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Back from SIGGRAPH Asia 2008

Well, I’ve been pretty inactive in terms of blog posts given the hectic series of events that were lined up. However now, thing’s are a lot calmer (in the most free sense of the word) and I’ll be back to my a post every 2 days schedule. Lot of fun fun fun in store.

For those who have been following my Twitter feed, you would know that I’ve recently finished my music exam, then flown over to Singapore to attend the last day of SIGGRAPH ASIA 2008. What is SIGGRAPH? Well, it’s basically to 3D modelers, animators, graphic artists and the like what E3 is to gamers (or if you don’t know what E3 is, it’s like what “Palace Erotica” is to a pervert). Firstly, being an absolute klutz, I didn’t snap any photos or cool pictures of the exhibitions and whatnot. Secondly, devoid of any income, I can’t exactly cough up 850 Singapore Dollars to pay for full registration which entitles me to view everything – so I went for free, only attending the (limited) exhibition. Thirdly, I’ll have you know that I’m all for open-source, so any demonstations there (all on proprietary software) could not be replicated exactly: the most I can do is check out the concepts, and apply them the best I can.

Again, my apologies for no happy pictures (apart from that logo I ripped off up there), so all I’ll give are boring, vague descriptions of what I experienced. Ok, I didn’t get to view the Computer Animation Festival (shucks!) due to my “Exhibitions Only” free pass. That’s probably one of the best things I missed. Well, there was obviously the NVidia and ATI stalls competing against each other (Go NVidia!), showcasing how their awesomely powerful hardware can do such awesome real-time rendering. Ooooh. There was a huge Autodesk (lol, now huge both physically and virtually) desk doing Autodesk-ish presentations throughout the whole day. Yeah that’s right, 3DS, XSI, Toxic, and whatever other stuff they’ve got in their pigsty of a product portfolio. Well, the talks were interesting. Covered quite a bit on Mudbox which included interesting sculpting techniques which I’m itching to try out.

There was what looked like a permanently unmanned Lucasfilms’ stall, advertising their new Clone Wars animation as well as some “Jedi’s Course to 3D Stuff” via a row of TV screens. There were also the folks from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and other companies who showed in-detail work on how things were created for The Golden Compass. Now that’s some pretty amazing graphics work. How each layer was done, how it was composited, how it was matched into the stock footage, how the “little green men” (green-suits) did their jobs, the processes of making the Yeti character (from concept art, turntable, fur, animation, etc) … etc. Other visual effects that were shown were from some Harry Potter films (pretty awesome scene recreation there), some Warcraft, Bioshock and various game trailers, as well as a variety of mini videos (ever seen Iron Man, Spider Man and The Hulk fight together? – Spider Man pretty much sucks.)

What interested me most was explanations of industry workflows. Workflow is one of the most important aspects in film and movie creation, as that’s pretty much how things get done. I daresay I might either humiliate myself due to lack of knowledge or confuse a lot of people if I tried to explain everything I learnt here (especially because workflows change slightly depending on the situation). So I’m just going to leave it as “yes, it was very interesting, and you’ll definitely see a bit on workflow when I post some work-in-progress posts for ThoughtScore in the future”. Happy? Rhetorical? Yes.

Of course, there was the usual plethora of shady looking Universities and organisations offering related courses. I sifted through the lot and found some that might be interested in personal guidance given my no-income situation. But that’s all for future investments, so other than “I got myself a collection of namecards”, there isn’t much else I can announce in my post here.

So yeah, other than the indescribable knowledge I absorbed, the motivation (you know, that sudden urge to create something amazing), the nametag and 3D glasses I stole, that’s really all I can say for SIGGRAPH. The next SIGGRAPH Asia will be in Seoul, which I most definitely will not be attending. I must say, I’m a bit disappointed at the amount they restrict for people who aren’t willing to break their banks. Other than that, a very worthwhile trip indeed.

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Blender Extraordinaire.

Following a link found on the popular Blender newscast site BlenderNation.com, I came to a site which compared Blender3D – a FREE 3D program – to paid programs such as Maya, Lightwave, Autodesk, etc. The result? Sure, we have our ups and downs, but other than that, Blender is right up there with the big boys.

Given this information, I don’t see why Blender just doesn’t hop right up and declare immense popularity. I guess people don’t take Blender seriously enough compared to something they feel they “paid” for. Or maybe they look at its stunning 12MB filesize. Or maybe they’re just scared by its cluttered interface. (Yeah, but you get used to it)

What’s the purpose of this post? Nothing actually. This is another of the 99% of useless blog posts. However, just think about Blender for a while. If you’re thinking about starting 3D art/animation, why not use Blender?

Decide for yourself: http://www.tdt3d.com/articles_viewer.php?art_id=99