Posted: 08.10.09

For a recession, in an off-the-beaten-track southern city, in the dead of summer, Siggraph had a robust turnout, Myguess was that about 18k pixel-loving souls made the trek, but the actual count was a little over 11k. I saw a lot of old friends, some from Japan, some from Redmond, some from Holland, France, and Finland – so the show wasenough of amagnet for some people to make that kind of time and money investment in these challenging economic times.

The emerging technologies had its usual array of wacky wonderful weird things; one of the most impressive was a huge feathery like thing that responded to presence but not touch, it was almost impossible to photograph and equally difficult to leave as glittery light filament ferns waved alluringly, and swished seductively.

Kathleen wanders into light fieldKathleen Maher wanders into light field

Siggraph 2009 was the show of renderers – There were at least ten rendering companies exhibiting which is as high a percentage as I can remember except for the mid nineties. High speed real time ray tracing was shown by three companies plus several others who showed fast rendering with ray tracing or very high-quality ray tracing that wasn't quite as fast. The message was clear, we are entering a new era of rendering effects and realism (if realism is what you want).

On the hardware side Nvidia showed a new giant frame buffer that allow a screen of 2k x 2k to be rendered directly - used in visualization.

AMD showed DirectX 11 and OpenCL and claimed to be the first with both.

Intel was talking privately about Larrabee and rumors floated about a development system being available with real Larrabee silicon.

I spent a good portion of the show in meetings so there may have been more stuff and I missed it. Pixar had a 2/3 size house from UP. People just couldn't get enoughphotos of themselvesstanding in front of it.

In the stereo session we were treated to a demo of the new Crytek 3 engine for Crysis with built in stereo and it looked pretty good, no, it looked great. There was also a new racing game, "Need for Speed," from EA was amazing looking and in action.

Ah, and then there was the food, OMG...