For the last two weeks, London's CG community have enjoyed a rare break from their workstations to gather, network and socialise in a specially designed 'popup studio' in the heart of Soho.
HP ZED London has been a place where animators, 3D artists and VFX specialists could grab a beer, try out the latest HP hardware, and enjoy talks, workshops and challenges led by some of the industry's leading experts.
The last night, suitably, was a sell-out, with the space packed full of CG artists eager to hear Adam Dewhirst - recently of Framestore, now at The Mill - spill some of the secrets of Guardians of the Galaxy.
His talk was evenly split between the CG characters that did make the film and those that didn't, beyond a blurry appearance in the background.
Most memorable of these was what Framestore dubbed the 'c– monster' (it rhymes with something you put on your feet, and was well named as such).
There was plenty of technical talk too, of course, and the audience were most intrigued by Dewhirst's demo of how to speed-sculpt a basic character while travelling on the London Underground.
The level of detail, and amount of work, that went into even the most minor creatures in the movie was astonishing when broken down by Dewhirst.
But interestingly, he also paid tribute to its non-digital creatures, as created by the makeup, prosthetics and costume departments.
Such a mixed-media approach, he believes, makes sci-fi worlds more believable, and he criticised the movies like The Phantom Menace for "using CG when it just wasn't necessary" and overegging the whole effect.
Following a rapturous reception to Dewhirst's talk, the newly formed SIGGRAPH London chapter took to the stage to present the results of an animation challenge they'd been holding at HP ZED all week.
Teaming up beginners with expert mentors, the group managed to produce a brilliantly amusing short about the travails of a Buckingham Palace guard.
That put a smile on everyone's face as they repaired to the bar to discuss a great fortnight for the capital's CG community and the fervent hope that HP ZED London returns next year. Fingers crossed...
- Dave Cox is a London-based street photographer available for events & private bookings. Visit his website, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
- Mike Griggs is a freelance concept 3D, VFX and Mograph artist working across TV, exhibition and digital design. Find him on Twitter @creativebloke.
Discover more about what went down at HP ZED London here.