Saunter through SIGGRAPH
Thu 9th Aug 2007, by paul | Siggraph2007
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:SIGGRAPH 2007Agura ImagesPlush Life and galleriesPhoto slide show.