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Report From Siggraph: Day 3

Novel Displays

San Antonio, TX, July 25, 2002 -- In the Emerging Technologies pavilion at Siggraph, a couple of new display technologies are being displayed. One, developed by Patrick Baudisch at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, offers "focus plus context." The context is presented by a wall-size low-resolution display, and the focus is provided by an embedded high-resolution display region. Customized software is used to display image content across both displays' regions, so that the scaling of the image is preserved while its resolution varies across the two display regions.

Another novel display technique, being shown by the MIT Media Lab, is the "interactive window," a large glass panel containing an array of acoustic pickups and low-power radar that together detect how people move in front of the glass or tap on the window. Interactive audio and projected graphics are then mapped onto the glass according to both the contact and non-contact gestures.

NXN Offers Asset Management for CG films

At a press conference in San Antonio Wednesday afternoon, NXN Software introduced NXN alienbrain VFX, the first asset management program specifically designed for the production of computer-generated feature films and complex visual effects productions. The software addresses the specific challenges faced by CG film productions, such as handling and protecting terabytes of digital assets in millions of individual files, organizing teams of more than 100 people, and managing projects with time frames of two to four years. It will support film-specific file formats, workflows, and hardware environments. In contrast to traditional asset management systems that focus primarily on archiving completed assets, NXN alienbrain VFX helps production teams manage their assets from creation to completion, and supports established mechanisms of organizing and structuring the content. NXN alienbrain VFX will be available in the fourth quarter. The price will vary according to the user setup. http://www.nxn-software.com/.

Sun Updates Java 3D

Sun Microsystems (Booth 13071) made a number of announcements in diverse areas at Siggraph this week. Among these are the introduction of Version 1.3 of Java 3D, Sun's 3D graphics API, a new high-end graphics accelerator called the XVR-4000 (in beta at present), and a partnership with Side Effects Software, maker of the Houdini family of 3D modeling and animation programs. According to Sun, the Toronto-based animation house Axyz Animation is now using distributed rendering across a Linux-based compute farm using Sun's Grid Engine software with Houdini. Side Effects Software is demonstrating Houdini 5.5 at Siggraph in the Sun Microsystems booth. http://www.sun.com/. and http://www.sidefx.com/.

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