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SIGGRAPH 2011 was held in Canada for the first time and Vancouver offered an ideal setting. The Houdini community keeps growing every year and it was wonderful to meet artists from Vancouver-based studios and from around the world. Side Effects had an education focus at the show while the Houdini user group provided a platform for sharing news about the future.

Houdini User Group Meeting

On Tuesday evening, Side Effects hosted the Houdini User Group Meeting at Masik Studios in Vancouver. This event brought the entire Houdini community together to learn about upcoming Houdini releases and watch presentations by top VFX studios. The evening was launched with the 2011 Demo Reel which featured a wonderful collection of art created in Houdini.

Judith Crow, Senior Production Consultant at Side Effect was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and Kim Davidson, President and CEO, welcomed everyone with news of a record year of growth for Side Effects. Kim then introduced Darin Grant of DreamWorks Animation who talked about their global site license and development agreement with Side Effects. Jeff Wagner then took the stage to introduce Houdini 11.1 and Houdini 12.

The Side Effects portion of this event is available below for you to watch. This video includes Kim's introduction and Jeff talking about Houdini. Many of this information was published in our Houdini 12 Sneak Peek but there are some tidbits which go beyond that article. All customer presenters have been left off this video because permissions to publish their talks and related materials is not available.

After the Side Effects presentation, the audience heard from top VFX artists. These artists included Jason Iversen from Rhythm & Hues talking about Mantra rendering in Hop, Andrew Schneider from Blue Sky Studios discussing cloud generation for Rio and Stephen Gustafson from Pixar talking about building crowds for Cars 2. This amazing work shows some of the ways Houdini and Mantra are being applied by these high-end studios. Many thanks to all the artists and studios who participated.

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A Focus on Education

SIGGRAPH 2011 put a focus on education and so did Side Effects. On Monday, we hosted an Education Mixer at VanArts to bring together recruiters and educators interested in building and hiring Houdini talent. This mixer provided an opportunity to talk with the staff from Side Effects Software and to mingle with industry professionals from the visual effects and 3D animation communities.

Our booth on the show floor was also focused on education and we held educator sessions to share techniques which could be later taught to students. Our customers are constantly calling for skilled Houdini users to handle the workload in the industry and a strong focus on education will fulfill those needs in the coming years. We would to thank everyone who dropped by to chat and find out more about teaching or learning Houdini.

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