Autodesk User Group Meeting
Review of the Autodesk user group meeting.
Anticipation and excitement filled the halls of the Boston
Westin Waterfront Hotel monday evening as people filed into registration for
the Autodesk user group meeting. I
arrived to sign in around 2:15 to find the line stretching from the sign in
desk to the escalators on the lower level; about 100 feet and growing as time progressed, approaching four o’clock. Many people
were excited to see what Autodesk has in store for the year, especially after
the unexpected Alias buyout last fall.
Jason Williams, from Orlando,
Florida said he was interested in
plugins, MEL scripting and looked forward to finding out what the future has in
store for Max and Maya after the merger, a sentiment shared by Greg Marlow, from Gray,
Autodesk didn’t specifically say that any software would be
discontinued, and instead focused on the positive of all the software products
from Alias and Autodesk being under one roof now. Max 9 was announced along with Maya 8 and
after a brief bit of legal warnings, all the attendees got to see some
development for both programs. Maya
users were treated to a demo of a “universal solver”, handling cloth, fluids,
and particles in one swoop. Max users,
on the other hand, saw a new tool to dynamically generate animation based on
data that has been inputted. Enough tech talk, however, let's focus on the party.
The party venue followed Autodesk’s examples from the past two years in Los Angeles: a hotel ballroom, in contrast to Alias’ previous events held at theaters. It started off classically with the customer demo reel that featured work from almost every blockbuster motion picture and popular commercial, then we were all treated to something unique: a percussion group that used trash cans and metal parts to create music. I’m still not sure if that set the mood, but it was cool to watch and listen to.
After that opening, Autodesk awarded jackets and trophies to the new “Autodesk Masters” which included three Maya masters and three Max masters, and ILM took the stage. In retrospect, they might have wanted to wait until closer to the end, as ILM made for a tough act to follow. Attendees were treated to explanations of how several characters on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest were created and animated, the most amazing of which was Davy Jones’ tentacle beard, and I won’t even attempt to paraphrase that.
Several companies followed, notably The Orphanage, whose
representative was quite entertaining, making everyone laugh, and GMJ, who
showed off a 12 million polygon, accurate model of London.
The model done by GMJ demonstrated the power of Max 9 to handle large
amounts of data.
After all the company profiles and product demos, we reached the party phase. Food and drink was plenty as the attendees made their way from the ballroom to the hall and courtyard of the Westin Waterfront. The percussion group from the beginning of the show came back to entertain those who didn’t bum-rush the bars as soon as the doors opened.