Friday, July 18, 2008

Launched in London

We had a wonderful week in London, brining XSI 7 to the Soho post (and games!) community. So many of our amazing customers are all around the corner from each other, seperated by pubs, curry houses and sushi shops. Jellyfish, The Mill, Passion, Studio AKA, Fluid (and many more!) are all in this incredible area of London.

We had two events in London, one in the afternoon and one in the early evening. All in all, close to 150 people turned up to see Softimage|XSI 7 in action. Christoph Schinko did a great demo on advanced rigging and created an ICE effect live for the crowd - even taking suggestions on how to improve it from the audience. Right when we wrapped up London, the team in NYC went on stage. (Much hilarity ensured via SMS on the mixed up posters, so we had people from the MILL NY and Jordi from the Mill London each hold up the poster)

Thanks to everyone who turned up (and Lex for his very helpful registration support) - it was an honor for me to have helped to bring XSI 7 to you.

Two weeks home and the SIGGRAPH.

See you in Los Angeles!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Green Screen Fun in San Fran

What a week it's been since we announced XSI 7 to the world.

The on-line communities are buzzing with the news.., and are filled with comments and questions about our latest release.

Next week we'll be in London and New York city hosting two launch events on July 17th (7/17!) and at the same time we'll be in those markets we are also holding an On-Line Event so we can bring more details about XSI 7 and ICE to the rest of the world!

Right now, I am in San Francisco shooting the on-line launch at Pixel Corps, a Softimage Training Partner. We are shooting on green screen, which is always fun, and the talented team at Pixel Corps will cut and comp in a digital set.

I am here with Marc Stevens, Softimage GM and Mark Schoennagel, Softimage 3D Evangelist. Both Marc/k's are very dedicated to brining the message of XSI 7 to as many people as possible. The amazing thing with this shoot is how we were able to build the demos. Normally, when you create demos for beta software, it is key that they are created and rehearsed well in advance. Because of the stability and the flexibility of the ICE platform, we created the majority of our demos in the last few days.

Really. We spent a lot of time reading the posts and questions on over 1000 public forums, and worked with our new R&D material and test scenes and spent yesterday building over a dozen new demo scenes. I can't tell you how unheard of this is. Never ever have we deviated from our planned demo material to use brand new material.

You can even see Mark smiling before we got started. He told me later maybe he was sweating this, just a little bit. But the software came through with flying colors. yay ICE!

So we are about to close it up for the day, thanks to everyone involved for all their hard work.

It's a wrap - see you online next week!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

XSI 7 on 7/7

Yesterday was a great day. After a ton of work from many different people around the world, we unveiled SOFTIAMGE|XSI 7 to the world.

This product launch was probably the most significant one we have ever done, as XSI 7 offers up ICE, a new platform for creating outstanding visual effects and 3D tools. One of the main features of ICE is that it offers up the chance for a collaborative workflow between artists and technical directors, and the same was true for the actual launch of the product.

Work on the launch of XSI 7 started several months ago. Shortly after GDC, we held an internal training session with our application engineers from around the world, including our training partners Digital Tutors, as well as trainers Adam Sale and Craig Slagel. It was an intense 4 days, and it started off the ICE training and launch prep.

In April, my work for launching XSI 7 kicked into high gear. Part of what I do is work with technology partners to showcase how their hardware can benefit from SOFTIAMGE|XSI, so I spent the week of NAB in Vegas having meeting after meeting, planning our launch events & SIGGRAPH activities. XSI 7 is such a fantastic showcase for the multicore systems that are available today, we named our demo character "Mulcor" after Multi-Core. (I like the fact that he has an 'Alienbrain,' the name of another one of our products, but no one else seems to find this as funny as I do)

Our partners really came through for us for our launch. HP & Intel, along with Microsoft and NVIDIA are supporting us for the worldwide kick off of XSI 7. We have events on july 17th in NYC and London, and on that same day we will be hosting a pre-recorded on-line event with one of our top media partners. I promise info is coming very soon! I am actually off in a few hours to head to San Francisco to shoot the event. Photos will come in a few days.

For SIGGRAPH, we have a lot going on, but what I am most excited about is our User Event on Aug 12th. Instead of the traditional format of product presentations in a theatre setting, we are hosting a visual, multi-media event that later will turn into what promises to be one of the best Softimage parties ever.. A key element for us is that the Softimage staff will have the entire night to mingle and chat with customers, friends and partners, instead of an hour before and after. This event will be a celebration of ICE and all the hard work our team put into creating the technology. We are very thankful for the support we got to host this from Dell & ATI, along with Microsoft and Intel. If you are going to SIGGRAPH, trust me when I say this.. do not miss this party.

Time to head out, it's 5am and I have a flight to catch very soon.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Playing Guitar Hero 3 in Texas.. aka I love my job

I am in Dallas thsi week with Peter de Lappe and Jodi Vetterl, attending the Game Education Summit. I'll post more details on the conference tomorrow after I have had a chance to attend a few sessions, today was more about the exhibition hall for me.

Oh, and playing Guitar Hero 3. Which i LOVE.

Softimage has a kiosk at this event, and so does Dell University. Dell brought Guitar Hero 3 master player "Tipper Queen" to do some demos and play GH3 with the attendees. I played "Hit me with your best shot" with her. So fun. but WOW. I was on easy and she (of course) was on expert.

I have played Gh3 and Rockband with some pretty good players, but Tipper is absolutely amazing. I think she was playing right handed instead of her usual left, and she is killer. She played onstage during Bill Gates' CES keynotes with Slash.

Tipper, aka Kelly, is also studying game design, and peter doesn't know it yet, but he is going to be teaching her some XSI tips tomorrow during a session break.

Tipper Queen (L), Guitar Hero 3 player & game design student, rocking out with another conference attendee (who did impressively well on the hard setting!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Reviving the travel blog.. getting ready for a BIZZY summer!


It's been ages since I updated the Soft travel blog, and there are actually several reasons for that, which are not that interesting and mostly to do with me not making it a priority. BUT - we are looking towards a BUSY summer filled with SIGGRAPH action, so its time to get back in the habit again!

So where have we been since my last post February? GDC was in San Francisco in February this year, and we didn't have a booth this time. We chose to have private meeting suites on the show floor, and directed our energies to our Education Summit and Softimage Student User Event, which were both firsts for us. It was a good week - a different GDC experience, but a good one!
Student User Event at AI San Francisco..

.. where Mark really enjoyed the demo he gave!

After GDC, there were a couple of small customer trips, until I got to spend 10 days in Los Angeles and Las Vegas this April for NAB, and a few LA-based events. NAB was interesting for us, since Avid didn't have a booth on the show floor. I have to admit, I thought it would be an easier week. Typically, NAB is filled with partner meetings to go over roadmaps and co-marketing planning sessions squeezed between hours of booth duty. This year it was crazier than ever - how does THAT happen?? Everyday started at 8am and finished at 7pm. We met resellers, customers, partners, educators, Avid counterparts. It was a ridiculously busy schedule, and as a result, a relatively lowkey week in vegas. Although I did have time to go to the AJA party at the Bank at the Bellagio, which gave me some inspiration for our SIGGRAPH 2008 User Event. More on THAT later!

I actually do not have ONE picture from Vegas this year. I had misplaced my camera, and only found it when I left. Honest.

After leaving NAB, I headed back to LA for a User Event at Gnomon. We held the event to kick-off the class that started on May 5th, and got to see some familiar faces!

Pam Hogarth (Gnomon) with Michael Isner & Colin Brady

Long time XSI user and friend Anthony Rossano and his colleague William, who won a copy of XSI Essentials!

Mark with Rudy Sarzo, Softimage user and rock legend. Trust me. Google him.

Darren Krumweide of Gnomon (left) and Gnomon staff member.

Heather Hughes and Pam Hogarth (Gnomon) with Kath Hayes of RFX (R).

From left: Peter de Lappe, Javier von der Pahlen and Jeff Wilson of Softimage, Ron Frankel of Proof and Ken Knobel, Softimage.

and even though the Gnomon event wrapped at 9:30pm, our day wasn't done yet! Mark and I headed downtown to do a walkthrough of the location of the 2008 Softimage SIGGRAPH User Event. We found an excellent location, and are feeling pretty pleased with the way it's shaping up.

Softimage SIGGRAPH User Event - Tuesday, August 12th from 8pm-1am. Put in on your calendar - it's going to be a good one. Invites will go out mid-to-end of June.

That's it for now - happy memorial day, America!

Note the huge smile on Mark's face. The event is going to be very COOL.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On the road again...

New year, new travels.. although being back in Seattle is a non-stop case of deja-vu. I have been here so many times for various Microsoft events and launch activities that we actually recoginized the Westin staff at the hotel this time around.

I have actually been home since November of last year, which was great, because i was fully focused on launching the new Education Programs. I was at a school in Seattle yesterday going over details of the program, and i don't know who gets more excited - teachers hearing about the free, learn at your own pace certification that comes with 40 hours of professional training, or students who hear about the free one year commercial license they receive if they graduate from a partner school. I can't wait to talk to the schools attending GDC next week about this - its going to be really great for the XSI community as a whole!

We also have more news coming soon on Professional Training.. i'll keep you posted.

So Seattle - it really is Microsoft town! Microsoft was holding an event for their WW field teams - 5 days of training and seminars for over 6000 staff. We were there for a Partner Summit, where Microsoft partners demo their wares to the attendees. Quite a few Microsoft employees were pretty happy to see us there, as they remembered when we were part of the family. I started telling people that the "soft" in Microsoft actually came from us. Just for fun. :)

Because I was with Mark, I got to pick something up at the Microsoft store. Mark can shop there because he is an alumni, so I know own "Scene It" and PGR4 for my Xbox 360.

We spent the next two days visiting clients and trying to plan last minute GDC technical details. Our brand new Dells - fully loaded with all the bells and whistles (I got to order them online - i have never ordered such powerful equipment - it was pretty cool to choose a 1TB hard drive) will be running the new ATI Fire GL 7600s which we have been testing all week.

So now I am off to Vancouver, I have client visits and education meetings lined for the next three days, and of course I get to see my friend Adam Sale, whose voice i know so well now, as I have listened to his instructor certification training material quite a bit in the last few months!

It's great to be back out on the road, but not that easy to snap back into it. I forgot how stressful it can be not having access to email and being able to get as many things accomplished from a hotel room. I just logged on at SEA-TAC and have over 100 new emails just from today that i need to look at and respond to. ack!

I am looking very forward to blogging at GDC - we don't have a booth this year, so hopefully I'll have more time to write about what's going on at the show.