The Good and Bad of Siggraph 2008

Posted on August 22nd, 2008 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

- The good -

Downtown LA
Once deserted, the whole quarter is booming with housing projects all over. Next Siggraph in L.A. will be lively.

 Double clip badge

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Yay, no more flip-flopping badges. With two clamps the badge holder stays straight. I don’t know why I keep my old Siggraph passes.

The weather
It’s California. Sunny, or sunny with light clouds. This summer in Montreal, 2 out of 3 days were rainy.

XSI ICE

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I have been following ICE since the first presentation of Moondust at the Softimage research summit of Siggraph 2006 in Boston. Softimage finally released XSI 7.0 with ICE just before Siggraph, and it’s turning a lot of heads.

Mudbox 2009

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The presentation at the Autodesk User group was a tremendous success, with this version presenting a complete sculptor/painter tool. Still in Beta, but the release is only a few weeks away.

The exhibition floor
I kinda liked how the exhibition was split in the middle, with the New Tech Demo and Studio taking up the center space. Of course it’s sad that the venue is smaller than the previous years yet again, but at least it’s easy to get around and you get to explore more Sigg stuff.

Haptics
What stood out at the New Tech Demo were the numerous haptic setups. Gloves, controls and other feedback interfaces were all over. Expect some fancy new force-feedback controllers for CG work real soon…

Softimage Nice ICE party
My head still hurts. But it’s a good thing.

Computer animation festival
A great collection of sessions, with the best being the two-day stereoscopy talks. Which brings me to…

3-D Stereoscopy
It’s the next best thing since sliced bread according to the movie industry.  Stereo talks, stereo cameras, stereo displays, stereo glasses… CG, digital effects and post-production are of course very tied to all this.

- The Bad -

The Food
Getting good food at the Convention Center is a nightmare. Outside the Center is even worse; you have to get to one of the nearby hotels to get a decent restaurant.

TV in hotel

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Smallest hotel TV ever. My grandmother had a bigger set than this in her bedroom.

Wireless Internet
What, I’m so close to Sillicon valley, and Wi-Fi is dead slow in hotels, restaurants or at the Convention Center. I don’t get it.

… and the worst thing about Siggraph 2008 :

No Electronic Theatre
A very, very big hole in Siggraph 2008 appeared by leaving out the ET in a weird revamping of the Computer Animation Festival. Not many attendees could balance their filled-up days to attend the complicated schedule of shows.



Job : Modus is looking for Nuke and Shake compositors

Posted on August 20th, 2008 in The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

We need to expand our team of compositors for our current and future projects of feature film and TV series. Our 2D department runs Nuke and Shake in a Mac OS environment. Positions are available immediately. Please send your resumes to jobs()modusfx.com

Thanks and good luck!
Summary

  • Responsible for the prep work of live plates, integration of 3D elements and final compositing of shots

Responsibilities

  • Setup and manage shot composition, layering and rendering for comp
  • Organize and manage 2D files, assets and setups
  • Participate and engage in team meetings
  • Stay up-to-date with new software, techniques and training

Qualifications

  • Working knowledge of Nuke, Shake, Fusion or Flame / Inferno
  • Team player with excellent communication skills
  • Can handle constructive criticism
  • Ability to work under pressure with deadlines


Siggraph 2008 : Day 2

Posted on August 15th, 2008 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

I did not think I would spend a lot of time in the conference sessions, but the two-day program on 3-D stereoscopy has been amazing!

Animated 3D Cinema: Imaginary Worlds Brought to Life
Great insights on 3-D CG productions with issues and solutions for stereo work. The know-how presented certainly applies to live pictures and visual effects.

Live 3D Cinema: Capturing Real-World Depth
Closer to our field of work, very informative talks on shooting 3-D productions, from guerrilla setups from Encyclopedia Pictura for Bjork’s Wanderlust video, to feature film like Journey to the Center of the Earth. Also this eye-opener: “Dimensionalisation” by In-Three Inc., with their work on bringing 2D movies to 3D with added perspective effects.

3D Future: Rounding Up the Future
The conclusion of the two-day marathon of stereo talks. Very high-level discussion on the future of stereoscopy 3-D.

Exhibition
Had a few minutes to stroll around the show floor, again fairly small by old Siggraph standards but this is how it goes now. More on this in day 3.

Softimage Nice Ice party
Most excellent night at Club 740 in downtown LA! I was at a great party with Vanilla Ice, Ron Jeremy and girls hanging in drapes from the ceiling. I have Softimage to thank for this.

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Siggraph 2008 : Day 1

Posted on August 12th, 2008 in Software, CG Community, Technical by Marc Bourbonnais

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So I’m in California for my 11th Siggraph, 4th in Los Angeles. The first thing that struck me is that housing is booming in downtown LA. What used to be a dead zone around the Convention Center is now covered with condo towers.

Got all my registration worked out at 7:30 this morning, as always the crowds at Siggraph are extremely well-behaved and the hundreds of non-registered attendees waiting patiently at the doors walked in without so much a fuss.

I attended the new Computer Animation Festival presentations in the morning, a nice addition to the regular classes. I miss the now defunct Electronic Theatre but these new sessions look great. The program on stereoscopy is particularly interesting. Two sessions this morning:

3D primer : The fundamentals of Stereoscopy
The most comprehensive 3-D tutorial I’ve seen. Very informative, both historically and technically. I particular enjoyed Peter Anderson explaining 3-D cinema with chopsticks. Interesting to see a battle forming between Real-D and Dolby 3D

Great Failed Ideas in Production
As suggested during the session, this panel has to come back. Hearing CG masters like Dyksrta and Knoll talk about tough calls in their careers is, to say the least, comforting.

The rest of the day was a bit rushed, where I jumped around in 3 vendor sessions:

Nuke user group
Their first user group; I could not stay long but did get to see some interesting workflow for The Mummy 3 and Ocula, Foundry’s new tools for stereoscopy.

Softimage Education Summit and Research Summit
I gave a very short talk for the education partners of Softimage about what students need to know to get into VFX studios. Short answer: be pleasant to work with, period. I met new traning centers that will stay in touch. I stayed around for the start of the research summit to meet with old friends that I can only meet at Siggraph.

Autodesk User Group
A very big event, happening at the Shrine Auditorium. The show itself was quite long (just over 3 hours) but most of the presentations were good, notably the Mudbox 2009 preview and the stereoscopy recap. Still, 3 hours is a heck of a long time for marketing chit-chat.

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And that’s more than enough for one day. See you all tomorrow, with the start of the exhibition.



Happy Birthday Modus !

Posted on August 8th, 2008 in Hardware, Entrepreneurship, The Company by Marc Bourbonnais

Last week was our first anniversary! Modus was born on paper July 27th, 2007. On August 1st, we were signing the lease for the huge space that became our new studios.

Where we are after our first steps:

  • Our indoor setup is not totally complete, we have to work with our production schedules. Keeping track of our electrical needs is a challenge, with hardware getting in at a fast pace. Extension cords are a start-up company’s best friends.
  • There are 30 of us now working full time. Our original goal was to have 25 people up and running during the first year, so we’re on track.
  • With a few smaller projects, we are working on three features that are spread over 8 months.  Getting these bigger projects on board took a bit longer than expected, but we got up to speed very quickly.
  • Our start-up financing is finally all spent. It was quite hard to make all our investment funds working together, with our financial partners having very different calendars and methods. We are now in our 2nd wave of financing to continue our growth.

With a year in business behind us, 30 employees and a good amount of production in our studios, we’re definitely not a start-up anymore. Modus is now a real (albeit young) business. Thanks everyone for your support and encouragements!

Next post will be from Siggraph 2008 in Los Angeles!