Continuing on from Part One of my Siggraph Report for Wed; after my meeting with The Foundry, I hustled over to the Reallusion booth where I caught up with their new motion-capture technology and spoke with a very satisfied Reallusion customer who happened to be at the booth at the same time.
REALLUSION AND ICLONE 6
Reallusion is a company I have followed and supported almost from its inception in 2005. The program has grown tremendously under the leadership of their CEO, Charles Chen. At the Reallusion booth, I attended a demo given by John Martin of their new motion-capture set up (iClone Live Motion Capture System).
iClone has long been an affordable application for users who want to create 2D and 3D films and previz. Now, with the addition of technology from the incredible Perception Neuron, Reallusion will be offering a motion-capture suit along with full suite of tools to capture real-time motion inside of iClone 6 and then bring it into practically any 3D application you want by using their new updated 3DXchange 6. I was very impressed with their tech demo and got some great anecdotal info from a very satisfied customer (Stan) who as at the booth at the same time.
While iClone 6.2 is out now, the motion capture set up and 3DXchange 6 look to be shipping sometime in September. And get this: Reallusion has already set up the ability to export to the as yet unreleased Autodesk Stingray game engine. How's that for staying up to date?
Good job, Reallusion!
On my way back to the Reallusion booth to check in, I checked in with Jason at the AMD who gave me the lowdown on a project that AMD has been working on for many years, their ray-tracing Fire Render. Yes, you heard it: a fast, beautiful ray-tracing renderer complete with a material library from AMD, the hardware giant. I had no idea they were working on this technology, but from the way Jason talked it has been a magical child for the developers at AMD.
Still in beta with no firm release date, the AMD Fire Renderer looks to be a marvelous addition to render technology and will give some serious competition to the rendering field, which is pretty stacked with quality applications already. A bold and exciting move from an increasingly competitive graphics company.
UNITY GAME ENGINE
I decided to stop by the Unity booth next as I wanted to see if anything new had been announced recently. The press is bombarded with all kinds of requests and info in the week leading up to Siggraph, I was thinking that perhaps I had missed something from Unity.
And indeed I had. I sincerely regret not being able to catch any of Unity's interesting courses and talks at Siggraph. One, in particular, was one I very much wanted to see: Unity 5, The Blacksmith: Make Your Own Viking Movie. I have a particular interest in machinima (real time 3D filmmaking) and had seen this brilliant short film which was shot inside of Unity 5. I'm hoping that the session was recorded, but if it wasn't at least I can get the background on how Unity was used for cinematic production by reading the Blacksmith FAQ & Unity's Demo Team blog post. I urge you to watch the short film here and then read the blog post.
I've been following Unity's tremendous growth over the last 4 years. There certainly was a great need for a platform for indie and beginner game makers that was easy to use for non-programmers and provided full support both in tutorials and in content. Unity has peaked at a time when the mobile marked created huge demand for games. In fact, I believe the Unity platform and company is primarily responsible for the literally huge wave of indie game-makers. A wave that has still not crested.
If you haven't tried Unity (it's free) or seen their amazing Asset Store, you owe it to yourself to visit. You may find that those ideas you may have had for a game are possible with Unity. It's that good.
COMPUTER GRAPHICS BOOKS AND PEARSON EDUCATION
Bookstores and books are my favorite places to haunt. So, naturally, I spent time at all of the book booths and displays at Siggraph. One, in particularly, stood out for me. Although their selection was the smallest, they had the most interesting books. Plus, they were having a special sale which included a free ebook version of the book you purchased. How cool is that?
I picked up 3D Printing: Build Your Own 3D Printer and Print Your Own 3D Objects by James Floyd Kelly at the Pearson Education booth. I had no idea that there were relatively inexpensive kits for putting together your own 3D printer. Published by Que, the book outlines the entire process of choosing, building, setting up, modeling and finally printing a 3D object.
I'm delighted with this book! It's short (175), but full of diagrams and illustrations. The text is distinctly non-technical (for the most part), but has a depth and clarity that is just right. I'm looking forward to the process of putting my own 3D printer together and will document the process here at Renderosity.
Thanks, Pearson Education, for having this book at Siggraph. I'll certainly be looking at more of your books in the future. Here is a quick link to the book if you'd like to know more.
THE RENDEROSITY TEAM AT SIGGRAPH
Siggraph 2015 was unique for me in that it's the first conference I've attended as the managing editor for Renderosity. Plus, I had the opportunity to meet with my fellow staff members face to face and discuss ideas and plans for Renderosity's coverage of the computer graphics industry.
The Rederosity team which included Tim, Tommy, Jenn, Jennifer and Hope, worked hard at the booth passing out freebies and talking to many interested people about Renderosity.com. My thanks to them for their efforts and for sharing their time and ideas with me. I'm delighted to be working with them.
Wednesday night the Renderoity team shared a big Mexican dinner with the Reallusion booth crew. Certainly, a great way to get to know people is to eat and tell stories together. It was a great night and a fitting close to the 2015 Siggraph Computer Graphics conference.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SIGGRAPH 2015
Every year there are those jaded press members who declare that Siggraph has lost it's mojo, it's energy and is in decline. I disagree. If anything, Siggraph is getting better and better AND more relevant each year.
A tremedous amount of work goes into creating a conference of this size and complexity. Balancing the traditional academic/technical aspects of the conference with the demands of popular entertainment and future graphics technology is no easy task. I felt Siggraph 2015 got the balance just right.
Virtual Reality was the buzzword at the conference much like 3D technology was 3 or 4 years ago. And this year's Siggraph covered the VR very well. The first ever VR Village was a big success. But Siggraph is more than following an industry trend. For those who gauge the success of Siggraph based on the attendance and participation of just the trade show floor, miss the fact that there are a dozen tracks of interest in computer graphics going on at the same time.
In the end, the Siggraph conference is really about people and the technology and ideas they've invented or developed. And you'll never find more interesting people than at the greatest computer graphics conference in the world. And if only half of the people who come to Siggraph leave inspired, then the conference has done it's job.
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