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SIGGRAPH 2015: Full Coverage of Computer Graphics Show

This year’s focus was very much on VR (virtual reality) & Cloud Based Rendering. The focus on Virtual Reality brought a new creative energy on the show floor for exploration into a new frontier. VR in architecture & games was a big subject in the VR Village. Developers had discussions of how the hardware & software is driving development of this new space to make it affordable to the masses.

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[Editor’s note: If you have arrived on this page first, you can click here for the first page of this article. Much good news and info on page one as well. Thx. ]


Side Effects Software and Houdini

The Houdini Booth was packed with hundreds of users who came by to learn new methods of using Houdini and to see a preview of the new release of Houdini 15 that will run on the OS X, Windows, and Linux OS. Houdini 15 introduces new modeling, animation, and rendering tools that make using Houdini easier for those who don’t want to script to get something done. It is faster, more efficient, & easier to navigate while handling large data files. The booth had several specialist, partners, & customers who answered questions about the product.

03 - Houdini Engine is gaining ground as many companies integrate it into their software.

04 – Houdini Engine is gaining ground as many companies integrate it into their software. Photo by Akiko Ashley. All rights reserved.

Robert Meyers Product Marketing Managers for Side Effects Software was doing a demonstration on a Mac laptop for the crowds. He said that he recommended laptops larger than the 11 inch MacBook to run Houdini efficiently.

Cinema Displays, Macs and Autodesk Shotgun

Shotgun booth was filled with Apple Cinema Displays running on MacBook Pros running Shotgun demonstrations. Users could get a demonstration of Shotgun with some of the new improvements to the software including a new set of features to review, approve shots or provide feedback on creative pipelines. Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit is being updated with Shotgun Panel that will allow artists to communicate directly to other artists with only information relevant to the tasks in Maya or Nuke. Shotgun runs on OSX, Windows, & Linux.

The Foundry and how Flix works

Youtis Katsambas from The Foundry using a MacBook Pro was at the Toon Boom booth showing off how Flix works with Toon Boom’s Storyboard Pro in a collaborative pipeline beneficial to artists. The announcement of the collaboration of the two companies made sense when watching how the pipeline works. You can feed storyboard panels directly into Flix, manage & review assets while different departments can make changes, while Flix keeps track of the versions including Pre-Production assets without confusion. Flix runs on OSX & Windows.

Pixar Arts & Science Fair at the Nokia Club

I attended the Pixar Arts & Science Fair at the Nokia Club on Wednesday, August 13th. Pixar announced at the Renderman Art & Science Fair that RenderMan would have support for Cinema 4D & Blender. Chris Ford and presenters used a MacBook Pro to illustrate all the new features in Renderman. Pixar talked about the new Renderman 20 featuring Renderman’s RIS architecture. Pixar talked about the collaboration with the studios in the Disney family that led to some technical advancement in RenderMan.

0X -  A neat shot of the Pixar Booth stand...notice the glow?

05 – A neat shot of the Pixar Booth stand…notice the glow? Photo by Akiko Ashley, All rights Reserved.

Features including Denoiser, Visualization Integrator, Marschner Hair, and Physical Camera. Denoiser developed by Disney for Big Hero 6 is helping cut render times by 10X plus for their pipeline by helping to cut down noise in the rendering process. Visualization Integration means seeing the geometry the way Renderman sees it showing wireframes, normal, & surface parameterization plus. Marschner Hair is a special RIS Bxdf hair and fur developed by Pixar. Physical Camera embraces the imperfections real world cameras that add creative value to scenes. Tractor & Cloud Rendering was a cool demo. Attendees were treated to a new short film by PIXAR called ‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ & clips from ‘Finding Dory’. Monsters took about 6.8 hours a frame to render & the pipeline was using 13,400 cores. RenderMan runs on OSX, Windows, & Linux.

MORE: SIG: Pixar RenderMan’s News at SIGGRAPH 2015

Autodesk Exhibitor Sessions

Autodesk hosted a series of educational & panels on their new Autodesk products though they didn’t host a booth this year. Maya received an update extension a new tool for flying logos to make it easier and straightforward, Scalable Vector Graphics that would allow users to import files from Illustrator & bring it to life in a 3D environment, Game Exporter to make it easier to export to Unity, Unreal, and Autodesk’s Stingray game engines. You can get a lot more detail & more. Live linking between Maya and Stingray with real time updates without having to reexport.

MORE: Autodesk intros Stingray Engine for new level of visualization in AEC industries

Max updates include Geodesic Voxel & Heat map to create better skin weighting more efficiently, Max also has a plugin improvement for exporting to Game Engines. ShaderFX has been improved support for physically based Shaders in Stringray insuring visual consistency. Max has a new powerful 3D tool to build engaging visualizations, adding and animating data driven information has never been easier. Creative Market 3D Opened it’s doors where artists can sell or buy content…it can help artists who have tight production schedules & can use some help by purchasing in the Creative Market.

Blender demonstrating Cinema Display

Blender was doing demos in a booth using a Mac Pro and Apple Cinema Display. Blender shared a viewing of ‘Cosmos Laudromat’ open movie. ‘Cosmos Laundromat’ was released online August 10, 2015.

 Pipeline FX runs on OS X & PC

Pipeline FX creates a render management tool that runs on OSX & PC hardware. No major new announcements, but they gave great demonstrations & help to those using Pipeline FX. It was cool watching the software on a MacBook Pro.

Epson presenting Live Coding Sessions

Epson had Award Winning App Developer Seth McCraken Present Live Coding Sessions on Moverio Smart Glasses Platform. Seth did these presentations using a MacBook Pro. Seth demonstrated some of the latest consumer and enterprise applications for Moverio BT-200. Epson also announced the SureColor F-Series Dye Sublimation Printers…

The Foundry using Mac Pro

Mauricio Van Hasselt from The Foundry was at the AMD Booth demonstrating The Foundry Products on a Mac Pro. Mauricio stated that he had never used a Mac before this…and enjoyed the reliability and ease of use on the Mac. He had no problem recommending the Mac Pro.

Introduction of Mari 3 by The Foundry

The Foundry introduced Mari 3 giving artists the ability to paint higher quality images with complexity with faster results.

04 - The Mari 3 is a brilliant texturing tool and look development tool.

05 – The Mari 3 is a brilliant texturing tool and look development tool. Photo by Akiko Ashley. All rights reserved.

Mari 3 brings support for widely used Unreal Shaders. Prior to Mari, 3D Paint Texture programs could only handle a handful of paint textures at a time, in Mari 3 they can work with thousands of high-resolution textures. MODO’s rendering technology is integrated with Mari 3. Exposed NODE graph has been added which allows artist to edit channels & layers. Other key updates include OpenSubDiv support, Color Space Management, Arnold, V-Ray, Unreal, Redshift Shaders, FBX Geomerty Support, Session Scripts, Developer API update, Enhanced Texture Transfer, Entity Locators, Safe Mode, and Extended access to selection groups. It will be available in Fall 2015.

Ultimate scalability of Deadline 8 by Thinkbox

Thinkbox introduced the new version of Deadline 8 with on demand metered licensing is scalable across platforms & clouds. Easily link local to cloud based resources. In BETA at the Thinkbox booth was new software called Sequoia, a Point Cloud Rendering and Visualization solution. New updates in the BETA made it much more efficient. Krakatoa has added support for Cinema 4D.

OTOY Octane 3

OTOY had the next generation Octane 3 renderer running in their booths for users to try the new version. Octane 3 does support Graphisoft Archicad & most 3D software packages.

MORE: SIGGRAPH 2015: OTOY improves economies of scale, speed and cost with powerful next-generation production pipelines

WACOM Cintiq 27 QHD

WACOM showed their 27-inch Cintiq tablet at their booth that gives a huge canvas for artists to exercise their imagination. It was originally introduced at CES this year. WACOM was also at SIGGRAPH Art Studio so attendees could create art for a contest.

Chaos Group V-Ray and Maxon Cinema 4D

The Chaos Group had a full exhibits floor schedule at SIGGRAPH. Tuesday, August 11th, they announced V-Ray for Nuke, giving Nuke production quality rendering. Maxon announced Cinema 4D Release 17 that will ship in September for Mac and PC Windows systems. New features include new Spline tools, Lens Distortion Support for video and photos, animation workflow enhancements, sculpting improvements, Houdini Engine integration, and Sketch Up integration.

05 - On the shop floor everything seemed to be working without a hitch at V-Ray.

06 – On the shop floor everything seemed to be working without a hitch at V-Ray. Photo by Akiko Ashley.

Luxion’s new KeyShot News

Luxion’s Keyshot, a real time ray tracing & global Illumination software announced free plugins for Maya and Cinema 4D. Google was at SIGGRAPH talking about Google Cloud & Cardboard…their VR glasses made of cardboard & applications for VR. uSens showed off two major breakthroughs in VR technology with hand recognition tracking for VR Headsets & Super Reality, a combination of AR and VR.

PluralSight on Digital Tutors

PluralSight buys Digital Tutors (actually it was months ago…) and wants the creative professionals who have been using Digital Tutors to know the user experience will remain the same though the name will change. PluralSight will also add an option for you to chat with a mentor if you need additional help that the tutorial can’t give you. Digital Tutors will double the size of the training courses available on PluralSight. Companies that use Digital Tutors include Nike, Dreamworks, EA, and Pixar.


SIGGRAPH didn’t have a huge amount of new announcements, as the show was much smaller this year with real estate shrinking on the Exhibits floor. The focus on Virtual Reality brought a new creative energy on the show floor for exploration into a new frontier. Different types of artists were illustrating VR in architecture, video games, and for motion pictures. Panels, Courses, Technical Papers, & Talks featured a variety of technology with many Presenters using MacBook Pros to present while covering a variety of subjects. Apple, Blizzard, Dreamworks, Deluxe, Stereo D, Method Studios, Double Negative, Framestore & Scanline and Pixar were among some of the recruiting companies at SIGGRAPH. The Art Gallery featured Hybrid Craft pieces, pieces with patterns for pedestals or walls.


The VR Village had a lot of cool tech that was packed with attendees. Emerging Technology has a lot of cool tech for VR. When you registered for the show you could not miss the Giant Skull with the changing dynamic light projection. I think the panels and courses is where most of the attendees were as the Exhibits Floor was quieter. Wednesday was the peek of attendance at the Conference but just at first glance the show felt smaller then previous years. A lot of vendors opted for meeting rooms & parties to target specific audiences rather then Exhibits. When you consider that Production has shifted to a Global Market, this shift is being felt at tradeshows.

SIGGRAPH’s audience is evolving, as the industry itself is so dynamic with change, the question with the lower attendance numbers is how will it find a way to stay relevant in a changing market place. We shall see in Anaheim next year. I hope to see you next year.

MORE: SIG: Final Complete Siggraph 2015 Event Photos & Notes


[Editor’s note: If you have arrived on this page first, you can click here for the first page of this article. Much good news and info on page one as well. Thx. ]

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Reader Comments

  1. This year’s focus was very much on VR (virtual reality) & Cloud Based Rendering. The focus on Virtual Reality brough…

  2. SIGGRAPH 2015: Full Coverage of Computer Graphics Show | via Architosh

  3. SIGGRAPH 2015: Full Coverage of Computer Graphics Show | Architosh

  4. “NVIDIA is the leader in the high-end visualization Physically Based Rendering technology” – according to Nvidia maybe. iRay has been a pathetic failure of the last 5 years. And there is nothing new about Physically Based Rendering technology they presented. Most certainly not a show stopper.

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