Monday at Siggraph

Aug 14, 2018 at 01:35 am by -gToon

Monday, August 13th, Vancouver, B.C.

Soundtrack: ArchAndroid by Janelle Monae


  • Foundry Breakfast Briefing
  • Siggraph Media Briefing
  • Meeting with Lenovo
  • Chaos Group briefing
  • NVIDIA Event
  • Autodesk dinner

After a pleasant walk down to the convention center and prep for the day's events, my first session became a comedy of errors. I misunderstood the location for the Foundry breakfast briefing and ended up running all over the place. Finally, 45 minutes late I got the briefing sweaty and frustrated. However, everything turned out fine as I was able to get up to date quickly.

Foundry Breakfast Briefing
Lots of great news from Foundry. Many of their industry-leading products are getting performance updates so that rendering times are falling dramatically. Got great presentations on Mari, Katana, and Nuke. I'm impressed with the level of interaction The Foundry has with their user base. I think is one of the things that drive their innovative spirit. I hope to snag an interview with one of the reps in the next day or so. So much to learn about this great company

Siggraph Media Briefing
This was a very enjoyable event. Heads of various departments at Siggraph 2018 introduced themselves and then shared an overview of their departments' achievements. They also shared some highlights. I was particularly taken with the Art Gallery chair and the Emerging Technologies chair

One delightful discovery was the Syd Mead part of the Production Gallery. Somehow I missed this while prepping for Siggraph 2018. Apparently, the display features 50 years of this genius illustrator/artist's work. Immediately made room on my schedule to visit. I hope to do a video recording to share with you.

Lenovo Meeting
Excellent demo of Lenovo's jaw-dropping new workstation the ThinkPad P1 mobile workstation. Lightweight, wonderful aesthetics and detailed specs make this workstation my favorite from Lenovo. Cassidy Lammers is a great spokesperson for Lenovo and I enjoyed learning about this new workstation. She told me that one of the things they wanted to do was to improve the panels (viewscreen) and they sure did a good job. You have an option for a full 4K touch-enabled P1 (the screen was gorgeous).

I came away from this demo thinking, "I want one. I want one". I suspect there will be many thinking the same thing.

Chaos Group Meeting
Still reeling from the Lenovo demo, I had a really excellent meet with reps from Chaos Group (including my old friend, David Tracy). Two standouts from this meet up: Vray for Houdini and Vray Cloud. The Houdini plug-in for Vray has been long in coming and is currently in beta. As Houdini is increasingly becoming part of VFX houses pipelines this is a good idea. More info here.

Vray Cloud, however, is going to be a big, big deal for Chaos group. They've brought years of careful thinking and development to this idea and it shows. Rather than the traditional upload/download schema, Chaos Group has decided to simplify the process and make it simple to use. You can actually see you render happing in front of you. Vray Cloud is still in beta and the good news is you can use it for free while it's in beta.

Please check Vray Cloud out. It will the way you think of rendering in the cloud for sure.

Autodesk Press Dinner
What a great way to close out a busy day. Autodesk sponsored a press dinner where they gave a brief overview of developments in Maya, Arnold renderer, 3DS Max, and Shotgun (their brilliant product management tool). We also got a nice presentation on some effects creation by Image Engine for the tv series Lost in Space.

The real pleasure of the dinner was the conversation. I met several people including Desirae Witte and Koji Suginuma and had a delightful, wide-ranging conversation about everything from ghosts to animation. Autodesk did a great job creating an atmosphere for conversation. Thank you!

Wrap Up
It was a long, exhausting day. My mind is so full of ideas and people I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight! I was disappointed I couldn't make the NVIDIA event, but the line was impossible. I just didn't have the energy to get through it all. Koji (the journalist I met at the Autodesk Press dinner) told me it was excellent, so I'm looking forward to catching up when video from the event is posted online.

Tomorrow is another packed day, but Vancouver is so nice and the convention center here in Vancouver has many places to rest and reflect so I should be fine!


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