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SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
Sunday 27 December 2009 - 01:55AM
Paul Hellard

SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 closed last week with the number of visitors reaching 6,500 visitors from more than 50 countries.

Also, more than 500 artists, academics, and industry experts presented a cool collection of works, some great ideas and radical innovations. Leading experts in the field of animation, computer graphics, digital media production, robotics and interactive techniques were also on hand at SIGGRAPH Asia.

Through more than 200 talks, workshops and panels including three Featured Speaker sessions, SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 successfully connected enthusiasts and future talents in the digital media industry with established professionals and academics in the computer graphics and interactive techniques field.
A total of 400 experts from universities such as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Stanford University, Tsinghua University and The University of Tokyo as well as corporations including Pixar Animation Studios, Imagica and Sony Pictures Imageworks offered their insights, experiences and speculative ideas at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009.

"We are thrilled with the success of SIGGRAPH Asia 2009. SIGGRAPH Asia has become a highly anticipated digital media and content show for enthusiasts and digital media professionals throughout Asia. The increased enthusiasm we see this year is also an endorsement of the quality of works presented at SIGGRAPH Asia," said Masa Inakage, Conference Chair, SIGGRAPH Asia 2009.

A highpoint of the show was the presentation of awards to the winners of the Computer Animation Festival Best of Show Award and Best Technical Award. The winning pieces were chosen by a panel of industry experts based on their commendable use of computer-generated imagery, animation and storytelling. A total of 79 animation pieces, from 16 countries were screened at the Festival.

Best of Show Award: Anchored by Lindsey Olivares, Ringling College of Art and Design.
This production truly deserves the Best of Show title for its innovative and creative expressions of emotions. The skilful integration of sound, character design, art direction and typography creates a beautiful, heartfelt piece that captured the judges' attention and won their commendation.
Best Technical Award: Assassin's Creed 2, by Istvan Zorkoczy, Digic Pictures

SIGGRAPH Asia is the second largest computer gaming market in the world, and included many well-known names in the gaming industry such as Sega Corporation, Square Enix Co., and Namco Bandai Games Inc.

Japanese works were also well-represented in the Emerging Technologies programme, representing nearly half of the 27 installations. Among the notable displays from Japan are Kaidan: Japanese horror experience in Interactive Mixed Reality from Ritsumeikan University; Another Shadow, a collaboration between Takeo Igarashi of The University of Tokyo and Hisato Ogata of Leading Edge Design; and SCHEMA, a multi-party interaction-oriented humanoid robot by Waseda University.

"There is great variety and creativity demonstrated in this year's Emerging Technologies programme – from display technologies and virtual reality, to gestural interface innovations and robotics. Pointing towards future applications that will be cheaper and simpler to use, you can see the momentum is building for the digital do it-yourself revolution. For instance, there are displays showcasing instant broadcasting through live video mixing, toolkits that make it easy to assemble your own electronic devices, and new forms of music jamming," said Lars Erik Holmquist, chair, Emerging Technologies programme, SIGGRAPH Asia 2009.

The next edition of SIGGRAPH Asia will take place in Seoul, Korea, on 15-18 December 2010. SIGGRAPH Asia 2010 will be chaired by Ko Hyeong-Seok, professor at the School of Electrical Engineering in Seoul National University, Korea.

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SIGGRAPH Asia Saturday
Sunday 20 December 2009 - 02:55AM
Paul Hellard

The Japanese love Christmas and SIGGRAPH!

Throughout the nearby mall, all round the streets of Yokohama and Tokyo, and train carriages, caroles are played and trees are decorated with lights. There were also some Santas in the SIGGRAPH sessions. Go figure.

I won't put rose-colored glasses about this show though. The trade floor was very different. I'm not sure if the economy has hit harder, or people are still bunkering down but the trade floor just didn't cut it this year. With only six companies participating, the JobFair included Square Enix and Silicon Studio, Double Negative and Lucasfilm Singapore. But that was basically it. It must be said though, these guys worked hard to use their captive spot and gather new staff. There are many new projects ahead of each studio in 2010.

The Lucasfilm crew set up and waiting in the SIGGRAPH Tradeshow.
Started early again this morning with a great list of Technical Papers being presented with the theme of '3D is Fun'.  Quite a fun morning. A team of scientists from MIT have produced a sensor which reacts to what it can see. A French team is testing a system that allows molding of 3D objects as seen on a screen in front of the viewer. Based on Immersion's iliGHT tactile technology, Cubtile is the first 3D multi-touch interface and although not quite 'holographic', is a long way towards it.

Tim Cheung, animation director on 'Astroboy'
Tim Cheung, animation director on 'Astroboy', talked about the production of this hugely popular little superhero. Chasing the reconstruction of a traditional Asian comic robot, they were fighting a battle to both make an acceptable version of an original, as well as having to create a believable and workable 3D model for a modern film.

Building Astroboy into a modern day robot.
Kevin Geiger has two stories to tell for SIGGRAPH. A multi-requested session, 'Keeping your money on the Screen and off the Floor' has quite a following and I can now see why. It is saving people money. Geiger tells the story of studios bleeding money, accepting this as part of the game. He examines the human factors and organizational considerations that are the foundation of all production decay. Workflow considerations and strategies were tackled, crew responsibilities and duties are examined with a view to streamlining and establishing a clear reporting structure. That done, DAM solutions are seen as the next step to keeping a closer tag on the bottom line. This course should be seen by everyone working in a company dealing with multiple offices, projects and teams.

Some more of the '3D Fun' prototype displays in Emerging Technologies.
I would give the SIGGRAPH sessions this week top marks. The local Japanese input of major robotics has been surprisingly refreshing, entertaining and different. The web technologies are more prominent than in the USA SIGGRAPH shows, the attendees love it and this is what is important. This was a brave step. Full marks to those here this year. Looking forward to Seoul, Korea in 2010, where SIGGRAPH Asia can grow once again.

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
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SIGGRAPH Asia Friday
Friday 18 December 2009 - 07:44AM
Paul Hellard

New team management style shown in SIGGRAPH sessions this year.

Today's economic climate bringing new impetus to find ways for improved management. Some of the studios present at the SIGGRAPH Asia show this year began today with separate presentations about how to present yourself to be a part of their company. Each has been busy with many projects at the same time over the past few years, either in games or TV series productions. They were Imagi Studio, Polygon Pictures, Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Square Enix.

Tad Beckman (left) and John Sanders hosted a Tech Talk today for Lucasfilm Animation in Singapore.
There were courses in the Auditorium on the use of HDRI, Performance Art in the Emerging Technologies, WiFi 3G in squeaky toys found in the Art Gallery. Meanwhile upstairs, Steve Regelous, CEO of Massive Software talked about the interesting calls from studios to use his crowd animation software in depicting wind and hair movement. Crowds are the main query but sometimes there are surprising requests that challenge him. Upstairs still and I happened to stroll into a batch of Computer Animation shorts. One film caught my eye immediately for story, power and the most compelling painterly finishes. Titled 'Entering the Mind through the Mouth', it was in the 'Magic' stream. Truly inspirational.

Steve Regelous, CEO of Massive Software.
Again downstairs in the Main Hall, a very interesting panel discussion was underway involving leads from LucasArts in Singapore, Polygon Pictures and DJL Worldwide were discussing the hurdles of global production. Training, communication, culture, IP and law. Each brought a distinct impression of nurturing crew and driving creativity and productivity with industry experience outside of media (ie: manufacturing), face to face communications and a lot of hard work.

Xavier from Lucasfilm and Sheuzo-san from Polygon Pictures compare notes.
Dylan Sisson of PIXAR set the stage at the Tech Talk once again to reveal some of the ways they used their proprietary software RenderMan to create the Point-Based color bleeding, displacements, Sub-Surface Scattering (SSS) and some of the tricks of Fur and Hair seen in the film. For many films from the studio, SSS has assisted greatly in making food look appetizing. 'Ratatouille' for example. But the color bleeding, will probably gather Per Christensen a Sci-Tech Oscar after PIXAR's use of his solution in 'Up'.

Dylan Sasson presented a very clever look through RenderMan's part in the 'Up' production.
Emerging Technologies is full of networked video phones, 3D displays and spidery robots playing soccer. It's getting towards the end of the show and everyone has different views of the show. I think some of the layout of the trade show floor left a lot of the stands staring out into nothing. They seemed left out. The technology was ultra cool, they had the marketing ability, but they needed to be backed up by a more central aspect in the floor plan, seeing that this was a smaller show. Like the New Orleans show, the sessions, technology, and everything else about it has impressed and excited, as it should.

Some photos courtesy of GDG Japan

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
SIGGRAPH Asia 2010
Imagi Studio
Polygon Pictures
Lucasfilm Animation Singapore
Square Enix
Massive Software
'Entering the Mind through the Mouth'
PIXAR RenderMan
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SIGGRAPH Asia Thursday
Thursday 17 December 2009 - 07:24AM
Paul Hellard

The Breakpoint Bookshop on Floor 3, keeps the SIGGRAPH crowd happy between sessions.

The crew from Pixar RenderMan had an off-location Introduction to RenderMan course for its use in Maya, booked solid this morning. They all drove off to the Vantan Design Institute for a full day course. Side Effects technologist John Courte took to the rather noisy Tech Talk stage, to examine the Houdini node-based systems. He designed and built the perfect parent-child demonstration on the fly, creating a working model of Saturn and its rings and several moons.

John Courte creating his own planetary symetry with Houdini.
NVIDIA Fellow David Kirk began his Keynote by casually referring to most people's laptop computer to the supercomputers of yesterday. "The sum total of the top 500 fastest computers in the world was just over a teraflop," explains Kirk. "Ten years later, the single fastest computer was just over a teraflop. Today in your late model desktop computer, or high-end laptop, each of us has a teraflop of floating point performance that is fully programmable and bendable to your will. It is a wonderful time to be involved in graphics."

David Kirk Keynote address at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 in Yokohama.
Right now, Kirk is working on converting geometry databases and textures, into Voxel representation and writing this into the GPU. David Kirk continued on, saying that a lot of game developers are looking at voxels. "Simplicity turns into efficiency over time, through the application of more torque," he said. "With the use of massively parallel computing, there is a much more efficient use of the additional transistors available." Kirk finished off by saying, "the combination of the different kinds of processors with continue to change the way we do graphics, so we can tear it all down, and built it up again to make it better."

The highlight of the Robotics Pavillion.
A SIGGRAPH in Japan would not be complete without the robotics pavillion. The eerie presence of robots that obey commands, answer random questions and look directly at you as you speak back, kinda brought groups unstuck. There was an array of prototype robots on display. Some were small battle weary boxers, a'la cockfighters in a ring, and others were just a bit more on the practical side.

Emerging Technologies and the Art Gallery were beckoning. The displays this years in the ET as well as the Art Gallery are even more experimental, drawing a longer bow to possible future application than I've seen in a few SIGGs.  The Lumarca, (below) renders what will perhaps one day become the mesh that holds a hologram together. This finely calibrated display system projects light into a space populated with fine string.

Researchers from MIT will reveal a prototype gestural computing LCD screen on Saturday here at SIGGRAPH. While the system is still in a very early stage, the combination of hand gestures and touchscreen will be revealed later in the week.

The Lumarca system is driven by a open source library of images.
The Art Gallery Chair Yuko Oda put on a smaller cocktail reception for SIGG guests with a band drilling music from four reel-to-reel decks, violin and bass guitars. RenderMan also asked me along to the UserGroup Meeting at the Brillio Short Shorts Theater. This was staged by the RenderMan community of Japan. NVIDIA hosted a very cool networking reception in the warm belly of the hotel I was staying at, and the SIGGRAPH Reception was a bus ride away on the harbor shores from Yokohama.

Jamming with digital arts, feedback and violins.
Then Polygon Pictures, Born Digital and Autodesk staged the loudest SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 party, at the BankART Studio a couple of train stations from the conference center.  Get Yokohammered!' was the theme. Flying solo here in Japan, I found some sense in picking just a couple of the events and calling it a night. Two busy days ahead and its already 2am.

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
Pixar RenderMan
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SIGGRAPH Wednesday
Wednesday 16 December 2009 - 07:53AM
Paul Hellard

On a cold, early Yokohama morning, I got out to walk among the city harbor buildings and breathe some fresh Pacific air after a hearty traditional Japanese breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised at the numbers who joined me out there.

Circles and color. One of the standout images in Disney/PIXAR's 'Up'.
Disney/Pixar presented the paper this morning that made such great press in the August show in New Orleans. Here, cinematographer Patrick Lin, designers Colin Thompson and Thomas Jordan spelled out the different disciplines carried through the film. Camera direction, Shapes and colors in character design. Screen direction and Color rhythm. It was great to see the team here to show one of the best presentation I've seen at any SIGGRAPH. Standing room only.

NVIDIA's CUDA Master Class was on all day today. After a thorough introduction to the technology, developers Tianyum Ni and Timo Stitch set about giving the class of programmers a lesson in simplicity. OpenCL API, memory management, programming and execution models were detailed, with a bunch of detailed notes and a CUDA book thrown in. This is cool future technology, and will change up the pace of programming, given the right people are in there using the technology. Wil Braithwaite expanded on his views of how CUDA is being used in more films, to speed VFX output for the studios, leaving us with many examples and code sets to explore. He'll be taking a more indepth Tech Talk later in the week at the main Tech stage in Hall B.

The team from Square Enix pose with the poster at the release of 'Final Fantasy XIII' at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009.
Upstairs in the auditorium, Autodesk Japan was showing off some tremendous work from local studios: Dynamo Pictures, Def2Shot and ImageMax. The Production Manager from the production of 'Yona Yona Penguin', a new animated children's series, shared insights into the creation of this very young Japanese character. All in Japanese but easy to follow onscreen. Then, after a short break, it was straight into the lead release of the conference with 'Final Fantasy XIII' dissected for this local audience.

Yusuke Tanaka and some of the crew from Square Enix gave an exhaustive rundown (again, in Japanese only) of the 17 major stages of production of the story. From concept, blocking, character creation. Using MotionBuilder and Crystal Tools, Square was kept busy bringing MoCap information into Softimage, the effects, hair and clothes were refined further before the finished scenes are exported out into several different codes for the consoles, each with their own additions.

About a half of the queue for the Fast Forward presentations at the end of Wednesday.
The Fast Forward Session is a fun way to open the show as well. There was new research into CG Hair, render breakthroughs, photographic poetry and everything inbetween. It looks like it'll be a busy few days. Now comes the hard part of selecting which I should include in the diary.

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
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Tuesday 15 December 2009 - 02:50AM
Paul Hellard

Just flown in for the 2009 SIGGRAPH Asia here in Yokohama. I experienced white-glove rush-hour Tokyo train crush on my way in this morning. What a spectacle!

Finding my feet in the 150 year old port city was easy also because it is one of the safest cities in Asia. The surrounds of the convention halls and trade show hall are serviced with great food courts, (lots of spots to sit and discuss nParticles and compositing), and great expanses of water to one side in one of the world's great ports. The Fast Forward sessions are on, late on the first day tomorrow. These are the Technical Papers summarized for easy consumption. Don't miss these, for a snapshot of what is being worked on right now.

A bit of Christmas cheer in the Conference Hall surrounds.

Tokyo's train system is clean, fast, safe and very much on time. I took advantage of the one-day unlimited ride ticket to get down into the furthest stretches of the city, mainly cos my hotel room wasn't ready for a few hours after I arrived.

The backstreets of MaZhuMiao.

The streets of Chinatown, Sky Garden and Kanagawa Prefecture have lanes running off them, lanes have tracks running off them, and all along each track is the makings of a kitchen, a restaurant or a mix of the two. Dumplings and rice tea for me.

Brain food.

I found a good perch just close by the halls and convention centre, staring out at the magnificent harbor as the sun went down. From the registration table today, I spied the Chaos crew, some Nukes, a Spheron and an interesting collection of their stands slowly coming together on the show floor. Looking forward to walking around. The Conference starts tomorrow, Wednesday 16th December and the show floor open on Thursday.

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
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CUDA Master Class
Thursday 03 December 2009 - 17:36PM
Paul Hellard

David Kirk, NVIDIA Fellow and former NVIDIA Chief Scientist, is heading up the team presence with a keynote reviewing the evolution of GPU computing. Titled, 'The Power of Heterogeneous Computing', Kirk will drill into the future usage of such technology, to suggest many ways where this can further accelerate science and entertainment.

The Tech Talks being planned for the 16th and 17th December will provide more than an introduction to GPU computing for those interested to jump into this area. Those already working in the field will find the classes useful to help expand their knowledge of the technology.

William Ramsey Sr will curate the GPU Computing Master Class on the 16th. He is the Product Manager for APIs and the Development tools of GPU Computing. There are several high level design patterns in GPU Computing and he will cover the key features and differences between the main programming languages. Ramsey actually will be top and tailing the full day presentation on the 16th, and the speakers after his introduction will cover the many aspects of GPU Computing that are applicable to our industry.  Wil Braithwait, from the Digital Film Group will talk about the OpenCL API interface, gathering this power to use in a VFX pipeline and give an overview of some useful third party libraries.

Later in the day, Takayki Kazama, a Developer Technology Engineer from NVIDIA will talk about the GPU hardware debuggers and performance profiling tools available today, including cuda-gdb and the Visual Profiler for both CUDA C and OpenCL. He will also show NVIDIA’s new Visual Studio-based Nexus development environment for Windows.

There will be a great opportunity to ask questions of those experts and those in this industry already using the CUDA power in their GPU Computing.

Check out the timetable in the link below and see you at SIGGRAPH Asia.

Related links:
NVIDIA CUDA Master Class
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SIGGRAPH Asia production sessions
Sunday 29 November 2009 - 22:10PM
Paul Hellard

Production Sessions and Special Sessions are making SIGGRAPH Asia in Yokohama the place to hear the latest material in CG, VFX and Digital Arts.

There are many sessions that will not be repeated, more than enough reasons to come to Yokohama for SIGGRAPH Asia 2009.

Scott Ross, Executive Advisor at Savannah College of Art and Design and a digital media veteran has led companies to more than 15 Academy Award nominations and seven Oscars. From his start at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic to his successful creation and leadership of Digital Domain, one of the largest and most respected digital production studios in the motion picture industry, Ross has been a pioneer and groundbreaking visionary.

Ross discusses what it takes to build and run a successful animation and movie studio. Recently appointed as executive advisor at SCAD, he is currently launching several new programs designed to provide industry-leading digital media education.

Many technologies being researched in Japan don't make it across to the US SIGGRAPH until later on. Try out the newest products and offers from leading companies such as Advanced Robotics Lab, Crescent Inc, Entertainment Technology Center Carnegie Mellon, Intel Japan, NEC Display Solutions, and Nokia Norge AS.

PIXAR will also be there with sessions on the production of 'Up' and 'Partly Cloudy'.

Visit “The Vision in Robotics"—an original tech sessions and presentation corner designed specifically for the Japan debut of SIGGRAPH Asia. You will have the opportunity to see and experience robots already in use. It will also provide a glimpse of the future of robotics technologies and explore the possibilities of business platforms for service robots. In addition to the science and business of robotics, the special program will showcase robots from artistic, engineering, design and other perspectives.

Tim Cheung the Vice President of Animation at Imagi Animation Studios presents a two-part session about how Imagi brought 'Astro Boy' to the screen in 3D.

A very cool panel on Japanese Video Game development by luminaries from Konami Digital Entertainment, NAMCO BANDAI, Square Enix and Tecmo Koei Holdings will explain how the Japanese game industry heightens visual values and conveys a unique visual expression.

Your SIGGRAPH trip can be just for just one day or any of the four days. Select the most pertinent classes, sessions or presentations, and come on over.

Related links:
SIGG Asia Special Sessions
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Art Gallery: Adaptation
Wednesday 18 November 2009 - 03:47AM
Yuko Oda

In the second Art Gallery exhibition in Asia, an excellent collection of high-quality, cutting-edge artists working in digital art, fine art, and design is showcased. Yuko Oda, SIGGRAPH ASIA 2009 Art Gallery Chair takes us on a preview.

Our artists come from all over the world, representing Japan, USA, Germany, Taiwan, Austria, Russia, Korea, Hong Kong, China, France, to name a few. Most of the artists are visiting Japan and SIGGRAPH for the very first time, creating a brand new synergy of technology, art, and diverse perspectives in the digital media Mecca of Asia. In this year’s show, contemporary curators working in New York, Beijing, and Tokyo bring you a unique, never-seen-before adventure to SIGGRAPH Asia.

We live in a rapidly changing world of technological advances, environmental crisis and global shift of consciousness. Challenges lie ahead, and our ability to adapt to our environment has never been as crucial as it is today. In Adaptation, artists were invited to respond to this critical time in humanity’s evolutionary journey. We were excited to receive a diverse range of perspectives responding to our theme, presented in the most creative of ways. There are many art pieces that address climate change and energy consumption. Artists also present new ways of looking at architecture, clothing and food by adapting where we live, what we wear, and what we eat. Several artists used everyday objects in unexpected ways, subverting and surprising the audience’s perceptions of value. For example, Shih Chieh Huang, an artist representing Taiwan, uses found objects in unexpected ways to create immersive installations with robots that emit light, sound and movement that suggested bio-luminescent organisms.

There are several artworks that respond to our technological society using humor and play, as well as negative effects it has on human psychology through anxiety, fear and loss. In Yuliya Lanina’s film 'Mishka', viewers are confronted with conflicting emotions of childhood memory and adult fantasy with characters made of transformed children’s mechanical dolls. Instead of just including artwork that were driven by technology, the Art Gallery committee felt strongly about the message we wanted to convey and also extended our scope to include artworks that responded to our technological society in a conceptual way.

Along with the mediums usually represented in SIGGRAPH Art Galleries, this year’s show has an array of unique, innovative hybrids of mediums that bring to life the exhibition. Some hybrids worth mentioning are performances that generate energy to make plants grow, interactive installations using insects that are alive, augmented reality t-shirts that attendees can wear, and html code choreographed into dance. We are delighted to eat at 'Electronic Cuisine', where Jeremiah Teipen serves a variety of real foods like sandwiches and sushi with robotic and electrical components.

In this year’s Art Gallery, we are also honored to showcase special live performances scheduled throughout the conference. In the invited piece 'Quintessence', composer and musician George Hajdu directs a networked orchestra, connecting musicians live, performing simultaneously in Yokohama and Europe. We are also delighted to watch Ursula Endlicher bring a new dimension to internet sites by deconstructing html code of popular websites and choreographing it into a unique dance performance. In Open Reel Ensemble, Wada Ei fuses together magnetic audio recording devices, reel-to-reel analog tape recorders, singing, and digital technology such as iPhones, creating a fun, musical performance.

A group of international distinguished committee members made up of active curators, artists, art critics and educators from the US, China, Germany and Japan, came together to shape this exhibition by curating artists and participating in an extremely selective jury process. We were delighted to receive over 400 international online submissions, but it was a difficult task to select the top 4% that were accepted in the art gallery.

I would like to thank all of the artists, committee members, reviewers, my interns from New York Institute of Technology, the patient staff at Koelnmesse and Qltd., who have all worked together with herculean efforts to bring to life this ground-breaking exhibition. I would especially like to acknowledge the work of the Vice-Chair Mariko Tanaka and other committee members without which this show would not have been possible.

2009 is Yokohama’s 150th year of the opening of its ports to the world, and we are honored to celebrate this historical moment with the city. Please join us in welcoming and celebrating these incredible artists whose works will continue to inspire us as we face old and new challenges in our complex lives.

Yuko Oda
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Art Gallery Chair

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
SIGGRAPH Asia Art Gallery 2009
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Emerging Technologies
Sunday 15 November 2009 - 15:58PM
Lars Erik Holmquist

Lars Erik Holmquist described the Emerging Tech for Yokohama so well, I'm going to hand it across to him to give you a personal tour.

'Welcome to the SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Emerging Technologies exhibition! This is the place where you get to experience the future of computer graphics and interactive techniques first-hand. Here, you will get a glimpse of future technology before anyone else - technology that will shape the way we live, work and play in the years to come.

You will see new forms of display technologies that put you right in the action, with realism, dimensions and sensations you have never experienced before. You will meet robots that one day could take the place in human conversations or perform complex tasks we only dream of today. You will see amusements and entertainment that are far beyond even the wildest examples available on today’s games consoles. You will see new forms of interaction that do not hide digital bits behind a glass screen, but put information literally on your fingertips, and you will see how new digital technology can enable new forms of creativity far beyond the computer as we know it today.

Himawari Plant Robot.
Emerging Technologies is about presenting big ideas, but we are not satisfied with just a talk in a presentation room or an image on a screen. E-Tech demos are the real thing: demonstrations you can feel, touch, and experience. This is not easy - every E-Tech exhibit has to withstand the interaction with literally thousands of attendees over several days of non-stop demonstration. But this also makes for a unique connections between the presenters and the audience. You as conference attendee are welcome to not only try out the technology, but also offer your feedback, probe for more information and interact with the exhibitors in a very interactive fashion. I am very grateful to all the presenters who put in a lot of hard work and long hours to present today’s most exciting innovations on-site in Yokohama.

However, the fact that Emerging Technologies demonstrations are in their very nature transient and location-specific is also a problem, since the only way to gain access to them is to be physically present at a demonstration. This year at SIGGRAPH Asia, we have introduced two additional ways to document and put the spotlight on Emerging Technologies. The first is the Digital Experiences catalog that you hold in your hands, where every work is presented in words and pictures as a permanent record of the exhibition. The second is Emerging Technologies Talks, which allows all contributors to give a presentation of their innovations in a compact format, allowing for discussion and questions from the audience. I hope that this will make Emerging Technologies even more popular and prestigious, and help attendees get even more details on the amazing works on display.

Cocktail parties on screen at the Interaction Bar.
Because Emerging Technologies is such a prestigious and important program, we wanted the selection process to be as fair and efficient as we could. There were a large number of people who worked very diligently to bring you the absolutely best program possible. To make the final selections from the 69 submitted works, a jury with some of the most prominent names in the field looked carefully at every single submission in order to make a balanced decision. The jury was supported by an excellent team of reviewers, who carefully scrutinized every submission, producing over 200 high-quality reviews. The final selection of 20 jury-selected works was complemented by another seven curated works, that were specifically invited to complete the show and reflect emerging technology trends. I am very grateful to the reviewers and jury for all the hard work that went into the selection of the final works.

Finally, on a personal note, I am extremely happy to have been part of the Emerging Technologies process for SIGGRAPH Asia 2009. Ever since my first SIGGRAPH visit, E-Tech has been my favorite part of the conference. I have participated many times as a contributor over the years, but this is the first time I have worked ”behind the scenes”. As a conference attendee, E-Tech has always felt like a magical place for me, a place where the most daring dreams and exciting technical breakthroughs are presented to the world for the very first time. I hope you too will feel the magic at this year’s exhibition - enjoy the show!

Lars Erik Holmquist
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Emerging Technologies Chair

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
Emerging Technologies
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SIGG Asia 2009 Advance Program
Friday 13 November 2009 - 13:43PM
Paul Hellard

Similar for each SIGGRAPH, this document contains up to the minute modifications and addendums for sessions, locations and the speakers.

With this PDF on your screen, set at 75% for instance, one can see the layout of each half day perfectly, making the selection of sessions and attractions incredibly easy.  And, like every SIGGRAPH it makes the selection of which sessions one has to miss, to make sure one sees the one big attraction, just as easy.

Seventy peer-reviewed, world-class Technical Papers in physical simulation, animation control, real-time and photo-realistic rendering, geometric and urban modeling, hair capture and styling, texturing, image and video processing and resizing, GPU algorithms, and sound.

Close to 30 Courses on animation production, computer-human interaction, gaming, rendering techniques, computational geometry, and mobile devices.
Educators Program packed with paper presentations, talks, and workshops by top names like Filmakademie and SEGA on methods of teaching and integration of computer graphics and interactive techniques.

Sketches (short illustrated talks) on computer graphics and interactive techniques in art, cinema, advertising, design, science, and engineering, including two production sketches from the studios that created 'Up' and 'Astro Boy'.

In the Art Gallery, leading names in media art and fine art presenting unique, inspiring networked performances, edible robots, a wearable LED kimono, and interactive installations that generate alternative energies.

Emerging Technologies that provide an engaging experience through various forms of haptic interfaces, high-dynamic-range imaging, futuristic display technologies, and hands-on interaction with robots.
Experience three full days of animation and visual effects, inspiring studio content, mind-altering animation, real-time graphics, and narrative shorts in the SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Computer Animation Festival.

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
Advance Program PDF [3.8Mb]
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SIGGRAPH Asia Technical Papers
Monday 26 October 2009 - 20:40PM
Paul Hellard

Any SIGGRAPH Technical Papers presentation is the nuts-and-bolts of the research in CG and can feature areas of physical simulation, animation control, real-time and photo-realistic rendering, geometric and urban modeling, hair capture and styling, texturing, image and video processing and resizing, GPU algorithms, even sound.

For the first time in SIGGRAPH history there will be one session of four papers presented in Japanese as well as English. This year at Yokohama, Professor Nelson Max is the program Chair. Nelson Max received a PhD in Mathematics in 1967 from Harvard University, and is currently a professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Davis. Professor Max was happy to see that there was a relatively high acceptance rate of 25.5% of submitted papers. “In previewing the videos to make this selection, I realized that this conference has a very exciting selection of accepted papers, particularly in the areas of simulation and animation,” he said.

The Technical Papers program received 274 submissions and these papers were reviewed and selected by a technical papers committee of 35 members, including Technical Papers chairs Tony DeRose for SIGGRAPH 2010, George Drettakis, for SIGGRAPH Asia 2010, and Kurt Akeley, for SIGGRAPH Asia 2008, and also Danny Cohen-Or, Hughes Hoppe, Ming Lin, Dinesh Manocha, Ravi Ramamoorthy, and Peter Shirley.

“I made a special effort to accept qualified young volunteers with little previous experience as papers committee members,” explains Nelson Max. “Then in the paper sort, if we could not assign a more experienced member as one of the two committee member reviewers, we assigned one instead as a coordinator, to bring past SIGGRAPH experience to the review process. I feel that this allowed each paper to get a fair review, while bringing ‘new blood’ into the papers committee.”

Professor Max has worked in Japan for three and a half years as co-director of two Omnimax (hemisphere screen) stereo films for international expositions, showing the molecular basis of life. His computer animation has won numerous awards, and he is the recipient of the 2007 ACM Coons Award for Lifetime Achievement in Computer Graphics. His research interests are in the areas of scientific visualization, volume and flow rendering, computer animation, molecular graphics, and realistic computer rendering, including shadow and radiosity effects.

SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Technical Papers Program highlights include:

Physically Based Animation
Thursday, 17 December | 4:15 PM - 6:30 PM | Room 301/302

Skipping Steps in Deformable Simulation with Online Model Reduction
Theodore Kim, University of Saskatchewan, Cornell University; Doug James, Cornell University

Harmonic Shells: A Practical Nonlinear Sound Model for Near-Rigid Thin Shells
Jeffrey Chadwick, Steven An and Doug James, Cornell University

Aggregate Dynamics for Dense Crowd Simulations
Rahul Narain and Abhinav Golas, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Sean Curtis, Walt Disney Animation Studios; Ming Lin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Synthetic Turbulence using Artificial Boundary Layers
Tobias Pfaff and Nils Thürey, ETH Zürich; Markus Gross, ETH Zürich, Disney Research Zürich; Andrew Selle, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Stretching and Wiggling Liquids
Doyub Kim and Hyeong-Seok Ko , Seoul National University; Oh-Young Song, Sejong University

3D is Fun

Saturday, 19 December | 11:00 AM - 12:45 PM | Room 301/302
Shadow Art
Niloy J. Mitra, IIT Delhi / KAUST; Mark Pauly, ETH Zürich

Dynamic Shape Capture
Daniel Vlasic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Pieter Peers, University of Southern California; Ilya Baran, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Paul Debevec, University of Southern California, Institute for Creative Technologies; Jovan Popović, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Adobe Systems Incorporated, University of Washington; Szymon Rusinkiewicz, Princeton University; Wojciech Matusik, Adobe Systems Incorporated

Sketch2Photo: Internet Image Montage
Tao Chen & Ming-Ming Cheng, Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology; Ping Tan, National University of Singapore; Ariel Shamir, Efi Arazi School of Computer Science, The Interdisciplinary Center; Shi-Min Hu, Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology

Friday, 18 December | 9:00 AM - 10:45 AM | Room 301/302

Related links:
SIGGRAPH ASIA Technical Papers rundown
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Leo Hourvitz
Sunday 18 October 2009 - 04:05AM
Paul Hellard

Leo Hourvitz is a technical art director, speaker, manager, programmer, effects artist and system designer with a long background in computer graphics and related systems. In his current role as Vice President of Technology at Polygon Pictures Inc., a medium-sized CG studio in Tokyo, he manages the technical pipeline development team with a secondary focus on overseas business development.

Prior to that, he was a Technical Art Director with Maxis/Electronic Arts, where he helped build the art team and the pipeline for 'The Sims 2' and other Sims products. He previously worked at Pixar Animation Studios, where he was supervising technical director on the Oscar-winning animated short film 'Geri's Game' as well as effects technical artist on several feature films, including 'A Bug's Life' and 'Toy Story 2'. He holds a masters of science degree in visual studies from MIT.

Lindsey Olivares' short 'Anchored' won best of show and Digic Pictures' 'Assassin's Creed 2' won the best technical award at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Computer Animation Festival.

"While working on my film I tried to push boundaries and innovate ways to use technology to create a film that felt like a moving painting," said Olivares, who is from the Ringling College of Art and Design. "SIGGRAPH Asia exemplifies this idea of pushing the limits of technology and creativity. I'm very excited to hear my film was accepted into the Computer Animation Festival and also chosen as the Best of Show piece."

Assassin's Creed 2, a trailer for the game, was produced by Alex Sandor Rabb, and the clip showed the festival a mastery of 3D CG production.

"We are proud of our Assassin?s Creed 2 cinematic trailer, which reflects our relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to push all boundaries of CG animation," said Rabb. "This award truly belongs to everyone at Digic Pictures who have contributed to the film, outdoing themselves on a daily basis."

"We were blown away by the number and quality of pieces submitted for this year's show, " says Leo Hourvitz, "Animations came in from dozens of countries and we had over 600 pieces to look through, so we used a two-stage volunteer-driven process across two weekends. The first weekend I invited about 20 local jurors to come in and watch the submitted animations in teams of three. The second weekend our international jury assembled here in Tokyo and watched all the pieces that came out of the first weekend together. Then we had a long (and bilingual!) discussion about exactly which pieces should go into the show. My huge thanks to all the jurors who persevered through the long hours in a dark room to make the selections.

As has been true the last several years, we were all especially impressed by the quantity of excellent student work going on around the world.  Our Best of Show winner, 'Anchored,' was actually a student piece, even though we didn't pick it for that reason.

I'm really happy with how the Electronic Theater came together.  The jury focused on just selecting the best pieces we saw, but the result is a show that has a real Asian feel and yet represents work from all over the world.  That's an ever-growing list of countries, by the way -- our winner for Best Technical, 'Assassin's Creed 2,' was produced in Hungary.  The ET includes humor, drama, and commentary drawn from movies, TV shows, and shorts, so it covers a lot of ground, but I think with all the material that was submitted by contributors and the jury's selection work, everyone will enjoy the whole show.

We also brought back one of my favorite pieces of the Electronic Theater, the Papers Preview video.  Hopefully it'll motivate folks with a not-completely-serious look at what's happening in the technical community even if they're not frequent papers attendees.

And, since two hours of animation isn't nearly enough, we have another three or so hours of fantastic animation showing in the Animation Theater as well.  We break the material up into half-hour show so people can come and go, but you really should try and catch it all.

Of course, now we're in the editorial phase. We've gotten all the pieces here in Tokyo and we're rushing to actually prepare all the titles and edit the show together with perfect timing and quality control. I'm lucky to have a committee of volunteers here in Japan that are helping out. If you haven't seen the Computer Animation Festival trailer they put together yet, it's definitely fun to watch.

The thing I'm most looking forward to is getting to introduce lots of other people to the great pieces our contributors sent in! It's such a treat for me to have been able to sit and watch all this animation, I'm really happy a lot of other folks will be able to enjoy it too. I want to share the award-winning pieces, since they so richly deserve it, and one thing I'm definitely looking forward to is seeing how people react to the Japanese-style humor of the piece called "Peeping Life". I hope all your readers can come join us in Yokohama!"

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
Computer Animation Festival
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Computer Animation Festival Video
Tuesday 29 September 2009 - 17:42PM
Paul Hellard

The Electronic Theater participants for the Computer Animation Festival at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 has been listed on the SIGGRAPH site.

The team led by Leo Hourvitz searched the world and called for participants early, to select the eclectic and impressive range of works being shown at Yokohama in December.

As Vice President of Technology at Polygon Pictures Inc., a medium-sized CG studio in Tokyo, Leo Hourvitz manages the technical pipeline development team with a secondary focus on overseas business development.

The Computer Animation Festival Chair's career streams through many genres including a time as Technical Art Director at Maxis/Electronic Arts, where he helped build the pipeline for The Sims 2 projects. His career is landmarked by the work he did with Pixar Animation Studios, as supervising Technical Director on 'Geri's Game' and effect artist on 'A Bug's Life' and 'Toy Story 2'.  In a week, I hope to have an interview with Leo, but to bide the time, here is the Electronic Theater Trailer for SIGGRAPH Asia 2009.

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
Computer Animation Festival
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Masa Inakage - Chair of SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Yokohama
Sunday 20 September 2009 - 19:40PM
Paul Hellard

In the lead up to SIGGRAPH Asia 2009, the Chair of the Yokohama conference talks to CGSociety about the great expectations for the first SIGGRAPH in Japan.

When the SIGGRAPH Committee decided to launch the new arm of the annual conference in Asia, SIGGRAPH learned a lot. In coming to Asia, ACM SIGGRAPH is learning more and more about how to communicate with the Asian community. "This is really good for SIGGRAPH because as an international conference, it will make itself even more international," says Masa Inakage, a Dean and Professor in the Graduate School of Media Design at Keio University.

"I believe the Yokohama conference will be much bigger [than the Singapore conference], and also there will be many experiments that are not happening here in the North American conference this year. Japan has been very strong in CG for many, many years. For example we are bringing in simultaneous translation into and from the Japanese language. There will also be more robotics, digital signage, games and anime all these additional things not part of the SIGG core community right now, but SIGG Asia, especially Japan has these strong areas of interest. So SIGGRAPH Asia will evolve into something similar to SIGGRAPH from North America but also something unique and distinguishable. Attendees would have to come to Japan this December to experience something that you would not necessarily experience in North America.

"The Japanese are the third largest contingent of SIGGRAPH attendees. First comes the Americans, then Canadians, then the Japanese," explains Inakage. "So the general CG community in Japan are well aware of the SIGGRAPH conference here in the US. Of course with the conference always (until now) being in the States, not every university could send their people. Now, this unique opportunity to have the SIGGRAPH over in Yokohama, I believe that there will be many, many Japanese people making their way to the local conference. I really do believe there will be a very, very big crowd attending. In addition, the surrounding countries will come over in high numbers also. Korea, Taiwan, China and Singapore, Australia, India and Russia."

Yokohama 150 years
"When we put in the bid to have Yokohama as the host for the second SIGGRAPH Asia, we had some very enthusiastic help from Yokohama itself," adds Inakage. "2009 is the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Yokohama for international trade. After many hundreds of years of Japan being very closed, this anniversary means many things to Japan. They are welcoming many international cultures, businesses and academia to celebrate this 150 year anniversary. In fact, SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 is listed is one of the key conferences taking part in this anniversary celebration. Yokohama brands itself as the creative city, so the digital cutting edge being shown at SIGGRAPH Asia in December is a perfect fit to the mission to both SIGGRAPH and Yokohama."

The Wave of Innovation
Japan is always advancing technology and experimenting with new ideas in creative arts, design and new business models. SIGGRAPH is at the cutting edge of this digital media industry and SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 is not only about CG, but it also incorporates digital media and digital content in general. Being at the forefront of the field, SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 means that there is a big wave of innovation coming to Japan.

The Chairs
"I am very fortunate to have a very strong field of Chairs for Yokohama," Inakage confirms. "They're from academia, from industry, from Asia and beyond. The team is built to look at very many areas of the community and each program is bringing in their very unique ideas about having SIGGRAPH in Japan. Many of the programs have some highlight focuses about Japan. We are also looking at the unique Japanese flavors that would interest those coming to Japan. Even if you have been attending SIGGRAPH for many many years, I think this is a very unique opportunity to experience a very different SIGGRAPH."

Related links:
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009
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» SIGG Asia 2009 Advance Program
» SIGGRAPH Asia Technical Papers
» Leo Hourvitz
» Computer Animation Festival Video
» Masa Inakage - Chair of SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Yokohama


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