At the user group meeting, we got some nice long sleeve (great for SF!) black shirts with a Maya logo on the front, Max logo on one sleeve, and a Combustion logo (I think...it looks like a flame).
One of the speakers was the head of marketing for Chrysler. She brought along a Dodge Demon that was unveiled on stage like this was an auto show. Very good-looking car.
Max and Maya have now use years instead of versions numbers. The latest offering is Maya 2008 and Max 2008.
Max gains lighting/shadows in the interactive 3D viewer. No need to re-render when placing lights...very cool.
Maya gains some rigging features that made the crowd very happy. A new widget for controlling the view is in the upper right corner. It lets you switch views (e.g. left to 3D view), or rotate your view in screen space (turn upside-down, for example).
ILM was the final presentation with how we did Transformers using Maya. Jeff White was the presenter.
After the User Group, everybody (it seemed like a few thousand people) headed to the USS Midway aircraft carrier for the party.
We started out on the flight deck where all the airplanes are kept. They had a fireworks show right in front of the USS Midway. After the fireworks, we went downstairs to an area that had flight simulators we could ride (I passed...I've already done enough of that!).
It was an open bar until 11:30pm (we got there around 10). They also had free pizza and desserts.
There was a DJ, dance floor, and go-go dancers...
It was quite a sausage factory, except for this one area with several cute girls. I walked over and asked one girl if she'd like to dance. We danced a little and I asked her if she uses Maya or Max. She didn't know what I was talking about. I asked her what she does, and she said "actress." I asked if she had done anything I would know, and she said "yes." I said, "Let me look you up on IMDB on my cell phone"...and she was there.
Her name is Zoe Quist. She played the memorable part of "crowd onlooker" in War of the Worlds. I told her my company did the effects in that movie. She said, "What company is that?" I told her "ILM"...to which I was greeted with a blank stare...she had no idea who ILM was. Oh well...at least she was easy on the eyes.
It turns out she was hired by CafeFX (did the effects in Pan's Labyrinth, co-sponsor of the party) along with almost every other cute girl on the dance floor to make it less than 100% computer dorks on the dance floor moving non-rhythmically to the music.