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SIGGRAPH 2002 San Antonio Riverwalk SIGGRAPH 2002 Exposition Maya 4.5 Fluids Demo

SIGGRAPH 2002 - San Antonio

Report and Pictures by Jeremy Birn

San Antonio, Texas - This year's was the smallest SIGGRAPH conference that I've attended, which isn't surprising given the slow economy and the location. Total attendees were estimated at fewer than 20,000 people.

To escape some of the heat in San Antonio, attendees could walk between hotels, bars, and restaurants along the "Riverwalk" that snakes through the downtown. After passing near the Alamo, the Riverwalk eventually passed through the center of the Convention Center.

If the sparse show floor weren't enough to remind you of the weak economy, a visit to the SIGGRAPH career center showed board after board of resumes, with job opportunities only posted in one small corner of the room. The schools and training centers recruiting on the show floor seem to be the only area of the computer graphics sector that are still thriving and profitable, as they continue to march out a huge surplus of wannabe 3D animators and multimedia designers.

Progress continued with major new releases of many graphics packages, including Maya 4.5. With 4.5, extensive new fluid simulation functions have been added to Maya Unlimited, including 2D fluids that can be assigned as texture maps, fluid dynamics that applicable to swirling smoke and fire as well as water, new height-field rendering functions, and even the ability to make 3D objects float and bob on the water surface. With fluids adding sizzle to Maya Unlimited, the functional meat of the upgrade was apparent in interface improvements for polygonal modeling, extensive new support for ramps hooked to even more parameters of the lights, and a significant move of full subdivision surface support into Maya Complete. Highlights at Maya's booth included a presentation of the excellent visual effects work done by The Secret Lab for the recent movie Reign of Fire. Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited are available on Linux, Windows, and IRIX. Maya Complete, but not Unlimited, is also available on Mac OSX. Next Page...

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Pictures and Article Copyright 2002 by Jeremy Birn www.3dRender.com