July 31, 2006
After a relatively smooth arrival and a short detour through Boston's numerous streets I've made it to SIGGRAPH. Being my first trip to the annual event of geekdom I was very excited and could not wait to get started.

First up in my schedule was "The Art of Open Season: Traditional 2D Styling with Today's Bells and Whistles." First observation: it was held in the humongous Hall C (think airplane hangar). Second observation: Open Season might be better than I originally thought. Now I'm typically quite skeptical of most major Hollywood animated releases (name one major release from this year and I haven't seen it). They're typically too formulaic for my liking and place too much emphasis on photo-reality. Don't get me wrong though I do have an urge to see them, I just don't for some reason.

Anyway back to the panel which presented a behind-the-scenes look that detailed the process of taking stylized 2D designs and converting them into workable 3D characters. Rather than represent a photo-real environment the production team combined impressionistic backgrounds with more stylized CG characters. While I’m not one hundred percent sold by the character design it did look better than the trailer I’ve seen online. They also presented a rather exciting dam-breaking sequence that was enjoyable even if it was missing the dialogue track (due to technical reasons).

All in all it was an okay start to SIGGRAPH and now I’m off to the first of a number of animation screenings. More updates to follow.

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Comments:
I share your healthy skepticism, Andre, especially with this year's much talked about 'glut' of 3D movies.

I saw some boarded sequences and a pitch from the head of story at Sony Animation - Kris Pearn - while at the Banff summit last year. From what I saw then, it looked like it could be pretty fun!


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