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Design and Technology at Siggraph 2008

Mon, 15 Sep 2008 00:00:00 -0700

From 11-15 August over 28,000 artists, research scientists, developers, filmmakers, and academics from around the world gathered in Los Angeles for the 35th Siggraph Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. The Siggraph conference includes courses and technical paper presentations, new technologies demos, an art gallery, computer animation festival, and an exhibition by software and hardware vendors.

While the New Tech Demos and the technical programs are focussed on technologies that designers will have to wait several years for, several automotive software and hardware suppliers announced new shipping products at Siggraph.

Advances in real-time raytracing were again a hot topic this year, allowing designers to interact with a digital model on the screen with exceptionally high detail and realistic reflections.

RTT introduced DeltaGen 8.0, the latest version of its 3D design and visualization software package, with a complete interface redesign, and improved realtime raytracing. RTT claims Real Trace, with its multi-GPU functionality, is the fastest real time raytracer available in 3D.

RTT also announced its new 'Materials & Color Connection' to merge the virtual world with the tactile world. One component of this is RTT's Live Texturing tool, which provides a live video feed that assigns materials placed under a camera lens to virtual 3D forms, enabling the user to quickly visualize and present a range of materials alternatives within a real-time modelling environment. Material samples placed under the camera appear immediately as textures on the model, and can be moved and scaled in real-time.

RTT is also collaborating with Art Center College of Design's Color, Materials and Trends Exploration Lab (CMTEL) to create a community of material experts, students and corporations that share knowledge, trends and concepts.

Bunkspeed announced new animation functionality within HyperDrive, and a new animation package HyperMove, aimed at users with little or no 3D experience. Users can see 3D animation paths and control camera positions and change them interactively. HyperMove integrates with the HyperShot renderer, where users can set global lighting effects and assign true-to-life materials to a 3D scene.

A Bunkspeed reception in downtown LA featured presentations by Jim Shaw, Head of Bentley Concept Engineering, and Gray Holland from design consultancy Alchemy Labs. Gray, formerly a designer with General Motors before founding Alchemy Labs in the late 90s, discussed the need to make design software less complex and more suited to the real needs of designers and artists, and announced that Alchemy Labs will be working with Bunkspeed in their future software development.

At the Autodesk User Group meeting Autodesk announced Maya 2009. Following the growing popularity of stereoscopic 3D films, Maya 2009 offers a flexible new stereo camera rig, with stereo viewing in the modelling viewport. It's interesting to see how real time ray tracing and now stereo viewing are increasingly not just for final presentation or output, but also may soon become the default way of working within digital design software.

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Design and Technology at Siggraph 2007

By Brett Patterson