3dRender.com : Industry & Jobs : SIGGRAPH 2005 : page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4

Los Angeles - Land of Freeways
acupuncture free parking
Urban Renewal

Interactive Exhibits

Expo, Pixar booth
SIGGRAPH 2005 - Los Angeles
Report and Pictures by Jeremy Birn.

The SIGGRAPH conference usually alternates between meeting in California and meeting in another part of the country, but this year was an exception, meeting in Los Angeles for the second year in a row.  The conference center was built in an area in need of urban renewal, and unfortunately the area has yet to be renewed.  On the Saturday and Sunday leading into the conference, attendees became acutely aware that stores and restaurants shut down at night, and nearby sidewalks were desolate except for conference-goers and the homeless.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

In a cyclic industry, it's always nice to be in a boom, as we most certainly are in CG features.  The conference was full of studios that were hiring, and there was competition for the most experienced and talented employees.  Many studios had posters up at their booth for upcoming projects, and the sheer number of upcoming 3D animated comedies is staggering.  In a flood of CG films, most likely all of them won't be hits, so there might be fewer CG films going into production in a few years than there are now - but this kind of issue is exactly why our industry is cyclic.

At the same time, the Expo floor was small, so small that unlike last year they could put the registration area into the same hall as the Expo.  And attendance was low, apparently about 30,000 people, half the size that SIGGRAPH reaching in the late 1990's.  Most of the attendance decline seemed to come from companies with more restrictive policies about how many of their employees would be given time-off for SIGGRAPH.  While SIGGRAPH is an unparalleled educational experience, it also is a place to party and meet old friends and colleagues, and a place where people are recruited and offered jobs.  Perhaps the studios that didn't let employees attend SIGGRAPH were not just worried about this week's productivity, but afraid of losing their employees.

SIGGRAPH: The CG Fieldtrip

The trend towards SIGGRAPH becoming populated more and more by students continued this year, with several schools making a field trip out of the conference, and students finding it easier to visit SIGGRAPH during their summer vacations than professionals who had to work.

Schools and CG training centers made up a significant portion of the booths at the expo.  CG education is a business that is always profitable, whether production studios are doing well or not.  Despite the fact that we are in the "boom" phase of a cyclic industry, there are already far more recent graduates with CG educations than can be absorbed by the job market.  This situation seems likely to get far worse over the coming years, if the industry slows its expansion while all of these schools continue recruiting new students as fast as they can.


3dRender.com : Industry & Jobs : SIGGRAPH 2005 : page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4
Pictures and Article Copyright © 2005 by Jeremy Birn