Autodesk take over Las Vegas

Autodesk CAVE conference ImagineFX

ImagineFX digital editor Beren Neale marvels at the bright lights of Autodesk's star-studded annual software conference in dazzling Los Vegas.

Relaxing poolside at The Venetian, there are a few niggling questions I'd like to put to the organisers of this year's Autodesk CAVE conference, which kicks off Monday morning…

How did you convince so many in-demand art studio heads and art legends to all converge on the same point at the same time? What big reveals can we expect in the following days of workshops and seminars. And what the hell is John Cleese doing here?!

John Cleese will lead the last talk of the first day, which will then spill out into a local nightclub... silly walks encouraged

Although Mr Cleese and his Monty Python chums have recently reunited, it turns out his presence is more relevant than topical. As well as being the CEO of The Ministry of Funny Walks, he's the founder of Video Arts, an international provider of business training programmes.

His philosophy of 'make 'em laugh and they'll remember stuff better' has been a success since the company's founding in 1972. Needless to say, his closing talk at 7pm tomorrow will be packed.

Autodesk CAVE conference The Venetian
Squint and imagine you're in Assassin's Creed 2. This year's Autodesk CAVE conference will be held in the Renaissance-themed Venetian Hotel.

But there's so much more going on before then.

Autodesk is best known for its 3D design software, but the company's keen to stress its crossover appeal to 2D digital artists.

Syd Mead, the industrial designer turned futurist artist, is going to talk about how he's brought 3D software into his workflow. The Blade Runner concept artist's suitably ambitious talk, The Future of Everything, will no doubt be a highlight.

Autodesk CAVE conference ImagineFX magazine
Alien, Blade Runner, Minority Report… Syd's CV is legendary, but he's relatively new to the seminar circuit.

Big names abound, but the artists who are leading digital art today are all present, too. Liam Sharp's talk on his digital art comic company Madefire starts at 4pm.

Autodesk CAVE conference ImagineFX magazine
According to the deviantART jobs board, the site has 25 million members, with more then 246 million submissions. Founder Angelo Sotira may reveal the site's secret to success.

The artist promises that we'll "gain insight into the essential steps for creating dynamic Motion Books," but the bigger story is that this technology "will soon be a new tool on deviantART," the behemoth website that features user-made art from around the world.

Autodesk CAVE conference ImagineFX magazine
Liam Sharp has been in comics since he was a team, working for 2000 AD. His Dark Horse Aliens comic, which he wrote and drew, was a massive hit.

Talking of which, among the non-practical side of seminars, co-founder and CEO of deviantART Angelo Sotira and author Neil Gaiman promises to be a double-barrelled shotgun blast to the face of inspiration.

There's also Terryl Whitlatch, Design Studio Press boss Scott Robertson, Lorne Lanning, and a fine selection of Pixar animation artists bringing up the rear – and that's only on the first day!

Keep posted for more on Autodesk's CAVE conference day by day.

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