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FMX 2011 Comes to a Close

The 16th FMX Conference on Animation, Games, Effects and Interactive Media ended yesterday achieving remarkable successes!

Press Release from FMX

The 16th FMX Conference on Animation, Games, Effects and Interactive Media ended yesterday achieving remarkable successes! FMX 2011 brought in larger crowds than ever before, with 3,500 visitors attending each day. The increase in visitor numbers has been overwhelming; during the conference extra special efforts were introduced to keep up with the demand.

The conference included high profile animated films such as "Rango", "Cars 2" and "Rio". Oscar-winning "Black Swan" and "The King’s Speech" and forthcoming movies such as Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous". Technical discussions surrounding Transmedia, Global Production, Open Source and Virtual Humans remained constant topics during the conference. FMX has developed into one of the world’s greatest conferences the successes of FMX can be attributed to the quality of the speakers and the convergence that exists betweens all of these areas. FMX fosters relationships in the industry and unites first-class speakers with students and professionals - especially those travelling from the USA and Australasia.

Volker Engel, Visual Effects Supervisor and co-founder of Uncharted Territory described FMX, "I am super happy to see that more and more great artists and speakers from all over the world come to FMX and everyone influences each other".

Throughout the inspiring conference many topics fundamental to the development of the industry were discussed in lectures, panels and presentations. FMX 2011 has once again been at the forefront of the animation, effects and games industries. Visitors to FMX enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere allowing them to network freely and publicize the latest developments. Tim Alexander, VFX Supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic commented, "I’ve been really impressed with all the panels and I’ve been learning a lot; the panels are really diverse. It's a great experience!"

Prof. Thomas Haegele, FMX Conference Chair commented on the successes this year, "FMX 2011 was highly successful, I am very pleased that FMX provides exceptional networking opportunities for the audience and for the speakers to exchange ideas freely. It is a wonderful achievement that Stuttgart plays host for 4 days to an elite crowd of international animation professionals from all over the world".

Visitor numbers increased this year to 3,500 attendees per day, including more than 250 speakers. This comprised of approximately 60% professionals and 40% students, from 49 countries and reflected the interest in the conference topics and the potential recruitment opportunities. Despite the increase in capacity the conference managed to cope with the increase in visitor numbers reaching maximum capacity in the Haus der Wirtschaft.

Arrow Harry Potter TributeThe exclusive FMX Harry Potter Tribute proved to be extremely popular this year, the tribute honoured the completion of the series. For 10 years the Harry Potter Films have captivated audiences. The presentations focused on the franchise's impact on global VFX production as well as highlighting the evolvement of look, tools and technology over the years. FMX attendees were shown exclusive scenes ahead of the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2". Visitors were shown footage of a majestic dragon flying over London and then bursting through the huge dome of Gringotts Wizarding Bank in London.

Arrow Case StudiesFMX Case Studies featured some of the most exciting developments from Lighting and Rendering and Visual Effects. Mohit Kallianpur, Walt Disney Animation, presented on Disney’s "Tangled" and provided an inside look at the visual challenges and inspirations of creating a world around Rapunzel, the girl 70 feet of hair. Andrew Beddini, Blue Sky Studios, discussed creating the look of Blue Sky Studios' latest animated hit, "Rio". Tim Alexander, Industrial Light & Magic and Patrick Cohen, Lucasfilm Singapore, talked about the production of ILM’s first animated feature "Rango". Thomas Zauner, ScanlineVFX, revealed the developments in CG water technology and how they were used in "Hereafter". Volker Engel, Uncharted Territory gave an exciting presentation on Roland Emmerich's period thriller "Anonymous", ahead of the general release in October 2011.

Arrow Open SourceThe use of open source in the hardware and software industries is rapidly expanding, with Hollywood’s top studios continuing to make contributions to open source projects. Dan Candela, director of Technology for Walt Disney Animation Studios, was joined by Marc Petit (Autodesk), Sebastian Sylwan (Weta) and Rob Bredow (SPI) to give their perspectives on open source and its involvement in the post production process from an infrastructure standpoint in order to make workflow more efficient.

Exclusively at FMX 2011 Dan Candela announced several new open source initiatives which will be released in 2011. Disney Animation has created a ready-to-animate character "Dee"; a pre-rigged Maya model that has taken a lot of time to develop. Alongside this they will offer "SeExpr", a universal expression language that can be used in a variety of packages; it is currently used in-house at Disney.

Arrow Stereo 3DThis year FMX took a fresh look at Stereo 3D, looking at how this can be used as a storytelling tool and how far this has progressed beyond the big screen into wider-contexts. 3D for Theme Parks featured Sebastian Sylwan who discussed the unique design challenges faced while producing "King Kong 360-3D" and the creative solutions that were applied to deliver one of the world's largest stereo experiences. David Cohen, Variety, reported in his lecture the history of 3D Stereo technology and revealed the struggle of the film industry to master 3D, and how today's 3D issues echo those of the past.

Arrow New Trends in GamesIn the games track, contributors from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and Quo Vadis conversed on the most significant changes in the gaming industry. Presentations included amongst others Joseph Olin, President Emeritus, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, on how gaming culture is transforming to the point of cultural significance; Benjamin Joffe, Cmune, presented on Uberstrike - the largest 3D First-Person-Shooter on Facebook and Boyd Multerer, Xbox Platform Microsoft, reported on how transmedia is affecting the entire gaming industry as well as TV and mobile devices.  Developments in Stereoscopic 3D Games were discussed including contributions from Sebastien Schertenleib, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited and Dr. Bill Kapralos, University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Arrow Fantastic ForumsThe Schools Campus featured 26 schools, from countries including Austria, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Switzerland and the USA. The engaging School Presentations allowed schools and graduates to present their projects to the wider community while picking up praise along the way.

The Recruitment Hub was an important aspect to the conference, having quickly established itself as the premier European job fair for the animation, games, visual effects and interactive media industries. Visitors took advantage of the bursting recruitment presentations to improve on their application skills and discover how to make an application successful. Company Suites included packed presentations from Autodesk, Adobe Systems, The Foundry and weltenbauer. Many companies recorded receiving 200 applications per day! The bustling Trade Floor featured interesting new tools focusing on Research and Development, demonstrating the future developments in the industry

FMX is an event by Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by the Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction, hosting the Animation Production Day 2011 (APD), a joint venture with the Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart (ITFS). It is an event in cooperation with VES Visual Effects Society, AIAS Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, ACM Siggraph and Stuttgart Media University (HdM). FMX is funded by the Ministry of State and the Ministry of Economics Baden-Wuerttemberg, the MFG Film Funding and the FFA German Federal Film Board.

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.