SIGGRAPH 2011: Make It Home
I recently returned from SIGGRAPH 2011, Vancouver, BC. SIGGRAPH (or Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) is a premier international computer graphics, video, animation and new technologies conference.
SIGGRAPH 2011: Make It Home
The overall focus centered around the idea of community within the animation/effects/interactive industry. This was a chance to acknowledge the key companies and individuals that have steadily helped push and grow the computer graphics industry and specifically the SIGGRAPH family.
Of course great work, ideas and inspirations were all around. While last year saw a heavy industry push towards “stereoscopic 3D,” that emphasis seemed to have faded. Interactivity, through gaming and online productions, still held high interest. And some of the best, budding ideas were found in the student/research expo, “The Studio.” One incredible prototyped development actually measured an individual’s heart rate and vitals simply through web cam use and its recordings. Virtual reality and immersive interactive environments were prominent again; 3D printers were also on display and demoing capabilities.
The lectures at SIGGRAPH balanced technology with the human element and thoughts on the industry. The keynote speaker was Cory Doctorow, an industry blogger and Wired contributor. He spoke specifically on the effect patent laws are having on the individual and creativity. Production teams/directors from some of the latest features, Rango, Thor, Pixar’s La Luna and Cars 2, and Smurfs, shared personal and technical insights as well.
Finally, the SIGGRAPH animation showcase gave attendees a chance to view some of the strongest visualizations and productions from the past year. Enjoy just a few unique styles and amazing ideas from around the world — some beautiful, some dark, some funny, but all very well-crafted:
La Luna (the latest Pixar short – trailer, and another beautiful piece on its way)
Paths of Hate (Jury Award – trailer)
Hezarfen (student piece)
Coke “Siege” (commercial spot, Wieden + Kennedy, Nexus/Fx, Mat)
Amnesty International “Death to the Death Penalty” (commercial spot, Pleix)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (Best in Show – trailer and iPad app)
Meet Buck (student piece)
SIGGRAPH 2010: The People Behind the Pixels
I recently attended SIGGRAPH (or Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques), a premier international computer graphics, video, animation and new technologies conference.
This year’s conference focused on the stories, people and elements underlying computer graphics and interactive techniques (the people behind the pixels). As a result, I got good insight from all levels of creative and production.
The big technology push this year was “stereoscopic 3D.” TV, movies, media, gaming applications—all are starting to employ stereoscopic technology. There was also discussion of how real-time 3D design in software packages like Maya could be handled with a pair of the stereoscopic glasses. Based on several of the talks, it sounds like the actual production techniques are costly and still being worked out, but the idea is well in place.
Studios are pushing for 3D everywhere as these movies can draw higher ticket prices and profits. However, many are leaning on the cheaper solution of rotoscoping flat video, rather than shooting in true 3D. Hopefully, the success of “truly shot” 3D movies (Avatar, Tron: Legacy) and computer animations (Pixar, Dreamworks, etc.) will continue to succeed and help push the limits of 3D with the use of layered shots, linked cameras and alpha channels.
The importance of 3D was also on display during the first day’s young creative showcase. There were a number of virtual reality booths that immersed attendees in real-time stereoscopic environments, complete with touch and smell.
Meanwhile, the lectures at SIGGRAPH balanced all this technology with the human element and thoughts on the industry. Don Marinelli (Executive Producer at Carnegie Mellon) described the importance of emphasizing storytelling, experience, and arts of all kinds in education. Jim Morris (Executive VP of Production at Pixar) gave a historical look at how Pixar and other studios came to be. And director Joe Kosinski, Digital Domain artists and Disney honchos previewed the upcoming movie Tron: Legacy.
Finally, the SIGGRAPH animation showcase gave attendees a chance to view some of the strongest visualizations and productions from the past year. I really enjoyed seeing all the unique styles and amazing ideas from around the world—some beautiful, some dark, some funny, but all very well-crafted. It was a fitting end to a conference brimming with creativity and technology.
Here are links to some of the more impressive efforts on display:
http://www.poppyfilm.com/index.html (Jury Award)
http://polynoid.org/polynoid_loom.html (Best in Show Award)