July 26, 2010 1:36 am

Tags: 3D, Avatar, CityEngine, Emerging Technologies, SIGGRAPH

Sergio at SIGGRAPH: Day One

The most anticipated event of the computer graphics community took off today: SIGGRAPH 2010. Unlike previous years, this year's event began on Sunday (I seem to remember they explained why, but can't really remember the reason).


Today, I had the chance to take a look at CityEngine 2010, the procedural city creation software I've reviewed in the past. Version 2010 poses a paradigm shift since you can now create everything interactively. You can draw your streets and move them around, edit buildings and such, while watching the results in real-time. Buildings can also be created using a node-based environment, instead of writing countless lines of code.


Actually, the node-based environment does not replace the scripting method, as you can use one or the other, depending on the kind of user you are. Technical users can still create everything using code, and non-technical users can take advantage of the node-based creation tools. CityEngine 2010 has more features, but I will discuss them in a future review.


I also went to the SIGGRAPH Village, where this extremely cute photographer took my picture to post it on the SIGGRAPH Village faces thing. It seems the hat I'm wearing has impressed a few people, and they even told me that I deserved a spot on the faces thing because my hat was just too cool.


As always, the Emerging Technologies is the place where you can find a lot of crazy stuff, even the stuff that may not have an application in the near future (if ever). Some of the more interesting projects are the Stereo 3D multitouch display, the cylindrical 3D display, and a touchless display.

The guys with the 3D multitouch display were demoing a map in 3D. Right now you can only zoom and rotate, but not tilt or anything like that, which would be a very cool feature that would really take advantage of the 3D. The cylindrical 3D display is a cool concept. I had the chance to play a little "pong" game, and as a gamer, I found it rather difficult to play because of the perspective effects.


The touchless display reminded me a little of Microsoft Kinect. However, this touchless display is oriented to mobile devices. Touch displays seem to have taken off after the iPhone launch, and input methods are being reinvented. To be honest, I would find it difficult to use a touchless display, even though it looks cool in concept (remember Minority Report).

I attended the "Avatar in depth" talk. They focused on character deformations and the new indirect binding methods for their characters, lighting and rendering. The more groundbreaking part for me was the Pantaray renderer: a tool they used to render the entire movie in a decent time frame. If they'd used the standard methods, it would have taken 20 years to render the entire movie!

The last event of the day was the Papers fast forward presentation: a 2 hour event where presenters have the chance to pitch their papers. It's nice to have the chance to know what all the papers are about, but it's even better to see how creative some of the presenters are when it comes time to pitch theirs.


In a nutshell, that was my first day at the convention. If you happen to be here, I hope you enjoy your chance to meet the "people behind the pixels." I am posting near-real-time updates on Twitter, so you can follow me if you have an account. Mine is: @magnolia_fan


See you again tomorrow!

Sergio Aris Rosa [nemirc], is Sr. Staff Writer for the Renderosity Front Page News. Sergio discusses on computer graphics software, animation techniques, and technology. He also hosts interviews with professionals in the animation and cinematography fields. You can follow him on Twitter, and if you want to see what he's up to you can visit his blog.

July 27, 2010

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