Issue: August 1, 2006


SIGGRAPH, the annual conference for computer graphics and interactive techniques, took place in Boston earlier this month, marking the show’s first trip to the northeast in more than a decade. Post show figures report attendance of just under 20,000, with more than 230 exhibitors, including 76 first timers.

Don Levy, a senior VP at Sony Pictures, said there are three reasons why the studio maintains a large presence at the show: 1) it’s a chance to showcase their work and artists; 2) it serves as a valuable role in attracting artists; and 3) the educational aspect. SIGGRAPH, said Levy, is a true conference, where attendees can share their knowledge through courses and panels.

Imageworks recently released Monster House and has a number of animated projects in the works, including Open Season (Sept. ‘06), about a bear’s return to the woods during hunting season, and Surf’s Up (June ‘07), a feature about surfing penguins.

Side Effects exhibited at SIGGRAPH, and president/CEO Kim Davidson said the show serves several purposes for the Toronto-based developer of the Houdini family of 3D tools. SIGGRAPH, he said, is a show for networking and meeting new users. It’s also a place for training, education and observing trends.

Houdini was recently used on The Ant Bully. The company’s Houdini Master is specially priced at $9,999, but Davidson said he didn’t expect to sell software on the show floor. An Apprentice version is available (www.sidefx.-com) as a free download.

ATI’s senior marketing manager Danny Shapiro said the show went better than expected — but he had low expectations since it was taking place in Boston for the first time. ATI had just been acquired by AMD, so the company was there to talk up the benefits of the merger as well as show its support for Intel-based products.

And John Martin of Nashville’s Reallusion ( gave me a demo of the company’s $159 CrazyTalk facial animation software. “There is a need for accessible animation tools that don’t require a degree to learn,” he said.

See you in San Diego next August!