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Your first SGI encounter?
#41
RE: Your first SGI encounter?
My first time I saw an SGI in person, is my current Indy machine. I was working at SBC Long distance in 99. I was a contractor working on the interm billing system. When I left they gifted me the Indy. I haven't run it in 15 years, it sits on top of the case with it's SGI 19 CRT monitor. I have 2 cameras and one extra power supply. I also have some R5K boards. Message me if you want anything.

Robi Akerley-McKee

Facebook messenger is best place to get ahold of me.
Cromaglious Offline
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09-20-2018, 03:50 AM
#42
RE: Your first SGI encounter?
(09-12-2018, 03:42 AM)bjames Wrote: I was depressed and ended up painting my windows 3.1 desktop computer running 3d studio r2 blue as my personal version on an sgi... yes it was sad.

Snap! I painted my K6 200 box Indigo blue, even the floppy drive cover and flap as well as the CDROM bezel and tray cover! I even paid for 2-pack paint at that time and had the thing sprayed by a restoration expert who did me a favour. I was only like 17 or 18 at the time.

We used to get the SGI Indy adverts in some Unix magazine around that time, some play on words about Rip Van Winkle...
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JacquesT Offline
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09-20-2018, 04:44 PM
#43
RE: Your first SGI encounter?
My first encounter with an SGI was back in around 1998 or 1999 at the International Fine Arts College in Miami (now called Miami International University of Art & Design), where I was majoring in Computer Animation. We must have had around twenty O2s in the class. I don't remember exactly which of the O2s they were but I remember thinking they were awesome looking computers and knowing they were supper expensive. never graduated from that, ended up becoming a web developer. Now, 20 years later, I own an O2 and the nostalgia is a high. I still have a couple of magneto-optical disks that I used to use in that class where I saved all my modeling and animation projects. I hope someday to be able to see what's in them.
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09-28-2018, 05:50 AM
#44
RE: Your first SGI encounter?
In the summer of 1995, as a high school student, I did an internship at Brookhaven National Labs on Long Island. One day SGI pulled up with an 18-wheeler full of their computers - it was a promotional cross-country tour they called the "Magic Bus" that ran for years, showcasing their newest hardware & software. I spent my lunch break playing with realtime 3D models on Indy & Indigo2 workstations, then waited in line to pilot a high-resolution F/A-18 simulator running on a rackmount Onyx supercomputer. It was displayed on a large projection screen and controlled by the beefiest joystick I've ever seen, with a metal base the size of a shoebox. Needless to say, I was fascinated. I still have the brochures I picked up in that trailer 23 years ago.
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09-28-2018, 10:04 AM
#45
RE: Your first SGI encounter?
OK, I'll play.

I was at SAIC in Chicago starting a BFA Degree in painting in 1990. I already had a 2-year Associates Degree in VC from a state college, but after working in graphic design for a year I decided I hated it and had missed out on the "fine art" aspect of my art education, so I applied to what I thought at the time were the best "real" art schools out there and got accepted to SAIC.

6 months into my new painting career, I was in the A+T (Art and Technology) building on Wasatch Street for a class and happened to walk by a room newly inhabited by lots of squat purple rectangles and a few big brown ones. Turned out SAIC had just gotten a big grant from Softimage and SGI in 1991 to create an amazing new computer graphics lab at the school, and had just taken delivery of a bunch of Indigos and a couple of 4D Power Series.

Now, back in those days, usually the only way to get any kind of time on these kinds of machines and software was mostly either to be working at a big company with access somewhere, or be in a CompSci program at a major university and have a relevant thesis. As I recall, an Indigo Elan with a full seat of SoftImage 3D ran about $40,000-$50,000 at the time; it was pretty unusual for art schools to have anything remotely like this. I had always loved computer graphics, especially computer animation, and knowing about the above restrictions and seeing the opportunity, I jumped on it with both hands and never looked back. 

My friends and I were the first class in the new program. It turned out to be such a new program that we basically had to teach each other; the instructors had no clue and were not very helpful at the time. We lived in that lab, ate, slept and learned voraciously everything we could from the manuals (This was before the internet as we know it today, which I also remember trying out for the first time in 1992-93 using some weird apps called 'Gopher' and 'Mosaic' ha ha) Softimage also occasionally sent around some demo jockeys to help us out and answer questions, which helped a lot (in fact I am still friends with a couple of them.) 

By the time senior year rolled around in '95 we all burned hard to make our reels as good as they could be, and sent them out to all the major west coast facilities at the time, which as far as I recall were Rhythm & Hues (R+H), ILM, PDI, Pixar, Colossal, DD, Tippett, and Boss Films. I got three or four acceptance letters, but R+H's offer was head and shoulders above the others, plus I was totally amazed by "Seafari", the ride film they had recently completed, so I went to L.A. Two of my friends went to Pixar, one went to ILM and I think one more wound up at PDI. All told, we were a pretty successful first "graduating class" from the nascent CG program at SAIC, and I'm still in touch with most of them.

I wound up staying at R+H for almost 17 years as an animator, and later an animation supervisor, but I never lost my affection for those squat purple rectangles, even though we had ditched them for Linux boxes by the year 2001. I still fondly remember my first day there in July of 1995 and going on a tour of the machine room, where they had two or three SGI Predators, each with an astounding two (2) gigabytes of RAM!! (our desktop workstations were Indigo 2's with 256mb of RAM) 

In the intervening years I acquired a purple Indigo of my own, which I eventually upgraded as far as it could go to a maxed-out R4400 Elan. I also had a basic Octane at one point which I later traded for a beefy R12K 02, and I still have both the Indigo and the 02 and keep them up and running for old times' sake. My 11 yr old son is getting into computers more now and enjoys playing with my collection of Jurassic Technology, which includes the SGIs, a Mac Color Classic, and a Sony VAIO UX-490, amongst others. Currently I have "retired" into Academia after 20+ years in production, and teach CG classes at a local University here in the Los Angeles area. It's a good life, all told.


Big thanks again to Raion and everyone else on here for keeping the dream alive!  Cool

[Image: s1r8B4m.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 09-30-2018, 08:19 AM by BackPlaner.)
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09-30-2018, 06:55 AM
#46
RE: Your first SGI encounter?
I'm a retired mechanical engineer. In the mid-80's I got involved in doing discrete event simulation work. There were computer languages that you could use to write programs that emulated a physical situation that was made up of events of particular sequences, particular durations, etc. We wrote programs that emulated production lines so that we could evaluate the performance of the production line, look for bottlenecks and evaluate solutions. We used GPSS/H from Wolverine Software. While we had all sorts of queuing and delay information in printed form, it was difficult to explain to our internal customers.

Meanwhile, a company called AutoSimulations developed software with the ability to do real time display of the simulation model results and it was hosted on an Iris workstation. We would bring people in to see how the performance changed as a result of changing model parameters. We also had the ability to record to video tapes...



SGI Iris user; late 80's/early 90's; AutoSumulations AutoMod discrete event simulation software

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History Since 1970:
IBM System 360, IBM 4300, DEC System 10, DEC VAX 750, DEC VAX 785, DEC LSI-11, SGI Iris 3xxx, various PC's, Apple IIci
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09-30-2018, 08:34 PM
#47
RE: Your first SGI encounter?
(09-30-2018, 06:55 AM)BackPlaner Wrote: ...

That's awesome that you worked in VFX during the best years for 3D animators. I worked at R&H briefly in 2005 on the first Narnia movie, but by then the pipeline was all Linux PeeCees and the only SGI systems were strewn about the corners of rooms waiting to be recycled. Was John Hughes BBQ'ing for his employees back in the '90s too?

You had the career I wish I could have had.
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09-30-2018, 08:39 PM
#48
RE: Your first SGI encounter?
My first time was at a large business and computer exhibition in the North of Italy (SMAU) in 1992.
It was a Power Iris 4D, running one of the early flight simulation demos.
The following year, same show, the Onyx running the same simulator.

I was hooked, those two events effectively triggered my interest for computer graphics, which in turn led me to become a videogames developer and eventually to work for SGI, and own over the years a few SGI machines, including a Nintendo Ultra64 development system Smile
(This post was last modified: 10-01-2018, 04:06 AM by Jollyroger.)
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10-01-2018, 04:06 AM
#49
RE: Your first SGI encounter?

(09-30-2018, 08:39 PM)Silicon Classics Wrote:
(09-30-2018, 06:55 AM)BackPlaner Wrote: ...

That's awesome that you worked in VFX during the best years for 3D animators. I worked at R&H briefly in 2005 on the first Narnia movie, but by then the pipeline was all Linux PeeCees and the only SGI systems were strewn about the corners of rooms waiting to be recycled. Was John Hughes BBQ'ing for his employees back in the '90s too?

You had the career I wish I could have had.

Thanks man, yep John was still flipping burgers then. [Image: smile.png]

I never really burned out on production while I was working there, it was a great environment, especially for the artist. It was only after they went under in 2013 and I started freelancing, working at many different studios really highlighted how different things things can be at different facilities depending on who was running it. Some are great, some were not, and some are gone; I'd love to say they were all as good as R+H but of course most weren't, and some places didn't seem to have much problem with overworking and underpaying the artists. A lot of my friends had to move up to Vancouver to chase the subsidies because most of the film VFX work has left Los Angeles and is being done elsewhere now. When my friend, who was my mentor and close compatriot at R+H (and had by then been working in education for years) asked me to come join him, it just seemed like the right thing at the right time. 

Now I get to show my students how things used to be, I've even brought in some older machines and let them play around on them, which ultimately I think made them extremely grateful for what we have now. [Image: biggrin.png]
(This post was last modified: 10-01-2018, 11:14 AM by BackPlaner.)
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10-01-2018, 04:43 AM


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