Mondays at Siggraph are usually fairly quiet. The show really heats up when the trade show opens on Tuesday, so most of the people at the show on Monday are there for the papers, panels, and art exhibits. Still, there were quite a few things to see.
The keynote speaker this year was Jane McGonigal, the Chief Creative Officer of SuperBetter Labs. She's an advocate of using game technology to better the world, and uses alternative reality games (ARGs) to conduct research, build communities, connect with markets, and solve real-world problems. She wants to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is in an online game.
Perhaps 3D printing can be part of this master plan, allowing people to print objects as needed. This technology continues to move towards the mainstream, and there were a lot of printers being shown. Some companies even allowed you to print your own objects. MakerBot was showing it's $1749 Replicator, which is the second generation 3D printer from them. This extends the original MakerBot by creating bigger objects with more precision. It's also gives the average person an affordable entry into 3D printing. Along similar lines, the DIYLILCNC people were showing their open source do-it-yourself 3-axis CNC machine made out of plywood.
Another cool 3D printer is by MCOR, whose Matrix 300 uses plain old copier paper as the printing medium. The printer cuts out sections from paper, then glues the layers together. The final result are very smooth and light models that resemble a very tough version of paper mache.
On the press release front, Lightwave has announced version 11.5 of their 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software. Tighter integration with Z-Brush is one of the main features, along with some very cool dynamics and fiber/hair simulation. Their new iridescent car paint material will also add a lot of zing to your renders.
Not to be outdone, Maxon has announced the next version of Cinema 4D. New features for the 3D suite include a very nice sculpting system that is based on their production proven Bodypaint engine. The package continues its tight integration with compsiting by adding a seamless connection to NUKE, along with the ability to manipulate 3D lights, textures, and objects within Photoshop.
The show kicks into full gear today, with the opening of the trade show. It should be a very busy day for all involved.
George Maestri is contributing editor to CGW. He can be reached at: email@example.com.