I've got some catching up to do.

Posted by Eddie Perlberg, 30 June 2011 12:00 pm

Dear Subscriber,

I sincerely apologize for the lack of attention the “With Design in Mind” blog has received in the past few months. In fact, at a recent event, Nil Norgren at Neoscape gave me quite an earful. And he was right. But, in my defense, Design Visualization at Autodesk has never been more in demand and that leaves little time for my labors of love like this blog. I do want to assure you that I am here and will rededicate my efforts to post all of the exciting stuff going on.
So, Speaking of exciting, the event that I mentioned earlier was SkillsUSA. If you’re not familiar with SkillsUSA, you’re not alone. If you are familiar with it, you’re not alone either. SkillsUSA is secondary and post-secondary school competition in numerous categories. Students are competing in everything from carpentry and cooking to auto audio installation and motorcycle repair. I let the motorcycle repair guys that I have 2 Harley’s sitting in my garage waiting for me to get home. (See, lots of things I love are feeling neglected). But, I digress.


Nil Norgren and I were “guest judges” in the 3D Visualization and Animation competition along with Stephen Goldblatt, Principal/Creative Producer from Bazillion Pictures and Bob Donatucci Art Director at Double Helix Games. This was our second year as the formidable four and we were excited to participate, helping to mold the future of the industry by inspiring and mentoring the artists of tomorrow. That, plus all of the great Kansas City BBQ. Special thanks to Bazillion Pictures for hosting the judging session and finding the great chinese food for the evening.


Expectations were high since these 40 teams were the best of the best, competing on the national level and they did not disappoint. This year, the competitors were given 8 hours to conceive, create and execute a 30 second animation about an imaginary character focusing on their dwelling, transportation or a needed invention to help with their polluted environment. This is the same character, iiKo from the planet Recyclz, the Education Team used at the FIRST robotic competition earlier this year.


I know what you’re thinking, “Eight hours for 30 seconds?”

I know!

I just spent 40 farm hours rendering a 15 second walk up, without considering the conceiving and modeling part. Well, they did it. Working in teams of 2, storyboarding, modeling, texturing, lighting animating and rendering the whole thing, their extreme levels of creativity were apparent. Making the most of the time they had, we should reconsider renaming the competition to IronAnimator like IronChef.

Special thanks to Peter Mancini at 3DConnexion for providing EVERY competitor with a SpaceNavigator. I was so jealous; I considered moving from judge to competitor. If you work in 3ds max/3ds Max Design, Maya or Showcase as well as Revit, AutoCAD or Inventor this is a must have. The 3dConnexion products work in a lot more software than that, but those are the ones I use mine for.

So are you ready to compete? Talk to your instructors or your advisors to get you involved.

Of course the learning wasn’t all one way. I learned a lot as well. 2011 has been a big year for the Autodesk Education team launching Digital Steam (science, technology, engineering, art and math) curriculum portal. Educators and students can access free software, tutorials and more.
In the Autodesk Booth, I learned about a new initiative at Autodesk to help the makers out there. People, who as a hobby or livelihood, make stuff. Out in front of that initiative is free software called 123D.

I’m hoping we can get more people involved in this exceptional event in both the competitive and sponsorship levels.

If you’re an educator, Autodesk will be hosting our annual Education Summit in Vancouver, during SIGGRAPH 2011, where we are offering educators the opportunity to connect with Autodesk executives and staff to discuss key industry trends and best practices, network with their peers and learn about our products and programs. Find out more and register here.

Thanks again for your patience about blog frequency. I will work on getting stuff to you in a more timely manner.


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