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What's Happening at SIGGRAPH 2003?

This year's SIGGRAPH is expected to draw more than 25,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals and 200 exhibitors at the San Diego Convention Center, July 27-31, 2003. The conference (Sunday through Thursday) includes a July 28 keynote address, "Modeling the Cosmos: The Shape of the Universe," by Cambridge University astrophysicist Anthony Lasenby (8:00-9:45 am, Room 20A-C). Among the awards to be handed out include Significant New Researcher (USC's Mathieu Desbrun); Computer Graphics Achievement (Cal Tech's Peter Schroder); and the Steven Anson Coons Award (Stanford's Pat Hanrachan).

The following is just a sampling of the exhibition (Tuesday through Thursday), job fair and training highlights. For a complete schedule, visit

Discreet, a division of Autodesk Inc. (booth #2836), will provide a special visual experience for the crowds at its SIGGRAPH booth this year, relying on StereoGraphics SynthaGram Glasses-Free 3D Monitors to showcase its 3ds max animated and visual effects content. Discreet is using the 42-inch Plasma SynthaGram in their booth and the 22-inch ultra high-resolution (3840x2400) SynthaGram monitor in their private customer suite-to assure maximum viewing impact for show audiences.

Discreet will also sponsor and teach 3ds max and combustion advanced training sessions in partnership with Oregon 3D ( during SIGGRAPH 2003. The Advanced Training series will run from July 28-30 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel. The Discreet Advanced Training classes will allow customers to discover why leading industry experts are using 3ds max software for game development, motion picture visual effects and design visualization. Artist Gary M. Davis will instruct courses on Discreet combustion software, as it is used for desktop visual effects, paint, color correction and compositing with integrated workflow for 3ds max. Courses range from $99 for one course to $599 for the complete series (if registered before July 11).

Accom, an industry leader in digital disk recording technology, will showcase its popular WSD/HDi uncompressed SD and HD Digital Disk Recorder (booth #2137). Accom continues its leadership role with their low cost WSD/HDi Digital Disk Recorder (DDR). Providing a robust feature set, the WSD/HDi has a video disk storage array integrated right inside its chassis. With prices starting at just $32,000, this makes the WSD/HDi a much more compact and inexpensive uncompressed HDTV recording solution compared to any competing DDR.

REALVIZ, a leader in image processing software development, will debut MatchMover Professional 3.0, the very latest version of their acclaimed automatic tracking software (booth # 2540). In addition there will be a cross-platform launch of version 3.0 in late summer 2003, making the application available to Linux and Mac OSX users for the very first time. Additionally, in an enforced bid to support the currently besieged post-production community, REALVIZ is also introducing a short-term rental program, which will enable studios to access the very best in tracking technology at an aggressively reduced price point.

Ascension Technology Corp. is offering to fly qualified buyers to Ascension's headquarters in northern Vermont for individualized mocap demonstrations of ReActor2--the next generation wireless, infrared active-optical motion tracking system. ReActor will appear onscreen in Ascension's booth at SIGGRAPH (#2528), while MotionStar Wireless will be featured onstage in multi-performer mocap demos. The free airfare offer is being made so qualified buyers can have the system's demo specifically address their motion capture needs.

The Savannah College of Art and Design will announce five new majors, an online distance learning program, a relationship with Hewlett-Packard and will present alumni demonstrations (booths 1807 and 1813). This year, the college's "Ideas that Fly" theme takes visitors back to the future.The booths will be done in a space-age retro-futuristic décor featuring a take-off on 1960s pulp sci-fi. SCAD's previous booth design themes have included a drive-in movie and a mad scientist's laboratory.

Diginoise Media Lab ( will release their 3D-animated short, NOBO, an official selection of SIGGRAPH 2003 Art Gallery. Lauded as one of the most avant-garde and stylistically innovative animated works to come out of Taiwan, this short is about hope and a little patch-geared robot in a BLADE RUNNER-like landscape. NOBO has been recognized for its unprecedented, pioneering animation style. Spawning from a country known for its very traditional animation work, impressed international producers are asking ?Was this really made in Taiwan?? The trailer was so hot, it won a Taiwan Digital Content Award and debuted at MIPCOM 2002 in Cannes, the London-based onedotzero festival and Taiwan International Animation Festival. Animated in Maya, composited in Inferno, edited on Final Cut Pro, with music produced on ProTools, NOBO has earned high praise.

Nomadic digital media PIXMAN will be showcased at the CyberFashion Show (West Terrace) presented for the second year by Guerilla Studio. .PIXMAN, a costumed character performing street advertising campaigns, is equipped with state-of-the art video display suspended over his head and a high-quality stereo sound system in a beautifully integrated unique design. Prior to the event, the PIXMAN will also demonstrate guerilla marketing tactics by promoting the CyberFashion Show from Monday to Wednesday in various areas of the San Diego Convention Center. PIXMAN will showcase on its display cutting edge 2D and 3D animation clips provided by the Guerilla Studio.

Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology Inc., will showcase the recently released version 3.5 of SOFTIMAGE|XSI, the company's leading nonlinear 3-D production environment (booth #2414). Softimage, along with its customers, will demonstrate an expansive product range, including SOFTIMAGE|BEHAVIOR? v.1.1, Toonz v.4.6 and the leading family of rendering and processing software, including the SOFTIMAGE|XSI BatchUniversal v.3.5 system. In addition, parent company Avid Technology will also showcase its recently released AvidDS Nitris and Avid Xpress Pro with Avid MojoTM, both of which are interoperable with the Softimage product family. Further, Softimage will be hosting a wide range of events at the show including new Softimage Advanced Technical Seminars, a new training center in the Hewlett-Packard booth (booth# 2115) and the always-popular Softimage User Group.

Primera Technology Inc., the leading developer and manufacturer of CD/DVD disc duplication and printing equipment, will exhibit the Bravo Disc Publisher (booth #3242). Bravo is the world's first automated CD/DVD duplicating and printing system for both Mac and PC users. Bravo is priced at less than $2000, while comparable systems cost at least $4000 to $6000. Instead of copying and labeling discs one at a time, Bravo is designed for hands-free, automated production of up to 25 CDs or DVDs per job. An advanced robotic mechanism is used to transport discs into the built-in 52x CD-R recorder or optional Pioneer combo DVD-R/CD-R recorder. After recording, discs are transported to the integrated printer and printed in full color at up to 2400 dpi resolution.

Side Effects Software, developer of the award-winning Houdini family of 3D software, will offer a career-advancing opportunity for 3D artists via the Houdini Job Fair to be held in conjunction with the Houdini Annual Meeting at SIGGRAPH 2003. The Houdini Annual Meeting will take place on July 27 from 2:00pm-5:00PM; the Houdini Job Fair and reception will immediately follow from 5:00pm-7:00pm in the San Diego Symphony's Copley Symphony Hall located at 7th and B Street in downtown San Diego. Attendees will be invited to meet representatives from high-profile animation and effects schools and facilities including C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Recruiting companies will be accepting materials on site, so artists are strongly encouraged to bring their reels. To register for this event and for additional event updates and details, please visit

Career advisors from The Art Institutes (booth #1915) will be available throughout the week to discuss hiring trends in the animation industry, especially for people interested in entry-level work. They'll have insights about the hottest segments of the animation industry, as well as resources on how budding animators can find jobs.

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.