event siggraph

Siggraph 2011 Vancouver Part 2

So, I went to the exhibition and some of the galleries and ballrooms today. Losts of neat stuff. If I was to sum it all up, it would be Motion Capture, 3D printers, Autodesk, Maya and NVIDIA. Those seemed to be the major players, although not surprising since they are also some of the more expensive technologies, so would do well to advertise.

Some of the talks I went to include:

World Creation in CryEngine: I am awaiting for the release of the free version of CryEngine 3 SDK which will likely be this month (I checked and no mention of it on their webpage yet). The demo was ok, a bit simplistic in talking about the interface, but looks impressive nevertheless.

Photoshop 3D texture map integration: This was interesting talking about how 3D height maps can be created (and tested in 3D) in Adobe Photoshop CS 5.5. an intersting talk, with some good examples and neat features I will have to try out.

Real World Camera Rig Creation: The focus of this talk was to improve the use of a camera in Maya. This was a little different, the basic concepts here was to try and build a crane, dolly or curve path rig and attach a camera to it, to mimic real life cameras. By setting up and constraining the camera in this way, it allowed for more traditional movements alongside the free flowing camera that is so easy to misuse in a 3D animation or game.

Zbrush: Creation of Venom and Carnage from Spiderman. This was just very impressive to see how talented the artists were in creating these characters from a simple head (sculpted and painted in less than an hour) and with amazing results. Just seeing how some of the artists work give ideas for how to improve your own workflow, but really nothing but lots of practice can get you to that skill level.

Adobe Premiere Pro Integration: Shows how Premiere Pro can integrate with After Effects and Encore by sharing the same project information can allow all the programs to interact and update in sequence automatically. This will allow things like a project to be open in After Effects and have an effect added to it (like rain or snow) which will automatically update the same project in Premiere so it can be viewed and editted as necessary. This encourages experimentation, and allows for quick results to be seen immediately.

ILM Transformers 3 Colossus: The stats on the Colossus Transformers (the giant worm robot) in Transformers 3 were very impressive. Over 16 million polygons, 13 separate pieces and was the equivalent to 2 and a half Devestators (from the previous movie). It took a machine with 12 cores and 48 gigs of RAM over 40 minutes to load the shot where Colossus is tearing apart the building, which has multiple layers of complexity and physics (with skin based building model) to get the shot of the building falling over.

Nvidia Parallel NSight: is a very impressive tool integration for Visual Studio, that breaks apart the scene into different draw calls and gives a lot of previously difficult information about the rendering process back to the developer. A tool that allows a developer to select a pixel onscreen and not only track it, but see what draw calls have gone into its creation is amazing. I will definitely be spending some time further investigating this tool, and since it is free, I recommend everyone interested in 3D graphics programming to check it out, it looks like it will be a new favorite to many developers.

Siggraph Dailies: This was a one-minute segment of many different studios, backgrounds and styles. It was nice to see only a brief but intersting clip and a short (sometimes only a few sentences) of the challenges in getting that shot, techniques used, or ideas behind the shot. Ovearll, there are (as expected) a lot of cheats that go into a shot to get the desired effect. One interesting technique used in Tangled (from Disney) was running simulations on the hair in reverse than running the frames backward.

Lots of fun, the exhibition was pretty neat, the art was interesting, the technology was cool and I learned some neat stuff.

Hope you also made it there,

Michael Hubbard

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