Tuesday at Siggraph 2018

Aug 15, 2018 at 10:08 am by -gToon

Siggraph 2018

Tuesday, August 14th, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Curo booth
  • Reallusion booth
  • Unity booth
  • Maxon Cinema 4D Press Luncheon
  • Interview with Foundry co-founder XX
  • VFX Legion interview
  • Panel: Future AI and Deep Learning Tools for VFX
  • Blackmagic Design Booth
  • Siggraph Art Gallery
  • Syd Mead Production Gallery
Started very early on Tuesday with a visit to the 3rd floor of the Vancouver convention center where the view of the bay is spectacular. Music and good coffee augmented a great start to what would prove to be an exhausting, but inspiring day.
Curo is a brand-new application created by VFX veteran XX to manage VFX budgets with simplicity. Founder Joyce Cox gave me a demo of this great-looking application. She is a veteran of the VFX field having produced effects for films like Avatar and The Dark Knight. I was impressed with the look and design of Curo and enjoyed meeting with Joyce. More info at the Curo website.
John Martin took me through the paces of what's new at Reallusion. Character Creator 3 is out along with Motion LIVE and iPhone X LIVE Face for 2D animation. I recorded a brief interview with John and will share it with you in the coming days. Reallusion has become a leader in affordable motion capture and Motion LIVE looks awesome. I was also impressed with Character Creator 3 which I think could become a rival to DAZ and Poser for Renderosity artists. More at the Reallusion website.
One of my favorite events at Siggraph, the Maxon Press Luncheon is always enjoyable and informative. Of course, Maxon's release of Cinema 4D R20 was the focus. Paul Babb, the Maxon President & CEO for Maxon for the Americas. Paul took us through the new additions to the program (MoGraph Fields, Volume Modeling, Node-based materials and more). BTW, Maxon is live-streaming their booth presentations at c4dlive.com
Paul also spoke of the new CEO for Maxon Computer Gmbh David McGavran. His background at Adobe where he worked for the last 20 years should give Maxon and interesting new direction.
While getting ready for two upcoming interviews I wandered over to the Unity booth where a Unity rep shared a brief presentation of a node-based materials editor that looked impressive. Although I don't have a lot of details right now, I'll share them with you once I find out more. I plan on visiting the booth again tomorrow.
Interview with Simon Robinson, Co-Founder of the Foundry
This interview was set up after the excellent Foundry breakfast on Monday. I wanted to talk with Simon about his experience with the incredible growth of the company over the last 20 years. Simon proved to be a thoughtful and interesting person. His answers were inspiring as he felt that the changes to the company where what kept it "interesting" to him. He is still having fun working at the hFoundry. I'll be doing a profile of Simon in an upcoming Renderosity Magazine article.
Burbank-based VFX house, VFX Legion, is only 5 years old but in that short time, they have produced impressive work on television's Madame Secretary and the recent feature film Superfly. My talk with James was funny (he has a great sense of humor) and wide-ranging. His company makes use of remote VFX artists more than other companies.
James shared his thoughts on where the VFX industry is heading and his goals as a leader at VFX Legion. Declaring he "was never going to get rich in the industry" he wanted to provide for his artists so that "they can have good lives and have an opportunity to create passionately". I recorded this interview will share it within the new future.
I was only able to attend an hour of this interesting panel. My interest came out of hearing Doug Robie from Digital Domain on Monday. Although still in the experimental phase, applying deep learning and AI tools to creating digital humans and other VFX tasks is quite intriguing. I watched several presentations and came away wanting to know more about this topic which I think will become more relevant in the future of VFX and perhaps even video editing and compositing.
Met up with Jason at the Blackmagic booth to learn about their newest products and services. Focused on their incredible hardware release, eGPU. This is an external graphics amplifier for Thunderbolt 3 workstations that enable users to achieve amazing rendering and processing results on their Macs. Especially useful for users of their Resolve program or any compositing/effects program that requires gpu power.
I was impressed with the simple design and technical specs. And the eGPU comes at a reasonable price-point for even solo artists on a budget. Really like this project and hope to set up a review in the future.
It's always a favorite moment for me at any Siggraph - stepping into the Art Gallery. That this conference still strives to share contemporary art creations in an era of blockbuster VFX technology is a testament to Siggraph culture and the people who run the conference.
This year's conference theme is the original narratives by the indigenous communities near Vancouver and throughout Canada.
There are some extraordinary presentations that are imaginative and, at times, provocative. I was especially pleased to see the machinima film "She Falls for Ages" by Skawennati.
I shot a great deal of footage including 360 video at the Art Gallery and will share it with you in the near future.
I told practically everyone I met about this incredible gallery showing of the master artist, Syd Mead. If you don't know this artist you certainly have seen the results of his guache concept artwork in films like Blade Runner and many more. Syd is the artist's artist and this gallery showing of 50 of his works is a true lifetime experience.
I spoke with Rob who helped create the augmented reality app that goes with the gallery showing of Syd Mead's art. Will share this brief audio interview in the near future along with many, many photos and videos. Good news is that the gallery might travel in the future. Stay tuned for more info.
Wrap Up
As usual, I overestimated my stamina and ended up exhausted by late afternoon. I staggered home for a nap and to organize my notes and media. Unfortunately, Real-Time Live and the Animation festival had to go as I simply didn't have the energy. Perhaps I can do the Animation Festival in the next couple days? We'll see.

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