25 June 2014

Top 10 Ten Reasons to Stay at an Official SIGGRAPH 2014 Hotel

It's an important decision: where to sleep during SIGGRAPH 2014. If you have friends or family in Vancouver, and they're willing to host you for five or more days, that might be your best option. Your second-best option is one of the official SIGGRAPH 2014 hotels. Here's why:

10. Official hotels have been inspected and carefully selected by SIGGRAPH. They’re SIGGRAPH-endorsed. They're cool, comfortable, and convenient.

9. In the official hotels, you're closer to SIGGRAPH friends and colleagues. It's much easier to connect in real life over breakfast, lunch, coffee, drinks, or dinner.

8. Most official hotels are within walking distance of the Vancouver Convention Centre or near quick, easy transportation links.

7. You can discuss questions or concerns directly with the helpful people at SIGGRAPH 2014's official hotel desk in the convention center.

6. Booking terms are very reasonable when you use the official online reservation system: No change fees. No full prepayment.

5. The official discounted rates are guaranteed until 14 July 2014.

4. If you use other hotel-reservation systems, you have to live with their way-too-complicated terms and conditions. And if you have a reservation or room problem, SIGGRAPH 2014 can't help you negotiate with the hotel.

3. Future hotel rates and registration fees will remain reasonable, because SIGGRAPH's negotiating position with host cities and hotel companies will be stronger.

2. It's the right thing to do, for yourself, the SIGGRAPH community, and your favorite conference.

1. Save MONEY! SIGGRAPH has negotiated on your behalf to get discounted group rates so you make the weight of being a SIGGRAPH attendee work for you!

Please note that hotel rates are given in Canadian dollars ($1 US = $1.07).

Our Hotels Our Rate Orbitz Rate
as of 6/24/14
Nightly Savings
Sheraton Vancouver WallCentre Hotel  $199 $387 $188
The Listel Hotel $225 $305 $80
The Sutton Place Hotel $215 $386 $171
The Westin Bayshore Hotel $239 sold out N/A

For more information about the official SIGGRAPH 2014 hotels, visit our website.

Begin planning your trip now! Register for SIGGRAPH 2014 to experience all that the SIGGRAPH community has to offer.

24 June 2014

SIGGRAPH 2014 Selects Elliot Kotek, Co-Founder of Not Impossible Labs, as Keynote Speaker

Elliot Kotek
SIGGRAPH 2014 announces the selection of Elliot Kotek, co-founder of Not Impossible Labs, as the keynote speaker at SIGGRAPH 2014, the 41st International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, 10-14 August 2014 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. 

The current content chief and co-founder of Not Impossible Labs, and editor-in-chief of www.NotImpossibleNow.com, Kotek is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Beyond Cinema and the former editor-in-chief of both Moving Pictures and Celebs.com. Not Impossible Labs is comprised of thinkers and doers with a mission to transform ideas that once seemed impossible to possible.

"Elliot Kotek is an ideal keynote speaker for SIGGRAPH 2014," said Dave Shreiner, SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference Chair. “The motto of Not Impossible Labs, 'technology for the sake of humanity', is the perfect example that the SIGGRAPH community strives for in making a meaningful impact on society with their work. Not Impossible Labs' projects serve as inspiration to the thousands of researchers, artists, educators, and computer graphics professionals that gather at SIGGRAPH each year."


By utilizing crowd-sourcing to crowd-solve healthcare issues, Not Impossible aims to provide low-cost and DIY solutions on an open-source platform, and to enable high-tech devices to reach people in need all over the world. Utilizing the content production strength of its founders, Not Impossible is disrupting the status quo of healthcare via compelling stories in which the one person helped inspires many to action. Not Impossible creates a sustainable cycle where collaboration inspires innovation, and where content compels further action.

Not Impossible projects include: 

  • Eyewriter are eye-tracking glasses with free, open-source software that enabled a renowned graffiti artist paralyzed by ALS to draw and communicate using only his eyes. The technology was lauded in TIME’S “Top 50 Inventions of 2010,” named to Gizmodo’s Eight Incredible Health Innovations that Transform Lives, and became the subject of the award-winning documentary “Getting Up.” It also went on to win Gizmodo’s Health Invention of the Year.   

  • Hot off their win at the Cannes Lion Awards 2014 for Project Daniel: 3D Printing Prosthetic Arms for Children of War-torn Sudan, Not Impossible Labs was honored with a Cannes Titanium Lion, a Gold Lion in Product Design and a Bronze Lion in Branded Content & Entertainment.  Other awards for Project Daniel include: Curator’s Recognition and the Next Cause Marketing award at AICP, two gold pencils at the One Show Awards (including tying for Best In Show for Design), a Silver Telly and a Bronze Telly, and the Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon for creativity, ingenuity, and innovation. 
  • The Brainwriter is a personal EEG device, available for only $200, that operates a computer mouse or gaming console, and creates a seamless interface between brain and machine. Brainwriter will enable people suffering from any kind of neuromuscular syndrome to continue to write and draw as their condition worsens. EEG technology has been around for a while, and while there are already several companies creating personal brain-computer interfaces, they range in price from $800 to $2,000 and are not open-source. The Brainwriter is being launched as part of the Digital Revolution Exhibition at Barbican in London on 3 July 2014.

A former M&A/Biotech Venture Capital attorney in Australia and New York, Kotek holds a Law Degree, a BS in Pharmacology & Toxicology, studied at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and completed UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting. He’s become a recognizable figure in taking stories based in the sphere of science and technology, and ensuring that they are not only accessible, but that they serve to inspire. 

The feature documentary “140", which Kotek co-produced, is the first ever user-generated film made utilizing social media. ”Little Larry,” which Elliot wrote, received a Directors Guild of Canada nomination, and his current productions include the documentaries “Queen Mimi” with Zach Galifianakis and “The People Sign,” which highlights the work of music interpreters for the hearing impaired.

22 June 2014

SIGGRAPH 2014 Posts Studio Preview Video

Now you can take an early tour of the wonderful content in this year's SIGGRAPH Studio - a collaborative working environment where the latest technologies and brightest minds come together to learn, experiment, and create. Attendees of the SIGGRAPH Studio explore wide range of new techniques and media with help from experienced hands. Here is where attendees experience the latest in 3D printing, modeling, and animation software.

The SIGGRAPH Studio is made for anyone interested in cutting-edge DIY gadgets, quasi-objects, Rube Goldberg machines, user-generated content projects, software, hardware, processes, workflows, technologies, etc.

20 June 2014

SIGGRAPH 2014 Registration Now Open!

It's Time to Register!

SIGGRAPH 2014 is returning to Vancouver this summer and we can't wait to see you there! Register now and meet us at the Vancouver Convention Centre 10-14 August for the Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques event of the year. Where else can you interact with the best and brightest in art, science, and technology?

SIGGRAPH 2014 Registration Categories 

Full Conference Access Pass*
Includes admission to ALL conference programs and events, including the Art Gallery, Art Papers, Awards Presentation, Birds of a Feather, Computer Animation Festival-Daytime Selects, Computer Animation Festival-Electronic Theater, Courses, Dailies, Emerging Technologies, Exhibition, Exhibitor Tech Talks, Exhibits Fast Forward, International Resources, Job Fair, Keynote Sessions, Panels, Posters, Production Sessions, Real-Time Live!, Reception, Studio, Talks, Technical Papers, and Technical Papers Fast Forward.

*Note: The Full Conference Access Pass is the only pass that allows access to Courses, Panels, Technical Papers, Talks, and the Reception.

Full Conference One-Day Pass
Includes one day admission to ALL conference programs and events and the Exhibition (Tuesday - Thursday). Does not include reception ticket.

Select Conference Pass
Includes admission to the Art Gallery, Art Papers, Awards Presentation, Birds of a Feather, Computer Animation Festival-Daytime Selects, Computer Animation Festival-Electronic Theater, Dailies, Emerging Technologies, Exhibitor Tech Talks, Exhibits Fast Forward, International Resources, Job Fair, Keynote Sessions, Posters, Production Sessions, Real-Time Live!, Studio, Technical Papers Fast Forward, and all days of the Exhibition (Tuesday – Thursday). Does not include reception ticket.

Select Conference One Day Pass
Includes one day admission to the Art Gallery, Awards Presentation, Birds of a Feather, Computer Animation Festival-Daytime Selects, Computer Animation Festival-Electronic Theater, Dailies, Emerging Technologies, Exhibitor Tech Talks, Exhibits Fast Forward, International Resources, Job Fair, Keynote Sessions, Posters, Production Sessions, Real-Time Live!, Studio, Technical Papers Fast Forward, and all days of the Exhibition (Tuesday – Thursday). Does not include reception ticket.

Exhibits Plus Pass
Includes admission to the Art Gallery, Birds of a Feather, Emerging Technologies, Exhibitor Tech Talks, Exhibits Fast Forward, Job Fair, Posters, Studio, Technical Papers Fast Forward, and the Exhibition (Tuesday - Thursday). Does not include Electronic Theater or reception ticket.

To secure your spot at SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver as well as for more registration information, visit the SIGGRAPH 2014 website.

SIGGRAPH 2014 Focus For Educators

               Image Credit: Charismatic and Eloquent Instructor Avatars With Scriptable Gesture © 2014.                                Jian Cui, Nicoletta Adamo-Villani, Voicu Popescu, Purdue University
Every year, teachers and students look forward to the in-depth educators sessions at SIGGRAPH. This year’s program includes student-run pipeline productions, augmented reality in education, animatronics, strategies and tools for teaching online, WebGL, and virtual worlds for therapy. And, on Sunday (10 August), the SIGGRAPH Education Committee presents an all-day training course on Unity3D just for educators.

Meet with educators over coffee during the Morning Meet and Greet on Monday and Tuesday from 8:00 A.M - 9:00 A.M. then stay for presentations and discussions during Birds of a Feather sessions on topics including:
  • Augmented Reality in Informal and Formal Education
  • Collaborative Content Creation in 3D Digital Design
  • Scientific Visualization Using 3D Printing
  • Strengthening the School-Industry Continuum
  • Teaching intro and Advanced Graphics with WebGL
  • The Dyslexic Advantage in Computer Graphics
  • The Zen of Collaboration
Courses, Panels, Studio Projects and Talks are offered every day of the week at SIGGRAPH 2014, and all include topics with an education focus.  Here is just a sampling:

Creating Next-Gen 3D Interactive Apps With Motion Control and Unity3D
Through a series of live-coded examples, this course grounds attendees in the fundamentals of using the Unity3D engine for game and application development, integrating the Leap Motion Controller into an application, and designing and developing a next-generation 3D interactive application with motion control.

Presenters: Elizabeth Ruscitto, David Holz and Daniel Plemmons, Leap Motion, Inc.

Introduction to 3D Gestural Interfaces
With the proliferation of inexpensive motion-sensing technology, 3D gestural interfaces are becoming common in applications such as video games and mobile computing. This course provides an introduction to design and development of 3D gestural interfaces, covering topics from user tracking to gesture recognition and evaluation.

Presenter: Joseph LaViola, University of Central Florida

An Evaluation of University Education as it Relates to the VFX, Animation, and Game Industries 
This ever-changing digital age requires individuals with different perspectives to coalesce around ideas to create new techniques and paradigms that enable both academia and industry to thrive. This intelligent, spirited, creative panel will examine how education and industry can work together to unite their visions in an era of profound change.

Speakers: Margaret Lomas Carpenter, Texas A&M University; Frederic Parke, Texas A&M University; Donald House, Clemson University; Jerry Tessendorf, Clemson University; Dave Walvoord, DreamWorks Animation Studios; David Parrish, Reel FX Creative Studios; Jack Stenner, University of Florida; Gracie Arenas Strittmatter, BioWare; Michelle Robinson, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Cultivating Creative Thinking Across Disciplines: Stories From the Field
Creative thinking across disciplines is what distinguishes the perfunctory from the inspired. Hear reflections from renowned individuals whose work depends on successful integration of art and science in different ways. Speakers, representing industry and academia, share lessons learned in establishing creative environments for effective productivity and educational transformation.

Moderators: Ginger Alford, Trinity Valley School and Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Panelists: Paul Dietz, Microsoft Research; Mk Haley, Disney Research; Roger Malina, University of Texas at Dallas; Ramesh Raskar, MIT Media Labs

Studio Projects

Arduino Drawing Machines
Participants design, program, and build drawing machines that will be showcased in a live crowd-sourced voting event.

Presenter: Erik Brunvand, Paul Stout, University of Utah


Stina and the Wolf – Feature Film Production in Education
Staff from the University of Portsmouth review the making of “Stina and the Wolf”, a feature length CGI film driven by performance capture and discuss how this novel approach in higher education is giving their students that extra edge.

Presenters: Alexander Counsell and Paul Charisse, University of Portsmouth

The Making of “Owned”: A Student-Built Iterative Pipeline
A large group of Brigham Young University students created a short animated film in two-thirds the time required for previous BYU animations yet with more time to focus on artistic quality. The main factor in this improvement was student-generated pipeline that allowed all departments to work in parallel and iterate quickly.

Presenters: Seth Holladay, Brigham Young University; Brent Adams, Brian Kingery, Daniel Clark, Carson Crawford, Kaleb Goulding, Jeff Raines, Evan Roberts, Susan Hatton, and Andrew Rasmussen, Brigham Young University Center for Animation

Development of Communication Assistant Application with Blinking for Physically Handicapped Children and Elderly People

Two new communication applications, Eye Talk and Eye Tell, were developed to help physically handicapped children and elderly people who cannot speak communicate with others. The apps are operated with eye-blinks to detect letters or symbols and translate them into sound.

Presenters: Ippei Torii and and Kaoruko Ohtani, Aichi Institute of Technology

Virtual Dog Head: Using 3D Models to Teach Complex Veterinary Anatomy

A new method of interactive learning through incorporation of 3D computed tomography (CT) scan-generated models of the larynx and hyoid apparatus in dogs using OpenGL and the Oculus Rift. 

Presenters: Matt Viehdorfer, Sarah Nemanic, Serena Mills, and Mike Bailey, Oregon State University 

Charismatic and Eloquent Instructor Avatars With Scriptable Gesture

Introducing a new approach that allows users to create animation stimuli for research on instructor gesture without the prerequisites of artistic talent or programming expertise. The approach has been used to support experiments that investigate the benefits of instructor gesture in the context of mathematical equivalence learning.

Presenters: Jian Cui, Nicoletta Adamo-Villani, and Voicu Popescu, Purdue University

17 June 2014

AR/VR Contest Deadline Extended to 25 June - DK2s Added as Prizes

A scene from last year's Real-Time Live!
SIGGRAPH 2014 is conducting an augmented reality - virtual reality contest in order to showcase the best augmented/virtual reality experiences to date.  The contest is open to anyone interested in augmented/virtual reality: researchers, students, hobbyists, and professionals. Contestants can use any software and hardware they choose.

Up to three finalists will be selected to demonstrate their technology at SIGGRAPH 2014, during Real-Time Live! The winning team will then be announced from the Real-Time Live stage!

All finalists will also have the opportunity to demonstrate their system to attendees during SIGGRAPH 2014's new networking event "Appy Hour," Wednesday, 13 August, 5:30-7:30 pm.

Oculus VR is on board to provide DK2s to the top-three finalists, with one of them being signed for the grand prize. The DK2 is the latest development kit for the Oculus Rift that allows developers to build amazing games and experiences for the consumer Oculus Rift. 

The new deadline to submit is 25 June 2014.

For more information and to submit your work to the contest, click here.

16 June 2014

SIGGRAPH 2014 Releases Sneak Peek Emerging Technologies Video

The SIGGRAPH 2014 Emerging Technologies program showcases the latest interactive and graphics technologies before they transform the way we live and work. Emerging Technologies presents demonstrations of research from several fields, including displays, input devices, collaborative environments, gaming, computer vision, biometrics, wearable computing, scientific visualization, medicine, robotics, and design.  Here's the new preview video to get you an early peek of the wonderful tech coming to Vancouver.

11 June 2014

Q&A With SIGGRAPH 2014 Emerging Technologies Chair Thierry Frey

"Physical Painting With a Digital Paintbrush"
First off, how many submissions did you get this year and how many were accepted? 

We received almost 90 submissions and accepted 24. We also have an additional two curated pieces. One of these received the SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies prize at the partner conference, Laval Virtual, and thus was invited to SIGGRAPH ["Cyberith Virtualizer"].

How many submissions were from outside of the United States?

Out of 26 accepted pieces, more than 20 are from outside the USA.

Thierry Frey
Did you notice any new themes surface from the submissions?
Not exactly, even though we had a special call for "invisible technologies," i.e. installations and projects that leave technology in the background to focus on the user and/or the usage.

In a few sentences, how would you describe this year’s content?

Very diverse. Some of the selected submissions fall close to the special call. One, for instance, uses a technology that is known, though not extensively used, but in a manner that could help innovate storytelling. Others are more typical of Emerging Technologies, being very scientific or technical.

How will the venue be physically organized this year?

As in the past years, the venue will share space with Art Gallery and Studio. We have tried to emulate last year's design, where a single path leads attendees through all installations, starting with the more technical installations and taking them towards the more practical and tangible. The latter ones are located closer to the Studio, which is all about experience. Studio and Emerging Technologies are actually working together to share a few installations.

What do you think will be a few of the technologies that will really create a buzz?

Pixie Dust,” for sure! It demonstrates the  manipulation and movement in a 3D volume light objects, such as very small pieces of Styrofoam.

I also think that “Birdly” and “Direct and Natural Interaction With an Aerial Robot” will be extremely popular with the attendees. They are both related to flight, something that we all yearn for, don't we?

What were some of the biggest challenges the jury faced this year?

"Tangible and Modular Input Device for Character Articulation"
I believe there were more or less the same as the previous years. We have two days to judge approximately 90 submissions, and it’s easy to get excited and to discuss each one of them! So time management is a big issue.

And once we have identified the top and bottom tiers, we have to rank the middle tiers. That takes even more time, because there's a facet to each installation that makes it worthy of being accepted. But, we have to make the cut somewhere.

How did you choose your jury?

I submitted the names of some persons I wanted to have on the unified jury and Ann McNamara, SIGGRAPH 2014 General Submissions Chair, made the final selection.

Outside of Emerging Technologies, what other areas of the conference are you particularly excited about?

First of all, Studio, because it has a lot of ties with Emerging Technologies. They are both what I call "experience programs" or hands-on, where attendees can interact and/or create digital content or tangible objects.

Another favorite is the exhibition, which can sometimes be considered as a natural "next step" for some of what is showcased in Emerging Technologies. An innovative and/or disruptive concept can be displayed in Emerging Technologies and then appear as a full-fledged product in the exhibition as early as the following year.

You have a bit of history with SIGGRAPH, in that regard what advice would you give to someone tackling the conference for their first time?
"Janus" - a transparent, double-sided display.

It can definitely be overwhelming! The first concession to make to oneself is that it's impossible to see everything, and choices must be made. Personal areas of interest will naturally help make some of those choices, favoring one program over another, for example, Production Sessions over Technical Papers (or the reverse!) I think you need to plan for the few things that you absolutely don't want to miss, and then also leave some room for wandering around, letting fate/chance guide you.

Most of the content is or will be accessible online after the conference, but not the venues that have to do with "experience,"such as Emerging Technologies, Studio and Art Gallery.

Finally, and probably most importantly, engage with other attendees, contributors and exhibitors.

One of your hobbies is flying gliders, how did you get into that sport and how has it impacted you professionally?
Thierry at the controls.

My father worked for Dassault Aviation, which manufactures the Falcon line of business jets as well as military jets such as the Mirage 2000 and the Rafale. He is himself a private plane and sailplane pilot, so I've heard constantly about flying machines all of my childhood.

I started flying at 15 and received my sailplane license at 16 and my plane licence at 17. In fact, in France, you're legally allowed to fly an aircraft solo before driving a car! After about a 10 years hiatus, I started flying again about 10 years ago and got my sailplane flight instructor certification 5 years ago. I believe that learning how to fly has had as strong impact on me, both personally and professionally.

Personally, the biggest lesson was probably when my instructor let me fly solo for the first time. We were flying runway circuits when he said, "Stop here, let me down, and keep going!" He was basically telling me "I trust you to bring yourself back in one piece." While my parents had actually taught me that lesson earlier, it really dawned on me then, when the consequence of a small problem can really be dramatic.

Thierry in mid-flight.
Professionally, learning how to fly teaches you focus and priorities. The pilot is actually in a constant state of information overload: You have many instruments that are giving you lots of information when, at any given time, you actually really need a single piece of information because you are focused on a single parameter. So you learn how to weed-out, constantly, the non-essential from the essential. The corollary is that you also learn how to assess and shift priorities, because the non-essential at a given time might become the essential a few minutes, if not seconds, later.

Editor's note: Check out the amazing Emerging Technologies Preview Video by clicking here.