Quick Bytes from SIGGRAPH: Day Two

SCAD Welcomes Scott Ross

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) announced a new and powerful executive advisor to School of Film, Digital Media and Performing Arts: Scott Ross, co-founder, former chairman and CEO of Digital Domain and, before that, general manager of Industrial Light & Magic and vice president of LucasArts Entertainment Group.

One of Ross’s first jobs is to help plan SCAD’s new school in Hong Kong, which is scheduled to open in the fall, 2010. In addition, Ross is working with SCAD to launch a new digital media center in Atlanta that opens in 2009. The 60,000 square foot facility offer industry-standard learning resources such as multi-camera sound stages with high definition broadcast capability, professional sound recording and mixing suites, editing rooms, a screening room, nearly two dozen classrooms, and set and prop fabrication studios. Programs offered will include animation, interactive design and game development, motion media, and television production.

Keynote: Will Wright

‘How do we entertain the hive brain,’ asked Will Wright, creator of The Sims and Spore, in his immensely entertaining and stimulating keynote address. Noting that Spore users have now created more than 100 million unique creatures, and pointing to the action surrounding the television series Lost, Wright has noticed that casual members of the hive brain enjoy and appreciate depth provided by highly involved members. ‘Data coming from the community is the hub.’ Wright says. Spore creators, for example, can now create their own games and, as part of the latest patch, can export their creatures they can build in minutes into Maya.

Motion4U

(www.3Dmotion4u.com)

I love finding the little booths on the edges of the exhibition area that have clever ideas, and this is very clever. Using little lollipop paddles or tiny sticks with little balls on top, animators can control characters or a virtual camera in Maya and other software programs. The little digital input devices, which range in price from $495 to $3,995 provide, in effect, motion capture on a desktop using a camera mounted on a tripod.

Talent Sighting

I also ran into Rob Coleman at the airport waiting for luggage. He’d just flown in from Sydney where he’s working at Dr. D Studios as animation director for George Miller’s Happy Feet 2, scheduled for 2011 release. He came with a big recruiting crew and is actively seeking animators. The production will feature motion-captured characters with key-framed faces, as before, but he says there are a number of new characters that will all be keyframed. (You can find out more at www.drdstudios.com)

Artist Pete Crumrine, owner of capa2act, holds up the latest issue of his favorite magazine at SIGGRAPH!