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pixeltek
08-05-2005, 03:19 PM
As every year, I provide my own ecclectic bit of imagery and verbiage of the great event.

So it went:

As much as I like to "close" the show and scour around the exhibition hall, when all is being packed up and all kinds of stuff is being handed away, so that they don't need to take it home, I left a day early. Somehow I ended up with a giant crick (pinched nerve/pulled muscle?) in my left shoulder and neck. I could barely turn my head. Pretty miserable situation.

Newtek held their party in a place that I had never seen. The new (to me) Disney Concert hall, next to the familiar LA Music Center. The party was located in the garden, and in my opinion was a great success. The food, on the other hand, was not. Being largely sedentary because of the work involved, too many in the crowd are overweight, and did not need cheese roll-ups and noodles (something lighter and more vegetarian might have been better) and deep fried chicken breast strips (grilled should have been the choice here). I don't think the cost would have been much different, and it certainly would have been better for the health of the attendees.

The show seemed a little less exciting to me than last year. Can't lay my finger on it. Fewer handouts, fewer luminaries, and some of the regulars weren't even there, e.g. Intel, IBM, Macromedia. AMD was very prominently placed, and conveniently located across from Newtek. Proton did a wonderful presentation for DAVE schools Batman movie. I loved that, and those who see it, btw, will find one of the characters in the crowds to resemble William very closely. It was a fascinating piece of work that shows the capabilities of LW, even though it had not been pushed forward much since the great manpower exodus. Which tells you of the huge potential in that package. A point that was also privately held by one of the Newtek presenters, who, however immediately pointed out that those times are over and gone now. There is new energy in the LW camp and new enthusiasm. You can feel it. Dick Van Dyke made a short appearance, just to show his colors, but there was no Kiki dynamo on stage this year. There was however a supposedly late draftee who very capably and with great joy and excitement presented the intro to LW 9. LW 9! At last the long awaited rewrite has begun. Andy Bishop of Darkside Animation had fun and was stoked. He said that while FPrime will still be a great addition to LW9, the brand new render engine of LW 9 is awesome and as we move forward, its capabilities will be more and more implemented, putting it on par, and in his personal opinion (he is not a Newtek yes-man), not just on par, but significantly ahead of anything that is out there, where render engines are concerned. Stand by to be thrilled - I am. As it stands right now, it looks exactly like the old renderer, but is faster, with an additional speed boost to come by the time 9 will be released. I mentioned to him that 3DS Max (Autodesk) had glommed on to the Brazil render, and his reply was basically, "so what?"

There is much more to 9, and his presentation, such as the vertex paint utility, barely scratched the surface of that at is coming our way. So, even without Kiki, the sparks were definitely flying at the Newtek booth. Newtek did their usual handouts, though with a strange twist here and there, due to the people involved. Shock rippled through the audience at one point, when the person selected, put a stack of 4 or 5 books together, called a name, and suddenly that blown-away guy stood there, holding the entire stack as his winnings. He could not believe it, and neither could we. Game over for the rest of us. Later though they did it more reasonably and let stuff go one at a time. There were a number of MechWarrior booster toys, I guess they are part of a game, handed out. I've got one, while really holding my fingers crossed for the LW Lighting book. Fat chance there. I went home and just bought the lighting 7.5 book, that has all of the basic lighting elements in there. I got that at the Amazon Marketplace for $6, plus 3.50 shipping. Good enough for what I want to learn. As for lighting, this may already be incorporated in the upcoming 8.5 release, for the first time can we see surfacing and lighting effects in real-time and WYSIWYG. That was very cool.

Brad Peebler, at the lovely Odeon theater, gave a great presentation on the upcoming modo 201 release. I saw shades of ZBrush there, where you could paint on a texture that translated into actual pixels. Which was, incidentally, akin to one of the features demonstrated on LW9. One awesome feature was an essentially single click UV mapping of any organic shape. Loved that one. Anyway, the modo presentation was filmed and should be on line at the Luxology web page. The food there was good. It was based on Greek/Turkish cuisine. He mentioned, btw, that he is working with the ZBrush people to assure full compatibility.

ZBrush did some very interesting demos of their upcoming release of 2.5. Pixel handling, already big, will be even greater. ZBrush is one neat program. Who needs Bodypaint, with Zbrush around. ZBrush also demonstrated an on-the-fly 3D to 2D UV map conversion. Incredible to watch. As much as most of us hate UV mapping, those are very desirable features, IMO.

I had, as you can see on a couple of examples at my website, for a few years used Vue 4 Pro as a landscape generator. With its release of 5 and the Pro replacement called Vue Infinite (sigh!), huge changes have taken place and it is an even sweeter program to work with in conjunction with LW. I had long upgraded to Vue infinite, and for those of you still on the outside, an incredible upgrade bundle to LW9 is offered that includes both LW9 and Vue Infinite. Thanks to Jeanetta, the sweet and tireless Newtek marketing guru, this deal was worked out with the French company and those who get it will be delighted and amazed. For me, well, she will try to put an alternate bundle together (let it be ZBrush - naw - Pixologic will never do that, IMO, they're riding too high right now).

Disney was handing out a Toy Story 3 Rubik’s Cube. Imageworks, most wonderfully distracting, had a packed house. Right next to Newtek, a constant sweet visual distraction. They had the most lovely and talented model on stage that they ever had. For those so inclined, there was also a great looking male model there. Imageworks, in addition to the aforementioned eye-candy, also passed out their usual cans of little pills. Unfortunately, this year they had no mints, only the quite strong cinnamon variety. Still good.

The Orange County guys had delivered two Choppers to the Boxx booth. Sadly, the cantankerous pair of designers were not there, only some guy who I don't know. This told me one thing though, how much of a production OCC actually is, and how many people are in the background who we rarely see. Great show. Hope I win. They do the drawing after the show and notify the winner.

AMD gave out great ball point pens for two days, then I think they ran out. Epson had pens for most of the first day, I believe. Dreamworks passed out silk lanyards and fruit rolls. By yesterday they were out. Speaking of Lanyards. If you went to Siggraph04, keep that lanyard. It is way better than the cheapie one they were handing out this year. They definitely found the lowest bidder this time. Mine is still in the plastic bag and I am hanging on to the sturdy one they gave out last year. Where last year NVidia and ATi were raffling off every night tons of things, ranging from graphics cards to all manner of 3D software, I noticed no such activity this year. Poser 6 was there. It does look good, but that's not what we are about. In an emergency only, for some low-res populations, maybe. But that's about it. So my old Poser 4 will do fine in a pinch. A group of New Zealand companies shared the same booth. One side was doing awesome demos of Massiv. The utility that became nearly legendary through the crowd scenes in the Lord of the Ring movies. Yesterday afternoon they opened the bottles of wine, placed the Ritz crackers on large plates and rolled out the cheese. The wine and the cheese were showing off what New Zealand had to offer, beyond 3D SW and instruction.

There was more, much more, and just like with our big 3D SW packages, we never manage to see or learn it all. I sat through some crazy funny movies in the Animation Theater (you've got to get your hands on "Surely Squirrel" by DKP Studios - hilarious!), and wandered around the digital art gallery and emerging technology displays. Future Publishing (Computer Arts and 3D World) were there. A small display with two ladies and tons of magazines, none of which could be sold to us this year, because of some sales license snag, that they ran into. I was bummed, because I had been looking forward to getting the newest issues at a very low price, as in the past.

Meni Tsirbas was there, showcasing his lastest work via an as yet unreleased trailer from a short called “Terra”. When that piece ran, the booth was packed and people walking by stopped to watch. It’s one of those hugely impressive movies, and I think his very best to date. Can't wait for the final release.

So, that's about it. Enjoy the pics:
http://www.cosmic-pearl.com/Sig2005.htm,
and drool over the upcoming LW9/Vue Infinite release package.

Karl
http://www.cosmic-pearl.com/

js33
08-05-2005, 04:53 PM
Pixeltek,

Thanks for the pics and commentary. I'm gonna have to go to Siggy one of these days. Been to NAB but I'm sure Siggy is more fun.

Cheers,
JS

jan_muentinga
08-05-2005, 04:57 PM
Thanks Karl,
that was a interesting and entertaining read. :thumbsup:
Am i the only one who got the impression that all Siggraph attendees spend half of their time hunting for t-shirts, lollipops, pens, DVDs, free wine and whatnot? :p

cheers

pixeltek
08-06-2005, 08:00 AM
Thanks guys. It's all about meeting old friends, finding out the latest information and, yes, rumors. Being dazzled by presentations, watching, and at times being watched by, other show attendees, and finally, sweetening the pot by chasing the goods, be they show specials (Worley Labs, btw answered, they don't do show specials - but many others do), and the freebies. Attendees spend significant amounts of time ferreting out or sitting in presentations for drawings for freebies. They're the icing on the cake. Oh, and let's not forget the parties.

Karl

pixeltek
08-06-2005, 08:24 AM
Let me add, not only, by going to the show, do you get to meet many of the people that make our software what it is, do the marketing, and provide customer service, which is very nice indeed, but any problem resolution will never be easier than via a face-to-face chat. I did not mention, behind the stage of the Newtek booth, there is always an array of computers operated by individuals from various sectors of the industry (e.g., other SW and HW manufacturers), people of note in the community (e.g. presenters, e.g. Larry Schulz, etc.), and various Newtek notables (e.g. Proton, Deuce, Marvin Miller etc.). This is a great place to meet and chat with Meni Tsirbas, Pete Jespersen, international presenters, Dan Ablan, Chuck Baker (not present this time), and the charming and tireless marketing guru, Jeanetta, among many others, and meet the unexpected, such as the truly pleasant gentleman, Dick Van Dyke. And finally, where else do you get to be face to face with an EMMY (larger and more impressive than I imagined). And this is just what's going on at and around the Newtek booth. On top of that, you rarely go home emptyhanded. Yes, going to the shows is a worthwile and exciting experience. I'm looking forward to Boston already, and that brings up another bonus, having an excuse to travel somewhere and enjoy different locales.

Karl

pixeltek
08-06-2005, 08:44 AM
About LW 8.5, a free and downloadable release. It was somewhat lost in the excitement over LW9, but I was told that one feature, demonstrated as part of LW9 that I liked a lot, the WYSIWYG lights, would be already part of 8.5. Let me make one more important point. I go around and talk to the presenters and with others that might be on site from the industry, and was told that yes, as expected, they are LW beta testers (who else would push a software to its limits as rapidly as they) and was also told, that at least now, they had the feeling that Newtek was actually listening to them and that they were very positive about LW's future - it's after all their bread and butter program. On the other hand, none of them denied looking at alternatives (yes, modo among them) as well, but LW remained their principle choice. Read into that whatever you like, but I took it as important for right now and the near future of our favorite 3D SW package. The past is over and done with. Mistakes may have been made, but we are dealing with a largely newly reconstituted and revitalized team here. It bodes well, IMO, for the company's and LW's future.

Karl

pixeltek
08-06-2005, 11:20 AM
A couple of other things. Andy Bishop barely scratched the surface of all that LW9 will be. He did, however, manage to touch onto quite a few things off and on. The new shader tree implementation looked to me a bit like Darktrees (who were not at the show, for the first time in many years). He also showed an adaptive SSD feature that took a distorted surface, and added detail as the camera came close. There was much more, and for those who have not seen the skinny on LW9, click on this and the whole feature set is detailed:
http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/lw9featureprelim.php

Oh, Newtek approached the issue of integrated or separate program very creatively. They made many or most of the modeling tools available in Layout. Very cool. Now those who want to work in an integrated environment, have most of that, and those who prefer to just model in a Modeler, can do so to their heart's content, jjust as they did in the past. That's almost eating your cake and having it too. Congratulations on that implementation, Newtek. :thumbsup:

Now give use the one-click UV mapping ease of ZBrush 2.5 or modo 201 (especially the former - it was eye-watering to watch), and life will be a whole lot easier for all of us.

Karl

pixeltek
08-08-2005, 08:56 AM
Just remembered another long time regular firm noteable by its absence, that is Right Hemisphere. Since their emphasis on Deep Exploration, they pretty much disregarded the graphics part of their house with letting any new development of Deep Paint and Deep UV die on the vine, except for the occasional necessary upgrades to assure continued compatibility with new software releases. Wish they'd sell those programs to someone interested in taking them back into the competitive arena.

pixeltek
08-12-2005, 09:29 AM
Duh! No wonder Macromedia was not at this year's Siggraph. They are being bought out/ are merging with Adobe. You can imagine what all of the questions would have been about. :lol:

For those interested in this stuff, here are some of the pics I took of Lance at the Tour de France http://www.cosmic-pearl.com/euro01LA.htm

Karl