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Drew
July 31st, 2003, 21:42
Well I just got back from Siggraph and wanted to post my review of the convention. While I was there I focused on the 3D stuff so my review of the show comes from that perspective.

This year Siggraph, while great seemed smaller then last year but the weather was better, the high was 75 and the low 68. The number of full conference attendees was also less but their seemed to be more people on the exhibit floor. My guess is that many people who work on the west cost decided to drive down for just a day or two instead of the whole week.

The animation and electronic theater had some great work by both big studios and also some student work. Hopefully our local Siggraph chapter will host a viewing of the electronic theater on campus like they did last year. Everyone should have a chance to see it or if we’re lucky maybe Adam or Mike picked up some copies on DVD for us to watch in classJ

The usual companies Alias, Newtek, Discreet, Adobe, etc…. had booths at the expo. They all had great demos running and where showing off the latest versions of software. One new and unexpected bit of news was Luxology’s announcement of its first independent software pack Modo. For those who don’t know, Luxology’s key people Brad Peebler, Stuart Ferguson, and Allan Hastings were the main people behind Lightwave. About a year ago they left Newtek and started Luxology. However they continued to update Lightwave for Newtek up to version 7.5. Now they have no part of the development of Lightwave or any other Newtek products. Modo is the first of a several software modules that are promising to work nicely with all the major 3D packages. Modo is a modeling program that so far has seemed to impress many people. The best feature I have read about so far is Mimic. This allows the programs interface to mimic all of the major 3D packages out there. If you are more comfortable working in Max instead of Maya just switch the interface, you can even create your own custom interface. The program should be shipping by the end of the year with others following soon after. If you want to read more about Modo go to Luxology.net and CGChannel.com

The best thing I heard about at Siggraph was that studios are starting too higher again and in a big way. Currently they seem to be focusing on recruiting senior level people but they will soon be in the market for new talent. Several articles in The Hollywood Reporter seemed to agree with me. (I would link to the article but you have to pay a subscription fee for the website. I was given a free hard copy at Siggraph and will gladly make a copy of the articles for anyone who would like them.) Because of the great success Pixar and other company have had with 3D animated movies every studio is now starting to make their own. As a result they are having trouble finding qualified employees. Some studios are now starting to hire people right out of school for the first time. I don’t know how long this wave of 3D animated movies will last but with over 70 movies currently in production it will hopefully last for a while. The only catch is that you will have to move to wherever the job is most likely California.

I think Siggraph it is a must see for all student that can attend. I don’t know anyone who has been hired directly at Siggraph but I know some people who made great contacts at the show that later lead to a job. Also no matter what skill level you’re at Siggraph is a humbling experience. After seeing all the great work and meeting people who have your dream job everyone will be motivated to work harder on there projects.