Effects biz builds buzz at Siggraph showcase

Siggraph, the computer graphics conference held last week in San Diego, has always been an odd mishmash. It’s part trade show, part job fair and part egghead academic conference.

But Siggraph also is a prime place to build buzz with a major Oscar voting bloc — the people picking noms for best visual effects and animated feature and short.

They flock to Siggraph’s Electronic Theater, a showcase of the year’s best movie F/X, animated shorts, vidgame cinematics and scientific imaging. And showbiz f/x types use the forum to spotlight work headed to bigscreens in the coming months.

One crowd fave was the Fox/Blue Sky Studios short “Gone Nutty,” a witty return to the acorn-hoarding travails of Scrat, the oddball rodent from “Ice Age.”

Sony offered its own new short, “Early Bloomer.” Originally a storyboarding class exercise, the tale of sweet-faced tadpoles at a difficult age likely will blossom into a feature, execs say.

F/X companies were well represented, too, with ESC (“The Matrix Reloaded”), ILM (new techniques used in three films), Weta Digital (“The Lord of the Rings”), and Cinesite (“X2″) showing work.

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