The SIGGRAPH Showfloor

August 22, 2006 1:25 am

The SIGGRAPH showfloor opens on the third day of the event. This is the place where companies and studios gather to present their products, services and courses.



Right at the opening time, the guys from MOVA presented their new capture system. What this does is to perform a complete realtime 3d scan of your actor, including not only model data but also texture data.



What it does is to create a model and texture by capturing the actor with an array of cameras, as seen in the picture. The results are not only impressive, but also you get a very high-resolution model.

Personally I don't see this system being used on something else than facial capture or repetitive animation cycles. You are able to capture the actors fully dressed and performing, but I don't know why you would capture a complete movie. However, this always happens with the new technologies so we will have to wait and see what happens next.



Another interesting device was the "3D mouse". The idea of this mouse is that you would use the little joysticks to drive translation and rotation of the objects. When I tried it I actually had a hard time trying to get used to it, but then it was fun to use.



The problem that I found is that it's very difficult to operate when you want to rotate your object only a little, because you have to quickly "tap" the joystick. You can set a "snap value", but that doesn't make the job greatly easier. Another thing is the price: It sells for over $80.00, which may sound a little steep for a mouse.

Another thing to consider is that the mouse only works on Truespace right now, so if you were even considering to get it to work on Maya or any other application, you will have to wait till next year...



Autodesk unveiled Maya 8, MAX 9 and a new compositor called Toxic, which is based on Flame. What's so special about Toxic is that it was designed for groups of people working over a network. Now people can work on their parts of the same shot at the same time without having to wait for others to deliver their parts.

Users can create "snapshots" of their current projects, so others can use those snapshots and bring them into their own project. The cool thing about this is that if the users update their snapshots, they are automatically updated on everyone's machines, so you don't have to reopen your projects everytime someone creates a new snapshot since Toxic does that automatically.



I also had the chance to meet Matt Sederberg. There are some very interesting new features in TSplines now, and you should be able to get the Maya 8 version really soon. TSplines is also available for Rhino, but since I am not a Rhino user I can't give you my impressions about it.

Something worth mentioning is that Matt's father, Thomas Sederberg was awarded an achievement award during the SIGGRAPH keynote.



Another booth worth visiting was Lucas Films. They held some interesting talks about the projects they had worked on, including Mission Impossible, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, a new Indiana Jones game, and others.

On the picture you can see John Knoll on a talk about Pirates 2. The main focus of the talk was Davy Jones although they talked about how they created all the different digital characters for the movie. Actually a TD from ILM offered a course that went even deeper on the creation of Davy Jones and I can tell you it was very good.

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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.

August 21, 2006

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Article Comments

deemarie ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 23 August 2006

Thanks so much for giving those of us who could not make it to SIGGRAPH an inside look at what you experienced. Do you think that MOVA's "new capture system" will replace the traditional motion-capture? What new projects are Lucus Films working on? What new features are in Maya 8? Thanks again for taking us along with you to SIGGRAPH. Dee-Marie

Modulok ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 23 August 2006

Thanks for the insight into some of the things that were presented. -Modulok-

nemirc ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 23 August 2006

I am very keen to see what they can do with the models that the MOVA system produces. Maybe it could be used as an alternative to systems such as "performance capture", used in The Polar Express and Monster House, if they could then stylize those models to create virtual characters. However I don't see a real use on capturing a fully dressed actor. I definitely don't think that it will replace traditional motion capture, since one captures surface data, while the other captures rig data (or better say, data that will be applied directly onto a rig). New projects of Lucas Films, no idea :p I didn't see that info over there. Maya 8 has some very nice things. Now you can use "geometry caching" to store animation data directly on the model. The resulting object is a model with animation directly stored at vertex-level, which means you can then delete your deformers and rigs and the models will still be animated. You can then play with that animation using the Trax Editor. There are also some changes in modeling and new features in the dynamics modules such as hair. What I am not too comfortable with is the fact that they have reordered a lot of the GUI, renamed menus and tools and also moved menus from one module to other (for example, "modeling" only includes polygons tools and there is a new module for NURBS and SubDs). What I really like is... well, I don't want to spoil the surprise so if you want to know what is that I really like, you'll have to wait till my review ;)