The Digital Northeastern Artist group as part of Great Eastern Technology held a day long art event today called "3D Stimulus Day" at the Ida Mount College in Newton, MA. The host of the event was Brad Porter.
The free event had talks about success in animation, which was more of a selling event for the person giving the talk of her books and the classes she taught and wasn't that useful for many there.
Intro to 3DSM Mental Ray Rendering was next, this was about architectural rendering and covered the basics to global illumination and final gather and was pretty informative and the talk was very amusing, given by Ted Boardman, who has a good blog which has many tutorials and good information here. It was also a chance to see 3DSM 2010, which had a new user interface which is a bit different to previous versions though how good that is I didn't get to see. The main things of note were the simplifying of Mental Ray for the basic features and how quick it was to get them working to make good quality renders and yet still have all the tweaks you would expect. Also the new Quadify modifier looked pretty nifty too, which as it suggests, quadlifies your model rather than the tessalate feature.
Elliott Mitchell did a talk about realistic Mental Ray Skin Shaders in Maya, showing off Maya 2009, which had a few issues of stability, but compared to 2008 and below seemed to have simplified the whole process of creating shaders that work by automating the setting up of them, though there was still a lot of tweaking and rendering to get a good result.
Gael McDill of Digizyme Inc, talked about molecular and cell visualisation in Maya. This was very interesting showing how they are able to use custom scripts using Python to help them make tools as well as using cloth and hair adapted to show cell interactions. Molecularmovies.org was a really good resource they created to share the knowledge of what they do and includes a lot of videos and tutorials that can be applied to many aspects of art and animation.
Michele Bousquet, from Turbosquid talked about how you can maximise your sales and make money from using the service. Most of the things were comon sense such as providing good quality thumbnails and a good description of your work and what is included in the sale as well as how to best price your work by comparing to other works on the subject and looking through the highest priced pieces to gauge your price point.
Following this talk was a raffle of goods from the vendors who sponsored the event, the highlights included a new Wacom Intuos 4 tablet, a licensed copy of ZBrush 3 and one upgrade. All these things were being demoed during the breaks and especially the lunch break as well as a 3D scanner.
The last part of the day was a SIGGRAPH animation festival screening.