Lineup : 3 Ring Circus & State of Design / Automatic Duck / Cinema 4DXL v7 / TrapCode Shine
This meeting marked our 4th anniversary! And it was suitably packed, with people (standing room only again) and interesting topics:
* 3 Ring Circus & The State of Design (7:30-8:20) *
Elaine Cantwell and Steve Dudeck of 3 Ring Circus reprised the BDA design keynote presentation "State of Design 2001 - Influence & Inspiration: A Process of Separation". A panel of 8-12 people sorted through 380 submissions, and produced several interesting themes and examples. The themes included Location (where you live and work how you explore the things around you), Humor, Architecture, Iconography (including how the web has influenced the look of design, including what they called "dimensional flat"), Influence (including Shocking, Sound, Minimalism, and even Britney Spears with several humorous spots), and the Written Word.
* Automatic Duck *
Wes Plate, Seattle-based Avid editor and president of Automatic Duck, Inc., a small software development company, demonstrated his Automatic Composition Import plug-in for After Effects 5 which can open an OMF file as a series of compositions. This plug-in can sort between the myriad of Avid media formats, separate fields correctly, keep the original media handles intact, and even recreate many of its processings and transitions. Markers further annotate these details. Wes showed one example of a real-world job for Chrysler which took a couple of hours to recreate by hand, but imported in just a few seconds - it doesn't take many of those to justify it's $500 asking price. (They also generously donated a copy for a door prize.)
* break *
Representatives from the BDA were be available, selling awards tapes, annuals, and discussing membership. BDA has also generously donated one of their Gold Awards tapes for our door prize drawing later in the evening.
* Maxon Cinema 4DXL v7.1 *
This presentation from the Maxon US folks covered some of the features in version 7, focusing in particular on updates to the rendering engine. These included various filters for crisp antialiasing (still) and softer for video, with the ability to blend between the two. You can set individual object to have their own antialias setting (which is much improved overall). Radiosity and caustics have been added, as well as the ability for textures to be luminant and affect other objects. Maxon has bought Bohdinut's Smells Like Almonds shaders and are including it in the package; Oren Nayer shading and blurry reflections or transparency have also been added - all significant.
Cinema now supports multipass rendering, supporting the RLA and layered Photoshop PSD formats. Specular highlights, shadows, and diffuse colors can be separated and rendered out at the same time. You can also set specific objects to belong to one or more Alpha Groups.
And it didn't stop there, with powerful new explosion tools, and a significant third-party morphing system called Doppleganger (roughly $2-300), which allows you to control objects through a series of morph sliders. The generous folks at Maxon also donated two copies of Body Paint to give away - one at this meeting, and one at our September meeting.
* TrapCode's Shine *
Peder Norrby, who used to work on Cult Effects for Cycore, had a new company - Trapcode and a new After Effects plug-in: Shine, a fast light rays effect which looks great. Co-host Trish Meyer demonstrated it, showing off features such as built-in transfer modes, up to five color gradients, lots of controls over the ray spikes, and a "shimmer" parameter where the ray effect could be animated even when the control point and object that Shine was applied to are still.
* After Effects West *
On August 27, we also held a special meeting at as part of the After Effects West conference in Pasasdena. A large portion of the After Effects team came down, including:
Bruce Bullis, Senior API Engineer
Bill Hensler, Director of Dynamic Media
Steve Kilisky, AE Product Manager
Lazarus Long, AE Interface Surgeon
Michael Natkin, AE Engineer
Erica Schisler, AE Program Manager
David Simons, AE Engineering Manager
Craig Snyder, AE Administrative Assistant
Leila Toplic, AE Technical Writer
Dan Wilk, AE Engineering Manager
They took feature requests and suggestions from the huge audience (and also demonstrated some "requested" features that were already in the program). Adobe came away from the meeting so psyched, that they plan to significantly increase their support of MGLA in 2002.
Thanks for attending both events!
Trish, Chris, Lucky, and Dan
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