The academy brought home a Gold award for its short Animation “Jasper” at the AEAF! Directed and created by our PhD researcher Simon Rippingale and a handful of last years graduates, it’s a lovely short film, but also an impressive technical effort combining motion control (working with one of the robot labs at UTS), realtime tools for previs and background elements, as well as industry standard tools like Nuke and Maya.
More info about the AEAF winners and finalists on their website.
Are you looking to advance in animation, CGI or VFX and want to take the next step? Join us on Wed 12 September to explore where postgraduate study can take you. Chris and Matt will be there to talk about the Academy, and will be around to answer any questions you might have. We’re seriously proud of what we’re doing, so come along and see what the fuss is about!
SideFx asked me to do a talk for their Houdini Hive, a nice dedicated space away from the noisy show floor to present work and whatnot. It was recorded, you can watch in on the SideFx Vimeo channel. At 21 minutes you’ll hear me talk a little about ALA and how we’re using Houdini within the course.
I’ve been back in Sydney a day, thought I’d write down some first impressions of what I saw.
USD All the Things
USD was everywhere at Siggraph. The new nvidia raytracing cards (more on that later) can ingest USD natively. Renderman 22 will load USD natively, Unreal 4.20 has experimental USD, and 4.21 has round-tripping USD meaning you can have a scene in maya, export as USD, load into UE4, move something, export a USD override from UE4, and get that change back into maya as a tiny override delta.
Was cool to see that Animal Logic’s USD extensions will be picked up by Autodesk, so will be part of the core of Maya next year. We’ve been using it here at AL_USDMaya at ALA, so that’ll be one less thing to worry about.
It wasn’t just the software companies getting into it; Dreamworks, MPC, Rodeo, several others have already pushed their pipelines to USD in a big way, Rodeo announcing their USD pipeline tools are now available as an open source package called Walter, get it here: https://github.com/rodeofx/OpenWalter
A very close second in terms of excitement was Nvidia’s new realtime raytracing cards. Seeing the UE4 Star Wars demo from last year, but this time at ‘Real Time Live’, on a single card rather than a array of super expensive cards, amazing stuff.
Walk around siggraph for long enough, and you’ll hear the sound of drones, servos, clicky things, shrieks of laughter. Follow those sounds, and you’ll get to where the more esoteric research is being showcased. Drones with flamingo legs, fly-eye highspeed spinning plenoptic displays, dual hairdryer based haptic feedback for VR, giant crow head hololens displays, some really strange things to see.
— UTS ALA (@UTS_ALA) August 16, 2018
Being on a Panel in the Big Room
A highlight for me was being part of the ‘Generations of Houdini in Film’ panel. Head of everything for ILM, head of FX for Framestore, Dneg, Disney annnnnd…. me! Amazed that I was asked to be a part of this, Ian Failes was a great moderator, and the entire panel was great (well, except for Andy Hayes from Framestore, he’s a jerk…)
If you’ve ever wondered what the view looks like from the front of the giant conference room at siggraph:
A pretty amazing week! We’ll post more updates as we recover from jet lag, but the highlight was of course the ALA winning a Shotgun Pipeline Award!
More details can be found on the Autodesk Shotgun page, including images of our studio leads Dan Flood and Diego Garcia Huerta wearing shiny medals: https://www.shotgunsoftware.com/blog/congrats-to-shotguns-4-new-pipeline-award-winners/
One of our final projects for 2017 won ‘VR Game of the Year’ from The Rookies!
It was up against some pretty tough competition, incredible that work from our first year as a school has been recognised by The Rookies. Congrats to the entire 2017 cohort! More info can be found here: http://www.therookies.co/game-of-the-year/vr-ar/terrachi/
We’ve made a series of videos explaining how USD is used at the ALA, our students Ben and Wen explaining the technology behind our Shotgun integration and farm caching cleverness, and leads Dan and Matt explaining how it works inside Houdini and Maya. If you keep hearing the USD buzzword but aren’t sure what it all means, you might find this useful.
Here’s our youtube playlist.
Johannes Saam, Senior Creative Developer for Framestore, swung by the Academy to talk about his work.
First he gave a run down of his path to VR, and then we loaded his projects onto our VR headsets to play with. Coral is a pretty amazing realtime journey through fractals in VR, which he also presented in a talk at Siggraph. More info at https://coral-vr.com/