SIGGRAPH Early Highlights

While visual creativity is in abundance at SIGGRAPH, this annual computer graphics exhibition and conference has always stood out as a technical showcase. One that offers designers the best glimpse of the latest digital tools.

This year’s assault on the visual senses has annoyingly gone mobile. For some unfathomable reason several people have adorned themselves with glowing lights around their necks. As if the booths didn’t sufficiently try to attract attention, they are now competing with individuals and it’s frying my eyes. I may need Red Bull to survive this… but colliding into people and booths has served me well enough to yield some noteworthy news.

Autodesk continues to consume the industry, unexpectedly acquiring Skymatter and their virtual clay modeler Mudbox. One standout feature from 3DS Max 2008 is the abilty to localize GI samples to a user defined area. Ideal for having sunlight penetrate a room.

Chaos Group has released the finished 1.5 version of V-Ray. A breakthough new option avoids GI sample jittering in animations. An interactive preview renderer is now in the works, and even at this very early stage, it’s already more impressive than FPrime for Lightwave.

Even more impressive is PDPlayer, a fast image sequence player reminiscent of FrameCycler. Features include layered HDR support, multiple view instances, collaborative functionality that can be updated live to a web address, etc.. PDPLayer starts selling in a month for $249.

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