Scott's Blog @ SIGGRAPH - Day 2

Posted By Scott Sindorf on August 12, 2008 12:00 am | Permalink


The Computer Animation Festival last night premiered “3D Screenings: A Visual Odyssey.” The idea behind this festival was to highlight the emerging technology for stereoscopic projection. Every audience member was given 3D glasses to view the approximately two-hour long presentation. This honestly can be a bit trying for the eyes, but there has been amazing advancements in this field. The highlight for me was the audience reaction to Bjork’s Wanderlust video. Given we did the post production for this music video, it was nice to see the audience reaction. The low point was the 3D medical clips showing 3D surgery. Admittedly, I am adverse to blood, and the clips were a bit too real for me. The audience overall seemed happy and companies like Pixar are really pushing the envelope in this arena. I did see several audience members duck and sway reacting to the screen confirming 3D stereoscopic technology is doing its job.

What a difference a day can make at SIGGRAPH. Today the conference floor has officially opened and the crowds are here. The Fjork animators, whom were so prevalent yesterday, are nowhere to be found. Several new technologies for 3D did make an impact for me. First, Organic Motion ( has a new type of Motion Capture that does away with the encumbrances of traditional motion capture. Typically in order to capture the motion of an individual, the individual would have to wear a body suit with markers. This technology, through the use of camera triangulation, is able to capture motion without any of these add-ons. Just have the individual move and the software and hardware can capture the motion in realtime. I can see how this technology will help push the envelope in making motion capture more accessible to the masses. One does not even need a technician to make this happen, further reducing the cost to the consumer.

Softimage ( has finally released its long awaited XSI Version 7. As someone who uses this program, the wait has been more than worth it.  The major component of this release is I.C.E. (Interactive Creative Environment.) With ICE, Softimage has completely redesigned its particle system. The interface is node based and works seamlessly with Softimage. One does not have to know how to script to take advantage of its open interface and I cannot wait to start playing with this.

On another note, the company Shapeways ( has developed a technology to allow you to take your 3D models into reality. This technology is not new, but the way Shapeways has thought about this is relatively novel and new. Previously, it always has been cost prohibitive to take your 3D files and have them built in a physical environment. Shapeways has now made this process much more affordable and accessible. You can send them your 3D file over the Internet and they will give you an instant quote for the manufacturing. I have been told the average price is between $50 and $150.

Within 10 days no matter where you are located, you will have the model in your hands. For character designers and architects, to name a few fields, this accessibility will hopefully empower the designer. Besides, which 3D animator would not want to have the robot they designed on top of their desktop? Count me in.