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Recent Blog Posts in August 2009

August 07, 2009
  SIGGRAPH: Saying goodbye
Posted By John LePore
At 3pm on Thursday, the bagpipes started blaring Amazing Grace over the convention center P.A. signaling the end of the convention and I actually felt a little sad as everyone was ushered out of the main hall. I've had a great week here in The Big Easy - met a lot of fascinating characters, had my mind blown by new technology and techniques, and ate way too much batter-fried seafood.
Looking back, many of the things that stood out to me as a lens-flare-loving motion graphics guy were new products that we can slip into our workflow.
Seeing a demo of the upcoming version of the go-to fluid simulation package, RealFlow 5. In response to users need for more efficiency, speed, and polygons, the NextLimit rep announced the new RealFlow RenderKit, which allows the software to only calculate fluid simulation for what is happening within the frame, dramatically saving time and processing power.
Immediately following my presentation at the Maxon booth about Cinema4D's role in PerceptionNYC's workflow, Chris Smith gave a presentation about his CSTools, a free package of camera and lighting rigs for Cinema4D. I had been familiar with his tools as a fun set of elements to assist users with mastering the complex art of camera work in a 3D app, but after seeing his presentation I developed a new respect for these tools as a way of bringing very realistic and flexible cinematography into your scene.
Other quick points of interest I came across were SynthEyes dirt-cheap 3D tracking, seeing Psyop's Florian Witzel discuss their techniques and workflow on several projects, including some compositing tricks for Absolut Vodka and making massive ocean waves for a Milk spot.
Looking back, the biggest points I'm taking away from this years Siggraph are:
- the motion graphics and visual effects realms are continuing to intertwine even deeper.
- the cold faceless software developers are really nice people who are trying to make our work easier, and really appreciate our input.
- the Hampton Inn ice bucket makes the best iPhone speaker amplifier.
Looking forward to next year!
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August 05, 2009
  SIGGRAPH: First day on the floor
Posted By John LePore
Although the show officially began on Tuesday, I had an opportunity to get a sneak peak at a few things Monday afternoon while preparing my presentation at the Maxon booth.

I had a chance to see Frank Vitz and Georges Taorres from EA talk about how the put together the uuber-realistic boxers in the new game "Fight Night 4." Although I'm not working in a realtime environment like a game developer, there is a lot I can take from their shortcuts and workarounds for making wild effects like muscle flexing and impact deformations.

Listening to Pixar's Eric Froemling talk about putting together the complicated balloon canopy in "Up" was what one would expect from this generation's master storytellers. Although they are blowing minds with rigid body collision simulations, and hundreds of thousands of elements choreographed together, they still employ traditional tricks like forced perspective to help sell their scene.

After a few talks, I hit the Acme Oyster house and lost track of both beers and oysters down the hatch, and played out the evening with great conversation, meeting some new faces, and some local jazz.

Feel free to stop by, say hello, and see my presentation at the Maxon booth. I'll be presenting Wednesday at 11am, and Thursday at 12pm, talking about how Cinema 4D works in our workflow at Perception NYC
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August 05, 2009
  SIGGRAPH: The need for speed
Posted By Randi Altman
The need for speed

If there was a theme to be had from SIGGRAPH ‘09, I would, so far, have to say it’s speed. We all know that having computers and apps that process things quickly is the goal and there are a few companies here at the show promising immediate gratification and more.

Both Nvidia and ATI are here talking about their GPU acceleration products. And a new company called StudioGPU with a product called MachStudio Pro that comes bundled with an ATI 8750 board. They describe it as virtual 3D realtime studio environment, allowing artists to work with lighting, camera views and multi-point perspectives for a realtime view of frames as they will appear in the final rendered format.

In terms of atmosphere, there is no denying this is a less-populated SIGGRAPH, but people seem happy so far.

Nice parties with great music from Lucasfilm and Nvidia last night. Oh, I need to mention the sumo wrestler at the ATI booth. He’s actually the most fit sumo wrestler I’ve ever seen. Bet he’s fast in the ring.
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August 05, 2009
  SIGGRAPH: 'French Roast' wins in New Orleans
Posted By Dimitris Athos
The SIGGRAPH 09 Computer Animation Festival announced its winners Monday evening and "French Roast," the short film by Fabrice Joubert, won the coveted "Best of Show." The film now qualifies for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "Best Animated Short Film" Academy Award. Other work screened over the last couple of days included notable crowd pleasers "Incident at Tower 37" by Chris Perry and "Pigeon Impossible" by Lucas Martell. The packed screening room provided comfort from the New Orleans heat and a nice break from the numerous panels and show floor. Also, on Tuesday, director Peter Sohn from Pixar Animation Studios described the creation process of "Party Clowdy." His presentation generated a lot of positive discussion from attendees.
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August 04, 2009
  SIGGRAPH: Pre-show observations
Posted By Randi Altman
Yesterday was Post's first day in New Orleans for SIGGRAPH 2009. It's HOT, but every once in a while it would rain. You would think it might cool things off a bit? No such luck.

Popped in to the Nuke User Group where Laika, Blue Sky and Digital Domain, among others, were talking about their experiences with Nuke and showing their work. The Foundry discussed developments in Nuke 5.2, Nuke 6.0, NukeX 6.0 and Ocula 2.

After that, a stroll in the French Quarter brought us to Pat O'Brien's, where we chatted with Digital Domain's Tim Enstice and ran into Autodesk's Jennifer Goldfinch. Some more strolling and some more SIGGRAPH spottings: a couple of guys from ILM, another from Pixar.

This isn't a very large city and while there were some people on Bourbon Street, you couldn't call it crowded, so there is sort of a small town feel to this SIGGRAPH so far. And from what I hear, that feeling might continue on the floor of the show. More on that later…
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