Siggraph 2008


Last week, Siggraph 2008 took over the Los Angeles Convention Center, and Cycling ’74 was there to bravely represent Jitter to a huge crowd of CG enthusiasts, production professionals, and academics. For anyone who hasn’t been to a Siggraph show, it is a huge, over-stimulating event for the computer graphics community, complete with academic talks, screenings, an exhibition hall, an art show, competitions, and a job fair.


There are huge displays everywhere showing the cutting edge of fur simulation, fluid dynamics, motion capture, and sundry rendering technologies. Each day, there would be a long line at the Pixar booth, where they were giving away posters and other memorabilia. We had an unassuming booth next to a fellow selling custom noise-reduction cabinets, an old sales guy who would occasionally peek over to our display and say something like, “Whoa, that is not what I wanna see with this hangover!” His demo cabinets also featured a white noise generator inside to show the difference once the door was closed. “Need some noise reduction?”

I was joined at Siggraph by Joshua Kit Clayton and Wesley Smith for the three or so days that the exhibition hall was open. It was great to spend some time catching up with those guys and sharing cool demo patches. Wesley had brought a really nice RGB color-channel delay patch based on an array of textures. Coincidentally, I had just built a very similar patch to achieve a delay-mapping, time-distortion effect. I had also been working on a modular set of Jitter patches that could be loaded into a host patch, all with a consistent, simple interface. Maybe once the dust settles, I can find a way to make these patches public for the Jitter community.


Our booth seemed to attract a broad spectrum of visitors, like the kid who showed us his hand-drawn animations and the two guys who used to party with Dan Sandin. Many visitors seemed just as interested in our collection of toys and animal stickers as the video on display or the software behind it. In addition to all the new friends we made on the show floor, we also received visits from a bunch of old friends and long-time users – Perry Hoberman, Scott Pagano, booth regular Barry Threw, and others. Our booth featured a production-quality HD camera running through a BlackMagic Intensity Pro card, a large LCD display, a couple of computers, as well as puffy animal stickers, BLACK BLACK caffeinated gum (with a “highly technical taste and flavor”), a rose made out of dollar bills, and some assorted other toys we picked up in Little Tokyo. We had initially planned to do some low budget live-chromakey experiments using flourescent green poster board, but the lighting just wasn’t up to the task.

With each day running upwards of 10 hours on the show floor, our caffeine-gum-fueled demos would get progressively more intense and hyperactive towards the end of each day. By the time it was over, we had successfully unloaded all of our puffy animal stickers, our collective energy was spent, and we retreated over the aqueduct to regroup at a nice Mexican seafood restaurant in East LA called La Serenata de Garibaldi.