The SIGGRAPH Exhibition this year was definitely smaller in size than previous years, but this was negated by the huge number of people overwhelming the show floor. Without going into too much detail, a few notable industry players released products at the show:
Alias released Maya 7 to much fanfare from Maya users around the world. Maya 7.0 has been completely re-architectured to optimize render layer’s functionality, which means that multiple versions of objects, including materials, lights and cameras, as well as post processes such as Maya Fur and Maya Paint Effects, can now be managed in a single scene file. Maya 7.0 also has streamlined workflow between Maya and Photoshop - as well as Illustrator, MotionBuilder, and other CAD applications.
The integration of the full-body IK solver from Alias MotionBuilder makes rigging and posing characters simpler and more precise, as do paintable Blend Shapes and Wire deformers. Other notable enhancements in Maya 7.0 modeling include Edge Loop and Edge Ring tools, UV unfolding, tri-planar and multi-mesh mapping, together with the inclusion of CgFX and ASHLI plug-ins, which allow hardware shaders for next-generation consoles to be previewed within Maya. More
Autodesk MED (formerly known as Discreet)
Every year, Autodesk MED/Discreet go with a different booth design. Last year was the hommage to the Rubik’s Cube. This year, they’ve got rustic with a sleek Scandinavian wood finish.
Autodesk announced 3ds max 8 at the show, the latest version of its venerable 3D animation solution. 3ds max 8 includes new toolsets and feature enhancements including: Maxscript Debugger, which can save users hours of time when creating and testing custom scripts; Microsoft DirectX support, enabling game developers to create real-time scene shaders for an entire game directly within 3ds Max; UV Pelt Mapping, providing advanced methods for quickly generating accurate maps based on UV coordinates of a given piece of geometry; Autodesk Vault, a data management solution that already benefits thousands of Autodesk customers, and a wealth of advanced character development features that simplify complex rigging and animation. More
Softimage went prominantly BIG this year. Jennifer Goldfinch from Softimage said, “We debated over using several screens and we said ‘screw it let’s just go BIG’” Softimage is credited to having the single largest screen at the show, which faced the entrance of the expo hall and attracted all eyes to it. You couldn’t miss that booth.
Big screens aside, Softimage released XSI 5.0, a major upgrade in the company’s flagship 3D application. This latest version includes new tools such as Ultimapper, a map generation tool for producing cinema-quality maps in a few clicks; and GATOR, a unique property transfer system for merging fully textured and animated 3D models. In addition to running on standard 32-bit CPUs, Softimage|XSI v.5.0 will also be available in a native 64-bit configuration, allowing users to model, animate and render extremely complex scenes in their entirety with billions of polygons and layers of 3D, film, and video content. More
In addition, Softimage showed Face Robot, a unique facial animation tool that was co-developed with Blur Studio. Face Robot technology is built on a groundbreaking new computer model of facial soft tissue that mimics the full range of emotions portrayed by the human face. This new technology offers artists a very intuitive way to interact with CG characters while providing precise control over facial details, including wrinkles, frowns, flaring nostrils and bulging neck muscles. More
Arguably the largest and most respected workstation provider in the high-end digital content creation industry, Boxx Technologies went all out this year to give away a Chopper (a very cool motorbike) at the show. This wasn’t just any other Chopper either – it was custom-designed and built by OCC Choppers for Boxx. Jared Keller, a cinematic artist, won the Chopper which was mailed to him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t ride it out of the convention center onto the freeway!
There was some debate about whether this was a waste of marketing dollars, but in retrospect, the value of the Chopper can now be seen. Everyone at SIGGRAPH was talking about it. Regardless of whether it was positive or negative, it drew a lot of controversy and conversation. In terms of branding and mindshare, Boxx scored a home run by doing something out of the ordinary which had everyone talking and mentioning the Boxx brand name. I'd expect to see the Chopper on eBay sometime... More
The Gnomon Workshop
Our friends at The Gnomon Workshop commandeered a huge booth again this year selling their stock of high quality training DVDs and hosting many educational presentations from instructors. The workshop released twelve new DVD titles covering a broad range of software packages from Zbrush to Shake, NUKE and 3ds max/Vray. More
This year, we went for a small booth shared with Turbo Squid. Despite a relatively small presence, we had a huge response to our three new book titles: EXPOSÉ 3, d’artiste: Character Modeling and d’artiste: Matte Painting. These books sold immensely well and we ran out of d’artiste: Character Modeling and Matte Painting by the second day of the exhibition. We also hosted a d’artiste: Matte Painting book signing with the three authors Alp Altiner, Dylan Cole and Chris Stoski – but ran out of books during the signing! Of note though, were our shopping bags which were a huge hit amongst attendees. Looking in any given direction during SIGGRAPH, you could see people carrying our bags with the EXPOSÉ 3 girl from SONOV or Francisco Cortina’s photorealistic beauty on either side. More
Pixologic presented ZBrush 2.5's most anticipated features: modeling
rigs, topology and what it's like to sculpt in 20 million polygons in
real-time! Pixologic also announced the release of several upcoming
plug-ins designed to augments ZBrush's already powerful toolset.
The first plug-in presented was ZApp Link which streamlines the
connection between ZBrush and Photoshop, Painter or any graphics editing
software package. Second was ZMapper. Arguably a software package in
its own right, ZMapper increases the functionality of ZBrush normal map
generation and adds several new features such as morph UV and the
ability to roll your bump map into your normal map. Third was the
Displacement Exporter which enhances ZBrush's displacement generation
with a 32 bit floating point option.
In addition, Pixologic had a fantastic line-up of artists presenting and
talking about ZBrush. Rick Baker, six time Academy Award winning visual
effects and make-up effects artist, Meats Meier, award-winning artist and
Pixol-pusher, Aaron Sims, Art Director at Stan Winstons, and Taron,
artist extraordinaire, all delivered stunning presentation to a packed
Other notable announcements at SIGGRAPH:
- Luxology Modo 201
- Maxon Cinema 4D XL 9.5, BodyPaint 3D 2.5, new Production Bundle
- NewTek LightWave 3D 9
- RealViz MMTrack automated camera tracking for Maya
- Massive Software – Hardware accelerated rendering
- SplutterFish Brazil for 3ds max, Rhino and Maya