Siggraphs shrinking act

So, this year was the first time in two years since I’d been to the annual event. Since it was in Anaheim, I couldn’t resist because it’s easy enough to pop into Dinseyland with my annual pass.

The first thing to notice is how small it is these days. It barely covers the two halls D and C. But its an interesting contrast when you consider how much tech and money depend on the research that is on display at the event.

It’s no surprise that 3d printing represented a smaller portion of the floor but it would be a mistake to say it’s no longer relevant. 3d printing companies have their own specific shows now, so Siggraph doesn’t represent the annual opportunity for exposure it once did.

Otherwise, I still found some new ideas, new software and valuable insight into the state of computer graphics and digital technologies.

Google demo’d their new mobile platform with built in motion, scanning and VR features. They are trying to make mobile content creation a viable platform based on their tech.

Amazon started offering free gaming development software and education in hopes of getting you to host the games with Amazon web services. They already host huge portions of the corporate world, you might be next.

One of my favorite offerings though was rather small and as yet less formal. Wolfram was offering new bridges between their raw mathematical powers and the real world. In particular was a great way to derive 3d printable models from pure mathematical models, molecular data and more.

So there, in a nutshell, is why I still like going to Siggraph. I always find something that goes a bit beyond the current. This year also marks the 15 years since my first Siggraph. I bought a backpack back then that I still use, though it’s a bit ragged nowadays. Just like me!

Siggraph, VR and 3d printing

I hope I can make it to Siggraph this week. I rarely go unless it’s in town mostly because I’m usually working but since its also right next to Disneyland …

Just kidding. Sort of. I dont like going when Siggraph is held anywhere else because it actually becomes that much more expensive. I can always get free parking at the parks and I dont mind the walk.

This year, it looks like people have gone full VR or AR and are trying to pivot most visual effects work into pipelines that make these new projects and tech.

Its a pretty easy sell when there is that much money floating around the topics – the valley investors like to call it ‘stupid money.’ It’s the kind of investing where parties can lay down millions without knowing or caring since it’s basically gambling. Sometimes, the payoff makes whole new industries.

If I have anyhing nice to say about Pokemon Go, its that it has made some investors very happy, some companies very successful,  and hppefully led to more jobs for friends and myself.

And along the way, some people are figuring 3d printing might get a boost from the amount of gadgetry VR And AR espouse. I saw someone make a 3d peinted template to replace a phone case to help guide your finget acurately when playinh Go. Clever. Not groundbreaking but fast, useful, and most importantly paying attention.

Hope to habe a report soon.

An unexpected emergency project

I broke my sunglasses case, which was actually the case for my last subscription pair. It was also the origins of the whole pencase journey.

I’ve said before I started designing the pencase after Inktober, but in reality I made a list of things I wanted to make when I ordered my first 3d printer.

I had all kinds of things skethed up, but one of them was a new case for my glasses. I even tried to design some new frames for my glasses at one point, but I needed more time to experiment. Everything looked kind of ‘oakley-esque’ so I put that aside.

While the pencase is totally practical for me, it’s nowhere near as everyday a requirement as my glasses case. I am pretty sure it will be a kitbash of some of the pencase elements, but I immediately had an idea for it’s design the second the sunglasses case lid snapped off.

I go to Disneyland a lot. I mean, a LOT. I’m a grown man, but I still love the place. It’s representative of a history that wasn’t mine, and it happens to have an ambient energy that is unmatched. But while I am there, going in and out of different areas, I switch my glasses on and off constantly.

It’s one of the behaviors which made the current snap, side hinge and belt clip design of the pencase so important. I usually keep my sunglasses in a side pocket of my backpack. But without my backpack, there is no easy way to carry my sunglasses.  Inhate dangling them from my neck. And no Ferris Bueller principal flip lenses for me, thanks.

So hopefully I can burn thru this latest project quickly. I bought a cheap store bought case which is terrible because of the way it opens lengthwise. Cases like this make it more likely I’ll drop my glasses. But, its also happens to be quite slim and fits my current backpack pocket.

So it’s off to Disneyland, and then back to the grind,.

New design, hopefully a fresh start

So I am very close to a new printable design for the Pencase which addresses both users comments and my own qibbles with the first design.

I’ll be honest, the first design was ideal for me. It had everything I needed and wanted but it had little in the way refinement. While I am a very skilled 3d modeller for entertainment projects, the demands of working on something which needed specific tolerances and durability required a lot of rewiring.

So with the new design, I think I have something I’d like to test with much more exotic materials – in particular, aluminum and stainlness steel. More 3d printing services are offering these materials and while a single print in either will likely cost into the hundreds of dollars I think it’s a worthwhile test.

But I would never ask a consumer to pay those kinds of prices for a pencase in said material. I already know that some of the parts I have designed are only achievable in the short term with 3d printing. The goal of the material test is exploration.

I won’t entirely rule out another round of design changes if it turns out I need to resort to cold casting, metal casting or other more common short run fabrication methods. But right now, I feel I have a good design and a decent schedule for this round of testing.