything, but whatever you do manage to fit in is always inspiring, intriguing, and just plain fun.
This is my 21st SIGGRAPH. The first day, Sunday, is usually pretty laid-back. I attended the Unofficial 3ds Max User Gathering, a gathering organized every year by 3ds Max enthusiasts for as long as I can remember. The past few years it’s been set up by Mike McCarthy, Autodesk Master and all-around knowledgeable guy. I look forward to this meeting every year as a chance to meet up with old friends and make some new ones.
Unofficial 3ds Max User Gathering
No 3ds Max party is complete without Bobo Petrov, master MAXScripter and everyone’s favorite Bulgarian.
Back at the hotel, it seems everyone staying here is attending SIGGRAPH. Over cocktails by the pool, I chatted with an artist from the NASA 3D Resources team and an instructor from VANarts. What did we talk about? 3D modeling and animation, of course! These kinds of relaxed and enlightening encounters are what I love most about SIGGRAPH.
Stay tuned for more as the days continue and the conference ramps up to full speed.