14 August 2014

SIGGRAPH 2014 Highlights from Vancouver

SIGGRAPH Technical Papers Fast Forward was a popular session on Sunday evening.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - SIGGRAPH 2014 returned to Vancouver, Canada, for its 41st conference and exhibition. From 10-14 August, 14,045 artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students, and academics from 50 U.S. states and 75 countries gathered to experience cutting-edge computer graphics and interactive techniques. There were 6,156 participants from the host country of Canada.

The SIGGRAPH Exhibition ran from 12-14 August and attracted 175 exhibitors.
The conference boasted more than 40,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space featuring 175 participating companies - an increase from the 2013 conference in Anaheim, California. Eighteen countries were represented on the exhibit floor, 44% of which are based outside of the U.S. - including 28 companies from Canada. Furthermore, 25% of the exhibitors were first-timers, which was the highest percentage in four years.

Dave Shreiner
"This year’s exceptional education, numerous networking opportunities, and mind-blowing technological advances appealed to everyone," said Dave Shreiner, SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference Chair. "SIGGRAPH 2014 offered an incredible exhibition experience, innovative and inspiring content, and celebrated the impact that graphics and technology can have in every day life. Finally, the city of Vancouver was amazing - from the mayor’s office to the convention centre to the economic commission to the tourism bureau."

An impressive 1,533 speakers and contributors participated in the conference through a variety of talks, sessions, panels, papers, presentations, tutorials, and screenings.

Highlights from SIGGRAPH 2014 included:

The impactful keynote presentation by Not Impossible Labs co-founder Elliot Kotek shared a simple message: “Help One. Help Many.” Kotek showed how technology can have an immense impact on humanity by sharing stories of Not Impossible Labs’ efforts including Project Daniel, which outfitted Sudanese amputees with new prosthetic limbs thanks to 3D printing technology. 

Thierry Frey (center), SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies Chair, leads the Vancouver mayor on a tour.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson made an appearance, addressing members of the press and visiting SIGGRAPH 2014’s Emerging Technologies venue. He expressed his delight that emerging technologies and computer graphics have caused "an influx of talent and great people to our city" as well as thousands of jobs for its citizens. The Vancouver Economic Council sponsored the Emerging Technologies area. The virtual reality experience “Birdly” won the Laval Virtual award and the AR/VR competition.
Jerome Solomon served as the 2014 Computer Animation Festival Director.
The Computer Animation Festival presented the world's most innovative, accomplished, and amazing creators of digital gaming, film, and video. The festival received more than 450 juried submissions in 2014. SIGGRAPH 2014 Computer Animation Festival award winners included:

Box (United States)
Directed Tarik Abdel-Gawad, Bot & Dolly

Paper World
Paper World (Hungary)
Directed by Dávid Ringeisen, László Ruska, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design

Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home (France)
Directed by Pierre Clenet, Alejandro Diaz, Romain Mazenet, Stéphane Paccolat, Supinfocom Arles

Wrapped (Germany)
Directed by Roman Kalin, Falko Paeper, Florian Wittmann, Filmakademie Baden-Wüerttemberg

Gravity (United Kingdom)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Esperanto Filmoj

Kinematics (United States)
Directed by Jessica Rosenkrantz, Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, Nervous System

The Crew
The Crew (France)
Directed by Maxime Luère, Dominique Boidin, Rémi Kozyra, Unit Image

RYSE: Son of Rome
RYSE: Son of Rome (Germany)
Directed by Chris Evans, Peter Gornstein, Martin L’Heureux, Crytek

The Pony
Three, "The Pony" (United Kingdom)
Directed by Dougal Wilson, Blink Productions

SIGGRAPH 2014 Technical Papers Chair Adam Finkelstein  
Technical Papers is the premier global forum for presenting groundbreaking research from today's leading experts. The SIGGRAPH 2014 Technical Papers program featured 173 Technical Papers, selected among 550 submissions. The Technical Papers detailed new advances across many fronts, including 3D printing, creating water and snow with particles, deformation and distortion, and more.

For more details about SIGGRAPH 2014, visit the official SIGGRAPH 2014 Media Blog: http://siggraphmediablog.blogspot.ca/  

Download photos from SIGGRAPH 2014: www.flickr.com/photos/siggraphconferences/ 

Join Us in Los Angeles in 2015

SIGGRAPH 2015, the 42nd International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, will be held 9-13 August, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

13 August 2014

Q&A: DreamWorks Animation Experts Talk 'How to Train Your Dragon 2'

SIGGRAPH 2014 sat down after DreamWorks Animation Presents: The Growth of "How To Train Your Dragon 2" for a quick Q&A with panelists on their process.

Q: Which part of the animation process on How To Train Your Dragon 2 was most rewarding and why?

A: Lighting was the most rewarding part of HTTYD2 [for me]. This was my first film in the VFX Supervisor role so I had a lot more involvement and exposure with a much broader range of the film making than I had ever had before, which was really enjoyable; however, my background is in lighting and for this film I was able to collaborate very closely with renowned Cinematographer Roger Deakins.

 Roger is incredibly inspiring and I was able to learn so much from him in such a relatively short time. I'm very proud of all aspects of the film, but I think for me the lighting represents an area of personal growth that far exceeded my expectations. (Dave Walvoord, VFX Supervisor)

Q: In your production session panel you noted that the fans helped shape the main character’s final look, where else did you find inspiration for Hiccup and his surroundings?

A: I think I would like to elaborate on the fans contribution to the film. When our teaser trailer came out many of our fans filmed themselves watching their reaction to the trailer for the first time. Apparently this is something fans do now, but I had never seen anything like it. Our fan reaction was so strong that it became very inspirational for the crew. Our artists were constantly posting fan reactions on Facebook for their friends and other members of the crew to see. Our editorial staff gathered a number of them and cut together a piece that showed 8 people's reactions at the same time. 

The other thing that happened is that we saw how much these characters meant to our fans. Suddenly the entire crew was aware of having a responsibility to deliver their best efforts because we could see how much what we were doing meant to our fans. It would not have been possible for anyone to deliver a more motivational speech than what our fans had given us. It was a very unique experience and I can only wonder how much social media will grow to include the fans in our collaboration on future films. (Dave Walvoord, VFX Supervisor)

Q: Have you attended a SIGGRAPH conference in the past? If yes, tell us your favorite part about coming to SIGGRAPH. If no, describe your experience so far.

A: Yes, I've been coming to SIGGRAPH for years. In fact, the first two times was as a demo artist back in 1994 and 1995. I associate SIGGRAPH with the excitement that comes from the exploration of all things new and reconnecting with friends and former students. The Electronic Theater is a big highlight, too! (Gil Zimmerman, Head of Layout)

Don't miss tonight's special screening of How To Train Your Dragon 2 in Ballroom A/B, West Building at 8 p.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre. DreamWorks will be giving away 10 posters autographed by the film's producer and director to the first 10 attendees in live.

SIGGRAPH 2014 Emerging Technologies Media Tour

Click here to take the Media Tour.
SIGGRAPH 2014 Emerging Technologies Chair Thierry Frey (center in lavender shirt) takes you on a tour of this year's advancements in several fields - from displays and virtual reality technology to haptics and robotics, as well as innovations that apply to film and game production. The Vancouver Economic Commission is the official sponsor of the 2014 Emerging Technologies area.

12 August 2014

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson Embraces SIGGRAPH

Mayor Robertson (left) viewing the "Birdly" installation, which simulates bird flight in Emerging Technologies
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson made an appearance at SIGGRAPH 2014 yesterday, addressing members of the press as well as visiting the Emerging Technologies. Mayor Robertson expressed his delight that emerging technologies and computer graphics have caused "an influx of talent and great people to our city" as well as thousands of jobs for its citizens. The Vancouver Economic Council sponsored the Emerging Technologies area.

Keynote Elliott Kotek Captivates SIGGRAPH 2014 Attendees

Elliott Kotek, co-founder of Not Impossible Labs, gave an outstanding keynote presentation yesterday at SIGGRAPH 2014. Sharing that volunteerism is near and dear to his heart, Kotek told the audience about 14-year-old Daniel, a refuge in war-torn South Sudan, who had both arms amputated as a result of a terrible bombing. Unfortunately, Daniel is only one of 50,000 amputees. Kotek and his team, determined to help Daniel, outfitted the young man with an arm using a 3D printer, allowing Daniel to feed himself for the first time in 2 years.

While the original goal was to help Daniel, the ultimate objective is to "Help One. Help Many." Locals were instructed on how to use the 3D printers so that other amputees will also have the opportunity for a better quality of life. Hence, Project Daniel was born.

Here's the YouTube link to that video:

Kotek's message is simple. Technology can have an immense impact on humanity. He encouraged all SIGGRAPH 2014 attendees to find their own "Daniel" and placed importance on community responsibility.

“Everyone has access to tools," Kotek said, "You don’t need permission to be innovative.”

To learn more, visit www.notimpossiblelabs.com or view "Project Daniel".

Follow Kotek on Social Media:

  • @notimposs
  • Facebook: NotImpossible
  • Instagram: Not ImpossibleNow

SIGGRAPH 2014 Recap: Day 1

SIGGRAPH 2014, the 41st International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, made its return to Vancouver, Canada, when it officially opened its doors to attendees on Sunday, 10 August. The first day of the conference featured several Talks, Panels, Birds of a Feather events, Studio Courses and StudioXperience interviews, not to mention Technical Papers Fast Forward, ACM SIGGGRAPH Theater Events and Art Gallery.

11 August 2014

Brazilian Paulo Henrique Machado Attends SIGGRAPH 2014 Via Telepresence

Paulo Henrique Machado
Paulo Henrique Machado has lived in a room at Clinicas hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil since he was an infant. As a baby, he suffered paralysis brought on by polio, and is confined to bed and hooked to an artificial respirator 24 hours a day. In 46 years, he has left the hospital only a few dozen times. He saw the ocean for the first time at the age of 32. Much of Paulo’s childhood was spent in his hospital bed, dreaming of the world outside. "For me, playing football or with normal toys wasn't an option -- so it was more about using my imagination," he told BBC News last year.

3D model made by Paolo
Despite his physical limitations, Paulo has trained as a computer animator, and is now making an animated series for children about his life. The series, which is called “The Adventures of Leca and her Friends” is the embodiment of his greatest wish -- to show children that being different is okay, and that everyone is special in their own way. The series was inspired by a book written by his lifelong friend, Eliana Zagui, who is also paralyzed as a result of polio, and lives in the same room as Paulo.

Storyboards from Paolo's series.
For many years, Paulo has dreamed of attending SIGGRAPH. This year, SIGGRAPH and Double Robotics made that dream come true through the use of a telepresence robot. The nicknamed "R2 D2"--Paolo clearly has a great sense of humor--is the first telepresence robot he has ever employed.

SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference Chair Dave Shreiner noted:  “SIGGRAPH is a community. Paulo is part of our community, and we take care of our own.”

You may spot Paulo driving around the conference, steering the Double Robotics robot from his hospital room in Brazil. Please stop and say hello! He speaks some English, but will have Portuguese-speaking SIGGRAPH student volunteers with him to translate.

Paulo interacting with other SIGGRAPH attendees.
On Sunday, August 10, Paulo saw the Vancouver harbor for the first time, and was taken aback. He turned the robot left and right to look out the glass windows of the Vancouver Convention Centre. “Do you know what this means to me?” he asked SIGGRAPH, when questioned how he liked the robot. “It gives me the freedom that I physically can’t have.”

For more information on the series, email leca.e.seus.amigos@gmail.com.

BBC News Article: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23364127

Catarse Campaign: http://catarse.me/en/leca