Filed under SIGGRAPH
I started the day with "Transformers: Giant Frickin' Robots." Several ILM guys were on the panel (Scott Farrar, Russell Earl, Scott Benza, Jeff White, Richard Bluff) to talk about how they did the effects in Transformers. It was packed...I had to go to an overflow room that had audio of the panel and video from the effects sequences...but no video of the panel. The best part for me was seeing the reference video of the actual martial artists fighting and then see the equivalent sequence preformed by the robots.
I stopped by the show floor to see what Nvidia was pimpin'. The most interesting was Mental Images' "Mental Mill." Mental Mill is a shader development environment where you graphically connect the output of nodes to the input of other nodes to get a shader. It creates MetaSL shaders that can be converted into C++, Cg, GLSL, and HLSL or other shading languages using the developer kit. The full version (cost...no idea) has a shader debugger! There is a free version (Artist Edition) that is shipping with Nvidia's FX Composer, but it does not include the debugger.
FX Composer has a shader debugger planned for version 2.4 (they are currently on version 2.0). Nvidia has no plans to support GLSL (only Cg and HLSL) in FX Composer...bad news for GLSL (from my view, GLSL is really struggling).
I went to the Highlights From SCA (Symposium on Computer Animation) sketch and also the Highlights From UIST (User Interface Software and Technology). Each sketch was like a "best of" summary of their last conference.
UIST (pronounced "wist") had the most interesting presentation I saw that day. The paper is "Summarizing Personal Web Browsing Sessions." It is like a TiVo for web researching.
An example they give is looking for a hotel. You can use hotels.com to find out how much a hotel is, availability and its address. You can provide the address to Google maps to see the hotel's location. You can provide the hotel name to yelp.com to get a review and a rating. That requires three different web sites for a single hotel listing.
Using the software presented in the paper, all this information can be placed on a single "card" so that you can focus only on the information you care about. Once a card is setup, just click on other hotels you are interested in on the hotels.com page and their cards are immediately filled in with maps from Google maps and reviews and ratings from yelp as well as the hotel price, availability and address from hotels.com.
It is a simple concept, but a *huge* time saver! I could definitely use this. The videos do a great job of showing this in action. I tried playing these in the browser, but audio would not work. When I saved them to my hard drive (right-click, Save Target As...) and played them, I got audio. Check 'em out:
Just like TiVo lets you watch what you want and skip what you don't (i.e. commercials), this project shows you the information you want, and bypasses the ads. I look forward to trying this out!