Thanks to CG Cookie I had the chance to attend Siggraph 2013 in Anaheim, CA working at the Blender booth. This was my first time at Siggraph, first time in California, and the first time meeting the Blender celebrities! Those are ingredients for a pretty awesome week.
I first heard of Siggraph when I was in college at Full Sail and how it was THE
conference to go to see the latest cutting-edge technology and to network with top pros in the industry. As it turns out, all of that is true! The wild technology being demo'ed all over the tradeshow floor made me feel like I was at a classy carnival of magic. It was almost scary how fast everything is developing.
But more importantly to me was the population of industry super-stars to mix and mingle with. Everyday I was meeting lots of awesome people: Pixar developers, Blizzard character artists, Blizzard setup artists, ex-ILM-ers, developers at The Foundry, on and on, all very curious about Blender's capabilities. And what was cool to me is how "normal" they all were. I usually wasn't aware of their industry status until the middle or end of the conversation. That was a lot of fun for me!
However, meeting and hanging out with the Blender "celebrities" was the best part by far: Bart (of BlenderNation.com) Pablo Vasquez, Francesco Siddi, Bassam Kurdali, Brecht Von Lommel, Sergey Sharybin, Andrew Price, Ton and everyone else at the booth. They're all just cool, cool people. I also met and hung out with Sean Kennedy
all week who was a lead compositor at Rhythm and Hues for years. He's the most humble guy despite his enormous laundry list of films he's worked on. I'm so excited that Blender is being used by such an expert. I always thought of Bassam Kurdali as a Blender know-it-all (in a very good way) based on the Blender Conference videos I've watched and Tube blog posts I've read. I was right. Bassam knows more about Blender than I ever will! He was quite the inspiration to me. It was an honor to meet 2 of the 3 developers who are keeping Blender on the cutting edge. As for Ton…He's one of the most interesting people I've ever met: Innovative, intelligent, energetic, and just plain cool. I think of him as the computer-graphics equivalent of Dos Equis's "Most Interesting Man in the World"
. A true honor to meet and hang out with him all week.
So yeah, Siggraph 2013 was pretty awesome.