Entertainment at Autodesk University - Propose a Class

Posted by Shawn Hendriks, 23 April 2012 8:00 pm


Hello everyone. I’m going to be honest. I am about to ask for your help. Stick with me though and you will see it could be rewarding. 

I am working on a project to open up a new event for our Autodesk Entertainment customers.  Autodesk runs an annual event called Autodesk University (AU) in Las Vegas. Think of it as a monster sized mulit-day user group.  Some of you may be familiar with it. It has been hugely successful for customers in other Autodesk markets like Architecture. Last year AU had over 8000 attendees descend on Las Vegas at the end of November to partake in hundreds of classes, talks and parties. Up till now there has only been a small entertainment presence. I’d like to change that and build up 30 or more high quality sessions focused on your markets.

   This year, for the first time, I am looking to build a major entertainment track for AU. I want to bring together as many entertainment software users and veterans as possible to network and share knowledge. For more info about AU in general look here. Just remember to picture it with lots of entertainment content in future.  So the challenge is that I am looking for a lot of top notch experts to step up, be a star and give talks at AU. Content is king and I know you guys have a lot of good content and experience to share. I'd like to get people from games, film, TV and any other industry that can be associated to entertainment.  Diversity is key to allowing the kind of cross pollination that AU is already known for in other fields.

AU has just opened a call for submissions which will be up until May 22nd . From the submissions we will choose speakers and topics by June 27.   Don’t worry, the initial proposal does not have be detailed. Just enough to give us a good idea of your class as well as who you are and your credentials to present the class.

For those of you interested in speaking at AU let me give you an idea of the types of sessions I want to put together…

Core Techniques:. Modeling, animation, rendering, shading, sketching, etc. You can focus on any of our products or even better on a combination. As an example “Advanced texture and shader creation with Mudbox and Maya” or “Games modeling techniques in 3ds Max”

Techniques for the Technical Director: Classes on rigging, scripting, tool creation, motion captue and building pipelines. A couple examples could be “Advanced facial rigging in 3ds max”,“rigging with Muscles in Maya” or “Building pipelines with Autodesk tools and Python”

Visual Effects: Classes on Particles and dynamics and building up effects for specific types of shots. An example would be “Using Softimage ICE to simulate nature” or “A to Z believable explosions using 3ds Max and Maya”.

Industry Talks: These sessions tend to be not about product usage and more about higher level workflows and the business of entertainment. A couple example titles would be “How to make your own short film. Tips from someone who has been there” or “So you want to build a successful Iphone game? It’s about more than just the game.”

Case Studies: These sessions are all about looking at existing projects and how they came together.
For a standard lecture format you will have 90 minutes in a room that can be scaled to fit over 300 people depending on interest. Feel free to submit multiple ideas since you never know what might stick.


Here are a couple video examples of classes from Previous Years. Both these examples where aimed more at visualization at the time since there was never a strong entertainment focus before.

Stereoscopic work in 3ds Max: Louis Marcoux did a session a few years back that showed how to do stereo in 3ds max but was also a great primer for those trying to get their heads around stereoscopic technology. 

Animating Creation: Here is the first half of an animation class I did last year. It was aimed at intermediate animators. Think of it as tips and tricks with a theme.


Anyone interested in giving a session please submit a proposal.  If you have questions feel free to message me here on AREA or post in the comments.

Don’t think you could give a session? Still curious if this is an event you should attend.? Well first look above and see if those topics interest you. Second, remember that this is a cross industry event that could expose you to new customers businesses and employers you never thought of. In the last entertainment class I gave at AU I had attendees from entertainment companies as well as Architectural firms, mechanical designers, Military contractors, theme park designers and a number of US governmental departments.  Believe me, there are lots of good networking and learning opportunities at AU. Lastly let’s not forget, every day ends with drinks, parties and Industry friends who know what you deal with on a regular basis.  And as we all know, what happens in Vegas…



Posted 26 April 2012 8:16 am

I attended AU last year, and really applaud the effort to get more M&E exposure in this event. There really is a lot of excitement and innovation going on there, in the other sectors. The event is growing annually, from the huge Apple-esque introduction on the massive 3 screens, to the myriad of rooms to get to your prescribed classes thereafter, it really comes accross as an EVENT. I spent some time speaking to some of the M&E presenters in the Exhibit hall, and one stated that the exhibition is larger here than at Siggraph... I've unfortunately never been. There is no question Autodesk is behind this event, so it is in the best interest of M&E to follow along, with the added benefit, of being able to provide something unique to the class schedule.

Shawn Hendriks

Posted 26 April 2012 8:40 am

Thanks JimBean. Yes I agree and have gone to AU for many years and have always found it impressive. Last year though was the first year that I felt, even without a lot of entertainment focus, it was an interesting event to entertainment people. Now if we add enough focus on our industry I think it could be a slam dunk. Also anyone that has any hobbies like design, woodworking, automotive etc. This event is awsome. I got to play around with rapid prototyping equipment and maker bots not to mention big computer controlled laser cutters etc. I build furniture as a hobby and could have geeked out on that stuff most of the week.

Shawn Hendriks

Posted 5 May 2012 5:14 am

Dacaro. Au will accept non English classes but they would be delivered virtually. Not live at the event.

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