ANAHEIM, CA (SIGGRAPH 2013) July 23, 2013 - The revenues of Autodesk's M&E (media and entertainment) division have been declining for several years. On the first morning of SIGGRAPH 2013, Autodesk threw a breakfast for the media across the road at Disneyland.
In the opening speech, Autodesk admitted the industry is facing a lot of challenge and turmoil. The film industry is growing 5% year-over-year, but the same time none of Autodesk's customers are turning much of a profit. This is because the complexity of special effects continues to increase, so the cost of visual effects is outpacing growth in revenues. He gave the example of a controversial Canadian company that went out of business after doing the effects for the movie 'Journey to The Center of Earth', despite receiving tax subsidies.
"So, what can we do to help our customers?," Autodesk asks. The answers were "standardize" and "open": - standardize production cycle (customers keep reinventing ways of doing production) - standardize ways to exchange data, such as creating OpenData to access the dataset of their Maya software - scalability - support of open workflows
New M&E Products
Most releases of new M&E software will not occur until Q3, and so "we are short on news for the SIGGRAPH show, and which is why we are not at the show." They did, however, make two announcements:
- Autodesk FBX Review is a lightweight standalone 3D viewer of FBX files (usable by AutoCAD users) for Windows 7 and 8 and uses DX11 but not required. It performs dynamic tesselation (see more wireframe as you zoom in further), view from lights and cameras, and see animation. Also handles 3ds max, obj, dxf, mcd, and other formats. For instance, the demo showed an interactive view of a Revit model, which I presume was exported in DXF. Available from Windows 8 Store or Autodesk Exchange store. Other platforms are being looked at, such as Android, iOS, and OS X.
- Creative Commons has been applied to all M&E support and learning material for 2014: 20,000 documents, 70 video, 140 3D assets; can be modified and remixed. See the Autodesk Maya Learning Channel online. This will apply to all Autodesk support material, actually.
Autodesk will anounce additional products and upgrades in August.
A canned demo was given of the Leap Motion controller ($80), which is about the size of a deck of cards. It tracks fingers at 200 steps per second, in a 2x2x2-ft box. Use your hands and fingers to edit -- "it lowers the barrier between humans and screens." It works with Maya through a free plug-in at Autodesk Exchange -- and 75 other apps.