This year's SIGGRAPH show takes place in San Diego, and it's close enough to LA that expectations are high. As usual there will be papers, classes and product exhibits. And another big part of this yearly show is the ability for studios to share their work with others and view the work of their peers.
The Charlex gang in NYC are excited because many eyeballs will be seeing a reel featuring their work at the Alias|Wavefront booth as well as at the Alias User Group meeting. "They're showing a bunch of our Maya work from last year as well as a one-minute teaser for our upcoming short film called Labratz," reports Bryan Godwin, CG supervisor at Charlex. He calls Labratz a visual calling card that educates people about the studio's character animation abilities.
When not at the Alias booth, Godwin intends to sit in on some classes and sketches and roam the floor. While there's nothing on his grocery list yet, "the things I like to see most are the startups, like the small companies who are often doing the most innovative and boundary pushing-type work."
Godwin attends SIGGRAPH almost every year. "It's important for training and it's important to find out about new technologies," he explains. "We are big on implementing new technologies to keep us on the cutting edge. It's also a great place to meet up with your peers. It's a real coming together for artists around the country."
Colin Greene, founder of Venice, CA-based Pixel Liberation Front, is attending the show for the first time in a few years. He had been in Australia working on Matrix Reloaded and couldn't fly back for the show. (At press time, he was scheduled to show PLF's work on Reloaded at the Softimage booth, pending studio approval.) "I want to see the new software and equipment, new features, new tools, etc. But I also want to gauge the styles in the general production marketplace of visual ideas," he says.
"Just by walking around and looking at the reels at each booth, one has the opportunity to see where the industry is headed in terms of content and technique. What kind of work is being done out there? Having a mental picture of what the industry has done with the latest tools gives a good indication of where things are headed."
Green expects that new graphics card technology will be the most interesting thing this year. "Hardware rendering has really taken off recently and I hope to see some practical applications of the technology demonstrated by the software vendors in a manner which can be used by VFX artists and not just by game engine developers."