Desowitz at SIGGRAPH 2009: Day 5

7 08 2009
Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs shows more 3-D potential.
Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs shows more 3-D potential.

The exhibition has closed but the conference continues on this last day, with 3-D screenings (including some new Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs footage) and E-Tech still attracting lots of attention, even spread out in several rooms and isolated on the third floor. The emphasis is on interactive sensory techniques. And what’s hot? “The interconnectivity between the machine and human,” asserted Manabu Sakurai, Emerging Technologies chair. “If you see the gaming industry, your console is not just a game console anymore — part of your body is the game console. And the machine understands your natural movements. And then, in an opposite way, the display, what you see is also getting closer to humans. The key word is 3-D.”
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Desowitz at SIGGRAPH 2009: Day 4

7 08 2009
Rob Cook.
Rob Cook.

Press reports have attendance at about 10,000, which is extremely low, of course. But, as I previously noted, it’s resulted in a very appropriate quaintness. You can tell that the people who have come here are very passionate. While one exhibitor lamented the lack of scientific research on display and the commercialization of the event (no need to wait for SIGGRAPH to publish your tech paper), Rob Cook (the recipient of the Steven A. Coons Award) gave what Chris Landreth described as a “spiritual, practical and visionary” speech about “why there still needs to be SIGGRAPH.”

“He put in a ‘Fool’s Hypothesis’ that SIGGRAPH is no longer relevant: the only problems left to be solved are minor and not that interesting. Then he proceeded to bash it apart. I think in the world he was talking about even GPU-based rendering would be a minor problem: the content coming out the other end isn’t different; you’re using different hardware to do it.”
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Evening Theater’s Jury Chair’s Reel

7 08 2009

Silhouettes of Jazz
Silhouettes of Jazz

written by Lance Jones and Jessica Brown of the Animation and Visual Effects Program Louisiana State University Shreveport

Evening Theater’s Jury Chair’s Reel included the following shorts.
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Evening Theater’s Festival Chair’s Reel

7 08 2009

Pigeon Impossible competes at SIGGRAPH.
Pigeon Impossible competes at SIGGRAPH.

written by Lance Jones and Jessica Brown of the Animation and Visual Effects Program Louisiana State University Shreveport

Evening Theater’s Festival Chair’s Reel included the following shorts.
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Desowitz at SIGGRAPH 2009: Day 3

6 08 2009
Chris Landreth's The Spine
Chris Landreth's The Spine

written by Bill Desowitz

Naturally Autodesk had some big announcements, including 2010 versions of Maya, MotionBuilder and Mudbox and along with new suites for digital entertainment creation and new education initiatives.

Maya 2010 has all the features of Maya Unlimited 2009 and Maya Complete 2009, including the Maya Nucleus Unified Simulation Framework, Maya nCloth, Maya nParticles, Maya Fluid Effects, Maya Hair, and Maya Fur.

New features include Maya Composite, a powerful high-dynamic composting system based on Autodesk Toxik software, which is no longer available as a standalone solution; Autodesk MatchMover advanced 3D tracking and matchmoving system; five mental ray Batch render nodes and the Autodesk Backburner network render queue manager.
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Fjorg! SIGGRAPH 2009 Competition – Day 2

5 08 2009
Fjorg gets saucy!
Fjorg gets saucy!

written by Joanne Weikel

Day 2 of the animation competition kicked off at 9am with a loud drumbeat and Afro Brazilian performers. The sound drew a large crowd in to watch the performances. The animation teams had worked through the night on their films so the very lively dancers lent some much needed energy to the competitors.

Paul Tillery, In Pyo, and Julien Lasbleiz, all of whom have films in the animation festival listened to the story pitches and gave the teams some last minute advice and critiques. Miles Perkins, the Computer Animation Festival Jury Chair also came in to see each films progress.

With only three hours left, the teams focused hard on finishing their films on time. So in Fjorg fashion, two more distractions were in store. First a belly dancer performed and was enticing enough to make quite a few people stop working. Within the hour a group of Samba dancers arrived and just about everyone stopped to watch. A few people were dragged onto the stage to join the dancers and the Fjorg chair and Viking High Priestess Patricia Beckmann-Wells joined in at the end. The infusion of energy kicked the teams into high gear for the final 2 hours.
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Evening Theater Awards Ceremony and Real-Time Live Demos

5 08 2009

SIGGRAPH 09 Winner French Roast
SIGGRAPH 09 Winner French Roast

written by John Morgan Brewer and Jessica Brown of the LSU Shreveport Animation and Visual Effects Program

Monday nights’ Evening Theater began with the introduction of host Miles Perkins, senior staff at Industrial Light and Magic. He kicked off the award ceremony by paving the way for Scott Farrar, visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic. Scott presented the awards for SIGGRAPH’s 2009 animation festivals. Out of 770 submissions the following were selected for three categories.
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Fjorg Begins!

4 08 2009
Day 1 and the contestants are already tired.
Day 1 and the contestants are already tired.

written by Joanne Weikel

SIGGRAPH 2009 Fjorg! competition started at 9am Monday, August 3 in New Orleans. In it’s third year, the event attracted many talented animators both students and professionals.

The competition, created by Patricia Beckmann as an Iron Animator event challenges the competitors to create a short film (15-45 seconds) from concept to finish in the short time span of thirty-two hours. To make the task more demanding, distractions are scheduled throughout the day to entice them away from the film making process.

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Desowitz at SIGGRAPH 2009: Day 2

4 08 2009

Half-Blood Prince's fire sim isn't the the only talk of the town at SIGGRAPH.
Half-Blood Prince's fire sim isn't the the only talk of the town at SIGGRAPH.

written by Bill Desowitz

The exhibition opened today and, as expected, the show is small but quaint — similar to San Antonio a few years back. Nothing wrong with that: it’s manageable and in keeping with the New Orleans flavor. While the number of exhibitors is smaller than usual, it’s a nice mix. You can traverse the floor in about half-an-hour. And there are plenty of students flocking the job fair, which is where most of the action is — and rightly so, considering the job market. In fact, a few of the large studios such as Lucasfilm and Sony Pictures Imageworks, opted to have a presence solely at the job fair.
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Desowitz at SIGGRAPH 2009: Day 1

3 08 2009
SIGGRAPH winner - Wojciech Matusik
SIGGRAPH winner - Wojciech Matusik

written by Bill Desowitz

Well, there’s been a lot of anticipation and curiosity about SIGGRAPH returning to New Orleans (or Nola), not only since this marks the first major conference since Katrina but also because of the severity of the downturn. Yes, attendance may be sparse, but, you know what? A light turnout is in keeping with the quaint vibe here. And, despite the predictable heat and humidity, it’s not as bad as I remember growing up in nearby Ocean Springs, Mississippi (near Biloxi) back in the early ’70s. And this new Convention Center (though very long) is beautiful, clean and easy to navigate — so far.

I began my trip with the discovery of Mother’s near the Convention Center in the warehouse district (the architecture and layout of the city is as rich as its music and cuisine). A favorite diner since ‘38, I feasted on a shrimp Po’ Boy and a slice of pecan pie. I was in Southern heaven once again.

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