SIGGRAPH Quick Bytes: Day Three

Visualization in the Pipeline

I started my day by moderating a panel on pitchvis, previs, postvis, and it was great. Rick Sayre from Pixar, Rob Bredow from Sony Pictures Imageworks, Matt Aitken from Weta Digital, Justin Denton from Halon, and Steve Sullivan and Michael Saunders from ILM all shared their personal and their studios’ approach to visualization for live action films, animation, and commercials. The newsmaker during the session was Steve Sullivan demonstrating, for the first time publicly, ILM’s ZViz software. ILM has no plan to market the software, but if they did, they’d have people standing in line to get their hands on it.

ILM’s Zviz demo (c) LucasFilm

Software Eruptions

Prime Focus, formerly Frantic Films Software, sneaked a peek at Krakatoa 1.5 and a prototype Deadline application for the iPhone. The latest release of Krakatoa, their particle rendering, manipulation and management toolkit, adds a voxel engine and a node-based channel editor. And, with the iPhone version of Deadline, artists can remotely control jobs running on a render farm. ‘By selling software, we can support an R&D department that doesn’t depend on projects,’ says Chris Bond, president and senior VFX supervisor. With Oscar-winning vfx supervisor Mike Fink now on board at Prime Focus, Bond sees the studio, which is known for its expertise in natural phenomena, moving into more character animation.


Three major announcements from Tweak Software send its RV image and sequence viewer for VFX and animation artists rolling into new territory. First, the popular program is now cross platform, running 2K uncompressed playback from RAM or Disk on Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows systems. Second, Tweak now offers live sync so that two artists can work together, but remotely on RV. And third, a strategic alliance with Shotgun adds sophisticated web-based collaboration.

Boujou 5

Vicon has now absorbed Boujou and the company announced a major upgrade that puts users in a supervisory role for motion tracking. The automation is faster, but because users can guide that automation in a variety of ways, it’s more successful. ‘We can threshold the solver now,’ says Philip Elderfield, product manager.

Tropic Thunder tracked with Boujou

Moving House

At Vicon’s House of Moves a team of animators is now creating keyframe animation and facial animation as well as motion capture performances. HOM will also process motion capture data for customers now. ‘We can take care of the whole back end,’ says Tom Armbruster, vice president of sales and support.

More later!