Autodesk University 2009 Begins

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If you’ve ever attended AU in the past you know the first day is an insane series of events. Much of that is kicked off by the always impressive General Session & Keynote. While this years session wasn’t on the scale of the 360 degree rendering of Washington DC, it was just as bleeding edge, and exciting. Among the topics of the general session today was the upcoming movie Avatar.

Slated for release in mid-December, the filming of Avatar was revolutionary in many different ways. Most notable of these is the use of virtual cameras. In essence, a virtual camera is used just as a real camera would be in a traditional live-action film. Avatar however is made up of computer generated characters which are based on the movements of real actors. The disconnect in traditional computer generated films has been you record the movements of people, but it’s not until that footage is brought into the computer during post production that you are able to see the fully compiled scene.

That’s the disconnect which was overcome using Autodesk products to create the movie Avatar. The so called virtual cameras were basically small computer monitors that when moved provides a fully rendered view of the actors (as their computer generated characters) inside the computer generated environments they are interacting with.

During the general session they showed a quick preview of the movie, but it wasn’t until the AutoCAD & M&E mixer that one was truly able to appreciate the mastery of this process. There attendees got to see just more then 15 minutes of the upcoming movie in full surround sound and in 3D. The experience was quite awesome, and even highlighted how Mariott hotels applies similar high end rendering to tell stories in a way that is much more practical for most of us.

Outside of the keynotes I also had the opportunity to be interviewed by Dave Graveline for his Into Tomorrow radio show. I think the interview went great, and can be seen during his show next week. So be sure to check that put as you return from AU.

This evening marked the opening of the Expo Hall. If it’s even remotely related to CAD, it’s probably here. Throughout the course of the evening I had the chance to speak with all sorts of exhibitors; CADD Microsystems, cadlearning.com, Wiley/Sybex, and more. There always seems to be more to see than is physically possible to see in a single night.

Tomorrow marks another busy day for me when I will make my first presentation at this years conference, conduct an interview for the AutoCAD Exchange, and most likely all sorts of fun stuff relating to AUGI. Stay tuned for all that becomes day 2 at AU 2009!

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