SIGGRAPH 2017 Computer Animation Festival Trailer


Not very much character performance work this year...

The SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival is the leading annual festival for the world's most innovative, accomplished, and amazing digital film and video creators. An internationally recognized jury receives hundreds of submissions and presents the best work of the year in the Electronic Theater.At SIGGRAPH 2017, in addition to the Electronic Theater, the festival is moving beyond the flat screen to present short films and experiences in a new space, the VR Theater, where attendants will experience the next generation of storytelling in virtual reality.

The Computer Animation Festival is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival. Since 1999, several works originally presented in the Computer Animation Festival have been nominated for or have received a Best Animated Short Academy Award.

Floyd Norman

Keynote Address at SIGGRAPH 2017 - Floyd Norman

SIGGRAPH 2017, the world’s leading annual interdisciplinary educational experience showcasing the latest in computer graphics and interactive techniques, has announced Floyd Norman, the first African-American animator to work for Walt Disney Animation Studios, as its keynote speaker. SIGGRAPH’s keynote session featuring Norman will be presented as a fireside chat, allowing attendees the opportunity to hear a Disney legend discuss his life and career within an intimate setting. SIGGRAPH 2017 will mark the 44th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, and will be held July 30 through August 3, 2017 in Los Angeles.

More @ Cartoon Brew

SIGGRAPH Opens Registrations - Back in LA!

Registration is open now for SIGGRAPH 2017, running July 30-August 3 in Los Angeles for its 44th conference and exhibition, which Conference Chair Jerome Solomon promises will be “bigger and better than ever.” Passes are available for the full week, single day or exhibition-only at

SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival now with VR!

This year, #SIGGRAPHcaf is moving beyond the flat screen. Prepare to join the new VR Theatre at #SIGGRAPH2017.

The Computer Animation Festival online submission deadline is March 21, 2017

The Computer Animation Festival online submission form will be available January 23, 2017

The SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival is the leading annual festival for the world's most innovative, accomplished, and amazing digital film and video creators. An internationally recognized jury receives hundreds of submissions and presents the best work of the year in the Electronic Theater. For SIGGRAPH 2017, the festival is moving beyond the flat screen to present short films and experiences in a new space, the VR Theater, where attendants will experience the next generation of storytelling in virtual reality.

The Computer Animation Festival is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival. Since 1999, several works originally presented in the Computer Animation Festival have been nominated for or have received a Best Animated Short Academy Award.

Accidents, Blunders and Calamities

I was on the Siggraph Computer Animation Festival Jury and this is one of the films that made the cut!

SIGGRAPH 2016 - Computer Animation Festival Trailer- NEW

I was on the Siggraph Computer Animation Festival Jury and here is a preview of the festival screening!


I was on the Siggraph Computer Animation Festival Jury and this is one of the films that made the cut!

This Algorithm Can Separate Reflections from Photographs

This Algorithm Can Separate Reflections from Photographs

This Algorithm Can Separate Reflections from Photographs

Umm, like this is seriously impressive...
They figured out how to automatically remove reflections and obstructions from photographs, and their latest demo of the technology is amazing.

The video accompanying our SIGGRAPH 2015 paper " A Computational Approach for Obstruction-Free Photography". We present a unified computational approach for taking photos through reflecting or occluding elements such as windows and fences. Rather than capturing a single image, we instruct the user to take a short image sequence while slightly moving the camera. Differences that often exist in the relative position of the background and the obstructing elements from the camera allow us to separate them based on their motions, and to recover the desired background scene as if the visual obstructions were not there. We show results on controlled experiments and many real and practical scenarios, including shooting through reflections, fences, and raindrop-covered windows.

Disney's Hyperion Renderer

Disney's Hyperion Renderer

Disney's Hyperion Renderer

Nicely put together webpage explaining Disney's Render - Hyperion.

Just in time for Siggraph 2015

The swipe comparison on the page and the overview video for explaining rendering is really nice!

Siggraph 2015

Siggraph 2015

Siggraph 2015

Siggraph is in Los Angeles this year, are you going?

Lots of kewl stuff going on...

SIGGRAPH 2015 - Computer Animation Festival Trailer

ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation 2015

ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation 2015

To be held at USC

Fabric Engine 2 at Siggraph 2015 from Fabric Engine on Vimeo.

We're launching Fabric Engine 2 at Siggraph 2015 and we'd love to see you at the show.

We're having a series of user groups all day on Tuesday 11th in room 405. You can see the schedule and register

If you want to meet privately, drop us a line at

If you have no clue what Fabric is, watch this: :)

See you at the show!

(note: we will be recording the user group sessions and will put them online asap after the show)

Inner Space Artifacts - SIGGRAPH 2015 Dailies Presentation from Ben Ridgway on Vimeo.

Here's a breakdown of how I created the look of my film "Inner Space Artifacts"

When creating experimental animations I often use intuition and visualization techniques to come up with ideas. Often times these ideas come to me as a flash of insight. Other times I must plumb the depths of my psyche to find novel approaches to making moving images. The film “Inner Space Artifacts” was a journey of deep excavation into the world of abstract ideas. The moving objects in the animation I regard as “artifacts” that I uncovered and shaped into ephemeral moving digital sculptures.

SPECIAL PRESENTATION: SIGGRAPH 2015 Dailies | Los Angeles Convention Center | August 9-13

And, of course, the Job Fair.

Job Fair Directory

I will be posting shortly my advice on attending the job fair and how to "work the event" to get that dream job.



Jinxy Jenkins

Jinxy Jenkins Wins SIGGRAPH Short Prize

Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou from Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou on Vimeo.

Jinxy Jenkins Wins SIGGRAPH Short Prize

A student senior thesis film from Ringling College of Art and Design has taken the Best Computer Animated Short award in SIGGRAPH’s 42nd Annual Computer Animation Festival. The short, Jinxy Jenkins and Lucky Lou by Michael Bidinger and Michelle Kwon, was selected out of almost 500 submissions for “its artistry, heartwarming story, and obvious attention to detail in execution,” said Festival co-chairs Mikki Rose and Joe Takai.

SIGGRAPH University : "The Digital Production Pipeline"

Great stuff!
I have worked with most all of these guys at one time or another in my career and every artist working in digital production should watch this.

Contre temps

I am so behind on emails...
I found this in my inbox and it's the
prettiest thing I have seen in a long time...


Graduation movie Contre Temps. Directed in 2012 at Supinfocom Arles, the film is now available here :  It was notably selected at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and at the Siggraph 2013.  :

Contre Temps Team

Jérémi Boutelet : Clergue, : Ménard : Perrin :ël Megherbi : Veber :

SIGGRAPH 2013: Marc Davis Lecture Series Keynote Presentation.

Siggraph may suck on the floor, but this keynote sets the tone for having some of the best papers and presentations documenting and inspiring the production of animation, CG and VFX.



Tue, 01/22/2013
What’s the outlook for careers across the digital media spectrum - from artists to technical directors to producers in games, broadcast, television, film and other media “yet to be invented.” Hear a panel of hiring managers and veteran recruiters share the inside scoop on where the jobs are….and where they aren’t.


What’s the outlook for careers across the digital media spectrum - from artists to technical directors to producers in games, broadcast, television, film and other media "yet to be invented". Hear a panel of hiring managers and veteran recruiters share the inside scoop on where the jobs are ... and where they aren’t.


6:30-7:30   Social Hour
- 6:30-7:00   Members only
- 7:00-7:30   Members and guests
7:30-7:45   Introductions
7:45-9:30   Panel Discussion


All LA ACM SIGGRAPH will be admitted free of charge. Non-members of LA ACM SIGGRAPH are admitted for $20.00. New LA ACM SIGGRAPH members who sign up on-site, and pay the $40 annual membership fee (checks or cash only), do not have to pay the $20 admission fee.

9 Tips For Breaking Into Feature/Visual Effects

9 Tips For Breaking Into Feature Animation and Visual Effects

I had write my own version of tips to animators who want to enter feature animation and visual effects.  I found the list provide on movie line very 'out of touch.'

1. Develop your foundational artistic muscles as much as your technical savvy.  If you do not have an artistic eye and a creative soul, your work will only satisfy the needs of scene... and, never explore the potential of each shot.  In addition, if you do not learn everything you can technically about your job, you will be banging your head trying to solve simple technical issues.  A understanding of both artistic and technical makes for the most marketable CG artist.

2. Plan before you pick up the mouse.  I understand that production schedules are not what they used to be, but even a couple hours of planning before starting a shot - using drawing, reference, observation, and critical thinking will save you tons of time in the long run.  Create your own work flow that resonates with how you think.  This will help you get to the final execution quicker than the competition.

3. Handle your paper yo...  Budget your income so you can handle working only 60-70% of the year.  The key word is "utilization."  If you want to make 80k a year and you are only working 60% of the year (without any overtime)... you will have to either be making 100$ an hour (not likely for an entry level position) or live as if you are making half of 80k a year.  Plan for times when there is no work, financially and save, save, save.

4. Be ready to live out of your suitcase.  The world is flat and globalization is here.  You may work 6 months in London, 2 weeks in Sydney and  3 months in Vancouver.  Many studios do not pay for relocation or housing either, so make friends where you can couch surf.  This is the reality.

5. Get a great accountant and a EIN NumberA good accountant can work magic around globe trotting and your taxes.  'Nuff said.

6. Learn about all of the trade organizations, job boards and social networking sites.  Social networking like Facebook and linked in are invaluable for creating new opportunities.  Connect with as many people as you can and be polite and cordial if you do not know the person you are approaching or have anyone to introduce you.  Job boards like VFX Pro, Creative Heads, AWN and the like are important places to start.  DO NOT apply to just any job.  "Hand pick" the places you really want to work and learn everything you can about the studio before approaching them.  Finally, the briefest encounter at a Siggraph meeting or a night out with coworkers can have the most profound affect on your career, so respect all conversations.

7. Pay attention to the details.  If you want your work to stand out, you have to be hyper critical.  If there is any shot on your reel you feel the need to make excuses for, dump it.  It shouldn't be there.  You are only as good as your weakest shot, so don't put weak work on your reel or out there in production.

8. Remember Karma.  Many production environments have become toxic with the new landscape of small budgets and backstabbing to get that job.  Do not engage.  It may take longer to move up, but your integrity will be in place if you handle ever conversation with professional courtesy and treat people how you would like to be treated.  If you hear about a job opportunity that you cannot take, pass it on to someone you know will do well there.  The producer will remember you helped them get the job done through a reference.  You want everyone to have a "good taste in their mouth" when your name comes up.  No matter what, there's always an asshole who will have a problem with you.  Forget him, he will gets his one day.  Do what you got to do to make each day positive and rewarding.  Remember what JT said - "What Goes Around... Comes Around."

9. Potential.  Every shot has the potential to be amazing.  You may not think so, but every shot has that potential!  It's up to you to bring it. Let me tell you a little story.  I was working on a show once... where I was given the crappiest shot in the commercial.  The character was so far away, you wouldn't have seen anything he was doing.  The shot was part of the introduction of where the characters were and what they are doing, so it didn't seem to be that important.  I was bummed. The plates weren't really ready, so we were just doing tests with the rigs.  I decided I would do more than just calisthenics and run cycles.  I animated my character doing something within the context of the shot I would be working on, but bigger and following the story and the character.  The director saw it.  He liked it so much, he went out and RE SHOT the plate to make this particular scene the hero of the commercial!  I was made animation supervisor for the next 3 commercials.  Think big and explore the potential that is there and people will notice.

~ my two cents on the subject

Siggraph Is Not Even in the US This Year??

For the first time in its history, the annual SIGGRAPH conference convenes outside the United States. Vancouver has thrown down the welcome mat and embraced SIGGRAPH 2011 with open arms. The British Columbia Provincial and the Vancouver City governments are working closely with our liaisons in the Vancouver SIGGRAPH Chapter to ensure that this will be the most exciting SIGGRAPH conference yet. Remember: Make It Home!

Character Animation I - Studio Arts Class Half Off!!!

Studio Arts has a Character Animation Class 
that I have agreed to teach this term.  
We are shy some students to make it happen,
so if you contact Studio Arts and say you 
saw the posting on this blog... 
they will let you take the class for half price!!!  
Class starts next Wednesday!
10-Week Class: Wednesday evenings 
from 7PM - 10PM (7/28/10 to 9/29/10)
Because of Siggraph:   Dates have been moved to: 
08/11/10 - 10/13/10
Price: $1500   
(750$ if you tell them you saw this posting on the blog!)
Prerequisite: Intermediate, working knowledge 
of Autodesk Maya is recommended.
Instructor: Angie Jones

Siggraph Phone Application

The Siggraph Phone App is on it's way!

The complete schedule of SIGGRAPH 2010 programs and events, plus all the detailed information you need to plan your week, day, or next hour at the conference: speakers, topics, locations, date, time, Computer Animation Festival screenings, exhibitor data, and more.
Available soon from this location. Look for the downloading announcement here.

Siggraph LA - 2010

Information is slowly dribbling out about Siggraph this year!

People Behind the Pixels
Conference LA Convention Center
25-29 July, 2010


Computer Animation Festival

Polynoid Loom Teaser from Polynoid on Vimeo.

Best in Show: “Loom” Polynoid

Polynoid FMX Loom & ICE Talk: Shot Breakdown from Polynoid on Vimeo.

Making Of...

Best Student Project: “The Wonder Hospital”
California Institute of the Arts

Jury Award: “Poppy”
Delf Productions


Production Sessions

Learn how world-class creative and production talent created the computer animation and visual effects in some of the Computer Animation Festival's most provocative works. 


Siggraph Google Calendars

To add to your google calendars, cut and paste the address for the calendar into the “Add a friend’s calendar” box in the “Other calendars” list on the left side of the google calendar page.

Online Scheduler




Siggraph Dailies 

SIGGRAPH Dailies! is a presentation format. You will need to get on stage and talk about your work. We've created two examples, one from FX and one for cloth tailoring/simulation. These are mockups of what SIGGRAPH Dailies! will look like. The actual submission is the material playing in the background, and the text of your comments. (In other words, don't film yourself giving the talk.)

 It's a little bit early to be announcing the party locations, 
but this what is out so far.



MONDAY! 7.24.2010

Lighter Darker Party

Monday July 26th, 2010 9:00 pm - 2:00 am
Location - TBA


TUESDAY! 7.25.2010

860 South Los Angeles Street • Suite 900 • 
Los Angeles, California • 90014
(it's Downtown a bit farther away from The Mayan)
    7:30PM - 8:00PM  
    Registration 8:00PM - 9:30PM 
    Presentation 9:30PM - 12:00AM 
    Networking Event and Reception

The networking event will include live entertainment from Fire Groove, and DJ'd music with complimentary drinks and bites. Also, several studios will be recruiting for Houdini talent while you mingle.



WEDNESDAY! 7.26.2010

Siggraph Reception
WEDNESDAY, 28 JULY | 8 - 10 pm | 
Westin Bonaventure Ballroom 

Mingle with the movers and synergize with the shakers as the international computer graphics community gathers for its biggest social event of the year. Bring your business cards. SIGGRAPH 2010 provides food, beverages, and a legendary LA location: The Westin Bonaventure Hotel, which has starred in many feature films: “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”, “This is Spinal Tap”, “In the Line of Fire”, “Nick of Time”, “True Lies”, “Midnight Madness”, “Hard to Kill”, and “Chuck”. In “Escape From LA” and “Epicenter”, it was destroyed by visual effects.
Blur, Autodesk, Siggraph Chapters, etc. should be announcing date, time and locations soon.


Artwalk This Weekend

If you are looking for something to do this weekend?
Come to the The Brewery ArtWalk
Admission is free and so is parking.
Saturday and Sunday
11:00 AM- 6:00 PM: Artwalk

The Brewery ArtWalk is a biannual weekend open-house in the world’s largest art colony.  People actually open up their home and let you in to experience their creative spaces and work…and you can buy the work at studio prices!!!  Over 100 artists that live in the Brewery, their studio, participate.  This is a great place to discover new local artists – or old local artists that are new to you.  You can talk to the artists and buy work from the artists at studio prices!

I will have my studio open all weekend and be painting live for folks who come to visit.  bring your friends with cash and empty walls!  I am in bldg 1984 North Main Street #202, upstairs.  Tallest building at the front of the complex facing Main Street.  Stairs face Moulton Street.

Visual Amalgam Show October 5th - James Gray Gallery

Charge, diptych
Oil Painting on Canvas
96” x 36”

Angela Jones

Visual Amalgam Show: The Film Industry Artist Gallery Event.
James Gray Gallery at Bergamot Station
Sunday, October 5 2008, 5:00pm - 9:00pm
2525 Michigan Ave Santa Monica, CA

The event will provide the public with a rare opportunity to see some exceptionally talented film industry pros exhibit their personal work. I personally invite anyone reading this who will be in Los Angeles on the 28th, to please come by. This is my first show where I will be displaying my new work, and there are many other talented artists in the show. Consider this the artist spotlight posting for September! Many, many artists here doing something creative on the side!

Click the links below to see more.

Siggraph 2008 Photo Contest

This is the Thinking Animation Siggraph 2008 Photo Contest.

The first person to post in the comments section 25 first and last names of people featured here wearing a "Redd The Clown" nose...will get a free book!  You cannot include Jamie or myself on your list and they must be wearing a nose.

Ready... go!~

Book Signing - Siggraph Tuesday August 12th

Jamie and myself will be signing
the Thinking Animation book

at the Course PTR Booth #1019
(just a block down from the Rhythm and Hues booth)

at Siggraph - Los Angeles Convention Center
from 3:30-4:30 pm
Tuesday August 12th

Come by and say "hi"!
And, maybe Jamie will draw you your own
Click here for the full Siggraph 2008 Floorplan

Booth #1019

Siggraph 2008 LA August 11 - August 15th

I am so glad that Siggraph is in Los Angeles this year. I don't have to travel or get a hotel! Also, the new staff for Siggraph seem to be working very hard to make the show more accessible to artists and broader than just the white papers and the usual techie stuff. The theme EVOLVE for this year's show couldn't be more on point.

I love the new perspective on what the show should be about, in light of the evolution of the medium and more and more artists working in visual effects. CG Society has a great article covering many of the new things Siggraph is exploring this year...Check the article out! It's looking like it might even reflect more of what Massive Black has been doing in San Francisco with the show Insomania.

The show is actually Monday through Friday (August 11 - August 15th) this year, instead of the usual starting on a Sunday. This is really better for the exhibitors since most people just are not there on a Sunday.

Last year, I was working for Side Effects Software. I got a real "behind the scenes experience" of what it's like to be an exhibitor for Siggraph. It's exhausting, so be nice to anyone you see working the floor and bring them a water or buy them a beer if you see them out at night. Especially Leyla Tirgari or Cristin Barghiel - they are going to need it.

As far as speakers, it's no secret I am a HUGE fan of Ed Catmull. last time I had the opportunity to see him speak in person it was 1995 at NATE and he was talking about the revolutionary new tool - NURBS. Wowsie Wow, that was a whiel ago. Anyways he is on fo the featured speakers and I just might have to be a little under the weather that Monday morning for work, if I am not allowed to attend.

SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair Terrence Masson says to prepares for Siggraph this year: Ask your vendors for Exhibit passes as always ... but Basic one-day passes are only $45 (deal of the century IMHO), one day Computer Animation Festival passes are also only $50.

More details :

BOF's are here :

Siggraph Parties:

Houdini - No Party This Year :(
It's the end of an era.
Houdini always was known for the best
party of the year at Siggraph.
But, no more...

Siggraph Chapters Party

...going to be at Dodgers Stadium this year!


Softimage User Event & Party
Where: Club 740
Tuesday, August 12th, 8:00PM – 1:00AM

Club 740 in downtown Los Angeles
Celebrate at one of L.A’s premier nightclubs.
Featuring the latest news from Softimage
and unforgettable guest performances, this event is sure
to be the talk of the show.
Space is limited – register now

That is all I can find at this time.

If you know of an event, let me know and I will add it to this posting.

Siggraph 2008

Click here to see the teaser

I can remember when the Computer Animation festival was a show everyone looked forward too see each year at Siggraph, because it was supposed to be all the best animation completed from the year - student wise and professional.

The past few years it has gotten a bit stale, but this year it looks like some folks have taken the presentation and Siggraph more seriously! It's a tough nut to crack because these days with the Internet many people have seen most of the content out there, but this promo got me excited to go and actually see the festival in the theater this year, instead of ordering the disk and watching at home.

"The Computer Animation Festival is evolving into a full-scale film festival featuring curated and competition screenings; discussion panels with filmmakers, artists, and producers; a full day of 3D panels, presentations, and screenings; and an awards evening celebrating the artists' accomplishments. Events will be held at both the brand new Nokia Theater and at the Los Angeles Convention Center alongside the rest of the conference."

... CG Society Article


Join me at my friend Jeb Milne's Studio - WIT ANIMATION - Tomorrow Night for a fun little party! Ten bucks gets you in. Jeb has a gorgeous house and studio - come by and join me for a drink, great food from the Argentinian place Santino's and some fun.

I am usually sitting right his front yard.

Venice, CA — (May 8, 2008) – The Venice Media District will host its Spring 2008 Mixer at member company,

Wit Animation
on Thursday, May 22, 2008
from 6-9 pm.
(959 Superba Ave. in Venice,
at the corner of Lincoln Blvd.)

$10 at the door;

RSVP by calling 310.429.4169
or email
by Monday, May 19th.

The event features a demonstration of the new redBOXX technology from BOXX Technologies, Inc., as well as catering by Santino’s and a selection of wines from Venice Beach Wines.

In-kind/event sponsors include: Gustavo Morais, ST8 Creative Solutions for logo and invitation design; Daryl Barnett for event production; event photography by Photographer Jean Pritchard; web site design by Pablo Toledo of Venice Arts; web site design and management and evite design by Catherine Chevalier of Not Maurice; Robert Feist of Ravenswork for providing meeting/event production space; pr by
Hype and event promotion by HypeFest.

The Venice Media District has been created in response to the changing business landscape in the beachside community, and has very specific goals:

• Create networking opportunities and business-to-business awareness
• Raise awareness of the VMD through city designation and promotion
• Attract business & entrepreneurs to the area.
• Create a vehicle for non-profits to access the assets of the VMD

Venice Media District: bringing the creative companies of Venice together.

For more information, go to:

Premiere Sponsor:
BOXX Technologies Inc.:
BOXX® Technologies Inc., headquartered in Austin, Texas, is a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance workstations and render nodes specifically designed to meet the high-performance and reliability requirements of digital content creators working in the 3D, animation, visual effects, digital film, architecture, game development and broadcast markets. BOXX’s rapid integration of cutting-edge computing technologies selected and optimized to deliver the best possible performance when running digital content creation (DCC) applications is reflected in its extensive line of uniquely featured and highly customizable systems, including BOXX APEXX®, 3DBOXX™ and 3DBOXX RTX workstations, and renderBOXX™ render nodes. For more information on BOXX Technologies Inc., visit the BOXX website at

Dedicated exclusively to the art of character animation. Based in an idyllic compound in sunny Venice California, WIT has been providing world class character animation for clients such as McDonalds, Post Cereals, Nvidia, and countless others. WIT was started in 2000 by owner/creative director Jeb Milne.

Three years ago Sergio Amata opened Santino’s, naming the place after his son, Santino. Sergio created an eclectic menu that reflects the many different cultural strands of his native Argentina, from Spanish Tapas to Italian pasta with a dash of Mexican flare thrown in. Each day of the week showcases a different specialty. Tuesday and Friday nights feature pizza from the grill, served from the quaint patio at the back of the restaurant. Thursday nights’ feature the paella recipe handed down to Sergio by his mother. Friday and Saturday nights encompass all of the favorites. If you are looking for the perfect place for a special event, Santino’s takes reservations for private parties on the patio. The space is the perfect place for anything from a ‘tete-a-tete’ dinner for two to an intimate group dinner. Santino’s also has an extensive catering service including ‘off-site’ Asado (Argentine BBQ tradition), and a variety of other party services and platters.

Venice Beach Wines:
A family owned retail wine shop open since January of 2007, focusing on small production boutique wines and artisan foods. The wines come from small producers from all over the world. We have, Spanish, French, Italian, South African, Australian, New Zealand, Portugal, Mexican, Chile, Argentina, domestic from Napa/Santa Barbara/Oregon/Washington state and even oddities such as Brazil and India. Venice Beach Wines is anticipating a remodel and reopening in June, offering its customers the opportunity to taste wines and receive on premise food service.

Houdini For the Mac

March 31, 2008
- Side Effects Software
is pleased to announce the Houdini for Mac beta program. With the recent redesign of the Houdini UI, Houdini has become much more artist-friendly, making it a great fit for the Mac. At the same time, Apple’s switch to Intel processors provides Houdini artists with a wealth of processing power.

Check out the short film Pop Quiz

If you are a regular might remember my time last summer working for Houdini. Never in all my years in CG have I met a harder working team of people. To see more of what Houdini can do - check out their online Gallery!

I LOVE the cows in the tree! It's so practical! :)

And this demo was a big hit at the 2007 Siggraph

Pixar - A Human Story of Computer Animation

[Recorded May 16, 2005]
Brad Bird, Writer/Director, The Incredibles, Pixar Animation Studios, Ed Catmull, Co-Founder and President, Pixar Animation Studios, Alvy Ray Smith, Co-Founder of four centers of computer graphics excellence (Altamira, Pixar, Lucasfilm, New York Tech) and a Microsoft Fellow, Andrew Stanton, Writer/ Director, Finding Nemo, Pixar Animation Studios , and Michael Rubin, Moderator, Author of Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution.

Wowsie Wow...I heart Ed Catmull. Mr. Catmull, I would love to buy you a beer at Siggraph this year...please look me up? And, for anyone who hasn't seen the series Brad Bird talks about in this movie called - Family Dog (possibly my most favorite animated pilot ever) - go to my posted link below on the series.

Revelations - ConceptArt.Org/Massive Black Workshop

I have posted here on the blog before about the big workshop Massive Black and Concept puts on each year. Could it be next year - the show is in Shanghai?

I got so busy as the new year came, I completely forgot about this show and dammit...I really wanted to attend. I am especially bummed since my old boss from Oddworld - Lorne Lanning - was the keynote speaker and it would have been fun to see him again. Note to Concept be good to create an email list for a newsletter for us, busy peeps?

Anyways, it looks like they did it again this year
with an amazing show!!!

The show seems like another Siggraph - BUT! there are NO computer programmers...just computer artists doing what they do. A real artist community using both traditional and new mediums. The show does have a "video game slant" of course since the creators come from that background...but that doesn't take away from the unique culture and talent that seems flocks there.

It sure would be kewl to have something like that for all of the commercial, television and film artists in LA. I know that Siggraph 2008 will be held here in LA, but the Siggrpah shows never seem to be geared towards the artists like the productions Massive Black puts on. I always feel like Siggraph is just there to show off new technology, not to inspire new techniques that artist have

created for themselves outside of the tools. Below, is more about last year's show if you hadn't heard about it.

Last year, the same show sponsored by Massive Black and Concept was held in SF and was called Insomania...check out this video to see what that one was like.

Vancouver to Host Siggraph 2011

Never before has outsourcing been more apparent. Guess those Canadian Production Incentives have paid off. Films and VFX are just not made in Los Angeles anymore, not to mention the US.

It was announced today that Vancouver will be hosting the 2011 Siggraph conference. Pretty big news, this will be the first North American Siggraph outside the US.



It is now official. Vancouver will host the annual SIGGRAPH conference in 2011. This is the first time the conference will venture outside the United States. The 2007 conference in San Diego attracted over 24,000 attendees.

The Making of Sexy Robot

1984 –CG SEXY ROBOT FOR 30-SECOND COMMERCIAL: Robert Abel & Associates produced the first computer generated 30-second commercial, used for the Super Bowl ("Brilliance") January 20, 1984. The Sexy Robot character was directed by Randy Roberts, and Con Pederson was the technical director; together, they created a chrome female robotic character that was visually stunning.

...text from the Thinking Animation Book Timeline


Hands down Disney!
They took old drawings by the masters an placed a different one on the back of each card. I collected 5, there might be more?

BEST SWAG (stuff for free)
The Digital Domain pen was the kewlest! projects the logo through a magnified light on the end.

My cat - lucky - loves it...he chases it all over the house!
Best cat toy ever!

Bunkspeed by far had the best mascot...a green mustang!

It had to be the South Africans Darin Hofmeyr brought round Sunday night! Judd Simantov and Brian Goodwin mug for the camera!

Bill doubt.

The 3.00$ Margarita, of course!

I am probably a bit biased here, since I worked for SESI this year. But I have to say the visuals and DJ's and the fact that free drinks were flowing and easy to get to, made this party the best!

This girl touched my heart, her book was all dog eared and highlighted.
Jessie, thanks for the support!

I was finally leaving the convention center to go back to hotel, pack up and ride off into the sunset...and who do I see walking down the hall but Neil Sang! I worked with Neil on Pan's Labyrinth at CafeFX and he made me laugh every day. I think the last time I saw him was at the Wiltern for an Opeth concert. Rock On Neil!

Siggraph 2007 - Sunday

View from East Side of Hotel

Yes, it's time to report on Siggraph 2007 in San Diego. I drove my mini convertible down from Los Angeles and broke in the engine at 110 mph on the 73. That was too much fun but I need to be more careful. Bad Angie!

I arrived in San Diego Sunday afternoon and checked into our hotel - the Marina Mariott. What a beautiful hotel! We were on the 20th floor and the pic above is the view on one side of the hotel of the San Diego Convention Center. Below, is the view of the pool from our room and the view of the Harbor. Just gorgeous! Click on any images here to see the hi-rez view.

After arranging the room and unpacking a bit...the first thing I did was check out the lounge downstairs and see who was around. Javier Solsona of was sitting with Dan Herman and Mark Oftedal from Digital Fish. I joined them for some drinks and eats. I also rang up Mark Elendt and Calin Casian to come downstairs and join us.

Mark Elendt and Calin Casian

Mark Elendt is Senior Mathematician at Side Effects
Software and a Senior Mc-smartie in my book.

Mark has won 2 Scientific/Technical Awards!
He won the Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificates) in 1997: For the development of the procedural modeling and animation components of the Prisms software package. (w. Greg Hermanovic, Kim Davidson and Paul Breslin) and the Scientific and Engineering Awards (Academy Plaques) in 2002: For their continued development of the procedural modeling and animation components of their Prisms program, as exemplified in the Houdini software package. (w. Greg Hermanovic, Kim Davidson and Paul Breslin).

Calin Casian was my "right-hand man" in my quest to make a character tool set in Houdini usable. He is a Character TD who actually listens to rare! He is also Romanian with a very funny accent!

So, between Mark and Mark, Calin, Dan, Javier...I had a pretty kewl little table to share stories with, before I even went out for the night!

The best thing about having Siggraph in San Diego is the Gas Lamp Quarter. This is the fun part of downtown San Diego where all the action feels alot like New Orleans to me, but not so humid.

So, the first night we went to a restaurant called Chive. The 3D Pro guys were going to the Yard House for cocktails and we figured we would join them after we got some real food in our tummies. Chive was perfect mellow start because everyone knows the evening entertainment at Siggraph requires a long distance attitude - not a must pace yourself!

We had several people join us there...Darin Hofmeyr, Leyla Tirgari (Accounts Rep from SESI), Sarah Counnas (Technology Production Manager at DreamWorks Animation), Mark Elendt and Calin - of course, Ran Sariel (Rigging Supervisor on the new Outlander movie), Graham and Keith Acheson from SESI who helped me with the Happy Birthday SESI Demo we showed this past week at the booth! We were having such a good time at Chive with the amazing food and martinis...I forgot to take pix, but we eventually moved on through Darin's cajoling towards the Yard House. This place had more beer taps than I have ever seen. Even more than the DD favorite - Library Ale House!

Motley Crew - Darin, Leyla, Brian, Graham, Calin and Keith

Brian, Me, Darin

So, I barely got a gulp of my martini down and Sarah again announced we were going to move on to another place to drink and meet up with folks! Sheesh! We all hurried to finish our drinks and moved the whole group to some place that had 3.00$ Margaritas and a bunch of DD peeps. Who'da thought?

On the way - as we all followed Leyla, (which btw was like trying to follow Mr. Magoo because she kept screaming into the phone..."Where is it!?" and leading us all down the wrong streets).

So, there was this girl at one of the many bar patios we passed along the way who kept saying "hola! hola!" and waving her hand like she was the queen of England!

I had to take a snap of her because it was so funny. Evidently her group was Italian and they learned to say Hola! instead of Ciao!

Crazy Italian saying Hola!
So, we finally caught up with the other group at the 3.00 Margarita Bar, here is Sarah chatting up Phillipe (one of the Side Effects presenters) and a few other CG guys.

Check out that 3.00$ Margarita she is holding...Whoa!

Leyla models "Vanna White" style with
the Margarita from Giant Land.

What happens at Siggraph, stays at Siggraph...
that is unless you read this blog!

And the hijinks ensue...
Roy Edwards!

More $3.00 drinks!

Still learning to use my iphone...
People call and I can't figure out how to answer it!
Yeah, I am not the most technical type.

And now we all know what tequila does to South Africans...
They speak Zulu and do little dances...

Judd Simantov speaks Zulu...

Dan Barker says "I want the bread!"

Judd and Dan do a Zulu Dance.

More to come as I get to Monday's festivities...

Siggraph 2007 - Monday

Monday is a day for the exhibitors to unpack the trucks and vans, and get their booths put up. However, there are various panels and papers going on, as well. This installment won't have any floor pix really...just a lot of drinking, socializing and debauchery.

BTW, if you work for a software company...they have 8 am meetings every day. Yeah, you go out and have fun with your buds into the wee hours of the night and then have to roll downstairs for a staff meeting.

My roomie from SESI was Leyla who actually conducted these meetings, so I couldn't escape. I was having a slumber party with mom. Well, with Mom who goes out and drinks with you the night before, but can get up and get her act together a lot faster than I could ever try.

Leyla = Moma Bird

On Monday, I had a panel to participate in talking about
Emerging Production Demands
but that wasn't until 1 pm.
So, I went back to the room and took a nap...of course.

Houdini Expert Panel: Judith Crow, Mike Kalshalk,
Craig Zerouni, Jason Iversen and myself...
I look bored and Jason is sleeping
oh look, Craig's talking :)

Wow they either look bored or serious,
Craig must be the one talking for this picture.

I was actually a bit nervous for this panel. I don't usually get nervous, but this is a room full of hardcore fx peeps who do lots of math and write scripts and I am just a lil character animator who tried to get some new tools built in H9. But, as we went, I found my way through it.

As soon as SESI has uploaded the recording of the panel...
I will post an .mpg here for yall.

After the panel, I caught up with my co-author Jamie Oliff. Jamie is currently working for Reel FX developing original story content for their new feature films. This is his dream come true, finally he is creating original content and having too much fun doing it!

Jamie with his signature drink in front of
his face for every pic I take...

Reel FX recently acquired Radium and they have location in Dallas, San Franciso and Santa Monica. Reel FX/ Radium rented a boat in the harbor to meet and greet prospective client and employees. Jamie and I joined them for some martinis in the sun.

The Reel FX/ Radium Boat

I took this pic with my new iphone and it feels like the cam has a fish eye lens... funny, because that is how I felt on the boat at first. I have never been on a boat in the water. When I told Jamie this he looked at me like I was nuts..."So, you have only been on a boat on land?"

Please let me explain...

I used to live across the street from sea urchin divers when I lived in San Diego and would hang out on the boat while they worked on it and just talk. So, yes, I have only sat on a boat on land in their driveway.

This pic made me laugh so hard I had to post it.

Tim from Reel FX joined Jamie and I for a while.

All of the boat's down there had really fun names...

So after a couple martinis with the Reel FX/Ra peeps, we decided to see what was up at the hotel Tiki Bar. My girlfriend Lori Frietag - Freelance Compositor Extraordinaire joined us. BTW, if my eyes get squint-ier, it usually means either Jamie is making me laugh really hard or the drinks are strong.

Jamie explains his dissatisfaction with the alcohol to mixer ratio in his drink...keep in mind if he were back there mixing we would all be asleep, falling down or sick right now. Last time I drank Jamie's Mai Tais, I fell on a cactus...true story.

The bartender put the run bottle dangerously close to Jamie and he grabbed it and fixed his Mai tai...of course, then, the bartender decided to join us.

Phillip is pondering what to drink and Darin just looks confused...or maybe he has a upset tummy.

So, I had to leave Lori and Jamie to go have dinner with the SESI folks, until the Maya/Autodesk party that night. SESI was having their company dinner at Bella Luna and I had to get moving.

SESI Dinner table...

Peter and Ron, two of SESI's instructors. Ron never smiles, but I am gonna try and get at least one pic of him tonight where he doesn't look like he is gonna mess you up. Ron was my favorite teacher at SESI. He even got me to build a spoon in Houdini. Yes, I modeled something - Holy Cow. My old modeling buddies from Oddworld - Marvin Kim and Jane Mullaney - I know are laughing now...right?

Janet and Erick decide what to eat...

Paul (CTO) and Graham (Calin's slave, Jr. Character TD)

Jeff Wagner always knows what I like to eat and how to order for me. You see, I always have ordering envy...I never order the right thing. Anyways...David Robert, in the might remember from my posting about his SEED project and finally, Mark Tucker who made a great impression on me my first day trying to learn the software...he was very kind and understanding. Thanks Mark.

Told ya I would get at least one snap where he didn't look like he was gonna kill you.

So, it was time for me to leave and get ready for the Maya/Autodesk party. I had a special party dress to change into, so I caught up with Jamie and Lori back at the hotel changed and we caught a cab to the Aircraft Carrier.

We were still early enough for the free bar and there wasn't really a line. We walked up a bunch of stairs to the very top where all the planes were. Drinks were scarce. There had to be 3 thousand people up there and only two bars. It was pretty ridiculous. A friend of mine had figured out the method of coming at the bar from the side to get drinks and did so for us. I understand a venue of this size is hard to manage but two bars with only a couple bartenders each?

We did walk around and look at the planes because as you might remember Jamie is building one in his garage.

Not quite the same as these planes huh?

I was kind of worried about the guy inside this plane and wondered if we should try and get him a cocktail?

I have no idea what this is - but it's kewl...

And that's is a missle I think... :)

Jamie explains something about the plane and now I feel like I am at the museum with my Dad.

Lori poses...

So, we got tired of planes and wanted to try and go downstairs where the dancing was. There were two choices. You could take the very narrow stairs where it seemed like 2 thousand people were waiting in line to go some where you could actually have some fun...or you could take the elevator where only about a thousand people were waiting in line to get downstairs. You think I am exaggerating, but seriously...there was no control over how many people were trying to navigate this venue.

We had maybe 30 people in the elevator. Lori and I were the only females, of course, and I started to panic that the elevator would break or stop on our way down with us crammed in there like sardines. Turns out, we got out fine...on the second floor to meet up with some crazy old man with a flash light telling us to "move along!!"

We tried to get past him, but he was like the caretaker on Scooby Doo and we were the meddling kids on his boat. He sent the entire elevator packing. Who knows how many other folks spent about 10 mins on the roof only to be ushered away afterwards? If the elevator was your path to leave the party for good, there should have been a sign and someone standing there to tell you they do at the standard hotel downtown. Sad, Sad, pathetic party. I will be doing a "Best and Worst of Siggraph" posting soon, but I can tell you this was the Worst party.

We caught a cab and hit downtown San Diego for some real a Tequila Bar.

See the smiles - that's tequila!

So, that was Monday. More to come on Tuesdays fun on the floor and the Houdini party!

Siggraph 2007 - Tuesday

Ah yes, the exhibit floor is open and "the geek-dom begins." I had to work the SESI booth first thing, after the staff meeting. I have a new found respect for people who do this not only at Siggraph, but as a career. This is really tough work. Luckily, I had many a friend stop by and joke with me as I was pixel monkey this year. Including my buddy Scott Holmes, who likes to poke fun...often.

It wasn't easy because we were using pre-beta software; but the interns, Calin and Ron helped me put a demo together quickly for Siggraph. Thanks to Ron for taking over as CG Sup and making sure images were up on the screen when I conducted rounds, thanks to Alvin Yap with all of his work tending to the renders, Ericka Salatiello for her hard work on the confetti, Rachel Campbell for her time with the streamers and especially Calin Casian for his help with digital assets, helping me create a pipeline, the Toon Character Rig and basically making it happen.


Here, I am demo-ing for my buddy Johnathan Gerber from DD. He taught me so much about Houdini in the few minutes he sat with me. I only had 3 months to soak in the entire package of Houdini and the new UI and he was a great help. He's touched with a bit of ADD inside that noggin, but I swear he knows this software inside and out!


Johnny Gibson from DD came by to play with the character tools...Uh...note to self, don't leave the FX Supervisors with your character, Look at what he had done! I wish I had video taped what Marty Ryan did to the toon character! let's just say the cartoon-y head was 5 feet away from the body and he was doing the squats.

I gave Jamie my camera to see what he might cover on the floor on his own. He and Lori went exploring while I stayed at the SESI booth and demo-ed the Auto Rig and Character Tools, Calin and I helped build for H9.


Of course, the first pic Jamie took was of a video this e3 or Siggraph. I have no idea what this is for...anyone who attended is welcome to offer up what this is in the comments of this posting?


My friend Lori designs jewelery. In fact, we will have a booth at the Abbott Kinney Street Fair September 30th in Venice, CA for those of you who live in LA. I make the flower clips you see in my hair in all of these photos and I put them on all the people working the SESI booth. Thanks to everyone at SESI for being a great sport. So, Jewlz and Jonesie Cake are in the house.

So, YOU SAY... WTF does this have to do with Siggraph? Well, Rhino has new software specifically created to design jewelry with. This is what Lori is discussing with the Rhino folks in this picture.


The Rhino booth was really busy. After working at a software company, I see how difficult it is to be everything to everyone as a tool and how the little companies that just focus on one facet of making computer generated images can make some really powerful products. Much like we as artist become specialized in our own skills like animator, lighter, modeler, texture artist...these specialized software companies are able to focus all of their energies on one part of the pie and make a far superior product!

The jewelery design is pretty amazing...
Check out their gallery of users work.

Moving on...Polhemus had some impressive
3d scanning technology.
Congrats Again Sha!

I caught Bobby Beck and Carlos Baena (Book Contributor) at breakfast the next morning. They are doing an amazing job with this school. I also spoke with Rudy Cortes who is starting a TD school called TD College. I wish Rudy all the best because this is so needed in CG, especially a school that teaches advanced scripting for CG film Production!
So, it's 3 pm now and time for the book signing. We are only doing one hour this year, but it was a very productive one hour. I forgot to take pictures of every single person who bought a book and there were no clown noses to pass out, but!!! if you have a picture of yourself with the book you bought at Siggraph...mail it my way and I will be sure to post it!
This couple was so cute discussing finances on whether or not to buy the book, and I could tell he really wanted to buy it. Guys, I totally remember being a student and know how hard it is to come up with the scratch to buy a book. This is why Jamie and I worked hard to make this book what we wish we had had in our backpack when we first started out. We hope its worth the money you slapped down...thanks for the support!

Jamie decided to start drawing on the announcement of our book signing since it wasn't going to do any good now, since we were already there. He passed them out at book marks.

This girl totally reminded me of myself when I first started animating. Her name is Jesse and she is working with many of my former colleagues from my Oddworld days at High Moon Studios in Carlsbad. Her copy of the book was dog eared and highlighted to no end and we were deeply touched.
My good friend and favorite producer Matt Winkel came by to buy a copy for his studio - Motion Theory. Matt was so important to helping me make the Disney 50th Anniversary spots look great while we worked at DD. There was much madness (and pie on "pie day") and he rolled with it all. I hope we get to work together again real soon! Matt, call me before I am booked again!


And, my homegirl Lopsie came by to say hello!
Wowsie Wow!!! I hadn't seen her since my time at R & H in 2003.
She looks fabulous as always!


It was now time to return poolside for a
cocktail and to get off our aching feet!

I have never been so happy to sit down...
notice the "Houdini Orange" Toe Nail polish?
Jamie's friend Ollie joins us and Jamie begins to
offer advice about women.
It definitely made me giggle.
It was time to get ready for din din. We were meeting a bunch of Disney folks at a restaurant called Dakota and then it was off to the Houdini part at Aubergine. I took no pix at dinner, sorry...I guess I was tired. But Leyla did give me some pix to post of the Houdini User Group that happened before the party, enjoy!
The Houdini User Group was packed...
Jamie and I entered the Houdini party before there was even a line, probably around 9 - ish, same time we hit the Autodesk party the night before. There is something to having a small venue with a normal amount of people in it. There were no problems getting a drinks or talking to anyone there.

We sat down with my friend George Meastri for a while and there were these "Hello My Name is..." stickers that were not being used. Well, Jamie put them to good use. He put silly sayings like "I don't take baths," "Ineed to get some color," "I have never been with a woman," "I am up here big boy!" or "I love William Shatner." and passed them out. Soon everyone wanted a personalized name tags from Jamie. I wish I had taken some pictures because one guy had six on his person.

So, the party began...

David Robert Spinning (SF Production Consultant)
...all of the DJ's were Houdini employees!

Ohhhh yes and I brought my buddy Samir -

now dubbed "baby bird" because
we have to keep a watchful eye on him.


Jamie, "Moma Bird" Leyla and "Baby Bird" Samir.


DJ Greg Hermanovic

DJ Monika

Daniel Maskit, another Smartie Mc-smartie...

he saved my butt with many a tool he built while I worked at DD.


I think I scared Daniel with the flash.
Or, maybe it was this guy?
The Boys...and...

Dan Lynch is getting down with his bad self.

Time to go night night...

Siggraph 2007 - Wednesday

Your friendly Houdini Character Team: Yours Truly, Ed Lam - Programmer Extraordinaire and Calin Casian - My Rigger and Resident Punching Bag ready to demo with a pounding headache from last night.

Jeff Wagner was demo-ing with me today. He showed me the FX tool shelf they built. I hadn't even had a chance to see it! OMG! Amazing! I made smoke and contrails and bubbles, with a click of a button! ME! I recommend every ready go to the LA office and see it for yourself - seriously!

Kim Davidson (CEO of Side Effects Software) came by to see me and inquire bout how it was going. If you don't know who this guy is - you should.

It was great to see my friends from Motion Theory to my right, every once and a while I walked over for a visit and they had a simple and effective booth. They had a mail box for Demo Reel drop and I watched a girl almost throw here "hopefully empty" soda in there thinking it was a trashcan!

Lunch time now, and my tummy is not ready for food. I decide to walk the floor a little bit. I see my man Jason Anastas at the Disney booth demo-ing their proprietary tools for Meet The Robinson's.

Jason! WTF did you do to his head?
I thought the FX peeps at the Houdini booth were bad!

Here is video of Jason demo-ing,
but you cannot hear a thing really because the floor is so loud...
so at least Disney knows he was working hard.
The Disney Char GUI

I stopped by the Massive booth, They were showing off how they worked out all the crowd stuff for Evan Almighty and the Noah's ark scenes. He has a microphone, so you can actually hear him, though not nearly as animated as Jason at Disney. He actually is talking about a point we touched upon in our Expert Panel
regarding multiple studios working on separate elements for one shot and how you manage assets and keep all of the files straight.

Ran into Bill Ball at the R & H booth

Took this pic with my iphone cuz battery was really low in my camera... unfortunately if you move even a little bit the camera can't handle but you can still see that dazzling smile!

Sony Pictures has Karl Gnass do his drawing class every year and it never falls short. I remember taking his classes when I was at Sony for SL2, and he really knows his stuff. I plan on taking some of his courses in the Fall at the Animation Institute in Hollywood.

Blue Sky was representing with their Horton Hears a Who. I know the trailer is online for download, but I couldn't resist recording some of it because its just so damn pretty! I also love it when you are filming and people walk right in front of the screen.

Autodesk in da house! Even though their party
was a hot mess, the demos were on!
I tried to record video, but the screen just came out white.

Softimage represents their layering ability in animation. I also tried to record, but my video was just white...maybe next year. The Softimage party is tonight, but for some reason they decided to have you register AND try and get tickets. They handed out too many and even ran out...I have a feeling we won't make it to the party. I also have a feeling we will do just fine on our own.

Pixar's booth was drop dead gorgeous,
but I didn't stay too long for I might be blinded in awe.

I don't know what the heck this is, but it was kewl.

The Gnomon booth was hard to miss with that green glow surrounding it. I had the opportunity to meet with their last Senior class thanks to Pamela Kliebrink Thomson and I must say I was impressed with several of the students reels...especially modeling and animation!

I had to return from lunch to report for duty at the booth again and Cristin came by to visit.

And BTW, this is the "sexiest man in software development." Cristin Barghiel, Director of Product Development at SESI. I was so worried when I walked into that Toronto Office and he said to me "Angie, I thought you and I would sit down first to go over H9" I heard music in my head "Duhh, Doooo, Duuuuaaahhhh!" But, this is has got to be the nicest programmer I have ever met. He made my job so easy. And, notice the Jonesie Cake flower on his lanyard? I love this man!

"Baby Bird" joined me for drinks after a long day on the floor. He and I soon scooted to the Buster Beach House for the Animation Mentor/Reel FX party there, but we were so hungry we just sat downstairs and had drinks and h'orderves with Jason.

When we left the Beach House, I took a few pix of this boat Jamie was eyeing from our room window and some planes were doing aeronautical moves. The pic below is the best I got, I wasn't fast enough to really catch the planes in formation.

We headed back to the hotel and changed to meet Jason and his buddies at some pub called The Fields before attempting to enter the Softimage party. Even though we were registered, they ran out of tix. Here is Jason and Samir harassing a layout artist.

WE had a few drinks and Jason illustrated that his wife Joan dresses him. He has the most beautiful shirt on and the inside of the cuff has this gorgeous silk embroidered fabric. He informed us that...

This is straight...

and this is gay...

We soon decided to walk up to House of Blues. Samir saw a cute girl driving a rickshaw and decided to ride in it. We all walked. Once we got close to HOB, we saw the line and decided against it. Waiting for Samir in the rickshw...yes, we beat them up the street. We ducked into possibly the loudest sushi bar I have ever been to. It was so
ridiculously loud...I truly cannot express that to you. I have video of Jason explaining just how loud it was, but of course cannot show you. Read on and you will understand.

There are only a few pix from this evening I can share and absolutley no video. I had to censor the few I can show because...well, Jason decided to gesture for most all of them. Black box is accordingly placed. View at your own risk.

Samir progressivley got excited and knocked a full beer on the floor. The OCD bouncer freaked and Samir cleaned up his mess.

"Baby Bird" is done cleaning.

As you can see, we had plenty of fun without attending the Softimage party. Michael Kaschalk and others joined in the fun with myself, Samir, Calin and Jeff Wagner.

Whew! One more day to go, but all of this should keep you guys busy!

Siggraph 2007 - Thursday

The week was finally getting to me. One more day of demos at the booth, but before I headed straight over I saw some of my old friends from Angel Studios/Rockstar Games working the Bunkspeed booth and had to say hello! Michael Limber is another old school guys who reins from the Digital Production days. He showed me a bit about the new product HyperDrive that Bunkspeed has been developing.

Basically, this software enables designer to see 3D objects quickly and effortlessly. This is an amazing tool for car designers and I see a future for car commercials, as well. The designer can shave millimeters off the geometry in seconds and see it render in real-time with reflections, refractions, global illumination - you name it!

Diego Angel, Michael Limber, Brad Hunt and the Rotenberg bothers - Mark and Steve were devloping this technology way back when I was at Angel Studios making video games. I remember when Steve Rotenberg showed me real time global illumination techniques he was developing for the video games at Angel and I was blown away. Angel was my first experience working with high-end programmers and they were so much fun and seriously freaked me out with how smart they are.

I think they really have something here. Here is a video of Micheal showing off what hyperDrive can do...

And here is the bad ass car in person...

Since, I was on duty for the rest of the day demo-ing H9 on the back of the booth, I didn't really get to see many folks outside of the booth on Thursday. I stopped by the DD booth and said hello, but my camera battery was completely on the fritz. I tried to use my iphone, but in the low light and the DD people constantly moving all I got was blur.

Oh well, they gave me a really snazzy pen!
More to come on that with my BEST OF SIGGRAPH!

So, I returned to the booth and as the day slowed, I filmed a couple clips of Philip's Transformers presentation.

Siggraph 2007 - Are You ready?

Siggraph is two weeks away!
Are your ready?
Do you have your pass?

Jamie and Angie have provided you
with our ever popular
(updated for this year's 2007 Siggraph event in San Diego)
This document provides all of the information you need regarding
looking for a job,
or just plain what to expect to experience
at the Siggraph convention.

We encourage newbies and old-school-attendees alike,
to check out this informative document
and print it out as a
quick reference as you "work the floor."

Below are important
save the dates,
book signings
and events!

ANGIE AT SESI BOOTH: Angie will be at the SIDE EFFECTS SOFTWARE, INC. booth #127 most of the week demo-ing the new character tools in Houdini 9, please stop by a demo station and say "hello!"

BOOK SIGNINGS: Both Angie and Jamie will be signing books at the Thomson Course Technology Booth #647 - Time and date TBD - please check back and this blog posting will be updated.

SIGGRAPH BOOKSTORE: Breakpoint Books will have the Thinking Animation book at the official Siggraph Bookstore too!

LIVE FROM SIGGRAPH: If you cannot make the show this year has asked us to do our Siggraph Blog again this year! Last year's Siggraph blogging was so popular we will be at it again this year to write notes from Siggraph/San Diego for's "live from Siggraph" campaign, so if you can't make it to the show? We will be your eyes and ears on the convention floor. :)

Online Siggraph 2007 Registration

General Conference Information

Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Advance Late Registration Deadline

Important Save the Dates/Events/Parties

Monday August 6th, 2007 1-2pm
Expert Panel
Angie will be serving on an Expert Panel with Jason Iversen, Judith Crow, Micheal Kaschalk, and Craig Zerouni to discuss emerging production demands in CG.

Side Effects is excited to announce its first ever Houdini Expert Panel, hosted and broadcast by Jason Busby from 3DBuzz. This event will be covering the topic of Emerging Demands of Production, and have several prominent Houdini users as panelists ranging in areas of expertise.


Moderator, Judith Crow

Judith Crow grew up in England and attended Dartington College of Arts to study Art and Design in Social Contexts and Middlesex Polytechnic where she gained her Bachelors degree. In 1987, after working in the community arts field in London for 4 years as a photographer, teacher and curator, Judith enrolled in a Masters program to study Computing in Design.

In 1994 Judith started working in film digital effects at Digital Domain where she worked in a variety of roles on a wide range of projects including “Apollo 13” (Supervising Digital Artist), “T2-3D: Battle Across Time” (3D Digital Effects Supervisor), “Titanic” (Digital Effects Supervisor) and “Fight Club” (Co-Opening Sequence Team Lead).

After some time at DreamQuest Images and The Secret Lab she returned to Digital Domain as Creative Director – Digital Production and Technologies where she remained working on facility-wide production processes until 2002.

Judith is now a Snr. Production Consultant at Side Effects Software Inc. where she helps formulate end-to-end pipeline designs and key production processes for our customers with an eye to reducing the inefficiencies endemic in large-scale film production.

Panelist, Craig Zerouni:

Craig has been a CG artist for 25 years, and using Houdini since its inception.

During his 15 year tenure at CFX, one of Britain's first computer animation companies, Craig worked on over 500 commercials, title sequences and feature films. In that time, he had experiences that ranged from effects programming to animating to technical directing to directing full commercials. Since then, he has worked for Side Effects as the manager of the Prisms software product (1997) and then for Silicon Grail, sellers of Chalice, a compositing package (and Chalice was originally based on a snapshot of Side Effects' first compositing product, Ice). After spending time doing freelance production work (using Houdini), he returned to Side Effects, to serve as a Production Consultant and a resident Houdini expert.

Currently he is at Digital Domain as Technology Production Manager.

Panelist, Michael Kaschalk:

Currently a Visual Effect Supervisor on a special projects team doing concept test for Walt Disney Imagineering, Michael has been working in the CG industry since 1993.

He has been employed at Walt Disney for 10 years, having contributed in FX for the features “Fantasia 2000”, “Tarzan”, “Chicken Little” and has had supervising roles in “Atlantis”, “Home on the Range” and most recently, “Meet the Robinsons”.

Michael will be joining the “Bolt” production as an Effects animator this fall at Walt Disney Animation Studios (formerly Walt Disney Feature Animation”.

Panelist, Angie Jones:

Angie Jones began her animation career at a San Diego studio with more than 150 traditional animators a little over 12 years ago called Lightspan. Although she was trained at Atlanta College of Art in Fine Arts, she readily embraced animating with the computer.

She has worked on numerous CG animation productions, including Stuart Little 2 (winner of the VES Award - Visual Effects Society in 2003 for Best Character Animation in an Animated Motion Picture), Disney’s 50th Anniversary commercials, the three-time Oscar Winning "Pan's Labyrinth" with Director Guillermo Del Toro, Oddworld: Abe’s Exodus, Garfield, Dino Crises 3, Zoom, Scooby Doo Too, XMen 2, National Treasure and she won a Bronze Clio for her character animation on the Amp Energy Drink Spot released 2007.

Angie has also written 3 books on animation, the most recent being Thinking Animation: Bridging the Gap Between 2D and CG. To find out more about Angie go to

Currently, Angie is at Side Effects Software as the resident Character Specialist.

Panelist, Jason Iverson:

Jason Iverson began his CG career at Digital Directions which later became the Refinery in South Africa in the mid 90s. Discovering PRISMS early on, he took to Houdini quite favorably and continues to work with it at Digital Domain today, where he started back in 2000 as an FX Technical Director.

Jason has since worked on several high profile features as CG Supervisor, recently having completely worked on Transformers, where he was responsible for building and all Houdini/Mantra lighting and rendering pipeline utilizing Mantra 9 in an Alpha state.

Jason is also noted for being co-creator and host of the most popular online Houdini Community, OdForce (

Held in the San Diego Marina Hotel (right next door to the convention center) - Mission Hills meeting Room form 1-2pm.

Hosted by


Monday, August 6th, 2007
Autodesk/Cafe FX Party on Aircraft Carrier!
9 pm – 1 am
Fireworks at 9:50 pm
Open Bar from 9-11:30 pm
Cash Bar from 11:30-1:00 am
US Navy Jets & Flight Simulators
USS Midway,
San Diego Navy Pier,
910 North Harbor Drive
Attendance is limited to invited guests

Presentations from industry visionaries including:

  • CafeFX, Condor, Industrial Light & Magic, Uniform and more· DaimlerChrysler demonstrates innovative automotivedesign visualization using Autodesk software
  • Autodesk® Masters Awards for outstanding Maya and 3ds Max users
  • The launch of The AREA V2 3D community portal
  • The chance to win a Dell PrecisionT M90Mobile Workstation or one of two NVidia Quadro FX 3500 boards
  • This free event is open to all Autodesk customers attending SIGGRAPH 2007.
  • We encourage you to register early - seating is limited.

Autodesk User Group
Monday, August 6, 2007
San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina
333 West Harbor Drive
Marriott Hall 1-6

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

User Group
6:30 pm - 8:45 pm

After Party
9:00 pm - 1:00 am

Register Now!
Learn more about Autodesk at SIGGRAPH 2007

Tickets to come aboard available only at the Autodesk User Group.
Transportation will be available.

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007
SIDEFX get .hip party!
7-2am at the Aubergine night club
which is a short walk from the convention center and hotels.
500 Fourth Ave.
San Diego, California 92101
Register for party here.

This combined event will start at 7:00 PM at the Aubergine night club which is a short walk from the convention center and hotels.

Side Effects Software turns 20 years this year, and this evening is going to be spectacular! The Houdini meeting will include an introduction to Houdini 9 and a 20 year retrospective. And to get things started there will be a Houdini job fair and light refreshments.

Then at the get.hip party the prodigal son will return as Side Effects Software co-founder Greg Hermanovic and his company Derivative dazzle us with live Touch visuals and psychedelic eye candy.

The evening’s agenda will be as follows:

  • 7 PM Job Fair, Registration and Light Reception
  • 8 PM The Houdini Meeting
  • 9 PM get.hip party with Live Touch visuals by Derivative

There will not be tickets for this year’s Houdini meeting and party. Only people who register at will be allowed in. Every effort will be made to make sure everyone who registers gets a spot but given the popularity of this event even people who are registered should plan to show up on time.

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007
9-2 am
Softimage Visual fxtasy party!
At San Diego House of Blues
1055 Fifth Avenue,
San Diego, CA 92101
Register here.

Hosted by Vicon House of Moves, Pendulum Studios & Softimage .

Featuring music from the UK's Hybrid Soundsystem ( and San Diego's DJ Diamond (

Don't forget you can pick up your party tickets in advance at the following locations during SIGGRAPH:

  • Tuesday, August 7th from 11am-3pm - Vicon House of Moves Booth # 902
  • Wednesday, August 8th from 12pm-5pm - Softimage Booth #503

Sponsored by: Mova, 2d3, BOXX, Computer Graphics World, Digital-Tutors, Gnomon, Intel, Lenovo, Syflex

Hope to see you there!
Angie and Jamie

Happy Birthday Thinking Animation!

Thinking Animation Logo HeaderOur book Thinking Animation is one year old today!

In celebration of our birthday...
the first person who can answer this question
by comment on this blog will win a FREE! copy of our book

"Who animated the bulk of the
Capitan hook in the Tiger Lilly
cave sequence of Peter Pan?"

The first person to answer correctly
will get a free copy of the book!

And the winner is!

THE ANSWER: Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman
under the direction of Frank Thomas.
He also directed the Sword in the Stone and Rescuers.

nice little reel you got there!
your book is on the way!

We will be posing a trivia question
every month this year for a free book!

AND! To celebrate!
We have given the website
a face lift and all new content!

The new website navigation is cleaner
and it's "ohhh so much easier"
to find your favorite pages.

We also have brand new popular demand!

There has been so much fan mail to Spicy Cricket
asking about the articles and tutorials that were
located on the Spicy website and are no longer...
we decided Thinking Animation should
house that content and even more
helpful learning tools have been
uploaded to the learning section!

The new learning section includes:
the animation timeline from the book!

lists of online handouts

career strategies articles,
acting choices and performances in animation,
building walk cycles,
...and more!
Finally, Q and A 01, 02 and 03 transcripts
from interviews and chats
with Angie and Jamie are in this section.

Oh! and for those professors of animation out there!
classroom ancillaries to implement Thinking Animation
into your course curriculum are on their way!

Happy Birthday Thinking Animation!

We would like to thank everyone for
their support over the past year.
Here are some fun pictures to remember the journey!

Check out the new and improved website!
Happy Birthday Thinking Animation!

|P|O|L|Y|N|O|I|D| 458nm

Was "Special Jury Award" at last years SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival
completed by 3 - 2nd year undergrad students at the
Filmakademie in Ludmigsburg, Germany

Snails mating...nuff said!

Watch It!

FJORG Animated Short

The first of many submissions I am sure to come for the SIGGRAPH “FJORG!” competition; the guidelines indicated each team of 3 was to submit a demo reel less than 2 minutes in length showcasing the animation abilities of the team. We decided the best way to stand out among the submissions would be to create a short film satirizing demo reel conventions.

From Jacob's Blog:
We were notified today that we are accepted to the contest. Also some cool guys I met at the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International: Cartoon Challenge from SCAD are accepted as well. We’ll be animating for two days straight in front of nearly 30,000 people (the SIGGRAPH attendees) to make a 15 second short. It’s gonna be a blast!

I thought this was kind of funny - made me giggle and the animation isn't too shabby for a student!

Back From Toronto/SideFX

Tuesday May 8th, 2007

So, I had my first trip ever to Canada. SideFX sent me to the Toronto Office to meet all of the fantastic brains behind the software. I thought I would take the Mad Hatter's advice from Alice in Wonderland and "start at the beginning and when I get to the end? STOP!"
Before I talk about the headquarters office, I think I should share a bit about my trip and what it's like to be an American entering Canada for the first time.

Now, I traveled to Japan when I worked for CAPCOM/Japan in Osaka, so I am not a novice to overseas travel. BUT! I also am the type that - even if I am not guilty of something?? you could probably convince me I am...if you have a gun and there is promise of jail time.

The flight was a little over 4 hours and I landed on Canadian soil around 5:30 pm Canadian time.

I go through customs with my little immigration card filled out and this woman keeps asking me questions in this accusatory way.

"Where are you staying?"
I don't have my stuff together and have to dig for the papers "
Stra..straconus hotel?" I say...unconvinced myself about this name...

She frowns..."Business or pleasure?"
"Business" I say...

"Who do you work for?"
"Side Effects, well Houdini, well
SideFX makes Houdini Software."
She looks at me unconvinced and puts a big pink highlighter mark across my card.

I think to myself as I walk down the hall to baggage claim...she must really hate her job!
This other woman looks at my card and waves me away from the bags. I am instructed to go down this hall and to the "zig zag of ropes." It feels like I am going to ride on a roller coaster at Disneyland. I walk up to the next immigrations agent - another woman with a big scowl on her face. Who asks the same questions.

Now, in retrospect I shouldn't have used words like freelance, consultant and contractor. She tells me I have to buy a $150 work permit to get into the country. I try to explain that SideFX is the HQ and I will be paid in American Dollars and blah blah blah and she starts quoting the NAFTA Trade Agreement and I think...

"Dammit, I will just pay the stupid $150."

But there's more, and I am starting to think
I should have read this book before entering that line...

She continues to ask questions and finds out I "might" be working on a computer. She says, "You know, to work on a computer in have to take a test."

A TEST!!!???
I am thinking to myself, if it's code
I am
sooo not gonna pass
and I am not sure I could pass an excel sheet test!

is wrong with these Canadians!

She asks me what my degree was in school, I say Electronic Arts and a minor in Drawing, to which she now rolls her eyes. I want so badly to answer the questions correctly so I can just leave! She finally tells me she will not make me take the test and staples this huge piece of paper with official stamps all over it to my passport.

Now I am officially allowed in Canada.

So, next...I finally head to baggage claim and the bags are all gone! Was my luggage lost? Did someone take it? Can anything else go wrong?

Finally the American Airlines agent asks if she can help me and shows me my luggage behind the counter - Whew! My favorite jeans were in that bag! It's about 72 degrees (whatever that is in Celsius?) and I take the shuttle from the airport.

Thank god the shuttle had AC because the humidity reminds me how spoiled I am living at the beach in LA. As we drive along the waterfront everything looks similar to the boardwalk in Venice! people are rollerblading, riding bikes, playing football, and even rowing on the lake.

I comment on a few of the buildings and sights to the bus driver and he asks the dumb American if I know "what lake that is." Okay, now before you all blast me on my sad representation of Americans and the public school system, let me say this was a last minute trip and barely had time to google if Toronto is on the west or east coast of Canada! I know, I am pathetic.

So, I say Erie Lake? The whole bus giggles at me and the driver gives me hell the rest of the way to the hotel. BTW if anyone doesn't's Lake Ontario.

So, we drive past the Hockey Hall of Fame

And there is a guy on the bus who is obviously a BIG sports guy who is teasing me about going we get off the bus, we walk along and discover we are both staying at the same hotel.

I check in, and have just enough time to call Jeff Wagner and make arrangements to have dinner with him. I was so tired from the immigrations debacle and I wish I had taken more pictures at this time. Jeff took me down to the theater district in Toronto to a great little restaurant called Kit Kat.

Just a little background on Jeff, he is Senior Technical Consultant at SideFX, but in my book he is "Big Time Smartie" - whose brain is like a bottomless well and goes into tangents forever... They should seriously put his brain in a jar and study it when he leave this mortal plane. This is Jeff, sorry pic is a little blurry...but we were walking and talking down the street and I just snapped.

So we had an amazing dinner and of course I had to take a picture of the big ass needle that was in the middle of downtown - the CN Tower.

Jeff and I had a great time eating and talking about all kinds of things. He also makes mayple syrup!! - of which he gave me some before I left, but I am not supposed to tell because I guess he is kind of stingy with it...sorry Jeff, I told.

So, Jeff had to get home to his family and I was headed back to my room. It was 10pm-ish Canadian time but 7pm-ish my time and the sports guy from the shuttle entered the elevator from the pub in the basement of the hotel. BTW, his name is Brad Duncan and he suggested we should go have beers and I thought, you know what - it's 7 pm my time, why not?

The pub in the hotel was closing, so he took me to the Loose Moose. Mkay, so this is your typical beer swiggling, sports bar and the drinking age in Toronto is 19 years old. It was...lets say, interesting. I took a pic of Brad at the bar in front of the pipe covered in bras. After a couple drinks and watching the high schooler get wasted, I told Brad I wanted to go somewhere else or else my impression of Toronto just might be skewed.

We walked further to this place called Jack Asstors. This place was much more my style and the bartender - Robbie - made a great dirty martini! Here is a pic of Robbie the bartender.

But wait, what is wrong with that picture? What is up with his eye? Well evidently a customer wasn't happy and threw a bar stool at him and he had to get stitches. Canadians are tough!

So, Jack Asstors is where I got my first Canadian coinage! The coins are called "loonies" and "toonies"..."loonie" for the loon on the back of a dollar coin and "toonie" for the two dollar coin.

After a couple martinis, it was definitely time for bed. I had to go meet the team at Sidefx tomorrow!


Wednesday May 9th, 2007

I arrived at the office and was greeted by Jenny Blacklock. Jenny is a Technical Support Specialist and knows her stuff! She and Jeff Wagner work very closely together.

One of the most impressive things about SideFX is their support and interaction with users. Today, ( with the merger between Maya and Autodesk) I can say "first hand" you would be lucky to get the right person on the phone at AutoDesk. SideFX is small and has always valued their users, so interaction is a big part of the company philosophy. This is Jenny - how cute is she?

I spent the day with Calin Casian (Product Specialst and the main artist working on the character toolset), Edward Lam (Senior Software Developer a.k.a. the main programmer helping Calin and myself create great character tools), Cristin Barghiel (Director of Product Devlopment), Rober Magee (Product Marketing Manager), and Jeff Wagner (I already told you about his brain).

I wish so badly I had taken a picture of all of us at lunch, but the conversation in this group was so fast and productive I never even thought about my camera. Next time, I will give this group its due justice because during the early day and at lunch we made great strides in bridging the power of Houdini and how we can make it more artist friendly! I am very excited!

As a side note...about Toronto...there is so much art and so many sculptures everywhere. It's amazing and the city feels like a european San Franciso. Only more humidity :)

The guys took me to this amazing sushi place
TaKe. I could eat sushi every single day and if you are ever in Toronto - I highly recommend this place. Even the lunch special rocks!

BTW, as a side note...if you dig sushi too - this is an awesome website/blog about sushi!

Sushi Day

The balance of my day on Wednesday was checking emails and trying to write a few wikis regarding all that I had soaked up from these folks. Then Monika Janek came up to me and said she was going to see her boyfriend who works at the local studio Spin Pro in the King West Village and did I want to join them for dinner. Turns out I know a few animators there and almost took a job with Spin to work on Outlander. I wanted to say "hello" to everyone, so we headed out! This is Monika - the cutest System Admin chick you ever did meet!

Brian Dowrick and David Breaux are two animators I worked with at R & H and they are now working at Spin. It was great to catch up with them.

I also met Dusan Strugar (Pronounced Duuu-shan) who is the Animation Supervisor and Jeff Campbell the VFX Supervisor at Spin on the Outlander show. We then left to go eat at KiWe Kitchen.

Brian couldn't come to dinner but here is David...
and I think he was drinking water!

And here is the happy couple Erin and Monika -
they are recently engaged!

Erin is a modeler at Spin.

Although very trendy and would fit into any setting in hollywood,
the folks at KiWe couldn't make a martini if they tried.
The waiter was gorgeous and made up for that a little bit...
The decor was really kewl and mod in this place.
This is what the ceiling in the main dining room looked like.

And then I look to my left and see the needle tower again!
- It's like following me!

The ceiling in the front dining room is really arty
and you can tell the metal has all been cut out by hand...
their image below from their website really shows
how pretty it is with the lighting.

Here is my close up..

Anyone who has seen my siggraph blogs knows
I take pix of good food! Remember Crabcakes OMG in Boston?
I took a picture of the tuna lemon pasta
because it was so good!

Aimee is another animator on the Outlander show
and also worked at C.O.R.E. on The Wild using Houdini.
She modeled more Canadian money for me!

And the Rigging Supervisor on Outlander joined us -
Ran... he is Isreali, but moved here
from Germany and is hilarious!

Now that our tummies are full,
we decide to trek to Little Italy
per Aimee's recommendation.

We finally chose a martini bar, after
(in classic LA style they blew off several as "lame").
I soon convinced Erin to model my cocktail napkin rose
in Jonesie Cake style...

Dusan, Aimee, Ran, Erin, and Monika...we had a great time! Soon, I had to go home because even though I was on LA time and it was only 11pm to me, Dusan was trying to drink me under the table and I really needed to be able to speak the next day at SideFX.


Thursday May 10th, 2007

So, Thursday brought more pow wows with the guys and I was able to spend more time with Calin going over his new tools for Houdini - sorry I can't tell you much, except that Siggraph in San Diego will be a great place to check them out! That night I went to Peter Robbins house. Peter is another helpful soul at SideFX and really understands artists and their plight -while still being amazingly smart and technical like Jeff. He is kind of that syphon that takes all of the stuff Jeff talks about and makes it something an artists can understand.

Peter took me - as he put it - "the scenice route" to his house and didn't tell me it was 30 miles away in a town called Keele. We rode the trolley and then the underground tram and finally walked for what it seemed like miles. I took this picture as we walked of a kewl sign. I just liked the design.

I was so happy to be at his house finally and was really hungry. His wife Debbie was amazing and made me a homemade meal of chicken, asparagus, rice, salad and cookies and ice cream for desert! We sipped on their home made wine and talked about everything under the sun.

Debbie makes hand made quilts, so it was "over for Peter" - once we got into talking sewing, crafting and making things with our hands. Again, I was having so much fun I didn't take any pix and I regret that...but I did take a snap of Peter with Jeff's homemade syrup on the table!

I was supposed to hook up with Greg Hermanovic and go to an art party that night after dinner, but I was just so beat after the great food and all the amazing talk and then more bus, tram and trolley back to the hotel. I think I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Most of Friday was filled with working with Calin on rigs and character tools. However, I did have a great talk with the President and CEO - Kim Davidson. Kim is another really smart guy who started Prisims software after acquiring Omnibus Computer Graphics with Greg Hermanovic. Omnibus had "gone under," after purchasing both Digital Productions and Abel Associates (two poineering computer graphics studios in LA). In 1987, Greg and Kim created a "pheonix" from those ashes and SideFX software was born.

This picture was taken at Ominbus on the Paramount lot.
Front: Harold Buchnman (Left) and Larry Weinberg (Right)
Behind (From left to right): Pactrick DeWarren,
Michael Kory, Eric Reid, Bob Hoffman

If you pay attention and really "get to know" the people you are working with, you would be amazed at the history that is standing right next to you. I have had the priviledge to work with and meet folks like Larry Weinberg, Sherry McKenna, Brad Hunt, Diego Angel, Richard Taylor, Con Pederson, John Hughes, Richard Hollander, Neil Eskuri, Liza Keith and so many more.
As Jamie and I say in our book, we are "standing on the shoulders of giants." And, I cannot tell you how exciting it is for me to be surrounded by folks who have been making images with computers for so long - real poineers. I am determined and optimistic that we can make a great product that artists will readily embrace - just as much as the technical community in CG has done with Houdini.

You know how animators are taught the 12 principles of animation? #11 is Solid Drawing. I translate this principle for computer generated animation into a solid understanding of the computer and your tools. Yes, it's important to be able to sketch gestures and thumbnails quickly and draw what you see in your "minds eye" so you do not waste time when you pick up the mouse. BUT! If you do not have command of the tools in the software you are using in CG, you will be as lost as a bad draughtsman would be trying to make it as an animator in traditional animation circles.

For the young-starry eyed animators entering the field today, I time you start a new job? look at the executive team and the technical staff at that studio. You might be surprised the history that is walking the halls and the folks who have been creating images on a computer since before you were born.

In closing, it was an eye opening trip. I was able to experience Canadian immigration, drink and eat alot of great food and martinis, meet the nicest people in the world (not to mention some of the smartest) and make some new friends. I leave you with some fun pix I took on my way out of town...the Canadian cops have funny uniforms (so formal). Venice Beach cops are all tatted up and would never wear a hat and mess their hair up!

I carry old drawings by the masters with me
when I travel, and try to copy them.

They took my pencil sharpener in the metal detector thingy.
And, I stupidly forgot to pack my eraser,
but here are some sketches I did
waiting for the plane and flying...
I encourage you to always draw,
even if you don't have an eraser :)

And nothing makes you miss home
like being away for a while! :)

Pic from my deck.

Evolve Tree

Coming up with new ways to showcase a series of TV, movie or gaming clips can often become a pay-the-bills what-kind-of-graphic-wipe-transition -can-we-use-this-time assignment, but Hollywood's Rezn8 went a lot further with this spot designed to show off the enhanced graphics capabilities of Direct X 10 with the Games For Windows platform. Concept, design, animation and editing done in house and finished in 1080i.

Too bad for Microsoft - I only want to see the tree and not the reminds me of what the electronic theater mostly looked like at Siggraph in the early 90's, only really sophisticated fractals now.

Original Post...

FJORG! - Animation Competition at Siggraph 07

Sounds like these guys are gonna dress up like vikings and yell at you or have a mini war while you try and animate...could be fun? ~Angie


Attention CG animators: The best CG animators in the world are invited to participate in the first international FJORG! competition - an iron animator event to be launched at SIGGRAPH 2007.

Competing teams will be called on to try to create the best character-driven animation the world has ever seen, within a limited window of 32 straight hours, while overcoming multiple staged distractions in a test of skill, talent, creativity, and physical endurance. Fabulous prizes will be announced at the event.

The Event

Judges will select 16 teams from a pool of team demo reels submitted from around the world. Teams must have three members and submit their team reels in accordance with the submission guidelines. The 16 qualifying teams will be selected based on criteria set forth in the official rules. These 16 teams will then be invited to participate in the main FJORG! event, to be held at the San Diego Convention Center before an attendee crowd and a panel of judges that may include recruiters and leading talent from top graphics, feature film, animation, and game companies.

The qualifying teams will be asked to create an animated sequence of at least 15 seconds in length (and no maximum length), based on a theme to be provided at the main event, during the limited time allowed, using only those assets supplied at the event and their own talent and skills.

The Viking Masters of FJORG! are planning to supply the following at the event:

  • Sound and voice-over selections
  • Rigged model for Maya
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Meals
  • Liquid refreshments
  • White boards and markers for team manangement
  • Entertainment
  • Nap area
  • . . . . . But no place to shower!

Teams will need to focus, as there will be multiple distractions at the event. Time-management skills will also be crucial: teams need to plan sleep and food breaks into their production cycle. Teams will be tested not only on their animating talents, but also on their ability to withstand and manage the elements conjured by the Viking Lords of FJORG!

Educators and Leading Artists

FJORG! is looking for four guest speakers from the animation and education arenas to share the BEST in training and education for animators on the topics of story, movement, and timing subjects. Please send email to the Chief Viking Priestess and the Assistant Viking Chieftain if you would like to be considered.

The Prizes

Entrants will compete to win the title of FJORG! Viking Animator! The winning team will be chosen by an elite panel of judges from the entertainment industry based on the judging criteria set forth in the official rules. The winning team will receive a trophy and other prizes, and the bragging rights associated with what could be the toughest animation contest in the world. This is expected to be a high-profile event. All members of the 16 finalist teams whose teams successfully create an animation sequence of at least 15 seconds in length, in the time allotted, will be awarded a full conference pass for the remainder of SIGGRAPH 2007 and a ticket to the Electronic Theater.

Additional awards and prizes will be set forth in the official rules. More prizes may be revealed at the event.

Entry Fee

The entry fee is $US 30, to upload a demo reel and enter the qualifying portion of the contest. Each team is limited to one submission, and no one is authorized to enter more than once. If we find anyone listed on more than one team, all such teams will be disqualified. (See official rules for details.)

Provided Software includes:

Autodesk Maya Macromedia Flash Adobe Photoshop and After Effects

These applications are generously provided by our friends at the above companies, and are subject to change without notice. No other software may be brought to the competition by contestants.

Entry Details

The demo reel can be 2D and/or 3D animation but must be no longer than two (2) minutes in length and no greater than 200 MB in size in QuickTime (.mov), Windows (.avi), or MPEG (.mpg or .mp4) format. The demo reel can be uploaded at the URL below. Only one entry per team is permitted. Entrants may not enter on multiple teams, else they and all teams they have entered on will be disqualified.

Please note that all work submitted in your reel, or created during the event, will become the property of ACM when you enter, whether or not you are selected (see Official Rules). We suggest your reel include unrendered movement studies and lip-sync exercises using generic characters. Please do not submit professional work owned by others, or films that you expect to submit to festivals.

The team demo reel must contain original material that has been created by members of the team alone (without the help or contribution of any other individuals). The material included on the team demo reel cannot be copied from any other materials or sources, and cannot be owned or copyrighted by anyone other than one or more of the members of the team.

Official Rules

How to Submit Your Work

In the event of any conflict between this announcement and the official rules, the official rules will control.

Thank you!

Patricia Beckmann Chief Viking Priestess DreamWorks Animation Samuel Lord Black Assistant Viking Chieftain Autodesk, Inc.

Official Rules

How to Submit Your Work

Waiver and Release

FJORG Website

Globalisation of Animation and 301

There is a very real threat to animation today.


I know, I know, to animators - this isn't a real "sexy" read...BUT! This is a not a joke and could affect your ability to get a job in the future. I encourage you to read on. I tried to make the political aspects as interesting as possible.

Jamie and I experienced the truth of free-trade approaching animation when we went to Siggraph in Boston last summer, to promote our book. Turkey, India, Singapore, China, Norway, Australia and many more countries were represented at the show, stating they can make visual effects at the same quality as American artists - for less.

Many people don't want to talk about this change in our industry. They want to ignore it, make excuses, hope that the pendulum will swing back eventually, or just stick their head in the sand and pretend it's not a reality.

But think about this, There are 3 predominant industries in California:

Aerospace is half the industry it was in the state of California (in the 80's and 90's) due to same type of unfair trade practices and subsidies provided in Canada, Britain, Japan, Brazil, and others. If we look at the losses in the Californian Aerospace industry over the past ten years as an example of what could happen to the Entertainment industry??? We will half our industry by 2014. Runaway productions will not go away, but there is a way to level the playing field called petition 301a.

Without petition 301a, we will continue to watch our jobs go overseas. Petition 301a is not about eliminating all globalisation. It's just about making the playing field a little more fair by taxing corporations and studios for going overseas and hiring artists outside of the US. Petition 301a stops governments from giving money to countries to produce films and visual effects overseas and NOT hire Americans. It's against the law and the NAFTA agreement for countries to be doing this.

Here is a link to a video interview explaining more about Petition 301a:
8 most asked questions about the section 301 (a) petition

To really understand how this all impacts us as artists in the visual effects industry...we need to
a little bit of history.

It was back in 1993 that the federal government signed off on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In layman's terms, this agreement encouraged American manufacturer's to seek out corporations overseas who could make products for half what American laborers would cost. In the 90's my father worked in the Apparel Industry. He loved this new law and forged ahead with his third company that sourced companies in the Caribbean Basin and Mexico that could make jeans and shirts for half the price of American owned companies. My father had to pay a tax on the products once they left these countries for their improved value to make it more fair that he was taking jobs from Americans to these other countries. I was a teenager at the time and didn't really understand that this trade agreement could be abused in the future and actually have a huge impact on my ability to stay employed. I mean this new law would never affect me? It's still fair with the taxes applied to taking the work overseas right?


Because these studios are not being held accountable and are breaking the law. Again, this petition is not about eliminating free trade - it's just about making it more fair.

Click here to see how many millions of dollars Americans
are loosing due to Runaway Production.
Remember, this is not just artists in visual effects, this is everyone from the boom operator to the local dry cleaner and caterer that provides kraft service!

Government subsidies have changed the face of animation, visual effects, and even live action productions for film and television. Billions of U.S. dollars are being spent each year on Motion Picture and Television production in the 19 foreign countries that offer WTO inconsistent subsidy programs. These 19-different nations are offering subsidies around the world, everything from tax rebates, waiving sales tax and permitting fees, and in one Canadian province you can even recover up to 55% of your labor costs if you are a film production company.

This is Outsourcing on a massive level and has become known to the film industry as “Runaway Production.” Outsourcing or Runaway Production means that work previously done in this country is now being done by other countries who offer generous bribes to the 6 major American studios. The impact of this on the U.S. economy is far-reaching.

Billions of dollars...drained out of the U.S. economy.

The section 301a petition seeks to neutralize the effect of these unfair trade practices and would encourage film and television Studios and producers to return jobs and money back to the U.S. economy. In addition, the 301a petition relies on the trade remedy known as the Section 301. This is the same trade remedy that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has endorsed and is currently using to fight the battle over piracy. Implementing this trade remedy will terminate the 19 subsidy programs, and finally put an end to a trend that threatens the job security of film workers and small businesses throughout the world.

So, how long before any of this come to pass? The attorneys fighting this fight say up to a year. Why is this? First, we have to convince the government there actually is an infraction against NAFTA. AND GUESS WHAT? NAFTA’s final version ran to approximately 1,700 pages. When the World Trade Organization (WTO) was created, its founding document ran to 23,000 pages! Both have since grown by thousands of pages. What is in all this fine print? Regulations. Thousands of them. NAFTA created dozens of new regulatory bodies—international bureaucracies, in other words, leading to the creation of the WTO. I don’t see how one can peruse the official documents of NAFTA and the WTO without realizing that the former was not really a free trade agreement and the latter is not really about free trade. Both are about trade micromanaged and controlled by contingents of bureaucrats, politicians, and politically well-connected corporations and business groups. In other words, what NAFTA created was the opposite of free trade. It, along with myriad other workaday activities of our government, set up a state of affairs that made it harder for those without the right political connections to do business profitably in America, while making it easier to outsource jobs to save labor costs.

FTAC is supported and endorsed by these unions:

IATSE Locals 695 Production Sound Technicians, Television Engineers and Video Assist Technicians - Hollywood, California (1,500 members)

871 Script Supervisors/Continuity & Allied Production Specialists Guild - Hollywood, California (1,500 members)

44 Affiliated Property Craftspersons - Hollywood, California (5,800 members)

728 Studio Electrical Lighting Technicians - Hollywood, California (3,000 members)

720 IATSE Studio Mechanics Local, Las Vegas, Nevada (3,500 members)

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG)

Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), Studio Utility Employees Local 724 (1,400 members) Laborers International Union

International Brotherhood of Teamsters International
and Local’s 399 International Brotherhood of Teamsters (4,111 members)

355, 391 International Brotherhood of Teamsters (125 members)

509 International Brotherhood of Teamsters (1,662 members)

592 International Brotherhood of Teamsters (1,400 members)

IBEW Local 40 IBEW International Botherhood of Electrical Workers

Local 755 Plasterers, Modelers, Sculptors (300 members)

UA Plumbers Local 78, AFL-CIO

West Hollywood City Council, West Hollywood California

Glendale City Council, Glendale California

Burbank City Council, Burbank California

Santa Monica City Council Santa Monica California

Pittsburgh City Council, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Jersey City, City Council, Jersey City, New Jersey

Clifton City Council, Clifton, New Jersey

Maryland Production Alliance

Film NY US - A group of below the line film workers based in New York City, New York

Florida Motion Picture and Television Association

Screen Actors Guild (over 100,000 members)

Local 391, Hollywood Center Studios

Raleigh Studios

Michaelsons Catering

Fantasy II Film Effects

International Studio Services

History For Hire

Jackson Shrub Supply.

So what can you do?

I would encourage you to join the FTAC. Send email to the VES if you are a member asking them to be more proactive on this issue and finally talking to your local Animation Guild about supporting this issue.

For more about how to support FTAC click here.

The Ark Short Film

Finally this "might" be a short film with a story that isn't just a bunch of gags lined up like a monkey being chased by robots. Not to crazy about the character design, but the images are really stunning. Guess we all have to wait for a festival or Siggraph to see the whole thing?

Faux Paw the Internet Cat

Chad Erekson

On Day Two of our experience at Siggraph, a young man walked up to the book signing table before we had even sat down with his book in hand. We were still settling in and did not get a chance to write his name down after we snapped his pic. Well, one of our contributors - Mike Warner - knows who this guy is! Its Chad Erekson, and he went to BYU with Mike studying in the animation program there.

Turns out Chad directed, wrote and storyboarded a short film in school called Faux Paw which won the student Emmy in 2005. The students wrote up the treatment and boarded it in class based on a book the the Govenor of Utah's wife wrote about Internet Safety for kids. The film is now going around the country right now teaching kids internet safety. Congrats Chad!!!