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SIG: A Highlight Overview of SIGGRAPH 2013 with Perspectives on Mac

In this excellent overview article, 3D industry veteran Akiko Ashley sums up the good, the bad and the ugly of SIGGRAPH 2013…

SIGGRAPH 2013 was held in Anaheim, California July 21st to July 25th.  Anaheim is a location made famous by a cartoon mouse with a theme park castle. This is a really good location for SIGGRAPH. Hotels surround the Convention Center plus plenty of tasty restaurants.  You can walk everywhere without a car. I started my day off at a “networking breakfast” sponsored by Ontario, Canada. It was a good networking event that explored opportunities in Ontario.

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SIGGRAPH was noticeably smaller then previous years, a trend that seems to be true year after year.  Is the size of SIGGRAPH really about the economy, changes in the industry, or the tradeshow business model?  This is a question attendees chatted about as they walked the Exhibitor floor.

Autodesk announced their company would not have a booth at SIGGRAPH this year or in the future as the Autodesk strategy has changed. The Autodesk User Group still happened on schedule, Tuesday night at 6pm. It wasn’t just Autodesk…ILM, Rhythm & Hues, Blue Sky, Apple and Adobe did not have booths at the show either. SIGGRAPH did not go without controversy as badge holders walked by the Massive booth, to see the only item in the booth–an old television with a snowy screen. If you went to website a partial explanation with the word “Change the Future”.  The Job Fair was a quarter of the size (compared to the past) with only a handful of studios recruiting.  Pixologic, NVIDIA, and NewTek still had a huge presence with packed booths. AMD was showing off their FirePro card with OpenCL acceleration.

The message from vendors this year was about collaboration. For example Houdini introduced Houdini Engine, which allows deep integration of their technology into other DCC packages like Maya, Lightwave, and 3DS Max. NewTek introduced Chronoscope, a stand alone 3D interactive sculpting package that has a flexible interface that supports all 3D professional programs including 3DS Max, Maya, and CINEMA 4D. The Foundry and Pixar announced collaboration between Katana and Renderman. LightWorks announced their collaboration with NVIDIA on IRay+.

01 - Anaheim makes an excellent spot for SIGGRAPH with the famous mouse nearby. (courtesy Akiko Ashley, All Rights Reserved.)

01 – Anaheim makes an excellent spot for SIGGRAPH with the famous mouse nearby. (courtesy Akiko Ashley, All Rights Reserved.)

I walked around SIGGRAPH Exhibit floor to talk to a few vendors about their product announcements in the world of visualization.

Maxon announced the new version of CINEMA 4D R15 with new improvements such as all new beveling modeling efficiency, interactive kerning for advanced 3D typography, and Team Render the ability to conveniently render across networks using the CINEMA 4D interface. When I was on the show floor, I tried to see Team Render at work at the Maxon Booth but it was not on display. It certainly does sound like Maxon is listening to their user base.

02 - The Maxon booth showing CINEMA 4D R15, the very latest just announced 3D modeling, rendering and animation package from Germany. The company always seems to have a good show at SIGGRAPH. (image courtesy of Akiko Ashley, All Rights Reserved)

02 – The Maxon booth showing CINEMA 4D R15, the very latest just announced 3D modeling, rendering and animation package from Germany. The company always seems to have a good show at SIGGRAPH. (image courtesy of Akiko Ashley, All Rights Reserved)

LightWorks, one of the top leading suppliers of rendering solutions announced an exclusive reseller agreement with NVIDIA to release their new rendering solution Iray+. Iray+ from LightWorks builds upon NVIDIA’s iray rendering technology giving users an intuitive way to access rendering capabilities for highly accurate visualization to the masses. Iray+ is accelerated using CUDA. LightWorks’ layer in Iray+ enables the intense power of NVIDIA’s physically-based, interactive, photorealistic rendering within an intuitive pipeline. The results blew me away. A tech explained how you could enter IES data for your lights to get a sense of how the lights will look in the environment you are designing…with real time feedback you can make changes on the fly. Iray+ comes stocked with an extensive material library with fast track interfaces, which allows for visualization accuracy and quality.  The combination of the NVIDIA and LightWorks collaborating on Iray+ will not be ignored in the CAD industry…as it brings high quality visualization to the masses. These advantages will be exclusive to the NVIDIA GPU cards in the market. Sadly and curiously, I wonder how this will affect Apple’s new upcoming Mac Pro?

next page: Next Limit, AMD Fire Pro and more…

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