(This was mostly written Tuesday night, though I’ve since made minor changes)
There are not enough EEEs in SQUEEE! to describe today. While the courses and panels and such at SIGGRAPH are intriguing, it’s difficult to compare with the sheer emotional drive and sensory overload of the Exhibition, which started today. The event began with the traditional mad race to the Pixar booth for posters, which resembled a toy store at opening time the day before Christmas. Then, swag-lust abated somewhat, we started winding around to nearby booths and basking in the electronic glory. Many of the larger companies set up teaching centers and/or demos. It was hard to decide where to go for each scheduled tutorial! There was just so much stuff going on, all at the same time. WILD.
One constantly bustling venue was the AutoDesk (publishers of the industry standard 3D software Maya, for one) fortress, which ran demos of all its latest products, including MAYA FREAKING 8. And here I was, dangerously close to upgrading to Maya 7! Truly, God smiles on the procrastinators.
My most frequent repeat visits were the displays for ILM and The Art Institutes. At ILM’s huge display, I fist saw a demo of the next-gen A.I. for the upcoming Indiana Jones game, which is SWEET. Then I got a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the CG creatures of Pirates of the Caribbean II, specifically on the the tentacle effects for Davy Jones (effects aside, Bill Nighy is even more my hero than he was before), which was fascinating. They also spoke briefly about the matte painting and rotoscoping used in the film, which was far more extensive than I’d thought. This seems to be a theme for me in a lot of effects films. I was equally thrown by the amount of background augmentation in King Kong and HHGTG, to name a few. Anyway, the tentacle effects thing ran short, so they showed a short blooper reel, which I captured on my digital camera and will hopefully share with you tonight. [Edit: Here it is!]
At the Art Institutes, I took a tutorial in Avid, where we learned a few of the most common features, plus some of the editing tricks used in 24 like splitscreening. I’d never used the software before, so it’s nice to get some brief experience, at least. Who knows when it’ll come in handy? Then I squeezed into the tutorial on Matte Painting, which presented an approach to photo manipulation in Photoshop completely different from my experience in the past. I’ll have to see where I can implement these tricks in my own work!