29 July 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Highlights from Los Angeles


(Los Angeles, CA) – SIGGRAPH 2010, the world's premier conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques, welcomed 22,549 artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students, and academics from 79 countries around the globe to Los Angeles this week. In addition, more than 160 industry organizations exhibited at SIGGRAPH 2010.

"We were thrilled to be back in LA this year in the vibrant downtown area, experiencing and enjoying the wonder of all the latest research and innovations," said Terrence Masson, SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair. "SIGGRAPH once again served as the place where art, film, science, research, and technology converged for an entire week. We look to build onto this momentum in 2011 when we host SIGGRAPH in Vancouver - a growing hotbed for the computer graphics and entertainment industry.”

In all, more than 900 speakers participated in the conference through a variety talks, sessions, panels, papers, presentations, and screenings.

Highlights from SIGGRAPH 2010 included:

• Keynote presentations from industry experts:
o Don Marinelli, Executive Producer, Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center
o Jim Morris, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Production, Pixar Animation Studios

• The renowned SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival, highlighting juried and curated animation from around the globe. Winners in several categories included:
o Best in Show Award Winner: “Loom”, Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, and Csaba Letay, Polynoid, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Germany
o Jury Award Winner: “Poppy”, James Cunningham, Delf Productions, New Zealand
o Best Student Project Prize Winner: “The Wonder Hospital”, Beomsik Shimbe Shim, California Institute of the Arts, USA

• This year, a new program called SIGGRAPH Dailies! focused on the craft, artistry, and behind-the-scenes/never-told stories from the production community. The program featured work from films such as “Toy Story 3”, “Tangled”, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians”, “A Christmas Carol”, “The Princess and the Frog”, “Ratatouille”, “Up”, and more.

• A continued focus on videogames highlighted real-time rendering content with Live Real-Time Demos of cutting-edge real-time rendering applications, including games such as Blur, God of War III, and LOVE. Game studios that presented at SIGGRAPH 2010 included: Activision Studio Central, Bungie, LucasArts, Naughty Dog, Square Enix R&D, Ubisoft Montreal, Valve, and more. SIGGRAPH was the perfect place for film and game professionals to connect, with content specifically designed to appeal to both industries.

• The Disney Learning Challenge was an open competition sponsored by Disney Research with the goal of finding new and creative ways to use technology to make learning fun for children. From a group of 15 finalists, “Refraction: Teaching Fractions Through Gameplay” by Erik Andersen and Zoran Popović, won a majority of the $10,000 prize fund and tours of Disney R&D and Walt Disney Studio.

• Technical Papers, the premier global forum for presenting ground-breaking research from today's leading experts, covered the core topics of computer graphics, such as modeling, animation, rendering, imaging, and human-computer interaction, and also explore related fields of audio, robotics, visualization, and perception by presenters from all around the globe - from the Bangladesh to Switzerland.

• Art Paper presentations on topics exploring the multi-sensory nature of human experience in a technologically enhanced environment. SIGGRAPH 2010 collaborated with Leonardo, the Journal of the International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology to publish the SIGGRAPH 2010 Art Papers in a special issue.

SIGGRAPH 2010 Highlights from Los Angeles

(Los Angeles, CA) – SIGGRAPH 2010, the world's premier conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques, welcomed 22,549 artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students, and academics from 79 countries around the globe to Los Angeles this week. In addition, more than 160 industry organizations exhibited at SIGGRAPH 2010.

"We were thrilled to be back in LA this year in the vibrant downtown area, experiencing and enjoying the wonder of all the latest research and innovations," said Terrence Masson, SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair. "SIGGRAPH once again served as the place where art, film, science, research, and technology converged for an entire week. We look to build onto this momentum in 2011 when we host SIGGRAPH in Vancouver - a growing hotbed for the computer graphics and entertainment industry.”

In all, more than 900 speakers participated in the conference through a variety talks, sessions, panels, papers, presentations, and screenings.

Highlights from SIGGRAPH 2010 included:

• Keynote presentations from industry experts:
o Don Marinelli, Executive Producer, Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center
o Jim Morris, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Production, Pixar Animation Studios

• The renowned SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival, highlighting juried and curated animation from around the globe. Winners in several categories included:
o Best in Show Award Winner: “Loom”, Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, and Csaba Letay, Polynoid, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Germany
o Jury Award Winner: “Poppy”, James Cunningham, Delf Productions, New Zealand
o Best Student Project Prize Winner: “The Wonder Hospital”, Beomsik Shimbe Shim, California Institute of the Arts, USA

• This year, a new program called SIGGRAPH Dailies! focused on the craft, artistry, and behind-the-scenes/never-told stories from the production community. The program featured work from films such as “Toy Story 3”, “Tangled”, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians”, “A Christmas Carol”, “The Princess and the Frog”, “Ratatouille”, “Up”, and more.

• A continued focus on videogames highlighted real-time rendering content with Live Real-Time Demos of cutting-edge real-time rendering applications, including games such as Blur, God of War III, and LOVE. Game studios that presented at SIGGRAPH 2010 included: Activision Studio Central, Bungie, LucasArts, Naughty Dog, Square Enix R&D, Ubisoft Montreal, Valve, and more. SIGGRAPH was the perfect place for film and game professionals to connect, with content specifically designed to appeal to both industries.

• The Disney Learning Challenge was an open competition sponsored by Disney Research with the goal of finding new and creative ways to use technology to make learning fun for children. From a group of 15 finalists, “Refraction: Teaching Fractions Through Gameplay” by Erik Andersen and Zoran Popović, won a majority of the $10,000 prize fund and tours of Disney R&D and Walt Disney Studio.

• Technical Papers, the premier global forum for presenting ground-breaking research from today's leading experts, covered the core topics of computer graphics, such as modeling, animation, rendering, imaging, and human-computer interaction, and also explore related fields of audio, robotics, visualization, and perception by presenters from all around the globe - from the Bangladesh to Switzerland.

• Art Paper presentations on topics exploring the multi-sensory nature of human experience in a technologically enhanced environment. SIGGRAPH 2010 collaborated with Leonardo, the Journal of the International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology to publish the SIGGRAPH 2010 Art Papers in a special issue.

Download photos from SIGGRAPH 2010 at http://www.siggraph.org/photos

22 July 2010

Upcoming "TRON: Legacy" Filmmakers to be Featured at SIGGRAPH 2010


"TRON LEGACY" (l to r) Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund Ph: Douglas Curran
© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Walt Disney Pictures' highly anticipated film "TRON: Legacy", a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world unlike anything ever captured on the big screen, will be the focus of a filmmaker panel discussion during the SIGGRAPH 2010 Computer Animation Festival in Los Angeles on Tuesday, 27 July at 3:45 p.m.

"SIGGRAPH is honored to host this discussion on 'TRON: Legacy', the much-anticipated sequel to what was monumental filmmaking in a past era," said Isaac Kerlow, Computer Animation Festival Director from The Nanyang Technological University, ADM/EOS. "The original 'TRON' was one of the first films from a major studio that used extensive computer graphics, and the industry expectations are that this sequel will also mark significant achievements in what is possible in computer graphics now and in the near future."

Panelists-"TRON: Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski and producer Jeffrey Silver, and visual effects supervisor Eric Barba and animation supervisor Steve Preeg from Digital Domain--will present a special reel from "TRON: Legacy" and answer audience questions. The panel will be moderated by David Cohen, associate features editor from Variety.

About the panelists:
Joseph Kosinski, Director, "TRON: Legacy"
The impeccably designed and visually innovative creations of Joseph Kosinski have quickly made him a highly sought-after commercial and feature film director. His work, which specializes in merging live action with purely digital elements, represents a fusion of skills stemming from Kosinski's background in architecture, product design, engineering, and music. Kosinski has directed many high-end commercials, including award-winning campaigns for Xbox videogames Gears of War and Halo, Sony PlayStation, Hummer, and Chevrolet.

Jeffrey Silver, Producer, "TRON: Legacy"Jeffrey Silver has produced a wide range of feature films through his production company Biscayne Pictures and his partnership with Outlaw Productions. Silver recently produced "Terminator Salvation" and "300". In the course of his career, Silver has produced both studio and independent pictures, including "Training Day", "The Santa Clause" and its two sequels, "Addicted to Love", and many others. For television, Silver produced the pilot and first two seasons of the hit ABC series "The Wonder Years", for which he won an Emmy® Award for Best Comedy Series.

Eric Barba, Visual Effects Supervisor, Digital Domain
Eric Barba is the Academy Award®-winning visual effects supervisor of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". He has been at Digital Domain for 14 years, and like many of the top directors with whom he collaborates, Barba is equally comfortable working in film or advertising.

Steve Preeg, Animation Supervisor, Digital DomainSteve Preeg has been creating digital characters for more than a decade, for movies including "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within", "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers", "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King", "I, Robot", and "King Kong". Preeg recently received an Academy Award® for achievement in visual effects on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". He also created visual effects for "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End", "Flags of Our Fathers", and other movies.

The Production Session for "TRON: Legacy" will be held Tuesday, 27 July from 3:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. in the Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall B. Passes for the Computer Animation Festival are available for the entire week or on a daily basis for as little as $50. For more information, click here.

20 July 2010

Sony's 360-Degree Autostereoscopic Display Creating Pre-SIGGRAPH Media Buzz

This autostereoscopic display is a compact, cylindrical display, which can show full-color, high-quality, volumetric, 3D images, videos, and interactive animation viewable without glasses from any angle (360 degrees). It has been creating quite the buzz online pre-SIGGRAPH and will be on display in the Emerging Technologies area. Click here for the video demonstation.

Potential Future Use:
This display has many potential applications, such as amusement, professional visualization, digital signage, museum display, video games, and futuristic 3D telecommunication.

Following are the upcoming hours Emerging Technologies will be open during SIGGRAPH conference week:

Sunday, 25 July noon - 5:30 pm
Monday, 26 July 9 am - 5:30 pm
Tuesday, 27 July 9 am - 5:30 pm
Wednesday, 28 July 9 am - 5:30 pm
Thursday, 29 July 9 am - 1 pm

15 July 2010

Jon Peddie Research Releases Analysis on Computer Graphics Industry

**The CG market will exceed $150 billion in 2013
**Industry has had 16.5% growth for past 28 years

The computer graphics industry has been a growth industry since it was established the late 1970s. Weathering the storms of the recession of 2009, the CG industry is back on track and showing new invigorated vitality and potential.

The computer graphics hardware market was worth $59 billion in 2009 and should exceed $63 billion in 2010.

In 2009 the CG software market was worth $11 billion (not counting services, maintenance and other aspects) and should grow to $11.6 billion in 2010 as the industry shakes off the remaining effects of the recession and starts replacing software tools.

As a result of the pull back due to the recession, more people will be buying computer graphics software programs and we will see the development of traditional segments like CAD/CAM expand as new design approaches in automotive, aerospace, and architecture are brought forth. Visualization, a market that has been almost dormant for the past few years is poised now for great expansion due to exciting and lower cost technologies.

Software for making movies, computer games, high-style products, and simulations of products and activities too expensive or too dangerous to test in reality is exploiting the features of today’s CG software. The result will be s amazing realism and real time capabilities in the next generation of films and designs.

The demand for programmers, artists, scientists, and designers has picked up again and firms are actively looking for people who can use and exploit these new programs and their associated hardware accelerators. The economic recession has caused a slow down but it’s going to look like a small bump in the road by 2013.

We are seeing new opportunities growing out of more mainstream applications for the web and consumer applications. The web is growing as a distribution medium for graphics content which in turn encourages people to pick up the tools, learn then, create content for pleasure, and even look for jobs in the field. What used to be a very closed society of experts is opening up.

Given these trends, we see the rate of growth continuing to grow.

Analysis provided to SIGGRAPH by Jon Peddie Research

13 July 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Adds Focus on Production Community


(Chicago, IL) – SIGGRAPH is known worldwide for showcasing some of the newest ideas in computer graphics (CG) and interactive techniques. This year, a new program called SIGGRAPH Dailies! expands this focus to include the craft, artistry, and behind-the-scenes/never-told stories from the production community.

[Image credit: Cool Shading Study © 2010 Ariel Chisholm, Texas A&M University]
"Often in production, the focus is not on the latest technique. Talented CG artists typically use standard tools and techniques to get their work done—yet they create images of extraordinary power and beauty," said Bill Polson, Production Communities Director from Pixar Animation Studios. "And oftentimes the story behind the work is the most interesting part of it. SIGGRAPH Dailies! celebrates this craft and these stories."

To work out the logistics of the new program, the Dailies! team started a trial run of the program earlier in the year at Pixar Animation Studios. As a result, Pixar and Disney artists submitted a great deal of material. But Dailies! also features student work from Texas A&M University, scientific visualizations from Analytical Graphics, Inc., and numerous unexpected gems from around the world.

SIGGRAPH Dailies! will be presented Tuesday, 27 July and Wednesday, 28 July from 6 – 7:30 pm on both days. The format is similar to Technical Papers Fast Forward, with authors presenting their work and stories in a rapid-fire format. Unlike Fast Forward, SIGGRAPH Dailies! is the actual presentation and not a teaser for other talks later in the week.

Following are just a few highlights of SIGGRAPH Dailies!:

Cool Shading Study
Ariel Chisholm, Texas A&M University
Hear how a small shading and lighting project uncovered hidden facts about RenderMan's depth-of-field and bokeh controls.

"Toy Story 3": Death By MonkeysJ.D. Northrup, Pixar Animation Studios
A detailed explanation of how Pixar animators made an exploding swarm of red plastic monkeys in “Toy Story 3”.

"Nuit Blanche"Marc-André Gray, Stellar Scene
Gain insights into the making of a hyper-real fantasy world for the short film "Nuit Blanche".

"Tangled": The Pixels Behind the People Behind the PixelsRamon Montoya-Vozmediano, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Two real-time days of rendering are compressed down to a single second by animating the resource usage of the render queue on "Tangled".

US Airways Flight 1549: Hudson River Crash Animation With Flight Data
Kel Elkins and Glenn Warrington, Analytical Graphics, Inc.
Learn how the US Airways Flight 1549 crash simulation (created using actual flight data) provides further insight into this heroic event.

For more information, click here.

SIGGRAPH Gaming Director Previews Content

SIGGRAPH 2010 offers an unparalleled bounty of information related to game development in all conference programs:

Courses with significant game-development content include Advanced Techniques in Real-Time Hair Rendering and Simulation; Advances in Real-Time Rendering in 3D Graphics and Games (I & II); An Introduction to 3D Spatial Interaction With Videogame Motion Controllers; Beyond Programmable Shading (I & II); Color Enhancement and Rendering in Film and Game Production; Gazing at Games: Using Eye Tracking to Control Virtual Characters; Global Illumination Across Industries; Perceptually Motivated Graphics, Visualization, and 3D Displays; Physically Based Shading Models in Film and Game Production; Recent Advances in Real-Time Collision and Proximity Computations for Games and Simulations; and Stylized Rendering in Games.

Talks of direct interest to game developers include A Deferred-Shading Pipeline for Real-Time Indirect Illumination, Curvature-Dependent Reflectance Function for Rendering Translucent Materials, How to Get From 30 to 60 Frames Per Second in Video Games for "Free", Irradiance Rigs, Screen Space Classification for Efficient Deferred Shading, Split-Second Motion Blur, Practical Morphological Anti-Aliasing on the GPU, REYES Using DirectX 11, and User-Generated Terrain in ModNation Racers.

Live Real-Time Demos showcase cutting-edge real-time rendering applications, including games such as Blur, God of War III, and LOVE.

The Computer Animation Festival also features game-related content; one of the Production Sessions discusses The Making of God of War III, and the Electronic Theater and Commercials & Cinematics screening include several game commercials and cinematics.

In the Exhibition, various game-technology vendors show their latest products and many present Exhibitor Tech Talks of interest to game developers.

Several Birds of a Feather sessions focus on topics of interest to the game industry, such as COLLADA, OpenCL and OpenGL.

Beyond the content directly related to game development, film production topics are also often relevant to game developers. One example is the use of spherical harmonics and precomputed occlusion in “Avatar”, as discussed in two Talks and one Technical Paper . Other examples can be found among the many film production presentations by the makers of films such as “2012”, “Alice in Wonderland” , “Avatar”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “Iron Man 2”, “Shrek Forever After”, “Tangled”, “The Last Airbender”, “Toy Story 3”, and “TRON: LEGACY”.

In addition to practical production techniques of short-term interest, SIGGRAPH 2010 also presents forward-looking research that is likely to guide future developments. The Technical Papers program presents advanced graphics research, Panels speculate on future research directions, and Emerging Technologies features hands-on demonstrations of novel interaction methods and devices.

And opportunities for informal collaboration and exchange are everywhere. Throughout the week, SIGGRAPH 2010 attendees meet, network, and talk shop with the world’s top computer graphics talents.

See you in LA!

Troy Dunniway
SIGGRAPH 2010 Director of Gaming
GlobeX Studios

06 July 2010

"Avatar" Secrets Revealed at SIGGRAPH 2010

(Chicago, IL) - SIGGRAPH 2010 features multiple Production Sessions that will reveal the secrets of "Avatar", including stereoscopic filmmaking and visual effects. Two visual effects companies that contributed to the making of "Avatar", New Zealand-based Weta Digital and U.S.-based Industrial Light & Magic, will take attendees behind the scenes and give valuable insight into the work that won three Academy Awards® for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction.

"James Cameron's epic vision of 'Avatar' changed the landscape for filmmaking and production," said Terrence Masson, SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair from Northeastern University. "A movie of this caliber not only has moved our industry forward light years, but it also has the potential to teach us techniques and solutions that we never would have considered."

SIGGRAPH Production Sessions are high-level discussions that showcase how computer graphics and interactive techniques are actually designed and implemented. Attendees of all experience levels will benefit.

Here are just a few highlights of this year's Production Sessions:

Making "Avatar"
Joe Letteri and Stephen Rosenbaum, Weta Digital; Richard Baneham, Lightstorm

"Avatar" is the first predominately digitally created film, shot and directed as a live action film. Key to the director's vision was having photorealistic, believable digital characters and environments fit seamlessly with live action. To accomplish this, Weta Digital, led by Joe Letteri, developed innovations that enabled the director and actors work as if they were in a conventional live-action movie, even when filming sequences that were entirely computer-generated. For the audience to connect with the blue-skinned ten-foot-tall "Na'vi", they had to see the actor's soul shine through the character's eyes. This required increased realism in character animation, especially the facial animation. The emotional performances of the characters in "Avatar" are an achievement that have taken digital characters to a new level of believability and have at the same time, enhanced story telling.

Character and Environment Lighting Challenges on "Avatar"Kevin Smith, Weta Digital

This session summarizes some of the problems encountered during the "Avatar" production process and their solutions. The focus is on maintaining pipeline flexibility and enabling users to concentrate on the art of lighting instead of managing technology.

Volume Rendering for "Avatar"
Antoine Bouthors and Mark Davies, Weta Digital

How Weta Digital achieved efficient, realistic stereo rendering of volumetric elements and their integration with the compositing engine.

Compositing "Avatar"Peter Hillman, Erik Winquist, and Matthew Welford, Weta Digital

This presentation outlines some of the adaptations that Weta Digital made to its compositing pipeline to deliver "Avatar": simplifying stereo compositing and stereo-image handling, and avoiding the need to render holdout masks to composite render layers.

A Physically Based Approach to Virtual Character Deformations
Simon Clutterbuck and James Jacobs, Weta Digital

James Cameron's "Avatar" required the principal digital characters to be photo-realistic, full-screen, and almost fully naked in hundreds of shots. To accomplish this task, Weta Digital developed a robust character-simulation toolset that delivered the required level of realism.

Rendering "Avatar": Spherical Harmonics in Production
Nick McKenzie, Martin Hill, and Jon Allitt, Weta Digital

This session covers the application of spherical harmonics in a production rendering environment for accelerated final-frame rendering of complex scenes and materials.

PantaRay: Directional Occlusion for Fast Cinematic Lighting of Massive Scenes
Jacopo Pantaleoni and Timo Aila, NVIDIA Research; David Luebke, NVIDIA Corporation; Luca Fascione, Martin Hill, Weta Digital

NVIDIA Research and Weta Digital present the results of a joint research collaboration, and describe the architecture of a novel ray tracing system for precomputing the sparse directional occlusion caches used as a primary lighting technology during the making of "Avatar".

"Avatar": Bending Rigid Bodies
Brice Criswell, Michael Lentine, and Steve Sauers, Industrial Light & Magic

This session describes the tools recently developed at Industrial Light & Magic for automatically modeling surface deformations produced during bending and denting of rigid materials.

"Avatar": Modeling a Jungle, From Template to Film Shawn Dunn and Marco Revelant, Weta Digital

The vast and epic environments in "Avatar" presented unique technical hurdles. Weta Digital developed tools and procedures to create realistic, high-density 3D environments. This presentation explores the process and tools used in modeling and layout of these very complex environments.

Digital Water for "Avatar"Allen Hemberger, Christoph Sprenger, Diego Trazzi, and Sebastian Marino, Weta Digital

Detailed description of the full-CG stereographic water pipeline for "Avatar", from innovative fluid simulation through a custom-designed levelset-based post-processing stage to final renders using a modular shading strategy.

An Accurate Method for Acquiring High-Resolution Skin-Displacement MapsGino Acevedo and Eugene D'Eon, Weta Digital

An efficient and precise method for acquiring skin-displacement maps is an essential component for creating an accurate appearance model for faces, hands, and skin in general.

To view all the Production Sessions that will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2010, click here.

29 June 2010

Computer Animation Festival Highlights: Beyond the Film Reels

(Chicago, IL) - The Computer Animation Festival at SIGGRAPH 2010 offers more than just a viewing experience. In addition to film screenings, the Festival includes interactive sessions and opportunities to learn industry secrets, behind-the-scenes stories, and advice from some of the most successful professionals in this field.

"Attendees will get a glimpse of the work that went into creating some of this year's most successful films, including 'Avatar', 'The Last Airbender', 'How to Train Your Dragon', 'Alice in Wonderland', and many more," said Isaac Kerlow, Computer Animation Festival Director from The Earth Observatory of Singapore/NTU ADM. "Nowhere else in the world will so many computer graphics and animation experts come together under one roof to discuss both success stories as well as failures. In essence, sharing information is how this industry continues to move forward by leaps and bounds year after year."

Listed below are just a few of the learning opportunities during the Computer Animation Festival:

Production Sessions

Production Sessions are high-level discussions that showcase how computer graphics and interactive techniques are actually designed and implemented. Attendees of all experience levels will benefit.

The Making of God of War III

Izzy, Concept Artist; Patrick Murphy, Lead Character Modeler; Bruno Velazquez, Lead Animator; Bryan Koszoru, Environment Artist; Paul Coda, Sr. Environment Artist; Jung Ho Park, Concept Artist, SCEA, Santa Monica

The makers of God of War III detail the creative process behind the game's groundbreaking visuals. The first part of the session follows the lead character, Kratos, from initial concept art through modeling to animation. Particular emphasis is given to issues specific to game animation, such as integration with player control and combat systems. The second part focuses on the game environments, exploring different approaches used to create game levels from initial concept art.

Making "Avatar"
Joe Letteri, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor; Stephen Rosenbaum, Visual Effects Supervisor; Richard Baneham, Animation Supervisor, Weta Digital

"Avatar" is the first predominately digitally created film, shot and directed as a live action film. Key to the director's vision was having photorealistic, believable digital characters and environments fit seamlessly with live action. To accomplish this, Weta Digital, led by Joe Letteri, developed innovations that enabled the director and actors work as if they were in a conventional live-action movie, even when filming sequences that were entirely computer-generated.

For the audience to connect with the blue-skinned ten-foot-tall "Na'vi", they had to see the actor's soul shine through the character's eyes. This required increased realism in character animation, especially the facial animation. The emotional performances of the characters in "Avatar" are an achievement that have taken digital characters to a new level of believability and have, at the same time, enhanced story telling.

Animation Blockbuster Breakdown
Shawn Kelly, Lead Animator, Industrial Light & Magic; and Co-Founder, Animation Mentor
Carlos Baena, Lead Animator, Pixar Animation Studios; and Co-Founder, Animation Mentor
Eric Goldberg, Supervising Animator, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Michael Makarewicz, Supervising Animator, Pixar Animation Studios
Aaron Hartline, Animator, Pixar Animation Studios; and Animation Mentor

Animation industry veterans break down shots from your favorite animated films. In 10-minute presentations, they each show two animated shots from recent feature films, summarize the challenges they experienced with each shot, and reveal new ways to approach the craft of animation.

"The Last Airbender" - Harnessing the Elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire

Pablo Helman, Visual Effects Supervisor; Olivier Maury, R&D Engineer; Daniel Pearson, CG Supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic

To create the visual effects work for M. Night Shyamalan's "The Last Airbender", ILM developed a hybrid GPU-based simulation engine and renderer. In this session, the production team explains how this novel system allowed artists to achieve photorealistic results at exponential speed increases over previous methods of complex simulation. The team also sheds light on the vast 3D environments created for the show, dissects some of the more challenging effects sequences, and reveals how the results were achieved.

"Day & Night"
Teddy Newton, Director; Kevin Reher, Producer, Pixar Animation Studios

When Day, a sunny fellow, encounters Night, a stranger of distinctly darker moods, sparks fly! At first, they are frightened and suspicious of each other, and they quickly get off on the wrong foot. But as they discover each other's unique qualities and realize that each offers a different window onto the same world, their friendship helps both to gain a new perspective. The Stereo 3D screening of "Day & Night" precedes a presentation by the director, Teddy Newton, who explains his inspiration for the film, what it took to get a green light from the studio, and the challenges posed by such a technically ambitious process.

Live Real-Time Demos

This content showcases the very best of video games and real-time simulations. To help emphasize the difference between these works and pre-rendered works, real-time pieces are demonstrated live on their actual platforms without any post-production. In addition, a selection of these projects will be available for interactive demonstrations in The Sandbox--an open videogame play area.

Agenda Circling Forth

Fairlight and CNCD

A unique real-time demo that takes its inspiration from the Impressionist painters but with an innovative modern twist: it builds animated 3D scenes entirely from particles. Every pixel truly is alive in this piece.

GlyphSea
University of California, San Diego

Real-time demonstration of novel glyph-based visualization techniques. One of the scenarios shows the "Big One" earthquake simulation, highlighting effects on the Los Angeles region.

God of War III

Sony Computer Entertainment

God of War III is the latest entry in the successful God of War series and the first on PlayStation 3. It combines epic set pieces with exquisite fine detail, and its visuals display both technical and creative virtuosity.

Making Love
Quel Solaar

This demo is an exploration of the world of the procedural one-man indie "MMO LOVE". The demo also showcases the tools used to create assets, like sketch-based modeling, 100% automatic UV mapping, shader and asset management tools, and the layer-based procedural texturing tool.

Supersonic Sled
NVIDIA Corporation

The NVIDIA Supersonic Sled is a full physics simulation of a mechanical assembly subjected to heavy loads. Using PhysX, CUDA, and DirectX 11, this demonstration uses real-time simulation and graphics techniques to produce a realistic and exhilarating experience of driving a powerful machine on the edge of control.

SIGGRAPH Dailies!
This new program celebrates excellence in computer graphics by showcasing images and animations of power and beauty. Presenters will have one minute each to loop their animations and describe their work from video game characters to lighting. In a fun, compelling, and fast format, SIGGRAPH Dailies! allows attendees to participate in the vibrant production culture that surrounds presenting and reviewing work that was completed despite challenging obstacles.
View all of the SIGGRAPH Dailies! by clicking here.

Animation Clinics

New this year, industry leaders and masters will review students' final projects and offer creative, production, technical, and career advice. Each chosen work will receive 40 minutes of review during three public sessions open to conference attendees. Clinics are a great way to get direct, constructive feedback from industry experts.

28 June 2010

Interview with SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies Chair Preston Smith


Following below is a brief conversation with Preston Smith, SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies Chair from Laureate Institute for Brain Research, who shares his insights and expected highlights for this year's Emerging Technologies.

What various sciences and industries will be involved in the Emerging Technologies area this year?
Haptics
• Display Technologies
• Interactive Techniques
Immersive Techniques
• Augmented Reality
• Motion Capture Technologies
• Robotics
• Mobile Phone Technologies
• Laser Technologies

How is the 2010 Emerging Technologies different from previous years?


This year’s Emerging Technologies will be a focused, choice selection of the very best of what the industry has to offer. In 2010, we went through the same jury process as previous years except that this year the jury made a second round of selections to really show off the best of the best. Our goal was to engage attendees through diverse and original ideas.

What is the overriding message of Emerging Technologies demonstrations this year?

Beyond a doubt, our message this year is that innovation is alive and well in the computer graphics and interactive techniques world. We will showcase a wide variety of technologies that should surprise, inspire, and truly make people wonder.

What trends in technology, consumer products or other areas do you see indicated by the submissions for Emerging Technologies this year?

Display technology continues to be a hot subject and shows important innovation, plus interactive technologies are reaching new heights and spanning across all the human senses.

What implications does the Emerging Technologies venue have for artists and others working in the computer graphics industry?

This year’s message and implication for anyone in computer graphics is that today's ideas can be realized and can be tomorrow’s daily tool in computer graphics or interactivity. We hope that people walking through Emerging Technologies will leave inspired to push the envelope and be creative in their professional lives.

How did you become involved with SIGGRAPH, how many years have you been involved, and what led you to become the Emerging Technologies Chair?
I attended college later in my life than the typical student and was working with a large retail company when “Jurassic Park” came out, which inspired me to become a part of the computer graphics industry. So I went to college and happened to meet a professor who was a member and attendee of SIGGRAPH.

He informed me of the possibility of being a part of the conference as a student volunteer. So, in 1996 I submitted and was accepted as a student volunteer. That experience with the industry first hand, and with the incredible people behind it, was all it took to make me never want to miss being a part of this amazing and historical event. I have been a part of SIGGRAPH ever since.

From student volunteer to student volunteer team leader to subcommittee, every year’s participation has been incredible. So this marks my 15th year and every year I have played a role in Emerging Technologies. From my first year’s assignment (the Digital Bayou) up to my current role as Emerging Technologies Chair, my personal goal is to give my services and abilities toward making the conference a great experience for attendees, contributors, and volunteers alike.

You have served a few different roles on Emerging Technologies - what did you most gain or learn from each of these roles?

I seriously think the role of student volunteer is what sets the stage to truly learn to do every task to the best of one’s abilities. As a student volunteer, we tackle a variety of tasks – some mundane, which helps to establish the required humility and willingness to do anything all the while developing an appreciation for the many opportunities presented at SIGGRAPH. It is truly an experience that can have an immense impact on your professional life for many, many years.

Editor's note: To view the SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies preview video, click here. For a full description of each technology that will be on display, click here.

25 June 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Announces Computer Animation Festival Winners

(Chicago, IL) - SIGGRAPH announces the Computer Animation Festival's Best in Show, Jury Award, and Best Student Project recipients for SIGGRAPH 2010 to be held in Los Angeles this July. Nominees were chosen from 750 submissions from around the globe, presented by both professional studios and students alike.

"It was difficult to narrow the pool of submissions because of the high level of quality and technical expertise," said Isaac Kerlow, Computer Animation Festival Director from The Earth Observatory of Singapore/NTU ADM. "Attendees will experience an endorphin rush as they watch the screenings of independent and commercial films, and will get a behind-the-scenes perspective from the planned Production Sessions featuring the visionaries behind some of this year's most successful Hollywood films. Whether you are an industry veteran or someone who just enjoys quality visual effects and animation, there is something for everyone this year."

In all, approximately 100 films will be shown during the Computer Animation Festival. The Electronic Theater, the iconic and tribal SIGGRAPH experience, features an identical program three nights in a row, including most of the Jury Selections. Four thematic Special Screenings show the best in TV Commercials and Cinematics, Long Shorts, Student Animations, and for the first time a special focus on Chinese Student Animations. Truly an international event, the festival had entries from 49 different countries and five continents. Fifty-two of the accepted entries are international, and 18 countries are represented in the final selection.

Some of the year's top visual effects for feature films are featured in the Computer Animation Festival including "Avatar", "The Last Airbender", "Sherlock Holmes", "Iron Man 2", "Prince of Persia", "2012", and "Alice in Wonderland". Plus, eight Live Real-Time Demos, ranging from mainstream to independent work, also contribute to making the Computer Animation Festival a memorable experience.

Since 1999, the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival has been an official qualifying festival for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "Best Animated Short Film" Academy Award®. The film "French Roast" became an Academy nominee in the Best Animated Short category after winning Best in Show at last year's Festival. For the third consecutive year, the Festival's screenings, panels and production sessions will be open to the public, allowing general audiences to get a glimpse behind the making of computer generated effects, visualizations, and animations that is rarely available.

A complete preview video of the 2010 Computer Animation Festival is available here.

For a complete list of films and images, click here.

Here are just a few highlights of this year's Computer Animation Festival films and Live Real-Time Demos:

BEST IN SHOW AWARD
"Loom"
(Germany)
Directed by Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, and Csaba Letay
"Loom" tells the story of a moth being drowned in one of nature's complex cycles. "Loom" was the final project of Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, and Csaba Letay at the Filmakademie Baden Wьrttemberg, Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction. The production time, including story development and preproduction, was one year. Credit: Loom © 2010 Ilija Brunck, Polynoid

JURY AWARD
"Poppy"
(New Zealand)
Directed by James Cunningham
"Poppy" is an independent short set on France's western front in World War One. Two New Zealand soldiers are trapped behind enemy lines. They find a baby in a muddy ditch, under its dead parents. One of the men wants to save it-the other does not. Based on true events, "Poppy" was written by the great-grandson of one of these soldiers. An innovative combination of motion capture with exquisite facial animation.

BEST STUDENT PROJECT PRIZE
"The Wonder Hospital"
(USA)
Directed by Beomsik Shimbe Shim, California Institute of the Arts
In this student project, a girl enters a mysterious hospital that alters her way of seeing beauty. She is given a choice between two images of her face, "Before" and "After". As she continues on this illusionary journey, she realizes that beauty is something very different from what she expected. Credit: The Wonder Hospital © 2010, all rights reserved by Shimbe

"2012" - The Last Fluid Simulation
(USA/Germany)
Visual Effects by Scanline VFX, Los Angeles/Munich
This reel shows the underlying technology that was used for more than 100 massive fluid simulation shots on "2012". Included are examples of fully computer-generated shots with massive tidal waves, simulated ice and snow, and, finally, the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy smashing into the White House.


Assassin's Creed 2
(Hungary)
Cinematic by Digic Pictures for Ubisoft Entertainment
Stunningly rendered and animated, this cinematic narrative follows an assassin on the prowl in a street carnival, on his quest to reveal a secular conspiracy during the masquerades of the Italian Renaissance. Image courtesy of Digic Pictures © 2009 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries.


"Animated History of Poland"
(Poland)
Directed by Tomek Bagi?ski, Platige Image
A tale about 1,000 years of Polish history in the format of a musical-visual poem. The story starts with the beginning of the Polish nation in the ninth century, and shows the most important events and processes that took place until the 21st century. The project is a presentation-educational piece produced for the EXPO 2010 in Shanghai. Credit: Animated History of Poland © 2010 Agnieszka Piechnik, Platige Image


"Guinness World"
(United Kingdom)
Commercial by The Mill for AMV BBDO
This commercial spot shows how a pint of Guinness comes to life when poured, opening with a man striking a match and lighting a rocket as a voiceover whispers, "It?s time to bring this place to life." There begins an exhilarating journey, bringing life to barren landscapes across the planet. Credit: Guinness World © 2010 The Mill

"Day & Night"
(USA)
Directed by Teddy Newton, Pixar Animation Studios
When Day encounters Night, sparks fly! At first frightened and suspicious of each other, they get off on the wrong foot. But as they discover each other's unique qualities?and realize that each offers a different window onto the world-the friendship helps them gain a new perspective.


"Suiren"
(Japan)
Directed by Tomoya Kimpara, wow.inc
"Suiren" is a poetic science-fiction visual music piece where the ocean is a symbol of life, and machine-seeds are born to devote themselves to the creation of beautiful creatures. Credit: Suiren © 2010 Tomoya Kimpara, wow.inc


"Upgrades"
(USA)
Directed by Anya Belkina, Emerson College
"Upgrades" is a hilarious and breakneck-paced animated parody chronicling major upgrades in computer graphics software. Set to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee".
Credit: Upgrades © 2010 Anya Belkina, Emerson College


"Making of Nuit Blanche"
(Canada)
Directed by Arev Manoukian, Visual Effects by Marc-Andrй Gray, Stellar Scene
In this reel we explore the making of "Nuit Blanche", an elegant and poetic short film that explores a fleeting moment between two strangers, revealing their brief connection in a hyper-real fantasy heavily dependent on visual effects.Credit: Making of Nuit Blanche ©2010 Marc-André Gray, Stellar Scene


"Visualizing Empires Decline"
(Portugal)
Directed by Pedro Cruz, Centre for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra
This information visualization project narrates the decline of the top four maritime empires in the 19th and 20th centuries. A physics engine is used to build a visual mood that conveys the tone of the empires' decline.Credit: Visualizing Empires Decline © 2010 Pedro M. Cruz, Centre for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra


"Cours Toujours"
(France)
Directed by Olivier Barrй and Elise Garcette, La Station Animation
An intrepid creature throws himself into a wild pursuit of a bird, which gets him into comically frantic situations. Credit: Cours Toujours ©2010 Olivier Barré, La Station Animation

"Making Love"
(Sweden, Live Real-Time Demo)
Quel Solaar
This game exploration demo is an exploration of the world of the procedural one-man indie "MMO LOVE". The demo also showcases the tools used to create assets, like sketch-based modeling, 100 percent automatic UV mapping, shader and asset management tools, and the layer-based procedural texturing tool.

God of War III
(USA, Live Real-Time Demo)
Sony Computer Entertainment of America
God of War III is the latest entry in the successful God of War commercial video game series and the first on PlayStation 3. It combines epic set pieces with exquisite fine detail, and its visuals display both technical and creative virtuosity.

22 June 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Art Gallery Provides a Feast for the Senses

Photo credit: From SIGGRAPH 2010 Art Gallery piece titled "hanahanahana" by Yasuaki Kakehi, Keio University; Motoshi Chikamori and Kyoko Kunoh, plaplax - details below.
(Chicago, IL) – From virtual bugs to wearable devices, the SIGGRAPH 2010 Art Gallery investigates the multi-sensory nature of human experience in a technologically enhanced environment. The official title is TouchPoint: Haptic Exchange Between Digits, and from more than 250 submitted pieces, the jury selected 14 to be featured at SIGGRAPH 2010.

“The exhibition becomes an interactive environment where the viewer or participant is essential to the manifestation of the work,” said Richard Elaver, SIGGRAPH 2010 Juried Art Chair from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. “This is art that immerses people, and the end result is an art experience that many have never encountered before.”

Works exhibited in TouchPoint are published in a special issue of MIT Press’s Leonardo, the Journal of the International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Peer-reviewed SIGGRAPH 2010 Art Papers will also be published in this special issue, which coincides with SIGGRAPH 2010 in July. A reception for the Art Gallery will be held Tuesday, July 27 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. in Room 150 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where attendees can talk with the artists, designers, and Art Papers authors about their work and meet the members of the SIGGRAPH 2010 committee who organized this year's Art Gallery.

The Art Gallery jury consisted of a wide range of the leading experts in haptics, design theory, architecture, and sculpture.

Highlights of the SIGGRAPH 2010 Art Gallery include:

Echidna ll
Tine Bech, University of the West of England and Tom Frame, Surrey Space Centre
This interactive sound sculpture is a fussy, tumbled creature that has an electronic voice. Undisturbed, it hums happily, but when it is touched it squeaks and reacts to human presence. The work combines a circuit that directly measures electrostatic changes in the environment and a custom-designed, phase-locked loop system that drives an audio speaker.

Glowing Pathfinder BugsSquidsoup
In this shared environment of a sandpit, virtual creatures and real people coexist and communicate. The sand operates as a tactile interface, allowing participants to define physical landscapes to which the digital creatures respond in real time. The result is a form of animal husbandry, a sense of controlling and caring for the bugs.

hanahanahana
Yasuaki Kakehi, Keio University; Motoshi Chikamori and Kyoko Kunoh, plaplax
To experience hanahanahana, the participant applies perfume to a leaf-shaped piece of paper and shakes it in front of a bud-like device. A flower appears and changes intensity according to the strength of the floating scent, while color and shape also vary according to the type of fragrance applied to the paper. Participants can enjoy temporal and spatial variations of floating air with olfactory sensations from the scent, visual sensations from the projection screen, and tactile sensations from the wind.

In the Line of SightDaniel Sauter, University of Illinois at Chicago and Fabian Winkler, Purdue University
In the Line of Sight is a light installation that uses 100 computer-controlled tactical flashlights to project low-resolution video footage of suspicious human motion into the exhibition space.

Tools for Improved Social Interacting
Lauren McCarthy, University of California, Los Angeles
This series of wearable devices (the Anti-Daydreaming Device, the Happiness Hat, and the Body Contact Training Suit) uses sensors to condition the wearer to better adapt to expected social behaviors. The work explores the potential for technology to shape how we think, feel, and act. It also questions our social expectations and attempts to improve our understanding of their function and worth.

View the entire Art Gallery here. Contact media@siggraph.org for high-resolution images.

18 June 2010

Brief Q&A with SIGGRAPH 2010 Exhibits Director Mike Weil


-What is your background in the industry?

I have been fortunate to be involved in SIGGRAPH since 1992. I have always been interested in seeing on the tradeshow floor today what will be available in the future. In 1992, high-definition television was demonstrated which in the last few years has become apart of everyday life.

This year I am interested in seeing the Artec booth. They develop and sell 3D scanners, also known as 3D cameras, which work in real time, and they are easy to use. Artec has a whole division dedicated to 3D face recognition technology. Biometric security, which measures physical characteristics of a person, is an emerging market. There appears to be a growing market for those interested in technology that allows for better recognition accuracy of physical features, convenience-in-use and spoof-protection.

-I understand the Exhibition attracts vendors from across the globe. How many exhibitors are expected for this year’s conference?
We are expecting 175 exhibitors. Currently 51 international Exhibitors or nearly 30% of the exhibitors are from outside the United States. Countries that will be represented on the exhibit floor include Korea, Costa Rica, Colombia, India, United Kingdom, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria.

-How do you think the Exhibition appeals to a wide variety of people? What groups can benefit from attending this venue?

SIGGRAPH does indeed attract a wide variety of attendees. The groups that appear to benefit the most are animators, artists, engineers, and game developers.

-Which target audience do you believe will be the highlight for this year’s exhibition? Which ones are you most excited to see and why?The exhibitors that target animation and special effects seem to enjoy when we are in Los Angeles the most. Being in Los Angeles allows the many local studios in the area to send their employees to see the Exhibition for the day. Knowing the eyes of the top Hollywood studios will be focused on SIGGRAPH 2010 many exhibitors push their developers to have new products ready to be launched at SIGGRAPH each year. There is a lot of incentive to get in front of the SIGGRAPH audience as 20% annually spend more then $100,000 per year on products they see at the Exhibition.

09 June 2010

Emerging Technologies Video Now Live

Recently, SIGGRAPH 2010 posted the Emerging Technologies preview video. It has already created quite a buzz online. Click here to review. Contact brian_ban@siggraph.org for still images or more details.

02 June 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Program Content Released, Early Registration Ends this Friday

(Chicago, IL) – SIGGRAPH 2010, held Sunday, 25 July through Thursday, 29 July 2010, will bring approximately 25,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from around the world to Los Angeles. The SIGGRAPH 2010 Advance Program is now available online, announcing session content across Art Papers, Courses, Game Papers, Panels, Talks, Technical Papers, and more.

Two preview videos have also been released to highlight the Computer Animation Festival and Technical Papers.

“SIGGRAPH 2010 is the best place in the world to experience the ‘People Behind the Pixels’,” said Terrence Masson, SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair from Northeastern University. “I highly encourage everyone to attend to meet the personalities, hear the stories, and learn the history behind the most unique and excellent content in CG and interactive techniques. Those wanting to maximize their savings should register by this Friday before the early bird discounts expire.”

Attendees are able to choose from a variety of registration categories that start as low as $45 per day. After Friday, 4 June, the cost of Full Conference Access, Full Conference One Day, and Basic Access passes increase dramatically.

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About SIGGRAPH 2010
SIGGRAPH 2010 will bring approximately 25,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from six continents to Los Angeles, California, USA for the industry's most respected technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web from Sunday, 25 July through Thursday, 29 July 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. SIGGRAPH 2010 includes a three-day exhibition of products and services from the computer graphics and interactive marketplace from 27-29 July 2010. More than 200 international exhibiting companies are expected. More details are available at www.siggraph.org/s2010

About ACM SIGGRAPH
The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques www.siggraph.org is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Members include researchers, developers and users from the technical, academic, business, and art communities. ACM SIGGRAPH enriches the computer graphics and interactive techniques community year-round through its conferences, global network of professional and student chapters, publications, and educational activities.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.org is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

24 May 2010

Disney•Pixar Executive Jim Morris Chosen as a SIGGRAPH 2010 Keynote Speaker


(Chicago, IL) – ACM SIGGRAPH announces the selection of Jim Morris, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Production at Pixar Animation Studios, to give one of the keynote presentations at SIGGRAPH 2010, the 37th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.

At Pixar since 2005, Morris has worked as a producer and production executive in the motion picture industry for more than 23 years. As part of Pixar’s executive team, he has served as production executive on many of Pixar’s most successful films including “Ratatouiile,” “Up,” and the upcoming “Toy Story 3.” In 2009, he produced Disney•Pixar’s highly acclaimed, “WALL•E,” which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and garnered him the Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures from the Producer’s Guild of America. He is currently producing Disney’s much anticipated “John Carter of Mars,” which is scheduled for release in 2012.

“As an industry leader and visionary, Jim’s keynote will be one of many ‘can’t miss’ moments of SIGGRAPH 2010,” said Terrence Masson, SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair from Northeastern University. “His contributions over the years have moved the industry forward in ways we never imagined. His impact will be felt for decades to come. With his breadth and depth of experiences, he truly is the epitome of this year’s underlying focus of the ‘People Behind the Pixels.’”

Prior to Pixar, Morris worked for Lucasfilm and its divisions for 17 years. He served as president of Lucas Digital Ltd. for 11 years, where he was responsible for Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Lucasfilm Animation, and Skywalker Sound. At that time, Morris served as ILM's general manager, where he supervised a staff of more than 1,400 artists and technicians, and guided the largest visual effects facility in the entertainment industry. Under Morris’ leadership, ILM created the groundbreaking and Academy Award®-winning visual effects seen in “Jurassic Park,” “Death Becomes Her,” “Forrest Gump,” and more than 150 other films.

Morris had previously supervised all of ILM’s production, including “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” which won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, “Hook,” “Star Trek VI,” “The Rocketeer,” “Backdraft,” “Die Hard 2,” and dozens of other successful film projects.

Morris first joined ILM in 1987 as a producer of visual effects for films and commercials. Among other films, Morris produced effects for James Cameron’s “The Abyss,” which also earned an Academy Award® for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, and Steven Spielberg’s “Always.”

Morris earned a B.S. degree in film from the Newhouse School, Syracuse University, and holds a M.S. in television and radio from the same institution. He has served as president of the San Francisco Film Commission and was the founding chair of the Visual Effects Society (VES). Morris is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild.

###

About SIGGRAPH 2010
SIGGRAPH 2010 will bring approximately 25,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from six continents to Los Angeles, California, USA for the industry's most respected technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web from Sunday, 25 July through Thursday, 29 July 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. SIGGRAPH 2010 includes a three-day exhibition of products and services from the computer graphics and interactive marketplace from 27-29 July 2010. More than 200 international exhibiting companies are expected. More details are available at www.siggraph.org/s2010

About ACM SIGGRAPH
The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques www.siggraph.org is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Members include researchers, developers and users from the technical, academic, business, and art communities. ACM SIGGRAPH enriches the computer graphics and interactive techniques community year-round through its conferences, global network of professional and student chapters, publications, and educational activities.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.org is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

20 May 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies Range from Robotics to Human Taste Simulations

SIGGRAPH 2010's Emerging Technologies presents innovations across a broad range of applications, including displays, robotics, input interfaces, vision technologies, and interactive techniques.

Presented in a combination of technologies chosen by the organizers and works selected by a jury of experts, the 22 selections came from more than 107 international submissions and will be on display and available for interaction with attendees in Los Angeles this summer.

"With every passing year, the technologies presented at SIGGRAPH become more and more astonishing," said Preston J. Smith, SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies Chair from Laureate Institute for Brain Research. "This year is no different as conference attendees will experience first-hand the latest achievements across science, commercial, and research fields. In some instances, these technologies are making their first public appearance and are coming to SIGGRAPH directly from research labs."

Listed below are just a few highlights from the SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies.


Acroban the Humanoid
Olivier Ly, INRIA/LaBRI; Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, INRIA

Acroban is the first humanoid robot able to demonstrate playful, compliant, and intuitive physical interaction with children while moving and walking dynamically. Also, it is able to keep its equilibrium when moving even if unpredicted physical interactions are initiated by humans.

Potential Future Use:
The system is presented in an entertainment human-robot interaction context specifically meant to engage children. In this demonstration, the robot has a range of behaviors that it combines in order to react intuitively, naturally, and creatively to uncontrolled external intervention.


A Fluid-Suspension, Electromagnetically Driven Eye with Video Capability for Animatronic Applications
Lanny Smoot, Disney Research; Katie Bassett, Yale University; Marcus Hammond, Stanford University

This compact, fluid-suspension, electromagnetically gimbaled animatronic eye requires minimal operating power, a range of motion, and saccade speeds that can exceed those of the human eye without the traditional frictional wear points.

Potential Future Use:
In a special application, the eye can be separated into a hermetically sealable portion that might be used as a human eye prosthesis, along with an extra-cranially-mounted magnetic drive.


Gesture World Technology
Kiyoshi Hoshino, Motomasa Tomida, Takanobu Tanimoto, University of Tsukuba

This technology allows people to control devices such as computers, household appliances, and robots by means of everyday gestures without using sensors or controllers, which employs the high-speed and high-accuracy computer vision technology capable of estimating the hand and arm poses captured by a compact high-speed camera.

Potential Future Use:
This technology could be applied in a wide range of areas, such as gesture-based computer operation, virtual games, remote control without a remote controller, digital archiving of artisan skills, and remote robot control.



360-degree Autostereoscopic Display
Hiroki Kikuchi, Katsuhisa Itou, Hisao Sakurai, Izushi Kobayashi, Hiroaki Yasunaga, Kazutatsu Tokuyama, Hirotaka Ishikawa, Hidenori Mori, Kengo Hayasaka, and Hiroyuki Yanagisawa, Sony Corporation

This autostereoscopic display is a compact, cylindrical display, which can show full color, high quality, volumetric, 3D images, videos, and interactive animation viewable without glasses from any angle (360 degrees).

Potential Future Use:
This display has many potential applications, such as amusement, professional visualization, digital signage, museum display, video games, and futuristic 3D telecommunication.


Meta Cookie
Takuji Narumi, The University of Tokyo; Takashi Kajinami, The University of Tokyo; Tomohiro Tanikawa, The University of Tokyo; Michitaka Hirose, The University of Tokyo

"Meta cookie" is a novel pseudo-gustation system to change perceived taste of a cookie when people eat by overlaying visual and olfactory information onto a real cookie with an augmented reality (AR) marker by using AR and olfactory display technology.

Potential Future Use:
"Meta Cookie" combines augmented reality technology and olfactory display technology. Merging these two technologies creates a revolutionary interactive gustatory display that reveals a new horizon for computer-human interaction.


In-air Typing Interface for Mobile Devices with Vibration FeedbackTakehiro Niikura, Yuki Hirobe, Alvaro Cassinelli, Yoshihiro Watanabe, Takashi Komuro, Masatoshi Ishikawa, and Atsushi Matsutani, The University of Tokyo

This vision-based 3D input interface for mobile devices does not require space on the surface of the device, other physical devices, or specific environments. Based on a camera with a wide-angle lens, it can operate in a wide 3D space.

Potential Future Use:
This device could one day replace the need for physical keyboards across all hardware.

A complete listing of all the Emerging Technologies presented this year's program is available here.

###

About SIGGRAPH 2010
SIGGRAPH 2010 will bring approximately 25,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from six continents to Los Angeles, California, USA for the industry's most respected technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web from Sunday, 25 July through Thursday, 29 July 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. SIGGRAPH 2010 includes a three-day exhibition of products and services from the computer graphics and interactive marketplace from 27-29 July 2010. More than 200 international exhibiting companies are expected. More details are available at www.siggraph.org/s2010

About ACM SIGGRAPH
The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques www.siggraph.org is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Members include researchers, developers and users from the technical, academic, business, and art communities. ACM SIGGRAPH enriches the computer graphics and interactive techniques community year-round through its conferences, global network of professional and student chapters, publications, and educational activities.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.org is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

18 May 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Computer Animation Festival Preview Video Live

SIGGRAPH 2010 has released a preview video for the upcoming Computer Animation Festival in Los Angeles.

Link to it or watch it here!

12 May 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Technical Papers Focus on Technology and Advanced Techniques

(Chicago, IL) - The SIGGRAPH 2010 Technical Papers program is the premier international forum for disseminating new scholarly work in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Topics range from a new application for browsing street-level imagery to new advancements in architecture demonstrating that curved surfaces can be just as rigid as traditional designs. A total of 390 submissions were reviewed by a distinguished panel of 49 jurors, and 103 papers were selected for presentation at SIGGRAPH 2010.

"SIGGRAPH 2010 will feature a vibrant field of technical presentations," says Tony DeRose, SIGGRAPH 2010 Technical Papers Chair from Pixar Animation Studios. "We are most excited by the extraordinary breadth of topics as well as the fascinating achievements in many fields from architecture to photography."

Papers cover core topics of computer graphics, such as modeling, animation, rendering, imaging, and human-computer interaction, and also explore related fields of audio, robotics, visualization, and perception. Presenters are from all around the globe?from Bangladesh to Switzerland.

Based upon the popularity of the program at SIGGRAPH 2009, this year?s Technical Papers program is once again expanding to include 33 conference presentations for each paper published this year in the journal ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG). For the first time in SIGGRAPH?s history, the TOG Papers and the Technical Papers will be combined to create sessions with more coherent themes.

Listed below are a few highlights from the SIGGRAPH 2010 Technical Papers Program:

Street Slide: Browsing Street-Level Imagery
Street Slide is a novel browsing interface for street-level imagery that combines the best aspects of the immersive nature of bubbles with the overview provided by multi-perspective strip panoramas.

Authors:
Johannes Kopf, Microsoft Research Redmond
Billy Chen, Microsoft Corporation
Richard Szeliski, Microsoft Research
Michael F. Cohen, Microsoft Research

Parametric Reshaping of Human Bodies in Images
An easy-to-use image retouching system that allows users to easily reshape a human body in a single image by simply manipulating a small set of sliders corresponding to semantic attributes such as height, weight, and waist girth.

Authors:
Shizhe Zhou, Zhejiang University
Hongbo Fu, City University of Hong Kong
Ligang Liu, Zhejiang University
Daniel Cohen-Or, Tel-Aviv University
Xiaoguang Han, Zhejiang University

Video Tapestries with Continuous Temporal Zoom A novel approach for summarizing video in the form of a multi-scale image that is continuous in both the spatial domain and across the scale dimension: there are no hard borders between moments in time, and one can zoom smoothly into the image to reveal additional temporal details.

Authors:
Connelly Barnes, Princeton University
Dan Goldman, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Eli Shechtman, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Adam Finkelstein, Princeton University

The Frankencamera: An Experimental Platform for Computational Photography
Experimentation in computational photography is hindered by a lack of portable, flexible, and open photographic platforms. This paper presents Frankencamera, an architecture for programmable cameras, and demonstrates sample applications on two hardware implementations, a custom F2 camera and the Nokia N900 smartphone.

Authors:
Andrew Adams, Stanford University
Eino-Ville Talvala, Stanford University
Sung Hee Park, Stanford University
David E. Jacobs, Stanford University
Boris Ajdin, Universitдt Ulm
Natasha Gelfand, Nokia Research Center Palo Alto
Jennifer Dolson, Stanford University
Daniel Vaquero, University of California, Santa Barbara J
ongmin Baek, Stanford University
Marius Tico, Nokia Research Center Palo Alto
Hendrik P. A. Lensch, Universitдt Ulm
Wojciech Matusik, Disney Research Zьrich
Kari Pulli, Nokia Research Center Palo Alto
Mark Horowitz, Stanford University
Marc Levoy, Stanford University

Multi-Scale Image Harmonization
Compositing images that differ significantly in appearance often produces unrealistic results. This framework matches the visual appearance of images, including contrast, texture, noise, and blur, by manipulating their pyramid representations and blends them with alpha-based and seamless boundary constraints to produce highly realistic composites with minimal user interaction.

Authors:
Kalyan Sunkavalli, Harvard University
Micah K. Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wojciech Matusik, Disney Research
Hanspeter Pfister, Harvard University

OptiX: A General Purpose Ray Tracing Engine This paper presents the design and implementation of the OptiX engine, a programmable architecture for interactive parallel ray tracing. By exposing a small set of programmable operations for ray generation, material shading, object intersection, and scene traversal, OptiX enables a diverse set of rendering and non-rendering algorithms.

Authors:
Steven Parker, NVIDIA Corporation
James Bigler, NVIDIA Corporation
Andreas Dietrich, NVIDIA Corporation
Heiko Friedrich, NVIDIA Corporation
Jared Hoberock, NVIDIA Corporation
David Luebke, NVIDIA Corporation
David McAllister, NVIDIA Corporation
Morgan McGuire, NVIDIA Corporation
R. Keith Morley, NVIDIA Corporation
Austin Robison, NVIDIA Corporation
Martin Stich, NVIDIA Corporation

A complete listing of all the papers presented in this year?s program will be available in late May at: http://www.siggraph.org/s2010/for_attendees/technical_papers

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About SIGGRAPH 2010
SIGGRAPH 2010 will bring approximately 25,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from six continents to Los Angeles, California, USA for the industry's most respected technical and creative programs focusing on research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web from Sunday, 25 July through Thursday, 29 July 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. SIGGRAPH 2010 includes a three-day exhibition of products and services from the computer graphics and interactive marketplace from 27-29 July 2010. More than 200 international exhibiting companies are expected. More details are available at http://www.siggraph.org/s2010

About ACM SIGGRAPH
The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques www.siggraph.org is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Members include researchers, developers and users from the technical, academic, business, and art communities. ACM SIGGRAPH enriches the computer graphics and interactive techniques community year-round through its conferences, global network of professional and student chapters, publications, and educational activities.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery http://www.acm.org, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

03 May 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Media Registration Now Open

SIGGRAPH 2010 in Los Angeles, 25-29 July is the best place in the world to experience the explosive evolution of computer graphics and interactive techniques. See, meet, and interact with the "People Behind the Pixels" who are creating the next wave of international excellence in research, animation, art, software, visualization, hardware, games, visual effects, and education.

Online media registration is now open. Register by 25 June to assure your spot on the media list sent to SIGGRAPH 2010 exhibitors. Please note: Even if you have qualified for a SIGGRAPH media badge in the past, you must re-qualify for SIGGRAPH 2010. For assistance with your pre-show coverage, contact: media@siggraph.org

SIGGRAPH 2010 Media Highlights include:
Technical Papers: This year's Technical Papers program is wonderfully diverse and inspiring covering a wide range of topics including: automatic illustration, physical simulation, automatic control of humanoid characters and many more
SIGGRAPH Dailies! celebrates excellence in computer graphics by showcasing images and short animations of extraordinary power and beauty. Approximately 60 presenters will have one minute each to loop their animations and describe their work while demonstrating the very best of computer graphics in a fun, fast format.
Animation Clinic - in this new program, industry leaders and masters review student final projects and offer creative, production, technical, and career advice.
Expert Panels - leading international experts gather to discuss insights and opinions across a diverse range of subjects such as Ed Catmull and Richard Chuang presenting "CS 292: The Lost Lectures Computer Graphics People and Pixels in the Past 30 Years", a historical perspective on computer graphics over the past 30 years.

For complete details on all of the dynamic content available at SIGGRAPH 2010, or to register as media for the event, visit the For Media section of the SIGGRAPH 2010 web site.

15 April 2010

New SIGGRAPH 2010 Submission Deadline for Live Real-Time Demos

Deadline Extended to 28 April 2010

Over the last many years, the role and impact of interactive and real-time graphics have grown substantially to affect SIGGRAPH attendees from film production to academia. Building on the debut of Real-Time Rendering at the 2009 Computer Animation Festival, SIGGRAPH 2010 is continuing this new and exciting addition to the conference.

Click here to check out the latest video.

SIGGRAPH 2010 is seeking cutting-edge examples of video games and real-time simulations and graphics in several categories: commercial video games, experimental or prototypes games, software applications, interactive data visualizations, and information aesthetics, among others. As long as the submission is interactively controlled and rendered in real-time, and can be repeated in front of a live audience, it will be considered. Accepted work will be demonstrated live, in real time on a PC, Macintosh, or game console. While we expect many entries will be games released in 2010, we also encourage submission of non-commercial projects such as:

*Game explorations
*Student game projects
*Mathematical or other industrial simulations
*Research projects
*Real-time art explorations
*New uses of pioneering technology
*Scientific visualizations: medical science, astrophysics, astronomy, physical science
*Interactive data visualization and/or interactive information aesthetics

For complete submission details, click here

14 April 2010

Disney Research Unveils Technology Competition to Focus on Youth Education at SIGGRAPH 2010

(Chicago, IL) – ACM SIGGRAPH announces the launch of the Learning Challenge at SIGGRAPH 2010 – an open competition sponsored by Disney Research with the goal of finding new and creative ways to use technology to make learning fun for children. Based on the principle that fun and learning should not be contradictory, teams are asked to develop an engaging, computer-based learning application that will delight, inspire, and reveal key learning concepts for children ages 7-11.

The learning application must be a layered activity that moves a child from minimal knowledge to active knowledge in one or more learning concepts via entertaining interactions on computers. The subject matter should be in the areas of math, art, science, music, or reading/writing and involve at least one of 10 key learning concepts.

“Pushing the boundaries of computer graphics and interactive techniques is a core part of SIGGRAPH,” says Terrence Masson, SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair from Northeastern University. “We are thrilled that Disney Research has chosen SIGGRAPH 2010 as the location for such a noble competition with a goal improving youth education through the use of technology and creativity. We anticipate a fantastic response from both the academic and professional communities.”

The competition is open to individuals or teams (from collegiate students working with faculty advisors to working professionals) who must submit work by 7 June 2010. A complete submission includes a one-page abstract, one representative image suitable for use in promotional materials, and up to six supplementary images and/or a maximum five-minute supplementary video. The submission will be judged by a jury of industry leaders and experts.

Twenty finalists will receive travel grants of $1,500 per team and free SIGGRAPH 2010 registration. The winners will be announced 28 July at SIGGRAPH 2010 in Los Angeles and will be eligible to receive a $10,000 cash prize, Disney R&D Tours, Disney Animation Tours, and Walt Disney Studio Tours.

For complete details, visit www.learningchallenge2010.com