Siggraph reps retreat with reels & resumes

26th annual confab attracts over 70,000 industryites

Siggraph ’99 closes its digital doors today with many attendees saying the 26th annual week-long computer graphics confab and recruitment fest in L.A. showed little they hadn’t seen before.

Computer graphics artists came out in full force for the event, which started Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. And many were bogged down by backpacks filled with demo reels and resumes to shop themselves to visual f/x giants such as Industrial Light & Magic, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Fresh faces

Compared with last year, however, f/x reps said that this year’s crop of applicants consisted of students trained in computer graphics rather than people who were simply interested in getting into the field.

“That’s good for all of us,” said Don Levy of Sony Pictures Imageworks, which was showcasing its work on the upcoming CG-heavy “Stuart Little.” “That means we have more talented people to choose from.”

Siggraph reps said attendance topped 70,000 industryites, from animators and artists to engineers and software developers — 6,500 from foreign territories.

More than 325 companies showed off their wares, mostly upgrades to products from Avid’s Softimage and Alias/Wavefront’s Maya — products already introduced at April’s National Assn. of Broadcaster’s confab in Las Vegas.

Among notable news, SGI said it will lay off 17% of its workforce in a restructuring move, while Digital Domain said it will bring in 40 new low-cost workstations from Intel and become a test site for the chip manufacturer’s new 64-bit processors.

The CG-animated “Bunny,” Blue Sky Studios’ 1998 Oscar winner for best animated short, won the Electronic Theater’s Best of Show award at the Shrine Auditorium. Shorts screened at Siggraph this year are vying for Oscar consideration.

High-definition feature docu “The Story of Computer Graphics,” narrated by Leonard Nimoy, also screened throughout the week.

Siggraph, sponsored by the Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics, moves to New Orleans for 2000.

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