SIGGRAPH 2004 Trip Report
By Jeff Mottle (email@example.com)
SIGGRAPH 2004 ended on an up note this year marking a 14% increase in attendance from 2003. A total of 27,825 professionals from nearly 90 countries attended this year’s show, however it was still a far cry from the nearly 49,000 that attended in 1997 when I first attended SIGGRAPH. The show floor was busy and seemed packed due its narrower isles, but a historical look back at the numbers of exhibitors places this year’s event at the second lowest in eight years with a total of only 229 exhibitors.
Los Angeles Convention Center
As many of you recall last year, an announcement was made to hold SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles for 2004 and 2005 to help bolster attendance and reduce costs to host the world class event. Clearly that move seems to be working, so if the trend continues SIGGRAPH 2005 promised to be bigger yet.
SIGGRAPH as always was full of energy and is one of the reasons I keep going back. The opportunity to catch up with old friends, and meet new ones, is always the best part of any SIGGRAPH despite attendance. I’ve always said SIGGRAPH was more about networking than anything else.
This year also marked the 3 rd annual CGarchitect.com/ArchVision Event at the exclusive Palm Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, with record attendance for the event of 160 architectural visualization professionals. The buzz around the show after the event was very positive and we expect to see even more people next year. At this year’s event we also presented the International 3D Awards for the Architectural animation and Still category. Spain cleaned house with the winners coming from Sevilla and La Coruna Spain. Carlos Martin Peña of Neosmedia took home the trophy for the Architectural Stills Category with Luis Rivero from Urban Simulations winning the Animation category.
Knut Ramstad (Selvaag BlueThink), Carlos Martin Peña (Neosmedia), Kim Bauman Larsen (PLACEBO EFFECTS), Igor Knezevic (Flare Group), Luis Rivero (Urban Simulations)
Knut Ramstad, Julia Mottle (Jeff's Wife)
What would SIGGRAPH be without new products and products announcements from all of the participating exhibitors. This year announcements for several new products and products versions were made.
Discreet announced the latest release of the upcoming version of 3dsmax 7 this year and demonstrated some of its new features at the Discreet Evolve event Monday night as well as at their booth on the exhibition floor throughout the week.
As many of you have probably already read, there is not much new for the design visualization industry, despite promises last year to make 3dsmax the exclusive platform for the architectural and design visualization industries. The Evolve presentation confirmed this, with over two very long grueling hours of character animation and character modeling demos being presented with no mention of any design visualization applications, aside from the amazing clip “Les Jumelles” from KDLAB. I’m not sure what they were thinking this year, but when the event ran over the two hour mark many people started to leave. The demos were not very well presented and did little to hold the audience’s attention.
The return of Autodesk VIZ seems to have once again shifted the direction of things to come. With VIZ back on the playing field I don’t expect you will see many if any new features for our industry being implemented exclusively in 3dsmax. At this point I just hope they decide to maintain compatibility and port the new VIZ features to 3dsmax. I’m not altogether convinced that this will happen however. I’m sure some will disagree, but I personally think the return of VIZ was an unfortunate turn of events. The announcement last year to make 3dsmax ‘the’ platform for design visualization, was the best decision they ever made. It’s too bad they did not stick to it. For those of you that have not yet seen the full list of 3dsmax 7 features, you can do so on the Discreet website here: http://www.discreet.com/3dsmax/
I can sum up the new version of this product with one word: WOW! They have been around for a few years now, but I was lucky enough to receive a personal demo of the new version this year and what can I say, I was extremely impressed. The easy of use and modeling functionality that I have been recommending Discreet implement into 3dsmax for the last 3 years is here ready to use! The toolset is extremely powerful but at the same time extremely easy to learn. Version 4 of SketchUp brings the new Intersector Tool (Booleans), The Follow Me tool which allows users to push or pull a surface along a path, as well as the new Ruby scripting interface. I’ll be publishing an extensive review of SketchUp 4.0 in the coming weeks from the perspective of a professional architectural visualization workflow. A full working demo can be downloaded at : http://www.sketchup.com. Do yourself a serious favor and download the demo and spend a bit of time seeing what it can do. They have a ton of free video tutorials available for download on the site as well that will get you up to speed in a few short hours.
ArchVision’s slogan this year was “Content, Management, Publishing” to match the suite of tools and direction they are taking their new products. ArchVision demonstrated their new Composer application which allows users to place, rotate and scale RPC content onto 2D imagery. With the new application you simply load an image, place the horizon line and drop your content in. As you move your content from foreground to background the content automatically scales to the proper scale based upon the horizon line. Another cool feature allows you to export the final composite to Photoshop where the RPC content and shadows come in on their own layers. Also noteworthy was the demonstration of the new RPC Maya plugin that was demonstrated by Paul Arden of Luminova, the developers of this long awaited release. Topping up the new products demonstrated at the show was their new Hi Res Tree collection which are an unprecedented 2500 pixels in height! To read more about all of the latest products head over to http://www.archvision.com
Some of you might know Curious Labs as the creators of Poser 3D character design tools, but what many of you might not know is that they are also the creators of Shade, an intuitive Bezier curve/surface modeling and global illumination package that boasts over 70% of the market share in the product design and architectural visualization industries in Japan. If you have not had a chance to check out this package that has been around since 1986, I’d highly recommend checking out the Curious Labs site here: http://www.curiouslabs.com/article/articleview/1157/1/282?sbss=282
I had a bit of time to get a personal demo of 2d3’s new Boujou Bullet package that will have a large appeal to those of you that do camera tracking work. Boujou Bullet has all of the same features that previous version has with a few added bonuses. The first and most obvious is the price. For only $2500 you can own a world class camera tracking software. With it’s roots in the Film and Entertainment industry, the full version will run you $10,000, but Boujou Bullet will not only get you into the door without emptying your pocketbook, you will also gain a very intuitive Wizard and Troubleshooter to guide you through the process. For those of us that don’t make a career out of camera matching, and don’t have the time to read a lot of documentation, Boujou Bullet will get running in no time. For more into on Boujou Bullet go to : http://www.2d3.com/jsp/products/product-overview.jsp?product=7
I spent a bit of time at the Terra Tracer booth and got a very impressive demo of the new TerraShader software that works in Maya, 3dsmax, SoftImage and Lightwave. Using wavelet technology the software allows you to create high res terrain animations from aerial and satellite photography. I saw one demo of a aerial flight over Los Angeles that looked very close to 3D despite it being only 2D aerial imagery. Even more impressive is that you can load extremely large image datasets without large amount of RAM either at load time or during render time. Their unique technology allows the software to cache the image data in such a way that only the data that is being viewed is loaded into memory. I heard one demo tech say that the software would not consume more than about 256 MB of RAM even though you might be loading a 100 GB image file. There are some very interesting applications for this software, so it’s worth a look. http://www.terratracer.com/
The After Party
What SIGGRAPH would be complete without the after party. The SIGGRAPH Chatpers party, the CGarchitect.com/ArchVision Event, the NVIDIA Party and finally the Blur Party were just a few of the after hours events that took place at this year’s SIGGRAPH. The CGarchitect.com Event was the obvious highlight, but the Blur party was hard to beat with over 1800 people in attendance and a live performance by Crystal Method.
Like every year, SIGGRAPH is one long blur of activity punctuated with a few short hours of sleep. Despite my best efforts to cover as much of the show as I could and visit with as many people as possibly. I could not make it to every booth and see all of the people I wanted to. If I did not get to meet you this year, be sure to track me down at the SIGGRAPH event next year or on the show floor. The highlight of my trip is always the people, especially the Architectural CG community. Thank you once again to all of the people that attended this year’s CGarchitect.com/ArchVision Event and to all of our very generous sponsors. I hope to see you all next year, this year was a blast!
For more SIGGRAPH Event Photos check out our forums here
If you would like to post comments or questions about this review, please visit our forum
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login here.