Friday 10 August 2007 - 09:44AM
Barbara Robertson

On the last day, it becomes painfully clear how much goes on at SIGGRAPH. That’s the day when I wish I had done this, moan about why I didn’t remember to go to that sketch, and walk quickly from one end of the exhibition hall to the other scanning for technology I might have missed. This year, I started with an annual breakfast with a friend who is now at Microsoft. Had an appointment at Organic Motion, which, as Renee says, is definitely worth following. Lunch with Leonard Teo (!) and Kevin Clark of Softimage. Zipped back to the show floor to look at  Houdini 9’s lovely new interface, which is getting much buzz. And then, the best end of SIGGRAPH moment ever.

NVIDIA had smartly installed several cubicles inside their booth for meetings – a quiet place where you can shut out all the show floor noise. Gary Yost and Rolf Berteig ushered me into one of these cubicles to demonstrate “mental mill Artist Edition.” Gary and Rolf are two of the brains behind the original 3ds max, so it’s always great to spend time with them. For a while now, they’ve been working with mental images and what they showed me is very cool: a shader creation tool for artists (not just geeks, but they’ll like it, too) that supports MetaSL, the universal meta shader language developed by Mental Images. You create a shader in mental mill using its graphical user interface. MetaSL compiles it and the shader renders using your favorite rendering software, whatever that is, on whatever CPU or GPU or custom processor you have. NVIDIA is bundling mental mill Artist Edition as part of its FX Composer 2; a standalone version is targeted for fourth quarter 2007.

We were deep in a discussion about what all this might mean for artists when we heard the distant sound of a bagpipe playing “Amazing Grace,” SIGGRAPH’s traditional sign off for the exhibition. But, we kept talking inside this quiet little room with a laptop on the table and this genius software running on it. And talking, and talking. When we opened the door, we all stepped out onto a bare concrete floor. The carpets had been rolled up and the booths were mostly gone and we roared with laughter. It was perfect.

Organic Motion
SideFX's Houdini 9
Mental Images
Softimage SIGGRAPH 2007 Video

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SIGGRAPH tradeshow attractions.

Thursday 09 August 2007 - 23:47PM
Renee Dunlop

My batteries are charged again and that is a very good thing, because today is turning out to be jam packed with great stuff. I started with Tippett Studios and an inside scoop at their upcoming movie, ‘Enchanted.’ Seeing this film is on my definite to-do list. From what I noted it’s going to be a joy to watch technically, artistically, and creatively, and just the clips made me laugh. Though I can’t reveal too much yet, I can tell you that it involves some of the founding Disney storylines with a twist, created by the best of the Tippett artists in top quality 3D.

A quick hop by Mersive Technologies gave me a chance to see my future living room entertainment center. Mersive had a 9000-pixels wide screen set up on the second floor and are capable of building one almost any size. Yum.

Organic Motion is a company I think may really go places. MoCap without any body gear or prep time, all a person needs to do is step into the stage area and move. Movement is captured in real time with an innovative approach that measures bone length. Not only is it a terrific system for animators that want to record their own motions, but it is perfect for other venues such as medical applications where movement needs to be studied when the prep process is too grueling for the patient.

Next I visited Motion Theory, a small company in Venice, CA, near me. What struck me first was how relaxed they were- mighty surprising considering the field and the surrounding chaos- and how well they cooperated with each other. It’s a small production company that works mostly on music videos and commercials, and expands to handle the flow of projects, (they are hiring!) You remember my comment yesterday about the stellar artists that produced the Electronic Theater commercials? Well, this group produced several of those.

An announcement let the media know that the future of Siggraph will be changing. The floor layout will condense subjects of interest. The convention itself will run from Monday to Friday, but the exhibition will remain from Tuesday to Thursday. Call for Entry dates are earlier, but the completion dates are extended. And there is now an annual event called Siggraph Asia too.

I next pillaged the FJORG Viking Animation Event. The three winning teams won a lunch with Sony executives, then DreamWorks will take the first and second place teams, via stretch limo, to the DreamWorks Animation Headquarters in LA for a catered dinner with their top executives, an early screening of Bee Movie, and a tour of their beautiful facility. I’ve been there. Those winners are in for a treat.

The final research for the evening was the Studio Pendulum party at the House of Blues. Unfortunately, somehow half our group had received VIP tickets while the other half received General Admission. The line for the latter wrapped around the block. Rather than split up, we opted to head out for a quiet drink instead, and I got to meet some more of the great team at CGSociety. Those guys rock! (But I bet I can still out drink them. ;-)

Related links:
Tippett Studios
Mersive Technologies
Organic Motion
Motion Theory
Studio Pendulum
Photo slide show.

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Saunter through SIGGRAPH

Thursday 09 August 2007 - 17:52PM
Barbara Robertson

I think that for every other vendor at the show there must be a motion capture vendor. Amazing range of mocap solutions – markerless, camera-less, wireless, optical, mechanical, pick your favorite. Other than the big news from Autodesk – buying Skymatter – mostly what I’m seeing is incremental improvements in products. Massive for Windows and with hair and fur, for example.

During the Massive press conference, Stephen Regelous demonstrated new features in Massive – blending between keyframe animation and rigid body dynamics, traffic lanes, level of detail for subdivision surfaces, dynamic hair and fur and faster cloth sims, FBX support, and a Windows version. I sat at a table with some press people who knew nothing about Massive because they usually concentrate on other areas of graphics, and it was fun to watch their jaws drop.

But the geekiest cool technology at the show could be from Aguru Images in Alexandria, Virginia. They have three products, three different ways to capture shapes and reflectance. The “AguruDome,” a giant lighted sphere, which people who follow Paul Debevec’s work will recognize. Sit someone inside and capture the reflectance data on their face. The “Aguru Scope,” a compact device based on papers by Ken Perlin and licensed from NYU’s Media Research Lab, captures reflectance data for materials. A single capture can provide hundreds of angles of incidence. “The Aguru Scanner” captures shape, translucence and shading of flat objects. Booth #1142 if you get the chance.

Saw the sketch given by the Electronic Theater winners and now I understand why the winning film, “Dreammaker,” won. I still haven’t seen the entire 14 minute film, though. Can’t wait.

Gelato and Plush Life. NVIDIA’s digital film group introduced Gelato 2.2, which includes new shaders for velvet and for Joe Alter’s “Shave and a Haircut.� To provide the Gelato developers with a production environment for testing new features, the division has hired Tim Heath as resident artist. Heath, who came to NVIDIA via Square, Electronic Arts and ILM, created a short film, “Plush Life,� that debuted at SIGGRAPH.

What else? I missed the Softimage Vicon party at the House of Blues because I went to the Robert Abel, Digital Production, Omnibus party, aka the DOA party. It was a great collection of luminaries, most of whom worked at one or the other facility. It was a warm night, a rooftop filled with brilliant people who had helped spark the visual effects industry – and many are continuing to do so. I saw footage from “Looker,” which I had heard about, but never seen. We had good food and drinks thanks to Autodesk. When the bar closed near midnight, everyone moved to the penthouse in a nearby hotel and partied on.

Related links:
Agura Images
Plush Life and galleries
Photo slide show.

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SIGGRAPH Wednesday

Thursday 09 August 2007 - 01:03AM
Renee Dunlop

The day started with a Panel on The Uncanny Valley of Eeriness, with a group who shed more brain cells than I’ll ever have, especially after being up till 4:00am. Theirry Chaminade, Karl F. MacDorman, and Joe Letteri were the guest speakers. Chaminade and MacDorman mathematically explored their findings based on studies they had performed. Letteri used Gollum as his example, talking about how and why Weta tweaked Andy Serkis’s MoCap performance. Ironically, though Serkis made it his goal to steal every scene, Gollum’s performance had to be bigger than life to be believable.

The Art Gallery had some compelling surprises. One was a supposed to be an electric chair. The participant signed a release form before continuing to the next room. There they were strapped into the chair. The “generator” next to them filled with flames, then hit them with simulated voltage created by a series of simple gadgets made from massage units, but the anticipation made the effect feel real. Afterwards the smoking carcass was served with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. OK, I made that part up. Another cool display that is traveling the world takes the image of the viewer and stores it. When the next viewer looks into the glass, the former visage is incorporated while the new one is also stored. As this travels the world, it will store and incorporate thousands of faces.

SIGGRAPH Featured Speaker Scott McCloud was an absolute blast. There is no way I could do his humor justice in a brief few lines. With a brilliant, blind father who graduated from Harvard, became a scientist, engineer and inventor, McCloud chided how he had fallen far from the tree. Even his young daughter piped up from the audience to agree with him. Fascinated with the format of comics and the space between the panels that represents time, he considers comics unique with time as the art form, and now obsessively explores the endless format possibilities with the internets XYZ format.

Emerging Technologies, my next stop, now not only includes juried content from submissions, but curated technologies as well. Every year this area makes science fiction look tame. Spinning-Disk 3D Television uses a rapidly spinning slanted mirror to create a model that can be viewed in full 3D by walking around the box. The Transparent Cockpit, ala Contact travel pod, allows you to seemingly see through the walls of your vehicle via cameras mounted on the outside. Think helicopters with what appears to be transparent walls, improving safety (and terrifying passengers like me).

I ended the night with the Electronic Theater. Though most of the work was top notch, I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the lack of completely new content. There were several commercials and demo reels from studios, all outstanding work but still hinting at advertising, though I can’t deny the artists behind them deserve every bit of recognition. Blue Sky finally gave Scrat his 15 minutes of fame in a great series of catastrophes. And The Ark, this year's winner, was a moving and disturbing piece with an unexpected ending.

There were parties, events and presentations going on into the evening all over San Diego, all with that irreverent SIGGRAPH flavor, and there was no way to be at all of them.  Syd Mead was the feature speaker at the Softimage event at Spreckels on Broadway.  Giving his view of the industry back in the ‘Blade Runner’ times, gives off plenty of inventive energy into the growing industry today.

Related links:
Softimage Event on YouTube
Photo slide show

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Wednesday 08 August 2007 - 19:40PM
Barbara Robertson

Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting! Seems like everyone wants to hire 100 people. Well, maybe not everyone, but many studios.

Digital Domain needs around, yes, 100 people – digital matte painters, tracking artists, compositors, flame compositors, roto artists, previz artists, TDs, software and pipeline engineers. They have three big films coming up: Speed Racer, Mummy 3, and Benjamin Button.

Laika, the former Vinton Studios, now owned and funded by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, has grown from 108 to 420 people in the past year and expects to double again by 2009. The studio is working on stop motion and CG features.

BZ Petroff, the director of talent acquisition at LucasFilm said they have between 150 and 250 openings in their various divisions. Right now, the focus stateside is on engineering -- R&D at ILM, game engineers and programmers at LucasArts, and animation toolmakers and pipeline engineers at LucasFilm Animation. In the Singapore division, they’re looking for entry level to senior level people to staff their three units: TV animation, handheld gaming, and the digital artists group, which works on films and creates assets for all the divisions. In fact, I learned during the Transformers session this morning that the digital artists group worked on some shots in Transformers. “We’ll do the digital feature out of Singapore,” BZ said.

The Transformers session. I arrived at 7:45 am to be sure everything was all set for the Industrial Light & Magic panelists and discovered, much to my surprise, that people were already sitting in the audience. The SIGGRAPH crew said that some people had arrived at 7:00. Boggles the mind. The SIGGRAPH crew was outstanding, by the way – couldn’t have been more efficient and helpful. The session was outstanding, too, which I can say, because all I did, really, was introduce the visual effects highlights reel and the people from ILM, and field questions at the end. By 8:30 when the session started, every seat was filled and I heard that people were also in overflow rooms. Scott Farrar, visual effects supervisor, led off with comments about why he thinks the work raised the bar in terms of creating photo-realism, especially for hard surface models. Then Jeff White, digital production supervisor, masterminded the slides and video clips that showed how the crew created the effects, and everyone on the panel jumped in as appropriate. On the panel in addition to Scott Farrar and Jeff White were Scott Benza, animation supervisor, Patrick Tubach, compositing supervisor, Richard Bluff, matte department supervisor and digital matte supervisor for the film, and Hilmar Koch, TD department supervisor and CG supervisor for the film. They gave the audience an hour and 40 minutes of amazing making of’s. You shoulda been there…or, maybe you were.

Afterwards, I had breakfast with Haarm-Pieter Duiker who is launching his new software company, Duiker Research Corporation and its first product: Color Symmetry. Haarm-Pieter was a technical developer for The Matrix films, and you can find many of the technical papers and sketches resulting from his work at ESC in the SIGGRAPH archives. Think Burly Brawl! Color Symmetry is a suite of plug-ins for about every 3D and compositing software package on about every platform and operating system that lets visual effects artists view their work as it would look on film stock. It thus eliminates (or reduces) the need for constant printing to film to check results. Check out the rest of the program features on the website, below.

I finally got to the show floor about 11 and started with some of the smaller booths on the edges. I tried on a twelve thousand dollar wireless glove, which didn’t seem all that intuitive, actually. After a watching me twisting my arm to attach the virtual hand to a gear on the screen for a while, the demo guy said that maybe they needed to recalibrate the glove. I didn’t try on the high-end wearable display device because it looked way too weird – like a wearable suitcase thanks to its two airbags, which, the company claims, makes it comfortably adjustable.

I ran into Seth Rosenthal and Jim Hourihan from Tweak Films and learned that they’re now concentrating on creating and selling software rather than producing visual effects. The first product out of Tweak Software is “RV,� an image and sequence viewer and pipeline tool, which Weta Digital has been using for about a year now. This is not just any viewer. It handles HDRI and floating point images. “You can load an EXR sequence, adjust exposures, crank the gamma, and much more,� says Rosenthal. “Jim designed it using a procedural system. The top part is scripted; it’s customizable so users can modify it easily to fit into their pipelines.� (If you don’t recognize Jim Hourihan’s name, you should spend a little time googling.) The US$299 product runs on Macs and Linux; a Windows version is in the works. They offer discounts for site licenses, and everyone gets free updates for a year.

Stopped in at FJORG! at the perfect moment: the Deadline. The 16 teams of animators finished their 32-hour iron-animator marathon at 5:00, so because I was there with someone from DreamWorks, one of the sponsors, I saw all 16 films. Amazing. I’ve seen entries in film festival contests that didn’t have stories as good as the stories in some of these short films. We’ll find out who won tomorrow. Quick YouTube link below.

The Luxology dinner, the classiest press event at the show, as always, hosted by Brad Peebler and Bob Bennett, was on Monday night. Near the entrance to the area reserved for us in the snazzy restaurant, a couple dozen digital picture frames on a small round tabletop displayed slide shows of models created by Modo users. On the wall were large clay maquettes of animal heads, that, of course, prompted everyone to note how easily Modo users could reproduce them. It was interesting to learn from Brad that many product designers and architects/interior designers are adopting Modo these days, and the picture frames on the tabletop blinked in agreement.

Related links:
Digital Domain
Color Symmetry
Tweak Films
Virtual Eye

YouTube FJORG! link

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Wednesday 08 August 2007 - 02:36AM
Paul Hellard

This year, the Electronic Theater begins with audience participation at each setting. Games of Asteroids, Tempest and Star Wars, all green-line classics, are shown full screen to rapturous applause.  The ET show is well worth the walk or free bus ride from the Convention Center.

The program is a great range of technical, experimental, character short and movie blockbuster work, a white diamond spark from the millions of person hours spent producing this great entertainment.  Looking at the range of disciplines shown, we have to acknowledge that this was a grand year for animation and CG for the studios, and so it is important to remember those students coming up through the ranks.

Today, I had a chance to catch up with Carlos Baena and Shawn Kelly. Their history reaches back to having fun together in art class, and now they run the very popular online animation school, Animation Mentor. Yesterday at SIGGRAPH, the second ever class graduation came through their ceremony. Two thirds of the graduating class travelled from as far away as India and Norway to collect their certificates, celebrate and, most importantly, meet many of their classmates and mentor in the flesh for the first time. Animation Mentor ended this graduation ceremony with a wild beach ball toss. The ceremony's theme was Hawaii, and included an appearance by Co-Founder Carlos Baena in a grass skirt.

With the opening of SIGGRAPH’s trade show floor this morning, we were able to see and experience a slice of the information from sessions, out on the studio’s stands.  The software and hardware vendors weren’t missing out either.  Several stands have special guest speakers discussing their work.

Over at Ballistic Publishing, it is no different, and we made welcome EXPOSÉ 5 Excellence Award winners Anders Lejczak from Sweden and Jessy Villieaux from Canada for the morning and Character Modeling 2 author and artist, Taron appeared in the afternoon. Tomorrow, we have Holli Alvarado, Stone Perales and Raphael Lacoste coming to visit.  If you would like to purchase a Ballistic book and have a favorite featured artist sign it, please come over to #313.

Related links:
Photo slide show
Animation Mentor

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Siggraph diary, star date 8/6/2007

Tuesday 07 August 2007 - 14:24PM
Renee Dunlop

Siggraph diary, star date 8/6/2007: The geeks have descended on San Diego and have taken over the town. I encountered many of the species in my travels today, and though all seem unaccustomed to light and frivolities, they have adapted well to the new environment.

My day started with a jaunt to a Birds of a Feature meeting on Virtual Reality. One of the most interesting speakers was on a display in Emerging Technologies called BYU-BYU-View, a wind communication device that with video chat capabilities that includes wind. Long distance lovers can blow kisses, or share a birthday cake and blow out the candles. The drawback? Only one can eat the cake! From there I hightailed it to SoftImage. They gave an overview of their latest software and deals, prices, and capabilities. I would suggest you check it out, the sale only lasts until September 6th.

Next I hustled to the Exhibition floor to catch a demo of Toon Boom, the software used to create the Simpson’s Movie. The software makes more than donuts! I was really impressed. The software rocks, it’s easy to use, intuitive and practical and even the node based composting isn’t terrifying to a traditional animator. Then on to a meeting with a startup called Emdigo who creates 3D content for mobile phones. They are new on the marketplace but getting quite a bit of attention. So far they are creating wallpaper and animations using characters such as Hello Kitty, Spider Man, Lego, and various sports figures in Open GL ES.

We also ran into Michael Allen, the sole Australian Student Volunteer. Coming from so far away to experience the conference as a volunteer was pretty fun for him. "Being my first time in the USA and my first time attending SIGGRAPH, it was an inspiration," he said. "The most rewarding for me was meeting people from around the world whose interests lay within the same field."

On to a Special Session for Happy Feet by Animal Logic, where the team took turns presenting what they termed the “Bermuda Triangle”. Rather than pushing things linearly through the pipeline, they freed up the ability to pass work around and back and forth until they accomplished what they were looking for. By using a method called “Lensing”, described as Previs on steroids, they were able to fully visualize what they wanted scenes and characters to do before too much was invested to make improvements. By sending incompleted work to the Lighting department, they were able to do “throw away lighting” and see how shadows were affecting the composition, or how surfaces interacted with the scene. Brilliant!

One face that is hard to forget belongs to Kat Elliott. Freshly graduated from her Animation and Modeling degree at home in Alabama, GA, Kat is the first bright face seen in the CGSociety SIGGRAPH 2006 videos. Her year has been a fun one, completed final year film projects, the task of landing prospective jobs, and some unexpected fame among her fellow students and the SIGGRAPH crowd.

A quick stop by the first International FJORG competition was a great battery charger. 15 teams of three each are competing on a marathon to create the best animation in 32 hours- with distractions. The distraction when I was there? A 10 year old gymnast that could bend herself in ways that made me wince, followed by a marshal arts group who demonstrated such talents as breaking a stick over a man doing an inverted split. Yes, that’s what I said. And still, the animators worked on, even through the shrieks and groans of the visitors.

On to the Autodesk party, the party of all parties, held on an aircraft carrier turned museum. Covered in vintage planes, attendees streamed onto the boat to watch fireworks by Pyro Spectaculars, dance, eat, indulge in the open bar, and ride virtual fighters that spun 360 degrees (many in that order, yikes). I arrived at about 9:30, and left at about 12:30- and there was still a line to get in!

Related links:
Slide show
Toon Boom

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Autodesk User Group

Tuesday 07 August 2007 - 04:24AM
Paul Hellard

At the Autodesk User Group Meeting on Monday night at the Marriott Hotel, Marc Petit announced the move to acquire Skymatter and the application of Mudbox.  The three creators of Mudbox came up onstage to describe how they came to accept the move. I had a quick chat with co-Founder Andrew Camenisch who also told me this was his first time at a SIGGRAPH as a professional.  The last time he was a student along time ago. Such a step up. Autodesk launched 3ds Max 2008, Maya 2008 and MotionBuilder 2.5 (Extension 2) in this deep filled auditorium, with demonstrations of the many new features in spectacular Autodesk style.

Vince Brisebois took the huge audience through some of the new features of the lighting engine within 3ds Max and Autodesk luminary David Brinsmead took some time showing some very humorous nCloth demonstrations in Maya 2008.

In the annual Autodesk Masters Award line up, there were five Autodesk 3ds Max Masters recipients:

Allan McKay, VFX animator and director at Catastrophic FX;
Donald Chen, chief modeller artist at Beijing Sheung Tak Jiabao Digital Technology Co.;
Gary M. Davis, owner of visualZ, LLC.;
Jeff Hanna, senior Technical artist at Volition;
Marek Denko, senior digital artist at ImageFX.

Autodesk Maya Masters awards were won by the following artists:
Colin Plenty, senior technical artist at Electronic Arts;
Greg Brentin, supervising technical director at Dreamworks Animation SKG;
Lee Danskin, deputy head of 3D at Moving Picture Company;
Marc-Andre Guindon, founder of NeoReel;
Rudy Grossman, freelance Maya artist.

Onto the Steel Beach Bash.

Related links:
Photo slide show

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Monday at SIGGRAPH

Tuesday 07 August 2007 - 03:19AM
Paul Hellard

The Viking Challenge began today in the Convention Center.  Dreamworks Animation organized this “Iron Animator” challenge with cooperation with HP and AMD.  Over 32 hours onwards from midday today, the teams will generate a 15 second or longer animation on a prescribed theme in front of a live, "Gladiator-style" audience and judging panel.

Earlier this morning, Softimage announced the new version of XSI (6.5) and also FACE ROBOT 1.8. Softimage will repackage its Essentials and Advanced versions of SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 under guidance from their clients in the games and film arena.  

Also this morning, Autodesk slid out the news about the adoption of Skymatter Mudbox into their arsenal. Along with the deal came the three owners of the Skymatter company. This is a major announcement that will have great and far-reaching implications to the 3D modeling sector of the industry. They've come a long way.

More about the Autodesk in the next posting.

Related links:
FJORG! page
Photo slide show [click play, low right]

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Monday 06 August 2007 - 08:08AM
Paul Hellard

It is Sunday in San Diego. I must say I admire the choice of locations for SIGGRAPH.  This one is a keeper.  Truly beautiful city and at the moment, there’s a wonderful cool breeze coming off the bay/ocean so it is never too hot.  

I set off to walk through the Electronic Theater this morning, full of terrific innovations and tentative advances in all areas of interactive technologies. E-Ink had some prototype tablets where they were showing high-resolution examples of their Electronic paper.  Seen over the years in it’s development, the too-market products from Sony look tremendous. The promise of this technology leading to billboard marketing, and other low energy displays, is a interesting thought.  We’ll see. They were some awesome ebook prototypes being shown by the team from Cambridge, MA. I already want one.

I also saw the saccade-based display, which shows a full scale visual image, in full color, but from a single vertical strip. The image is only received by the viewer, as they flit their eyes from left to right.  They call it the ‘public/private image presentation based on gaze-contingent visual illusion.’  Truly something out of left field from Japan’s NTT CS Lab and the Human and Information Science Laboratory.   I guess what Emerging Technologies is all about.

I ventured out to the Hyatt, up past the Marriot Convention Center where the very friendly Softimage were starting up their Softimage Production Challenge.  For a Sunday, the room was pretty chockers. This means full. The team of Todd Akita from PSYOP, David Andrews from The Orphanage, Stan Winston Studio’s Bradley Gabe and Greg Punchatz out of Janimation will modeled, rigged, animated, lit, and rendered a character. The work being discussed through the XSI eyes was one generating the fictional ‘Ticktockman’, a character from a short story by speculative fiction writer Harlan Ellison.
There was the announcement also that Softimage’s CAT 3 is now available, with a whole heap of new character rig presets for use in 3ds Max, as well as other announcements you’ll see closer into the week.  As is the schedule, I had to move on before the rigging even got started.

There was a half-day talk by Dreamworks, on “The Evolution of Shrek.” The guys discussed the changes in the technology of the tools used to generate the characters in the three ‘Shrek’ movies. I caught a fair bit of this but hope to catch up with the team later during the conference.

Later in the day, I knocked on out to the Air and Space Museum. I tip my hat to the Luxology team. Nice locale. This here is a grand collection of aircraft, space vehicles, cars, motors, jet, choppers and all good things. Good enough to make the Challenge of modeling every last piece of hardware in the place one too good to pass up for the online community of modo users to pass up. Jeff Rutan showed the slideshow of the work done by 70-odd artists from all over the planet, who modelled every last piece of the museum, even the lights and the dustbins. Gary Fitzgerald, from BMW Designworks showed a great presentation about the use of modo in modelling industrial designs for these desirable machines of the road.

Off out to the CGTalk Meetup at the DW Irish Pub. A great opportunity to meet many artists in the community, face to face. Both from the CGTalk community and also some from that same number who have made it into our books.
Thanks all of you for coming along, and I hope to see more of you at the conference and at the Ballistic stand at #313.

Related links:
Photo slide show [click play, low right]
E Ink
Human and Information Science Laboratory

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Ballistic @ SIGGRAPH

Friday 03 August 2007 - 02:16AM
Paul Hellard

While I’m talking about the SIGGRAPH show, I thought I might do a little promotion of our own.  When you are down on the show floor from next Tuesday through to Thursday, make your way over to the Ballistic Media stand at #313.

Ballistic produces the great range of ‘EXPOSÉ’ Digital Art Annuals, the EXOTIQUE collection as well as the special Master Class ‘d’artiste’ and the new ‘Creative Essence’ ranges. In fact, while still here in Melbourne, Daniel, Lauren and I are putting together the next books, EXOTIQUE 3 and d’artiste: Matte Painting 2.

The photograph above shows the stand as it was in 2006 at the Boston SIGGRAPH.  This year is sure to be even bigger, busier and we have great stock of books for everyone to gaze over and purchase.

A number of Ballistic staff will be there as well as a number of artists who have agreed to come over to do some book signing. Do approach, say hi and have a look at the collections we have.  Stay tuned for more details.

Now, I’m disappearing to go pack and get on a plane. 

Related links:
Ballistic Publishing

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Tuesday Softimage event

Wednesday 01 August 2007 - 12:08PM
Paul Hellard

Softimage is staging an impressive User Group SIGGRAPH event on Tuesday night, the 7th of August. This special presentation will have the legendary Syd Mead along for the keynote to talk about his stunning career working on ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘TRON’ and many other milestone epics.   The show also features key crew from Hybride Technologie’s work on the Frank Miller ‘300’ production.  Visual Effects Supervisor Chris Watts, also Daniel Leduc and Joseph Kasparian will talk about their project of 540 VFX shots in the film, all accomplished using Softimage|XSI.  

Register and come along for the Softimage User Event at Spreckels and you'll be entered for a chance to win a 17-inch Dell M90 laptop with an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, also a full XSI Essentials license and a Softimage backpack. Spreckels Theatre is a few blocks back from the Convention Center area on Broadway and the show starts at 7pm, although do get there early to settle in.

Softimage’s line up back at the show floor at SIGGRAPH looks extensive, with XSI guru Mark Schoennagel leading the program of special guests from CafeFX, Blur, The Mill and others.

Space is limited at the Tuesday User Event so register online now, if you haven’t already.

Related links:
User event registration
Softimage booth schedule

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Party log: Monday

Tuesday 31 July 2007 - 08:52AM
Paul Hellard

SIGGRAPH Monday is a great way to land.

Monday is another busy day before the trade show opens.  And I can't think of a better place to have that day than San Diego.  

Autodesk’s big user group event is on Monday, August 6, from 6:30 to 9pm PDT, at the Marriott San Diego Hotel and Marina. The event will feature keynote presentations by:
•       Christine MacKenzie, executive director of marketing for the Chrysler Group, discussing how an internal commitment to the reuse of data, results in great savings for all parties involved.
•       Jason Kaehler, art director at Midway Games, delving into the creation of destructive environments in John Woo's 'Stranglehold.'
•       Jeff Barnes, CEO of CafeFX, discussing the facility’s work on 'Pan’s Labyrinth.'
•       Jeff White, digital production supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic.
•       Jeroen Schulte, senior Inferno artist and head of 2D systems for Condor Digital.
•       Nick Howe, managing director and Sam O’Hare, senior designer, both at Uniform Communications, presenting on how the firm uses film and visual effects techniques to add production value to architectural visualization.

Autodesk Master Award
In addition, Autodesk will announce this year’s Autodesk Masters – a title that honors 3ds Max and Maya software artists whose work has significantly contributed to the advancement of computer graphics.   So many great names on this list, I'd better not say anything more.

Steel Beach Bash
User Group meeting attendees are welcome to enjoy the Steel Beach Bash – a SIGGRAPH 2007 party hosted by Autodesk, CafeFX and cebas. The party will be held on Monday August 6, 2007, from 9 p.m. - 1 a.m. PDT on the flight and hangar deck of a real aircraft carrier, the USS Midway, the longest serving aircraft carrier in the history of the US Navy. Party-goers will enjoy great food, drinks, music, a fireworks display on the flight deck and flight simulators on the hangar deck.

Related links:
Autodesk @ SIGGRAPH

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Posters and Parties

Sunday 29 July 2007 - 23:34PM
Paul Hellard

This is a little more detail about the SIGGRAPH week, beginning with Sunday the 5th of August, this time next week.

Sketches and Posters, Sails Pavilion. San Diego Convention Center.
I've always had an affinity with the people setting up at the Posters.  I think they are my kind of people. This is the research being generated in fields that have yet to rise to market.  This year at SIGGRAPH, Posters and Sketches have been merged into the single program because they offer two different presentation styles for similar kinds of material with similar submission requirements. Having said that, the Sketches & Posters offers two distinct presentation styles: as either a scheduled oral presentation (a "sketch") in an auditorium, or as visual materials (a "poster") on display in the convention center. Poster presenters will be asked to appear with their posters (and/or similar materials) to meet interested viewers at intervals during the conference.

The Sketches & Posters program provides a forum for new and thought-provoking ideas, techniques, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. This program covers a broad spectrum of topics in art, design, science, and engineering.  Graphic displays of incremental, preliminary, partial, and innovative insights that are important but not fully developed. Posters are displayed throughout the conference week, and presenters discuss their work in scheduled sessions.  In years to come, the framework you see in the presentations they give as you approach, will perhaps become the mainstream graphics engine of the holographic display, or some-such, of tomorrow.

The Posters will be on display from 8:30am til 5:30pm from Sunday through to Wednesday, and on Thursday, the final day of SIGGRAPH they will be on display until noon. The authors of the Posters will be present to give a demonstration of their work to attendees, Monday and Wednesday, 12:15 - 1:15pm.

Marc Alexa from Technische Universität in Berlin, and Adam Finkelstein from Princeton University here in the States, are the CoChairs of the Sketches and Posters program for SIGGRAPH 2007.  

Softimage Challenge
Starting at midday, there comes a chance to catch up with the Softimage Challenge, taking place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel at One Market Place, very close to the Convention Center.  Starting with a concept drawing, the XSI dream team of Todd Akita (PSYOP), David Andrews (The Orphanage), Bradley Gabe (Stan Winston Studio) and Greg Punchatz (Janimation) will demonstrate the SOFTIMAGE|XSI non-linear workflow to model, rig, animate, light, and render a character.  This very special one-day event is sponsored by Boxx Technologies, and is open to all SIGGRAPH attendees.   Bit of an excuse to catch up with people early on, and see what everyone else's agenda is like for the big week ahead.

Luxology is hosting their modo User Group Meeting up at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, a few blocks back from the yachts and Convention Center. The event will show off some great work by the professional modo community and the Luxology crew will share news of the new modo 301.  Also displayed will be a special project by the San Diego modo user group lead by Jeff Rutan—son of aviation pioneer Burt Rutan.

Related links:
Softimage Challenge

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A SIGGRAPH hit list

Thursday 26 July 2007 - 01:58AM
Barbara Robertson

We picked the two “movie” courses from among the 11 courses offered Sunday on photography, mesh parameterization, sketch-based interfaces, modeling, direct3D, rendering, and OpenGL. Note that the morning intro to SIGGRAPH course is open to most attendees. If you aren’t taking a course, this is a good day to check out the Posters, the Art Gallery, and Emerging Technologies.

8:30 – 5:30: Posters, Sails Pavilion
1:00 – 6:00: Art Gallery & Emerging Technologies in Rooms 20A-D, Animation Theater, Rooms 24 & 25, Guerilla Studio, Rooms 15AB and 16AB
8:30 – 12:15: Course 6 – Ratatouille, Room 6AB & CF
8:30 – 12:15: Course 7 – Introduction to SIGGRAPH and computer graphics. This is the only course open to all attendees registered for, at least, Exhibits Plus.
1:45 – 5:30: Course 9 – Shrek, Room 6AB & CF
6:30 – 9:30: The 20th Opening Barrel - San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina, Marina Ballroom D&E.
6:00 – 8:00: Fast-Forward Papers Preview – Short summaries of significant papers presented by the scientists.

Panels of artists look at global art, alternative networks, and more in room 30A. Courses and tutorials cover urban design, textures, global illumination, augmented reality, quaternions, mocap, polygonal meshes, GPUs, realtime rendering, fluid sims, hair sims, and more. Here are a few highlights. 

All day:  FJORG! Watch the three-person teams of CG animators create a 15-second or longer animation based on a theme presented at the event, using the tools and assets provided by FJORG! They have 32 hours. Winners announced Wednesday. Room 28A-E 9:00 – 7:00 – Art Gallery & Emerging Technology Rooms 20A-D

9:00 – 6:00 Animation Theater, Rooms 24 & 25
11:00 – 1:00 Guerilla Studio, Rooms 15AB, 16AB
8:30 – 10:15: Technical Papers – Character Animation I, Room 6DE
8:30 – 12:15: Course 12 – Surf’s Up, Imageworks, Room 1AB
1:30 – 3:00: Award Presentations, Featured Speaker: Glenn Entis, SVP, Chief Visual and Technical Officer, Electronic Arts, Room 6AB and CF
3:15 – 5:30: Course 18 - Résumés and Demo Reels, Room 1AB
3:30 – 5:15: Art Panel - Chinese Media Art Preview, Room 30 A
3:45 – 5:30: Sketches - Highlights from co-located events I3D and Sandbox, Room 11AB
3:45 – 5:30: Sketches - Highlights from co-located events Display Tech and Graphics Hardware, Room 9
6:00 – 8:00: Special Session – Happy Feet, Room 6DE

The Job Fair and Exhibition open today and the competition for everyone’s time gets intense. In addition to the highlights below, look for courses on GPUs, modeling and realtime rendering and panels of artists discussing 40 years of art-science-technology in Room 30A.

9:00 – 6:00 Art Gallery, Emerging Tech (20A-D), Animation Theater (24 & 25), Guerilla Studio (15, 16AB)
9:30 – 6:00: Exhibition
10:00 – 4:00: Job Fair
All day: FJORG! Three-person teams compete to create 15-second animations, Room 28A-E
8:30 – 10:15: Special Session - Transformers: Giant Frickin’ Robots, Room 6DE
8:30 – 10:15: Sketch – Taking Shape – modeling techniques, Room 9
8:30 – 10:15: Technical papers – Lighting, Room 6AB; Illustration & Sculpture, Room 6CF
8:30 - 12:15: Course 26. The Morphology of Digital Creatures organized by Tim McLaughlin, Lucasfilm Animation, Room 11AB
8:30 – 5:30: Course 25 - The Mobile 3D Ecosystem organized by Kari Pulli, Nokia Research Center, Room 4
9:00 – 12:45: Art Panel – The changing art-science-technology landscape, Room 30A
10:30 – 12:15: Panel - The Uncanny Valley of Eeriness with Weta’s Joe Letteri and several university researchers.
10:30 – 12:15: Technical papers – Performance Capture, Room 6AB; HDRI, Room 6CF
11:25 – 12:15: Sketch - Highlights of co-located events NPAR & SCA, Room 6DE
1:45 to 3:30: Featured Speaker Scott McCloud, Author and Graphic Novelist
Comics: A Medium in Transition - "Sin City" and "300" creator Frank Miller called him "just about the smartest guy in comics." Room 6 AB
1:45 – 5:30: Course 27 - Anyone Can Make Quality Animated Films! The Eight Basic Steps to Success, Room 11AB
3:45 – 6:00: Technical Papers - Sketching 3D Shapes, Room 6AB
3:45 Illumination-Sensitive Dynamic Virtual Sets and more - Room 1AB
6:00 - 8:00: Special Session - Shrekology – Room 6DE

Still in high gear, art talks, papers and panels continue all day in Room 30A and courses look at fluid sim, realtime rendering, and digital art.

9:00 – 6:00 Art Gallery, Emerging Tech (20A-D), Animation Theater (24 & 25), Guerilla Studio (15, 16AB)
9:30 – 6:00: Exhibition
10:00 – 4:00: Job Fair
8:30 – 10:15: Sketch - Spider-Man 3 and DreamWorks’ trees, Room 6DE
8:30 – 10:15: Sketch – speedy rendering with Rhythm & Hues, NVIDIA and others, Room 3
8:30 – 12:15: Course 29 – Moving From Film to Games (and Possibly Back) with Evan Hirsch from Microsoft, Room 1AB
9:45 – 11:30: Exhibitor Tech Talk: Autodesk® FBX®, Hall F
1:00 – 2:45: Art Panel: Indigenous People and Digital Media, Room 30A
1:00 – 2:30: Exhibitor Tech Talk: Training for Careers in Animation, Vancouver Film School, Hall F
1:45 – 3:30: Special Session: Spider-Man 3, Room 6DE
3:45 - 4:45: Sketch: The artists who created the three award-winning films – The Ark, Dreammaker, and En Tus Brazos, Room 6DE
3:45 – 5:30: Sketch: Particles in Pirates 3 and other physical effects, Room 3
3:30 – 5:30: Exhibitor Tech Talk: Input-Driven 3D Animation Techniques, Hall F
3:45 – 6:00: Technical papers: Sketching 3D Shapes, Room 6AB
5:00 – 6:00: Sketch: Cloth sims and mocap, Room 6DE
6:00 – 7:00: FJORG! Winners! Maybe wearing Viking costumes: Room 1AB
7:00 – 7:30: Student Research Winners, Room 1 AB
8:00 – 10:00: Reception: Embarcadero Marina Park North (at the end of Kettner Boulevard)

It’s the last day of the conference and the last day to do… well… everything. Posters end at noon and everything else starts closing down.

9:00 – 3:30: Art Gallery, Emerging Tech (20A-D)
9:00 – 5:00: Animation Theater (24 & 25)
9:00 – 2:00: Guerilla Studio (15, 16AB)
9:30 – 3:30:  Exhibition
10:00 – 4:00: Job Fair
8:30 to 10:15: Sketch - bendy muscles, bones, skin for Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic with Imageworks, Hydraulx and others, Room 1AB
8:30 to 12:15: Sketch - Ratatouille – chopping vegs, tailoring clothes, rigging the rats, rat hair, soft reflections, and toon-style rendering, squishing, crowd sims, soup, bread, and whitewater rapids, Room 6DE
9:00 – 10:00: Art Talk - Question Human Perception with the Media Lab, Room 30A
9:45 – 11:45: Exhibitor Tech Talk: NVIDIA, Hall F
10:30 – 12:15: Course 22 – LucasArts and ILM: A Case Study in Film and Game Convergence, Room 1AB
1:00 – 2:30: Exhibitor Tech Talk – AMD, Hall F
1:45 – 3:30: Sketch: Game tech with Maxis and EA, Room 6DE
1:45 to 2:45 Featured Speaker - Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Director, Center for Brain and Cognition and Professor of Psychology and Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, Room 6AB.
3:30 – 4:30: Animating the Archives of Lynn Hershman inside Second Life, Room 20A-D
3:45 – 5:30: Technical papers: Character Animation II, Room 6CF
3:45 – 6:-00: Sketch – Water effects – Pirates, Surf’s Up, Superman Returns, Happy Feet, and 300 with Digital Domain, Imageworks, Rhythm & Hues and Scanline, Room 6DE

Co-Located Events
Five totally technical reasons to show up on Saturday….or even Friday. But, if you have to miss them, not to worry. Look for highlights presented as sketches during the main event.

Display technology – stereo, VR, 22 megapixels and more, Saturday 8:30 to 5, convention center, room 3: http://www.edt2007.org/

Graphics hardware – NVIDIA, AMD, university researchers, Saturday & Sunday, 9 to 5, Hilton Gaslamp Hotel: http://www.graphicshardware.org/program.html

Fifth annual Non-Photorealistic Animation & Rendering symposium -  Saturday & Sunday, 9 to 6, convention center, room 10: http://www.npar.org/2007/

Sandbox: the Second annual Videogame symposium – Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday 9 to noon – convention center, rooms 29 A-D, 30 AB: http://sandbox.siggraph.org/program.html

Symposium on Computer Animation – Leading researchers present technical papers on dynamic characters, simulation, behavioral animation, articulation, deformable objects, motion editing and more, Friday to Sunday – 8:30 to 5, Westin Hotel (formerly Wyndham): http://www.siggraph.org/sca2007/Program.htm

Onwards to San Diego.

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SIGGRAPH Cheat sheets

Monday 23 July 2007 - 04:51AM
Barbara Robertson

Electronic Theater / Computer Animation Festival
To encourage more entries in the Computer Animation Festival from all areas of computer graphics, the computer animation festival chair, Paul Debevec selected jurors in such categories as animation, visual effects, video gaming, art, broadcast graphics, research, and scientific visualization. “Every juror I chose had to be someone who had been involved in the creation of innovative and excellent pieces in some of these categories,” he says. “And, I asked every juror to help bring in submissions.”

As a result, SIGGRAPH received a record 905 entries. Of those, the jury showcased 36 animated films in the Electronic Theater and an additional 93 in the Animation Theater. Only two films from the Electronic Theater also appear in the Animation Theater: ‘Swirl,’ a short abstract animation created by Lee Griggs, which appears on the HD reel, and ‘Dreammaker,’ one of the award-winning films. Because ‘Dreammaker’ is 14 minutes long, the committee asked the filmmakers to create a trailer for the Electronic Theater.

Otherwise, the jury resisted asking for edits except sometimes requesting fewer credits. “I think our show is faster than some years with generally quicker moving pieces,” says Debevec. “But, some credits ran as long as the film itself.”

This year, the committee gave awards to three films: Dreammaker, created by students at the Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, received Jury Honors. En Tus Brazos, also created by students, these at Supinfocom in Valenciennes, France, received an Award of Excellence. “Ark” from Marcin Kobylecki and Grzegorz Jonkajtys took Best of Show, which qualifies that film to compete for an Oscar.

“When “Ark” screened for the jury, it was instantly on the short list and an easy pick for Best of Show,” says Debevec. “Because we allowed people to upload high definition content, the jury saw “Ark” in high definition. It’s a fully HD piece with great tonal range, an amazing use of light and shadow, and an effective use of the color palette. They created a whole world unlike any other we’ve seen; every surface has detailed textures and shaders.”

Debevec cites the other two award winners for their compelling characters. “Each has a lead male and lead female that go on a bit of a journey,” he says. “They have one relationship at the beginning and a different relationship at the end.”

Animation studios with films in the Electronic Theater include Pixar (“Lifted”) and Blue Sky Studios (“No Time for Nuts”). Three visual effects studios have short films: Blur, The Mill, and Weta Digital along with several featuring their visual effects work: Industrial Light & Magic, Café FX, Imageworks, Scanline, Framestore CFC, Digital Domain, The Moving Picture Company, and Double Negative. In addition, the ET features commercial work, scientific visualizations and games.

“We have a special reel in the Electronic Theater of recent game technology,” says Debevec. “It’s based on jury selections that Habib Zagarpour composed into a montage. It will be eye-opening for a lot of people.” Zagarpour, one of the jurors, is an art director at Electronic Arts.

Debevec divided the Animation Theater films into seven reels, seven themes, which play continuously in two 400-seat theaters, each with 20-foot screens. “We have Sony XSRD projectors,” he says. “These are 4K resolution projectors and one of our reels has five films in 4K resolution – 4,096 by 2,160 resolution. If you want to try out 4K, my recommendation is to sit close to the screen. You’ll be bathed in pixels.”

Also, look for what Debevec calls a “little surprise” at the end of the 4K reel, a 14-minute live action piece with a visual effect. With only 95 percent certainty that he’ll get the piece for the show, he’s unwilling to reveal the name of the filmmaker or the camera used to capture the action quite yet. If it’s there, we can promise you won’t want to miss it.

In fact, most hardware and software vendors have something new to announce at SIGGRAPH, if only a minor upgrade. Softimage makes news Monday at 2, Autodesk, Monday at 5. Also, look for significant developments from Massive, Luxology, NVIDIA’s hardware and Gelato teams, and others. News should start leaking soon. And among the newcomers, check out Organic Motion, a marker-less motion capture system. You can find a list of exhibitors online. Remember to sign up for user group meetings now before they fill up, and start collecting those party invitations now. See you there!

Cheat Sheets

Price range depends on whether you’re a student, a member of SIGGRAPH, or a non-member.

Exhibits Plus:
Access to Art Gallery, Exhibition, Birds of a Feather, Animation Theater, Emerging Technologies, Exhibitor Tech Talks, Featured Speakers, FJORG!, Guerilla Studio, International Resources, Job Fair, Posters, and Special Events. $95.

Exhibits Plus - One Day Only: $40.

Conference Select:
Everything in Exhibits Plus, plus Sketches, Special Sessions, Panels, and matinee tickets to the Electronic Theater. You get some of the same printed material and the animation festival on a CD-ROM, but no course or tutorial notes. Before July 25, $225 to $325; after, add $30.

Full Conference:
Everything in Conference Select plus Courses, evening Electronic Theater tickets, Papers, and the Reception. Includes all the course and tutorial notes and other printed materials, the DVDs, and Electronic Theater and reception tickets: Before July 25, $400 to $1025; after, $450 to $1125.

One day registration:
No technical documentation or tickets, but includes access to conference programs, events, and the exhibition, if open. Before July 25, $350; after, $385.

Electronic Theater Tickets:

The Basics
Art Gallery: Sunday 1 to 6, Monday 9 to 7, Tuesday & Wednesday 9 to 6, Thursday 9 to 3:30, Room 20A-D

Electronic Theater: Monday through Wednesday 7 to 9; Tuesday & Wednesday 2 to 4. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Avenue. Need ticket.

Animation Theaters: Sunday 1 to 6, Monday through Wednesday 9 to 6, Thursday 9 to 5. Rooms 24 & 25

Job Fair: Tuesday through Thursday 10 to 4. Hall D

Guerilla Studio: Powerful workstations, versatile software, a network of advanced input and output devices to create art in every discipline of computer graphics and interactive techniques. Sunday 1 to 6, Monday 11 to 11, Tuesday & Wednesday 9 to 6, Thursday 9 to 2. Rooms 15AB and 16AB

Posters: Displays of important, still raw, but innovative insights. Sunday through Wednesday, 8:30 to 5:30; Thursday, 8:30 to noon. Sails Pavilion

Emerging Technologies – Cool future and almost ready stuff. Sunday 1 to 6, Monday 9 to 7, Tuesday and Wednesday 9 to 6, Thursday 9 to 3:30, Room 20A-D

Exhibition: Studios, schools, hardware vendors, software vendors, book and magazine publishers show you what they’ve got on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 6, and Thursday, 9:30 to 3:30.

More: http://www.siggraph.org/s2007

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Sizzling in San Diego: SIGGRAPH 07

Friday 20 July 2007 - 03:11AM
Barbara Robertson

There will be no hotter place on the planet for a CG geek, artist, animator, teacher, researcher, or all-around fanatic than San Diego on August 5 through 9 when 25,000 of your closest friends take over the convention center for the 34th annual SIGGRAPH convention. SIGGRAPH is the Association for Computing Machinery’s “Special Interest Group on Graphics,” and it’s been a special mix of art, technology, and science since the beginning.

Where else could you send a file to Purdue University’s 4,000 render node environment and pick up your renders later on the web, and print a CG masterpiece on fine-art paper? Or, spend a few hours learning how Pixar put the rats in ‘Ratatouille,’ PDI/Dreamworks fractured another fairy-tale for ‘Shrek 3,’ Imageworks’s penguins caught the ‘Surf’s Up’ wave and covered ‘Spider-Man’ with goo, and Industrial Light & Magic transformed Optimus Prime.

Or, maybe you like to rub shoulders and knock minds with the scientists who invented the technology you’ll be using in five years. Watch a compilation of the best CG animated films created this year. Get the latest info and product demos from all the CG hardware and software vendors on the show floor and in user group meetings. Show your resume and reel to dozens of top-notch studios all in one week, and hang out in their late night recruiting parties. View the cosmos in 4K resolution. If so, you’d better act now.

“We’re expecting this show to be the most popular one in a while,” says conference chair Joe Marks. “Registration is tracking higher and hotel reservations are at a five year high.”

New this year

The excitement might be due in part, Marks believes, to changes implemented this year. “The biggest change,” he says, “is a philosophical one regarding how we selected content. For years, taking a cue from the process for selecting technical papers, the content was largely peer reviewed, a rigorous juried process. And that works fabulously for papers. But for some of the other areas, it might not provide the best program. So we broke the taboo and augmented the content of all programs except papers.”

Thus, this year the show should feel a bit more curated than in the past.

For example, in the past, content in the emerging technology area depended solely on the quality of submissions. This year, in addition to juried selections, the committee also invited complementary technology that’s nearly market ready.  “When you can curate the show, you can put together a more meaningful experience,” says Marks. 

Thus, you’ll see whimsical ideas alongside new high dynamic range projectors and Microsoft’s Surface in the emerging technology section. “I’d heard or read about a number of the things in emerging technology, but had never seen them with my own eyes,” says Marks. “These are things you have to experience, not just read about.” 

Also expanding is the Guerilla Studio. This year, six artists in residence will explore digital media alongside anyone who wants to use the hardware and software available in the room individually or in collaboration with other artists.

The Guerilla artists in residence include metal smith Harriete Estel Berman, Matthew Hamon who work with mixed media and photography, installation artist Philip Mallory Jones, Mike and Maaike who experiment with product designs, and digital media artist Michael Wright. Also in the Guerilla Studio, attendees will find motion capture equipment, 3D printers, fine-art printers, equipment and instruction for making 3D lenticular effects, audio equipment, video equipment and more. 

“I gave the chairs the freedom to shape their programs,” says Marks. “I think that’s why people like Paul Debevec, the computer animation festival chair, were convinced to take part. He wasn’t just running a jurying process, he could bring shape things in a way it wasn’t possible in the past.” 

Watch this space for further updates on the SIGGRAPH show in the days to come.

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CGSociety's SIGGRAPH 2007 Diary

Thursday 19 July 2007 - 00:21AM
Paul Hellard

Hi there,

In the lead-up to the SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition in San Diego,
CGSociety presents this preview for those in the community lucky
enough to be making the trip. The first instalment will be a look at the
preparations for the many facets of this year's not-to-be-missed event.

In future updates, we will outline highlights of the Electronic Theater and
the Computer Animation Festival, as well as giving an overview of the show,
suggesting many ways to see as much as you can.

During the show, CGSociety will be there posting a SIGGRAPH diary, updated
constantly, keeping everyone worldwide informed about the show and our
adventures in San Diego.

See you there,
Paul Hellard

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Total Views: 142,362
» SIGGRAPH tradeshow attractions.
» Saunter through SIGGRAPH
» SIGGRAPH Wednesday
» SIGGRAPH growth
» SIGGRAPH Tuesday
» Siggraph diary, star date 8/6/2007
» Autodesk User Group
» Monday at SIGGRAPH
» Ballistic @ SIGGRAPH
» Tuesday Softimage event
» Party log: Monday
» Posters and Parties
» A SIGGRAPH hit list
» SIGGRAPH Cheat sheets
» Sizzling in San Diego: SIGGRAPH 07
» CGSociety's SIGGRAPH 2007 Diary

Come and see all of the Ballistic Publishing action at booth #313 on the exhibition floor.

See the latest technology and get inspired by the work of BOXX customers at SIGGRAPH 2007.

Join the Pixologic team at Siggraph 2007 Booth # 915 & checkout presentations from industry artists.

See the latest technology and get inspired by the work of Autodesk customers at SIGGRAPH 2007.


Checkout the Softimage action around the SIGGRAPH 07 Show Floor.

Come see modo in booth #121 (Gateway Computers) and in the Guerilla Studio.

Find out all about NVIDIA's
latest SIGGRAPH 07 news.

E-on Software (booth #623) previews Ozone 3 Atmosphere Plug-in at Siggraph.

Emerging Technologies
Computer Animation Festival
Art Gallery