Bring Your Brain
Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 8 (August 2005)

Bring Your Brain

Part trade show, part classroom, part creative think tank, SIGGRAPH effectively combines schmoozing, parties, and after-hours events with creative enlightenment and the occasional free T-shirt. It’s an experience that is not to be missed.

As I join the editorial team at Computer Graphics World, I’m prepping for SIGGRAPH Number 15. Back in the day, the big buzz at the show was manipulating the 3D wireframe teapot in real time and Pixar’s Luxo Jr. animated short showcasing RenderMan technology. It was all so revolutionary! In fact, people were downright giddy at the prospect of texturing and viewing 3D models in real time. Now we see far more advanced graphics on our cell phones.

With each passing year, the enthusiasm and energy of SIGGRAPH never wanes. The throngs of attendees still patiently wait outside the trade show doors in anticipation of all the new technology (and a chance to be one of the few, the proud, to get a free ILM T-shirt.)

In addition, the promise of 64-bit technology is back in the news; expect it to garner quite a bit of attention at SIGGGRAPH. The 64-bit road is not a new one. (Remember Digital Equipment Corp.’s AlphaStation or the war Silicon Graphics waged against 32-bit Windows NT with its Indigo2 workstation and its 64-bit “computational performance?”)

Microsoft has re-engaged 64-bit performance at a more manageable level with Windows XP Professional x64, and the software developers are gradually climbing onboard. NewTek was first out the gate last December with a 64-bit beta version of LightWave 3D software. Softimage and Maxon soon followed with 64-bit versions of XSI and Cinema 4D and CineBench, respectively. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect more 64-bit 3D modeling and animation software developers to make announcements at SIGGRAPH. Will we hear from Alias and Autodesk Media and Entertainment?

Expect 64-bit dual-core processing technology to be big news at the show, too, as computer companies demonstrate the latest processors from Intel and AMD in single and multi-core configurations-upping the ante once again in price and performance. While these high-powered systems may be overkill for some artists and animators, the performance and productivity gains they afford the power-hungry are truly impressive. Senior analyst Kathleen Maher of Jon Peddie Research outlines how the 64-bit revolution will impact the DCC community in “All Systems Go,” pg. 44.

From mind-boggling emerging technologies to panelists and conference sessions that promise to fill our brains to capacity, SIGGRAPH is an adventure that is not to be missed. We’ll see you there!

Kelly Dove