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The top 10 highlights of FMX 2014

Last week, 6,000 CG fans, developers, artists and industry veterans descended on Stuttgart, Germany to attend FMX 2014, the conference on animation, effects, games and transmedia. The show was spread over the four days, with talks, workshops and the marketplace, as well as an entire hall dedicated to industry careers and recruitment.

Talking to artists, developers and large studios, the atmosphere was upbeat. It's clear that right now, the industry is filled with passion and ideas - and that the future of CG is very much in good hands.

Here are my top 10 highlights from FMX 2014. If you didn't manange to get to the event, or missed some of the talks, then check out the website, which is rescreening streamed sessions on a daily basis, starting today, here (opens in new tab).

01. Andy Serkis on Apes 2

Andy Serkis (opens in new tab) held one of the conference's most anticipated talks. He talked about the production of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, discussing the methods used in production, the artistry involved in performance capture as well as showing some unseen footage of one of the year's biggest movie releases.

02. Vicon on motion capture

There were many options open for those with an interest in motion and performance capture. The guys from Vicon (opens in new tab) were leading the pack though and were showing a number of projects, along with demoing their gear so anybody could have a hands on look at how it all works.

03. Landau on Avatar

Avatar is still one of the biggest names in CG film making history. Jon Landau gave a talk about the world of Pandora, as well as discussing the production of the two sequels, showing a glimpse of what is to come, in the films and technology.

04. The recruiting booths

This year there was lots of presence from some of the biggest studios, all on the lookout for the latest talent and with staff on hand to discuss options, showreels and everything there is to know about getting a job at a top VFX house.

05. Characterized competition

In association with Wacom and HP, Cut&Paste (opens in new tab) ran a character concept competition, where entrants had a short time with a Cintiq, to create an' alter ego' character, wither in 2D or in 3D. The competition was very popular, with all the places taken each day.

06. Interactive demos

As well as the bigger developers, who were all there showing off the latest goodies, there were many smaller projects on show and there was a real theme of interactivity. There was everything from a fun but crazy platform game you control by walking on a set of suspended tyres to a dice-based environment creation, played on a surface that senses the faces/orientation/position of dice, to determine the results which were grown on a screen.

07. The Occulus Rift

The Occulus Rift was on show at a number of booths, with various uses. The most interesting was an immersive graphic novel that lets you look around the world in each panel, with audio and animation. Truly an example of where the technology could head and completely entertaining.

08. Bot & Dolly's Gravity tech

For any fan of Gravity (opens in new tab), it was great to see Bot & Dolly (opens in new tab) at FMX, showing off their motion controlled camera rig, which was used to manipulate many shots in the award winning film. The guys were more than happy to chat about the technology and answer questions about the process and pitfalls.

09. The art direction of Frozen

Michael Giaimo explained the methods, reasoning and workflows for the art direction of Frozen, including colour theory, industrial design and supporting the narrative through use of visual language.

10. Stuttgart Festival of Animation

Stuttgart's Festival of Animation (opens in new tab) was held the same week and was held in a large open air space just round the corner from FMX.

They had a massive outdoor cinema set and played various short films all day and evening with a feature length film at night. A fantastic venue and set up, with perfect weather, rounding off a great day for any CG or animation fan.

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We invite you to form a team (of up to four participants) and tackle as many of our four categories as you wish - Title Sequence, Main Shots, Film Poster or Idents. For full details of how to enter and to get your Competition Information Pack, head to the Masters of CG website (opens in new tab) now.

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Rob Redman is the editor of 3D World and ImagineFX magazines and has a background in animation, visual effects, and photography. As a 3D artist he created the mothership in the Webby winning Plot Device and was animator on the follow-up; Order up. He has created training for Cinema 4D and Blackmagic Design Fusion artists. He's been a published product and food photographer since the age of 15. As well as being a multi-instrumentalist, Rob is also an avid beard grower.