As you can imagine, the Showfloor is one of the most fun places to be during SIGGRAPH. From my personal point of view, this is the place where the real interaction takes place. Unfortunately, with so many things to see you are left wanting more time to see everything.
One of the companies present at the showfloor was Massive. You have surely seen the work produced by Massive in films such as "Lord of the Rings" and, more recently, "King Kong." It was impressive to see the amount of work that was generated using Massive. Everything from crowds, traffic and even the birds flying were generated with Massive.
Another thing worth checking out was the SensAble booth. I had the chance to test ClayTools and I have to say it's an extremely powerful tool. I even dare to say that it makes zBrush look like a toy (keep in mind that is my personal point of view).
What's so special about ClayTools is that the "pencil" can be moved in 3D space, which means you can modify your object from any direction, even if it's not normal to the camera (you can even model on the parts that are facing away from the camera). The device outputs the "contact with the virtual model" by generating pressure on the arm, so if you touch the object, you will feel that contact force that doesn't let you go through it unless you push really hard.
I am not much into modeling, but I definitely have to get one of these.
In case you didn't know, I have to say that we now have a "Virtual Teyon" in Poser (displayed on the photo). You can also see the real-life Teyon running a demo for a guy that seemed very interested in Poser.
This year, Vicon didn't have a motion capture stage, but they were showing a nice reel on what their motion capture systems can do. Outside the booth, the "sister company" 2d3 had some computers where you could test their camera tracking software packages, including Moujou.
They also unveiled Boujou 4, so if you are interested in camera tracking (and you can afford it) this is something you may want to keep your eyes on.
Reallusion also came up with a few good surprises. They released CrazyTalk 4.5 and iClone 1.5 (I will be writting reviews for both programs soon). iClone 1.5 allows you to edit camera animation as well as character animation using tracks. You can combine animation tracks to create your animation easily. It also lets you create some very dramatic lighting and shading effects using a new render engine. Keep in mind that is rendered in realtime so even with these new features, you can still have pretty quick renders.
There were also news on the upcoming iClone Studio Pro, which will let the user layout an scene and animation and then export that using the FBX format. iClone Studio Pro is meant to be a realtime previz software. All of its data will be able to be used in any major software package. This means that you will be able to use the iClone data as a starting point to create your final shots.
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Animation Alley is a regular featured column with Renderosity Staff Columnist Sergio Rosa [nemirc]. Sergio discusses on computer graphics software, animation techniques, and technology. He also hosts interviews with professionals in the animation and cinematography fields.