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January 10th, San Francisco. Pixologic wants to show ZBrush 2 off, and they've accumulated some of the biggest names in digital art to plug the product by talking about their creative process and demonstrating their workflow. We're talking:
  • Taron
    One of the programmers on Messiah:Studio, he's personally responsible for at least one innovation that's going to forever change how digital animation is done. (much raving to do on that subject -- we can talk about this in another post)

  • Bay Raitt
    Gollum, in the Lord of the Rings films, had the most convincing facial animation of any CG character to date. This is largely due to the thousand or so blend shapes created for his head, based on a study of Paul Eckman's Facial Action Coding System. And perhaps more importantly, their organization and interface which reduced all that complexity and allowed animators to actually work with this mess. Anyway, that's all Bay Raitt's doing. This past year, he's been instrumental in seeing Normal Map technology delivered to the masses (again, a post for another time) -- any meaningful research or discussion you're likely to find on that subject originated on his message board.

  • Meats Meier
    This is a name you'll see in any "best of CG" kind of compilation. They always select him, and with good reason. If you follow the various 3D art publications, you'll know his work on sight.

    Examples: Mother Nature, Etcher, Rocking Horse, and my personal favorite, the Captain.

    He teaches at the Gnomon workshop now, and I've had the pleasure of being in one of his classes. Just a great guy all around.

  • Zack Petroc
    Clay sculptor turned digital artist with a stronger-than-most grasp on human anatomy. Recently made a name for himself as model supervisor on Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

  • Ken Brilliant
    Also a clay sculptor originally, Ken is responsible for several of the images which convinced me that ZBrush was worth investigating. He's also responsible for writing the tutorials that convinced me it was possible to learn this program (the early versions weren't exactly friendly).
Those first three, I'd qualify as serious technical innovators, pioneering new techniques never before possible. The latter two are great examples of someone bringing their knowledge of other media into the fold, and being generous enough to translate that knowledge for the rest of us. I flatter myself by calling them all kindred spirits, but these are more or less things I aspire to.

My desire to be there doesn't need much explanation. Big ol' graphics nerd -- 'nuff said.

And over in Santa Cruz...This one may take a little more explanation.
    Kevin's easily the best guitar player I've ever heard; one of those tragic genius figures who'll never receive the accolades they deserve because they'd rather challenge themselves (and by extention, the audience) than follow the path of least resistance. A few years ago, he sold all his belongings, put aside the guitar, and headed to Japan to reinvent himself, studying Tsugaru Shamisen under one of the last surviving masters. He returned to America and quickly turned things around, signing with Mimicry Records, where he records and tours with just about every band on the label. ...on an instrument I've never seen him play.

    That doesn't sound so drastic, but it's actually somewhat profound if you think about the ways we all define each other. This pretty much makes him a person I've never met.

    He's been back a while. I figure I ought to introduce myself.
So, yeah. I'm thinking a week's vacation is in order.

Now, January 10th happens to be the first day of MacWorld Expo, so cheap hotel space will probably be difficult to come by. But I'll find a way. A couch to sleep on, perhaps. I've got some phone calls to make, but three weeks to figure it out.

If any of that sounds interesting and you happen to be in the area, drop me a line. Likewise if you're in the area but not interested in any of that -- there should be plenty of downtime between there for us to meet and, I guess, stare awkwardly at each other since we have no common interests. =)


I think I was misreading the Fishtank Ensemble page -- that show on the 17th was 2004. Nothing's announced for them this coming January.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 21st, 2004 09:36 am (UTC)
How on earth is it that you're planning on being up in my neck of the woods and haven't mentioned it over the many times we've hung out since I've been back?

I fear I don't actually have a couch in my room, or my super nifty Aero Bed (it disappeared mysteriously right before I was going to pack it up to take to Santa Cruz), so I'm not sure how comfortable a place to stay I can offer you. If you're looking to get some time in with Josh and Tara as well, you'd probably be well-served to find a Motel 6 in a somewhat central location to both them and Santa Cruz.
Dec. 21st, 2004 10:21 am (UTC)
Re: What?!
This comes partially from my having only just then committed to the idea, and partially from a sick desire to see that reaction. Might be easier to write it off as sleep deprivation, though.

I actually did mention it todnight, in as much as I wouldn't be starting a new job until after my trip. But, yeah. That might have been a bit vague.

So, yes. Today's been a blur, and I'm no closer to having worked out all the details. The central location idea is a good one, though, if everyone's timing makes sense (and if no free lodging presents itself). Right now, I'm just seeing who all's available and where they're located, so I can figure out how to weight things -- if I spend more time in one location than the others, "central" might be the wrong move.
Dec. 30th, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC)
You can stay here
We're more than happy to offer you a couch or air mattress. We're about an hour from San Francisco. You may want to stay with Jason when visiting Santa Cruz, since he's ... in... Santa Cruz. Anyhow, let us know. At least an hour or two of notice is greatly appreciated.
Dec. 31st, 2004 10:23 pm (UTC)
Very cool.
I'm not sure what time my thing gets out on the 10th, is all. Arriving an hour after that when you're trying to sleep might not be the best way to repay your hospitality. It's probably better to drive up sometime over the weekend, spend some time with you and the family, but then find a Motel 6 for that actual night.

After that... I should really call Kevin. I haven't seen him in all this time, and I'm sure he'd want to hang out if he knew I'd be in the area. I just like the idea of surprising him at the show more than I like being such an imposition...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


self portrait (escher)
some guy

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