CGSociety - SIGGRAPH 2013 Diary

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SIGGRAPH 2013 summary

Fri 26th Jul 2013, by | siggraph2013


Time to take a brief siesta, before packing SIGGRAPH up and shipping out.

SIGGRAPH 2013 at Anaheim was a success in many ways. Bringing in 17,162 attendees from all points, was a huge task in itself. Enticing people down the concrete freeway from Los Angeles and way beyond, was going to be a big call.   180 organisations exhibited at SIGGRAPH 2013, filling 43,850 square feet of exhibit space.  In fact 15 countries were represented on the show floor, and 38% of that floorspace was carried by companies that flew in from overseas.

“No matter where SIGGRAPH is held, the gathering of tribes across such a wide range of industries and backgrounds always makes for an educational, inspiring, and delightful experience.” said Mk Haley, SIGGRAPH 2013 Conference Chair from Disney Research. “SIGGRAPH 2013 was certainly no different. The content, the connections, the experience will live on through to Vancouver 2014. We want to personally thank everyone who participated or contributed in any way. Our plan is to use SIGGRAPH 2013 as a launching pad to extend the conference out beyond today’s closing through the creation of SIGGRAPH University and posting the entire 2013 Keynote session online amongst other initiatives.”

Anaheim was a curious location for the conference it has to be admitted. While it gave an excuse to many, to nick across the road before or after the show days and be a kid again in the 'happiest place in the world', other than the Disneyland escape, there really wasn't any visible reason we were all enticed to Anaheim, other than we could't fit in at the LACC. So many people in my rounds were murmuring they'd be happiest if SIGGRAPH stayed in Los Angeles and was staged every two years.  In a perfect world perhaps. I think, and I've said this before, that SIGGRAPH thrives when it is able to mix into different cultures. Despite not cracking a profit, SIGGRAPH ASIA in the best thing to happen to the show.

There were a little over 1,354 speakers and contributors, taking part in the swathe of talks, sessions, panels, papers, presentations, tutorials and screenings taking place at SIGGRAPH 2013. The quality and depth of the tech was just as compelling as it always has been. Jerome Solomon and his (count them) 15 production sessions, were a truly inspiring contribution. Taking in almost all the latest blockbusting VFX movies on offer, the studio's talent really made the show sing.

I look forward to seeing what is in store next year in Vancouver.


Pi-Cutting at SIGGRAPH

Fri 26th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Plenty of sessions digging into the tech this morning. Great numbers in for the early talks.

The effects of the last evening are showing on faces all over the halls. Clearly somebody  had a great time at the dizzy list of UGMs, dinners and parties that were spread all over the local district.  

One big session, not to be missed (thankfully it was late morning) was Bill Westenhoffer and his crew taking about the production of 'Life of Pi', on Making Pi. Westenhoffer tells that there were attempts to shoot in a real ocean during the early days of the production. No chance. Even framing a boat with barely large waves around made for a waste of time. If you're making a stereo film it isn't just then rendering the second eye. With any film with VFX, it is totally different, especially with water involved, refraction mismatches was all over the place.

The pool was built by the theme park company. Outside in a disused airport in Taiwan. Dug a big hole, surrounded it with large shipping containers, sealed the hole and filled it with a chunk of water.  They rigged a huge scrim over the top so they could control the lighting, threw some bollards down the end to disrupt 'pattern' waves, and got shooting.

R&H only worked with real animals for reference and guides to create the CG which replaced them. Another immense task was to previs the entire movie.   Ang wanted the ocean to be a character, so a great percentage of this had to be digital.  And they held to the same standard. It needed to echo the mood of the scene.  The waves from the CG, and the tank's waves had to be seamless. Merging the oceans together.  Accentuating the pitch of the surf.

Also, HDRI would have to be the primary source of the light in the water. Painting any sky would also have to be high dynamic range. Splashes were generated in Naiad and Houdini. Simulation of the ocean top and the churn on the surface of the waves was a massive task, all of which was done in NaIAD. Everyone was so pleased to work on a movie that had a lot of VFX but the effects weren't in your face, but were almost invisible.

On the water, they had to make reflections of things that were constructed in completely different pipelines.

They started with a boy in lifeboat. VFX doesn't have to be explosions. It can be part of the DNA of the movie. Richard Parker took a year, 10 million hairs and 30 hours per frame.  And was definitely not anthropomorphic. All key frames and hand drawn. Referenced from a real tiger in France called King. Lots of animation based on the real tiger, and they needed to be cutting directly back and forth between the real and CG tiger.   Real tigers act nonchalant when they are uncomfortable.   When they were prepping to film the real tiger, insitu on the boat, on the water, they had a black wooden camera on a crane matching the kind of shot they'd require later. That was so King became used to the black box appearing beside the tamer, during shooting afterwards.

During the hook up from animation to rendering. Choreography from muscle firing and skin twitching.

Ryan Gilles lighting supervisor at R&H spoke of the intensity drop off that was physically correct. This was a DSM pipeline, hybrid lighting approach. At the depth of the SSS under fur, the lighting actually made the coat look even more real. Each hair was sampled. 10-20 million strands.  Mip map style flittering allowed the frame to frame consistency to hold up well. They also used RayOccluder and a certain amount of bias with partial hair transparency, which referred to Deep Light layers. So lighting the fur was ray traced, diffused, specular and subsurface.  That's dedication.

The meerkats were instances.   There were complex terrains, and there was a lot of them, almost 60,000.   Stats:960 shots in the film; 690 VFX shots; 446 R&H shots; 1:29 hours out of the 2 hour film were VFX.

Sessions at SIGGRAPH 2013

Thu 25th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Across at the Hilton, SideFX was holding court in an Astronomical Visualization session which described the digital re-creation of a CME coronal magnetic ejection. Another of the Helix Nebula was recreated in 3D. The raw data is brought into Houdini, converted to geo and presented in Uniview.

Speck2geo is a particularly spectacular planetarium movie which rides through space, then happens upon our galaxy, then discovers our solar system, with the Milky Way sweeping overhead. All generated data is publicly available. The Spice data was developed by NASA and is available as python modules. Pretty specie stuff, with a basis of real-world physics.  Download the 3D tour for free at the link at the base of the article.

Meanwhile, Blizzard Entertainment showed off their workflow for creating cinematics for the games like 'StarCraft 2'. A light weight particle based, volume controlled crowd system. They also used Houdini to gather together all the assets. The lighting stages are just for evaluation and not rendered until later. The Diablo 3 smoke for the eyes were mentioned by Hosuk Chang for the Imperius character. Jeremy Pilgrim wrote a particle system to run along the wings of the character as well. This afternoon, the Posters had a chance to have their say about the A2 size sheets holding their research. Some very cool, and succinctly described creative solutions have been on display all week. 

NVIDIA has been talking about Project Logan and Kepler under the counter for a few months now, but they brought their SoC out to play this week at SIGGRAPH. In a demo Wednesday, they were showing this intelligent display and sucks one third of the power of GPUs running in devices like a decent tablet. With DirectX11, OpenGL4.4 and OpenGL ES 3.0 support. This means PC  and consoles images are at home on mobile devices very soon. Now that's a step ahead of the crowd.

In the Dailies, Devon Penney from Dreamworks Animation welcomed the first of a long line crazy Dailies. The funniest part of the screening, apart from that first Daily (you know who you are), was the voting text phone line. Going live, the votes came in, filling out to an eventual winner whom I failed to hang around for. OK, my bad. Cesar Montero showed the work he and his team had done in at DreamWorks for lighting and surface creatives. Marc Messenger from Blizzard Entertainment showed World of Warcraft Panderium cinematic The five elements from the Akitipe Studios was particularly impressive.  There a lot of Pixar work this year, covering lighting, render and modeling challenges. Also Dreamworks Animation and A&M university.

After dinner, the SIGGRAPH After Dark films were playing as I rounded the corner from the cheeky little bar on W Katella. I was confronted by dinosaurs I kid you not.  I hadn't been drinking.  SIGGRAPH had 'Jurassic Park' playing in the balmy evening night, framed by palms.  I stuck around.   Nice touch guys.  This should draw a bigger crowd.  They had Toy Story playing earlier in the night.

Related links:

Hayden Planetarium

SIGGRAPH 2013 Wednesday

Wed 24th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


The state of Technical Direction and Lighting is explored at SIGGRAPH 2013



In the 'Stick that in your Pipe' session this morning, the pipelines of some of the busiest studios were shown off by the technical directors.  Arun Rao shows us through Lurch, the pipeline management system  used at Pixar.  Lighting and rendering management is so important, especially during the crunch time. This polished pipeline is maintained by a team of six to 15 TDs, especially when they are working on digital dailies. 

Damien Fagnou showed Review, the database driven VFX system at MPC first used on 'Prometheus'. They first used Final Cut Pro as the editorial system but in the end decided to develop their own. They needed a lot of automation, and built it on top of TweakRV, with a cross platform base, and Python and Tessa framework. Fagnou said it was the best system they had found and it is continually modified and upgraded internally.

Down in Ballroom E, Mark Edwards was digging into the 'Croods' lighting rigs from DreamWorks Animation.  The daylight and moonlight shots were pretty simple, but those other shots with fire, the lighting challenges rose up in front of them. Roger Deakins was the cinematographer who worked with the crews on 'How to Train your Dragon', a wide range of HDRIs were collected to help the look along.

The DW lighting tool called Light, was an additive setup meaning particles would be used to illuminate paths. Sounds like it was a lot of fun to prepare.  These particles were called BIA (bugs in the air) and CIA (crap in the air) . 'You could almost smell the cave folk'. Lighting is done in two set ups. Templates are dropped in and then each node is tweaked depending on the art direction on the screen.

Matt Bauer spoke about generating sprite cards to create nature as a villain in this story, and the VFX supervisor had lots of tools to help represent this. Storms, earthquakes, lava and pyroclastic flow were always out to get the Croods.  In the movie, the Croods are convinced they could jump onto the sun as it rises, and somehow be able to ride into tomorrow'. (Yeah, I know). During the most volcanically disruptive part pf the movie, pyroclastic flow rolls through the rock hallway, making CIA almost drown Grug Crood.

VICON has released its own realtime facial motion capture system software, called Cara. The system is available as a standalone product as well as a full blown VICON mo-capture workflow. This opens possibilities for porting into Maya direct. Users can take up to four high definition images and pass them either through Vicon’s CaraPost software to automatically produce 3D points or their processing pipeline of choice to recreate the actor’s performance on a computer generated model.

Chaos Group's V-Ray Day had some pretty impressive reels and deep explanation of their use of V-Ray. Early Wednesday  afternoon, the speakers included ILM and ScanlineVFX. They showed breakdown reels of the work they did on Avengers and Battleship. Paul Ghezzo from ScanlineVFX later took some shots apart for the Battleship scenes. While a lot of the footage has composite, they used V-Ray for all of their work. HDRs are shot on set, but most if not all.  Johan Thorngren from ILM took to the work on Pacific Rim of 15 months ago. Alembic files were required, and the group that Johan was in were more inclined to use Brazil. Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim and Star Trek all going on at the same time.

In the Lone Ranger, the forest seen around the train sequences were all CG. Pine forests, mountains, rivers, everything. In Pacific Rim, the environments were almost totally CG as well. They initially were using Arnold as the renderer as the base was Alembic, but it wasn't locked down so much, so the crew opted to use V-Ray. Frames were rendered out of the 3ds Max side most of the time they were creating the shots for the underwater scenes in Pacific Rim.


Related links:








Super SIGGRAPH 2013

Tue 23rd Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Super Heroes take SIGGRAPH 2013 with immense Production Sessions

Keith Miller says Weta Digital worked closely and early, with Alex McDowell on the art direction of 'Man of Steel'.  The concept of scale is heavily used in the Krypton sequence of 'Man of Steel'.  "But even though we base the world on real elements, we were trying to depict an alien world, so it wasn't really having to stick to the facts," explains Miller.  "Working with CityEngine, the cities were almost organic flowing structures, barely different in form as the slums of Rio."

Stephan Trojansky from ScanlineVFX, presented the Flowline equation which had been released. They hired a navy chopper filmed it but didn't use it. They recreated it in CG. The oil rig , smoke, flames, dust, everything. Max Ivins from Look FX was just thankful to be asked along for the ride. "Sometimes you get to work with a cool project. We were in three locations, a stage, a rock quarry, and a bridge," he said. "The interior of the bus was a Maya compilation. With bubbles in the windows. This was a last minute, low maintenance vendor job. Ours was to come in do a top notch job. Present the work undramatically and let them get on with their work."

MPC's Guilliame Bucheron began his talk with the flatly correct statement. "Flying people do not exist. Virtual cinematography was used liberally in the Smallhills battle," he said. They had to do full screen CG characters, sometime we did ten changes from CG to real and back. The get out of jail card was that the shots were so quick.  They had to be CG because none mortal could move that fast. "Capturing and recreating the environment, the goal was to create as much reality as we could.  Starting with an HDRI of the entire area, lit with dressing, or as much as we could," Bucheron explained.

Open data

Wed 24th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Tuesday marks the opening of the tradeshow floor at SIGGRAPH 2013.


The word is that Autodesk is "short on news, and that is why they are not at the show. There are no releases this quarter," says Maurice Patel at the press briefing this morning. "Autodesk has also been investing heavily in new tech," as well as giving some assistance to the production of James Cameron's 'Avatar 2'.

However, they showed off a new item, an App, available to view FBX files on Windows 7 and 8 devices. FBX Review is a lightweight tool, standalone product. So a client, a marketer or anyone, can view and show a model being worked on. You can view through the lights, wireframe, adjusting the camera to any angle.  This can  3ds Max files, revit files, and many other formats.  This is available right now, for free.

Back in the halls, the 'Pacific Rim' session was being held with John Knoll and Hal Hickel holding court. Knoll showed through some of the more practical set ups, like the alien Kaiju monster's fist coming through the office desks in a fight sequence from the movie. Later replaced with the CG fist, the office was constructed at a quarter-scale. This office furniture sequence was fraught with practical problems, like ceiling panels over lenses, cameras coming adrift, although they were overcome in post.

Alex Jaeger showed off some of the giant translucent aliens. Like Knifehead, 250 feet long, 150 feet high. If they were actually made of meat, they would be 160,000 tons in weight. But you cannot surprise yourself because in the research, Lucasfilm found the most incredible creatures in nature.  ILM has lots of sculpt tools but would welcome other models to help create even more in future productions. Some of these incredible creatures were the work of Kris Costa and his team.

In moving the monster along in animated pursuit, the muscle jiggle was very important. So a study of active muscle groups assisted the creation of reality.  Shoulders were a nightmare. There were also many different monster robots created by each country in the movie. Gipsy Danger was the USA Kaiju. Designed to signify the Chrysler building, Stars and Stripes, art deco style, and a robotic version of John Wayne's butt.  There's an Australian robot, a Russian fighter Cherno. Crimson Typhoon emitted a Chinese feel, with a the lacquered wood appearance. As for size, Transformers' Optimus Prime was the size of Gypsy's foot.    1.9 million verts is the norm to make mechanical monsters, for each of these movies.

Michael Decomo was the pipeline supervisor on 'Pacific Rim'. Animatics with procedural ocean, Foam, interacting with the Gypsy, then reflections, foam passes, then renders of splash passes, refraction passes, nine lightning passes, base levels, surfaceing, lights, more lights and more destruction passes.

Of course, later, Walt Disney's Production Session on 'Frozen' was a different pace altogether. Although they still had a huge range of characters and wardrobe. Disney's Tonic hair creative tool allowed the artists to get into design hairstyles quicker. They could create style and tweak hair.  They used XGen to coat the characters with snow.  Marlon West and Dale Mayeda are effects supervisors. They were brought in early to production so they could brainstorm with the concept artists and story editors.  With a background of 2D animation, they both found they were using Maya and Houdini to create the curves and effects of the lead character's snow forms that make up a key illustrative in the movie. Mayeda's experience of snow was limited, so the crew went to Wyoming to get an idea of knee deep snow. First hand is so valuable. The depth of the snow was studied to such an extent, the footfall and movement through the medium was assisted.  Snow batcher is an automated snow contact pipeline.


Related links:

Pacific Rim


KATANA RenderMan

Mon 22nd Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


The Foundry and Pixar Animation Studios have announced a technical collaboration, bringing KATANA and RenderMan together, which creates a combined best-of-breed toolset for high-end lighting and rendering.


KATANA will now include a full RenderMan license as standard, along with a base set of shaders and free KATANA batch render licenses to help get the most out of any RenderMan pipeline. The results of these efforts will be released to all customers within all future releases of KATANA.


KATANA, the premier lighting tool from The Foundry, and Pixar’s RenderMan, which has long been recognized as the industry standard in visual effects and animation rendering, were both recently used together to great effect on Disney/Pixar’s 'The Blue Umbrella' short, mentioned in earlier posts.


The successful outcome involved significant dedicated engineering effort from both parties, not only to better support RenderMan workflows, but to build new features into KATANA itself, based upon Pixar’s own creative expertise and production-proven technology. These continuing developments firmly cement KATANA and RenderMan together as the ultimate rendering and lighting collaboration, while being open and agnostic remains central to both solutions.


Related links:

The Foundry



Tue 23rd Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013



NVIDIA has unveiled the Quadro K6000 GPU on the first show floor day of SIGGRAPH 2013.


With the K6000, NVIDIA has introduced a new line of professional graphics GPUs for mobile workstations, delivering the highest levels of performance and graphics memory ever available on mobile platforms. The Quadro K6000 GPU delivers five-times higher compute performance and nearly double the graphics capability of its predecessor, the NVIDIA Quadro 6000 GPU largest and fastest graphics memory.


The Quadro K6000 GPU is based on the NVIDIA Kepler GPU architecture. There is 12GB ultra-fast GDDR5 graphics memory, while 2,880 streaming multiprocessor (SMX) cores deliver faster visualization and compute horsepower than previous-generation products.  This collection supports four simultaneous displays and up to 4k resolution with DisplayPort 1.2. Ultra-low latency video I/O for large-scale visualizations.



NVIDIA also revealed a new flagship professional graphics GPU for workstation notebooks, the NVIDIA Quadro K5100M GPU. Delivering the highest levels of performance and graphics memory available on notebook platforms, the Quadro K5100M anchors a new line of workstation notebook graphics that includes the Quadro K4100M, K3100M, K2100M, K1100M, K610M, and K510M GPUs.  The NVIDIA Quadro K6000 will be available beginning this fall.



Related links:


SIGGRAPH Software upgrades

Tue 23rd Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


MAXON has released CINEMA 4D R15 on the first day of the show. One of the new elements are interactive bevel tool, able to slide and form with the advanced topology options. Typography tools have more 3D elements. There is also a Team Render with picture viewer.  Bonjour or a Cinema 4D client will assist in opening the network within your facility so you can use Instant grass for the archviz. Based on hair and fur engine, easy to vary the coverage.

There's an updated Irradiance caching system, new light mapping, speed enhancements and intel Embree integration. Many, many workflow improvements like a camera crane, texture manager, color grading, deformers autofit and multi threading and OpenGL for noise, turbulence and many other shaders. Cineware released last week, released with the help of Adobe. Started as a conversation at last year's SIGGRAPH.

NewTek has announced new features in LightWave 11.6, offering modeling, rigging, animation, effects, dynamics, and near limitless render nodes. LightWave 11.6 complements features introduced in version 11.5, including the Genoma character rigging system with modular presets, predator and prey Flocking capabilities, per-object Instancing control, and soft-body Bullet Dynamics with support for FiberFX. Registered LightWave 11 customers can upgrade to LightWave 11.6 free of charge.   Also, NewTek's ChronoSculpt is being demonstrated on the show floor. ChronoSculpt uses a powerful timeline-based workspace that includes tools to sculpt and manipulate 3D deformations and character cache animation over time. It supports soft- and rigid-body dynamics and has the ability to sculpt and deform massive polygonal models on the timeline to correct and remove errors in real time.

SPI and ILM have announces the release of Alembic 1.5, their jointly-developed open-source project that allows for VFX and CG scenes across multiple software applications. Alembic 1.5 includes new support for multi-threading, which, along with other new features, results in significant performance and efficiency improvements for all users. There is greatly improved read performances and reads happen four times faster, with multi-threading up to 25 times faster. Files are, on average, five to 15 percent smaller. Greater reductions are possible for scenes involving many small objects.

Massive 6.0 has final been announced, and is accompanied by a completely new Massive for Maya product. The celebrated crowd agent sim has an entirely redesigned user interface. Looking sleek and far simpler than previous incantations, Massive 6.0 has further color, operating guides, and deeper integration and use within Autodesk Maya.  All of the existing placement tools in Massive have been extended to work in three dimensions, independently of the terrain.

Building complex agents with hundreds of actions can be a time consuming process, but it doesn't have to be anymore. In Massive 6.0 the action importing process can be completely automated, reducing what could be months of work to a few minutes. These are just some of the new features of Massive 6.0, which is scheduled for release in September.  Massive for Maya will also be available then. When CEO Stephen Regelous showed Massive operating INSIDE of Maya last night at the Massive User Group Meet, a loud cheer came up. Not only does Massive look altogether more friendly, but to be so tightly integrated in Maya was a real crowd-pleaser.  In fact, all of the Massive scene setup tools such as flow field, lanes, paint and placement editors have been seamlessly reconstructed inside Maya.

Shotgun, SideFX and Autodesk held their User Group meetings this evening (Tuesday).  Shotgun's was open to anyone interested in optimizing VFX, animation and game development pipelines, and provided a sneak peek at what'’s coming in Shotgun 5.2 this fall, and an opportunity to share industry best practices and discuss common challenges with peers. Their second Pipeline Toolkit User Group event will be held on Wednesday from 2:00-3:30 in room 213a and will host an in-depth technical discussion focused around Shotgun’s latest tools, multi-studio and script to screen pipeline prototypes, and a general discussion about common issues and best practices around modern pipeline development.

SIGGRAPH Awards 2013

Mon 22nd Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Awards, Animations and Stereo depth scripts at SIGGRAPH 2013. 


In the SIGGRAPH Awards talks, Manfred Mohr told how he began as a jazz musician and then had first a one person show based on the eleventh and thirteenth dimension, working with N-dimensional hypercubes. Mohr is known as one of the first CG artists and is now a SIGGRAPH pioneer artist. Mohr today picked up the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Arts. "45 years ago when I first did my art, people threw raw eggs at me. And now I am getting an award for it," he said.  "I am humbled."

The keynote is named after Marc Davis, known as one of the classic 'Nine Old Men'.  The panel for this incredible panel includes Ron Clements, Pete Docter, Eric Goldberg, Kevin Lima, Mike Mitchell, Chris Sanders, Henry Selick, David Silverman and Kirk Wise.

These animators gave some heartfelt sentiment of animation principles.  "They 'got it out of my system' as a sole artist," Silverman said. He wanted to get into animation just when Disney was opening the animation development program. They wanted people who were fresh and it was fortuitous in the early 70s. Mike Mitchell taught himself happy sacks at the same time. They each had short cutting stories. Shadows, hands, no walking. "The realisation that animating comedy, it was like telling a joke as an out of body experience. People were laughing at a joke I told months ago," says David Silverman.  How did they discover this was what they wanted to do? Being focused on a CalArts acceptance, and developing their own style, the stories coming from this group were refreshing and light, as was the content, back then. "Oh look, my drawings are moving!" said one quickly.  Jason and the argonauts, Fantasia and appreciated humor.

Story telling in stereography was the tiel of an enthralling session just after lunch today. Stereography doesn't always have to be deep. How does the film maker use stereography without gimmicks, to produce a story that is compelling? 

Rob Crawford was lead stereo layout artist at Dreamworks Animation. His long history has seen him translating Spielberg's traditional animation studio into a CG animation workbench in London. Readily admitting there once was a drive to produce 130% stereo just because it could be done, Crawford then found there was some expected friction from directors coming into the field. Some wanted nothing to do with it. "Film directors were actively put off the idea," he says. His first stereo film was 'How to Train a Dragon', and the directors didn't want stereo. Directors came to lose focus on production, and keep thinking about the story, yet collaborating with  But the screen isn't important anymore. It's the frame. in dragons, they used up to 150% in the key dramatic moments, with a very active story arc assist in the stereo.

Also Rob at Disney, showed the Wreck it Ralph conversion, and especially the 3D conversion of Little Mermaid 3D, showing the shot by shot mark up on the characters in situ. Before and after conversion.

Dan Abramovitch from Blue Sky said:   The tech of planning a depth script has to compound the mood and environment of the movie. Peril and danger are enhanced with the addition of stereo.  These effects can be incrementally cranked in and out as the scene progresses.

Josh Hollander introduced the depth script. He admits to being on the edge of his seat when he saw the stereo script for 'Brave', 'Monsters U' and 'Toy Story 3'.  "Of course, there is a dialogue with the director during the planning stages of the movie," he explains. "The depth of the shot, the convergence and the roundness."

"In Stereo animation, the ability to create and art direct the depth, and the conversion in live action is so daunting," says Rob Engle. "We've come a long way and we are tuning in different depths and such a whole lot easier now."

SIGGRAPH 2013 Monday

Mon 22nd Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


The talented Eugénie von Tunzelmann from Double Negative's crew showed how their explosive Rigid Body Dynamic engine they called BANG was used in 'Man of Steel'. With BANG, specific parts of the model can be pre-shattered for maximum visual 'explosiveness'. In some of the building setups, even using this method, the count would be breaching 160,000 pieces per building in some of the city fight shots.


DNeg has had their own proprietary fluid solver for the past few years, called Squirt. Dan Bailey worked for DNeg for four years and have lead the team in creating this wet solver. Creating the simulated fluids using a coupled Voxel particle data model.  Right now, they've re-engineered the architecture. Calling it Dynamo. Unfortunately, he couldn't show his frames and only his research because he was working on movies that weren't completed or in cinemas as yet.

"There is no easy way to see where the model and voxels for each point," said Bailey. "Storing the start, end and length of each point, brings the data together with a 12x speed increase using Squirt.  Most of this stuff works on a GPU as well, but they aren't big enough to hold the data. More than possible we can fit this info on the GPU in the future. It's about 14Gb."


Related links:


Double Negative

Thinkbox Deadline

Mon 22nd Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013

Thinkbox Software has announced the latest version of its cross-platform render farm management solution, Deadline 6.1, along with VMX for Deadline, an extension of its flexible toolkit that enhances rendering in the cloud.  Krakatoa MX 2.2 and Stoke MX 2.0, plugins for 3ds Max, will also be demonstrated in the Thinkbox booth (#601).


Key features of Deadline 6.1 are a Job Dependency View, also an Asset and Script Dependency display, New Maintenance Job Mode and a native Python API. – 


Used in Autodesk 3ds Max, Krakatoa MX  is an efficient pipeline for particle acquisition, caching, modifying, deforming, shading and rendering during production. Now available as a no-cost upgrade to current customers, new features of Krakatoa MX 2.2 include great Particle Repopulation Support, new PRT 1.1, PRT Surfacing that creates millions of geometry surfaces. 

Stoke MX 2.0 adds the complete field editing and manipulation capabilities of the development project previously known as EMBER. Also, Procedural Field Generation, Field I/O for volumetric data files like OpenVDB and FumeFX, with support for arbitrary channels. There is Modifier Stack Support and Asynchronous Processing for monitoring of background threads.


You can see all of these and more at the Thinkbox stand #601 starting tomorrow thru til Thursday at SIGGRAPH 2013.

Related links:



Sunday Sessions

Sun 21st Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


The SIGGRAPH Sunday sessions were filled with panels, talks and heaps of tech.


Did I mention that Ballistic Books are all available at 40% off at the show?  :-)


In the 'Getting Riggy with it' session Sunday afternoon, the Disney crew spoke about the digital animation pipeline using cutting-edge robotics technology to bring an audio-animatronic Lumiere to life for Disney World’s newest attraction: Enchanted Tales With Belle.


Justin Walker and Aaron Adams spoke about creating a park character presentation with the created characters from movies. Lumiere is the well known candlestick character from 'Beauty and the Beast'. The animatronic comes to life as a 3D character. It's a robot with a projected face. The 'body' has a blocked pose to pose. The attraction hadn't been built yet, and they mapped it out everything down to candelabra hands moving to gesticulate.   It looks for all intents as real as a CG charter, only in real life, with real time projection warp, pos/velocity rulings on body moves and the face is projected onto the inside of the physical model.


Afterwards, Lucasfilm's John Doublestein spoke about rigging The Hulk character for Avengers.  Within the rigging system, the flex shapes were able to give detail to rigging real muscle views.  Pre-skinned shapes and linear blend skinning. The biggest challenge was reducing shape deltas in those muscles, and it was created by a custom Maya muscle node. They used tetmeshes, a tetrahedral mesh constraint, which gave the model a sticky, real look in motion.

Then Jason Cooper talked about the skin simulation in the model, which helped to animate shapes, which then with a thin-wall-flesh, giving the skin a flesh look, with 668,982 points to simulate. The challenge for The Hulk was to produce directable shapes and simulation workflow.  A secondary skin jiggle is also so important for the final result to look real. The thin wall flesh, wobbles like tofu.   Rony Goldenthal spoke more about the interpolation used to improve the look of the deformation by using a limit number of artist sculpted shapes. Scattered Data Interpolation has issues.



SIGGRAPH 2013 Sunday

Sun 21st Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


The first day of SIGGRAPH began with one of the week's 15 Production Sessions.


That's quite a number, and each presentation is promising to show off an impressive amount of work out of the larger studios from this past movie blockbuster season. In perhaps some contrast, the first session was covering the production of the short film which runs with 'Monsters University' from Pixar. Director Sascha Unseld focused on story, on the core of the technical decisions, which gave form to emotion and to shape that into the shape of a film.  "Where did that emotion come from?" he asked. Finding the smashed umbrella on the street was only the start of the story.  Six months later, before he pitched, he was quite obsessed with umbrellas.



A year later he wanted to create the story in a film. Unseld comes from Hamburg which is the Seattle of Europe. "The three times it rained in SF each year, it reminded me of home," he said.  As an umbrella would feel at home, the city becomes a magical place when it rains.  The film could be a love declaration to the rain.

Sascha then performed the pitch he did to John Lasseter. How the pitch became the story of the film, how he described the story arc.  He still remembers when he finished the pitch. Everyone's eyes turned to Lasseter. "That was awesome!" he said.  And that was the green light for the film.



This year the Business Symposium was a very honest day of networking and unfiltered discussion. Before proceedings began, the Chair of this year's proceedings said attendees could speak off-the-record, and make some rewarding connections across the industry divides. CGSociety was honored with an invite to listen in nonetheless, and saw two themes appear strongly. The Business Symposium started off this morning with Bob Berger from Red Line Leadership Associates noting the importance of building relationships with mentors.  Recognising benefits from mentors. He hailed the value of coaching skills and showing different perspectives and experiences. "With this industry, as it is such a global industry, mentoring though Skype or phone is just as possible as face to face," he said.  



Captain Thomas Chaby, the straight-talking, active duty US Navy SEAL was touted as the keynote for this year's Business Symposium. The guy in white spoke about 'teamability' and candidness in reviews.  It works in the forces so if movie and games guys have dramas anything like SEALS have dramas, you need to treat the staff almost like Marines to get the best out of your team.  Chaby says his hobby is also transitioning navy crew to get back into society. He spoke of a perceived link between his job as a Navy SEAL and how studios react to dire situations in our industry.  He rallied for working, and training in this disruptive state. Now, not many game artists actually risk death on their run, but training is sometimes thrown into the back seat in some production companies, relying instead on the prior experience of each worker. The ability to think on one's feet in the heat of a deadline crunch is clearly a valued skill. Training on what-if situations is clearly missing in some upper management levels. In this session, the message was drilled home, and this is where the value of the talk came online. A valuable speaker, a bit over the top to compare the employment situation to going on a hot sorté, but by the looks on the faces of the audience, they lapped it up.


Related links:



Landed in Anaheim

Sun 21st Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Ready for SIGGRAPH to begin, CGSociety lands in Anaheim and goes walkabout.


The halls, books and banners are being set up. The Halls are in bump-in mode. Meetings with clients and community are all set.  CGSociety has a gathering at Bar Louie on a big outside table out the front at about 8:30pm on Sunday night. So everything is as it should be.  Our small crew of three took a long walk to become acclimatised.  We wanted to stay awake to ward off waking up at 4am.

We found ourselves away from the hotel district, far away from Disneyland, in a business park area called the Center Street Promenade. The taxi driver had no idea where this place was!



This is what we thought was the old part of Anaheim, but turned out to be a furiously repackaged business district, with a few organic eateries open, but very little in the way of history. We walked back. Over the Santa Ana Highway, through into Disneyland.  The first time of many times this week I am sure.


The Star Wars theme rang out.  Ahh yes, their latest conquest. Disney paid a lot of change to be able to play that theme in here. The rain, when it began, was warm and refreshing but it kept drumming down.  Among the pumping music, screaming kids, saccarine happiness, dripping and running primary colors, I think I have overdosed on Mickey.

Back along the palm-lined boulevard, we finally found home turf again. At the Convention Center, the Breakpoint bookshop is set up, with a great long shopfront on the ground floor in Hall A. And the good news is that EXPOSE 11 will arrive on Tuesday and with the Ballistic range having a huge Show Special 40% Off, these books should be walking out the door.


We're all really looking forward to starting the big week. Now I want to rest my feet.



Related links:



Houdini showreel

Thu 18th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Side Effects has released their 2013 Demo Reel showing the work of some amazing Houdini users from around the industry. From the 'Life of Pi' shots by Rhythm and Hues, to 'Halo 4 Spartan Ops' by Axis, the shots in this reel are just a small sampling of all the amazing work created by the Houdini community of artists.

There is commercial work, music video comp work, arch viz and of course a wide selection of movie and game work from the last year. That's one great collection of particles.  


Related links:



AMD Schedule

Thu 18th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


The AMD FirePro team will host two Tech Talks at SIGGRAPH 2013.   Demonstrating the use of real-time lighting in games, color grading and floating-point cache in production as well as high end gaming.  Also, Real-Time Live is being hosted by an AMD staffer. "Celebrating its 5th Anniversary, Real-Time Live! 2013 is a can't miss, one night only event at SIGGRAPH," said Abe Wiley, Real-Time Live! Chair from AMD. "This year's show is as diverse as ever and attendees will have their minds blown by live, interactive demonstrations of the latest advancements in photorealistic facial animation, medical visualization, crowd simulation, hair rendering, massive destruction, real-time cinematics, and more!"

Tuesday, 23 July

11:15am - 12:15pm    in Hall C
Real-Time ACES Decoding and AMD FirePro GPU-Enabled RRT/ODT Processing at 4K.

Interactive decoding enables real-time adjustment in scene-referred linear light of color balance, contrast, and effective exposure of high-dynamic-range ACES.  Efficient coding/decoding using floating-point provides extra precision to support these features.

Real-Time LIVE

Tuesday,  23 July       5:30-7:00pm in Hall A


Real-Time Live! is the premier showcase for the latest trends and techniques for pushing the boundaries of interactive visuals. As part of the Computer Animation Festival, an international jury selects submissions from a diverse array of industries to create a fast-paced, 90-minute show of cutting-edge, aesthetically stimulating real-time work.  Each live presentation lasts less than 10 minutes, and is presented by the artists and engineers who produced the work.

Wednesday, 24 July


11:15am - 12:15pm  in Hall C
FirePro Technologies for Visual Computing.

Visual Computing is the combination of two key assets from AMD: compute and graphics. Visual Computing needs numerous specific features in graphics and compute in order to become a new experience in digital content creation, multimedia, or visual simulation. 



Also be sure to check out the many 'Graphics + Compute' demos at AMD Booth #521



Related links:




Exhibitor Tech Talks


Real-Time LIVE!


Faceware Live

Wed 17th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Faceware Technologies has announced a new realtime face capture product, Faceware Live.

The new software solution captures a live actor’s facial performance with any video source, and instantly transfers that performance to a 3D character in real time. Faceware Live will be on display at booth #809 at SIGGRAPH.

Faceware Live captures facial performances of actors without markers using either onboard computer video or webcam, the Faceware Head-Mounted Camera, or any other video capture device, then streams that into Autodesk MotionBuilder. After a quick one-button calibration, Faceware Live tracks and solves the performance directly onto any 3D model. If the actor smiles, so too does the model, in real time. Faceware Live currently works on Windows®. Future versions of Faceware Live will support additional Autodesk products, operating systems and game engine technologies.

“We’ve seen growing demand across a number of industries for realtime facial motion capture,” said Peter Busch, vice president of business development at Faceware Technologies. “Faceware Live is our revolutionary approach to meeting this demand. This product addresses the many challenges that arise in production and enables rapid content creation for anything from live stage performances to on-set pre-visualization to a desktop tool for animators.”  

Faceware Live has many applications, including:

●     On Set Pre-Visualization -- Directors, actors, and creative leads can see their on-set facial performances streamed onto their digital characters instantly,  which helps them gain an immediate understanding of how a live performance translates to the digital character.  Faceware Live even captures highly accurate eye movement, allowing for a true indication of performance for real-world production tasks such as 3D camera blocking and placement.

●     Live, Interactive Experiences -- Digital characters can now interact live with real performers for an unlimited number of use cases, including broadcast television, corporate events, and tradeshows.

●     Desktop Production Tool-  Artists can produce animation instantaneously for rapid prototyping and content creation, all at their own workstation.

Faceware Live consists of two simple components: Image processing and data streaming.  In realtime, Faceware Live reads from a selected video source, running at any frame rate, and tracks and solves the facial performance to a set of animation values that are streamed from the application. Autodesk MotionBuilder accepts the stream of animation and applies it to a set of pre-defined controls. Using Faceware’s Character Setup tool the animation can be easily mapped onto any digital character.

personal personal personal personal personal personal personal personal personal

Anyone can demo the new software in Faceware Technologies’ booth #809 at SIGGRAPH 2013, July 23-25 in the Anaheim Convention Center. Faceware Live will be available in Q4, 2013.



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Exhibits Fast Forward

Wed 17th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


An early chance to catch highlights from the SIGGRAPH trade show floor.



SIGGRAPH will feature a new session this year, (thankfully early on in the show). The session is called the Exhibits Fast Forward, where attendees have the opportunity to hear a quick-paced presentation of what is new from participating exhibitors.


“This diverse session gives attendees a taste of the Exhibit floor in a very condensed format,” said Mk Haley, SIGGRAPH 2013 Conference Chair from Disney Research. “Even though this is the first year for this event, we anticipate this becoming a favorite, just like Technical Papers Fast Forward. It is a very efficient and entertaining way to hear the latest and greatest from a variety of exhibitors.”


Based off the perennially popular Technical Papers Fast Forward, Exhibits Fast Forward gives presenters less than a minute to impress the crowd with their product or service and entice them to hear the complete story at the exhibitor booth later in the week. There will be presentations from many exhibitors including: zSpace, Inc., Avere Systems, Prefixa International Inc., Cap Digital, Lightcraft Technology, ForgeFX, VFS, Esri, Kobold Charakteranimation, ARM, Korea Creative Content Agency, Siliconarts, Bleank, Vicon, BZP PRO, Geometry Factory, WorldViz, SpeedTree by Interactive Data Visualization, Inc., Qt, Integrated Media Technology Inc., Leonar3Do International Zrt., Lightwork, AMD, CADA, Faceware Technologies, Reallusion, Inc. and GreenButton Ltd.


The session will take place on Monday, 22 July starting at 3:45pm in Ballroom AB and is open to full conference, select conference, exhibitors, exhibits plus, and exhibits-only badge holders.


Related links:




Tue 16th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Wacom’s booth has an inbuilt theatre (Booth #119) at SIGGRAPH, will be a great place for attendees to check out the work of leading artists provided by the Creative Talent Network. The select group of artists will demonstrate their drawing and story-telling skills using a Wacom Cintiq interactive pen display and accompanying creative software applications.

Wacom’s SIGGRAPH presentation schedule is as follows:


Tuesday, July 23

10:00AM and 3:00PM  Craig Elliott - After receiving his training at the Art Center College of Design, Craig began his career in the entertainment industry as a layout and visual development artist.  Today, Craig’s work can be found at virtually all of the major studios and his personal work has developed quite the international fan base.

1:00PM  Erik Martin - A talented and enthusiastic artist, Erik includes Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Interactive, Jim Henson, Nickelodeon among his clients.  When not working digitally, he enjoys painting landscapes with traditional media.


Wednesday, July 24

10AM - Brian Kesinger - An Annie award winning artist for Walt Disney Studios and the creator of the popular characters, Otto and Victoria, Brian’s 16 years at Disney has spanned both hand drawn and CG animated films from 'Tarzan' to 'Wreck-it Ralph'.  His debut book, 'Walking Your Octopus', showcases his style, wit and ability to tell engaging stories.

1:00PM and 3:00PM - Armand Baltazar - A senior designer with Pixar Animation Studios, Aramand’s credits include work on Cars 2, Brave and other films.  He exhibits his fine art in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco and enjoys speaking and teaching at universities around the country.



Thursday, July 25

10:00AM   Brett Bean - A freelance character designer for clients that include Disney TV, Nerd Corps, Wizards of the Coast and Disney Interactive.  Brett’s recently funded graphic novel, 'Spaced Out – The Story of Fil and the Mantis', will be coming out later this year.

1:00PM  Armand Serrano - Celebrating more than two decades in the animation industry, Armand currently hangs his hat at Walt Disney Animation Studios.  His film credits include 'Hotel Transylvania', 'Lilo and Stitch', 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs', 'Mulan' and others.

2:30PM  Jason Scheier - A visual development artist for DreamWorks Animation SKG, Jason has had the opportunity to use his artistic talents in the creation of several films including 'Kung Fu Panda', 'Megamind', 'Turbo', 'The Croods' and 'Rise of the Guardians'.


Related links:


Creative Talent Network

SIGGRAPH 2013 Dailies

Sun 14th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013



SIGGRAPH 2013 Dailies Chair talks about the range, depth and feel of the year's program.

Mark Elendt is the Chair of this year's Dailies program at SIGGRAPH. We caught up with him during this packed, busy time in the run up to the show. The Dailies program, on Wednesday 24th July, 6:00-8:00pm, is a great opportunity to hear the story behind the work done by some of the best artists in the field. This year, there are over 40 presentations, from exceptional student work to presentations from top studios like Pixar, DreamWorks and Blizzard.

One thing that's a little different this year is that we realized that not all artists are able to make it to the conference in person. To that end we invited 'recorded' submissions where the artist provides a pre-recorded sound track to explain their work. We've picked three or four of the best recorded submissions to be shown along with the other live presentations.

"Most presentations are around 90 seconds, fitting 40 presentations into the evening makes it feel like a bit of a sprint," says Elendt. "Some presentations are shorter, some just a touch longer. But even at 90 seconds, it makes for a pretty fast paced, intense event. The reason for the 90 second limit is because the goal of Dailies is to take one shot that's really special to the artist and shine a spotlight on it. They don't have to explain the full piece in detail, just that one gem they feel is most special."

"This year, it was very hard for the jury to make its selection. I personally think that all the chosen work this year is outstanding. Some of the pieces I'm looking forward to are listed below:

'Take Shape': A student presentation from CMU about teaching five year olds how to model in 3D.

'Square': This is a piece from the Demo Scene. While this is a truly stunning technical work. What captured the jury's imagination was the story about how 'Square' was almost never made. At Dailies you'll get to hear the story of how Square was brought to life.

Both DreamWorks and Pixar have separate presentations about grooming fur. I think it's going to be very interesting to hear about the different techniques the two studios use for the same problem.

'The Octopus And The Geisha': This piece epitomizes the philosophy of Dailies. Not only is the work beautiful, but there's a fascinating story behind the production, full of twists and even a surprise happy ending.

The Dailies focuses on the art and craft of creating computer graphics. It's essentially about celebrating the accomplishments of the artist. A lot of Dailies presentations dive into the nitty-gritty details about how work actually gets done. Some can get quite technical, but it's different to SIGGRAPH Talks or the Technical Paper sessions. Dailies is more about showing the crazy stuff artists have to do to get things done," continues Elendt. "Of course there's always going to be a little overlap. This year, there are a couple of presentations which are more research oriented. Some touch on real-time techniques for production, while others explore new techniques in game play and education."

"In past years, I've done different types of volunteering at SIGGRAPH. It was the idea behind Dailies that really attracted me," explains Mark Elendt. "It shines a light on a segment of the computer graphics community that doesn't usually receive very much recognition, the artists who actually create the work."

"In the real world, I'm a software developer on Houdini at Side Effects Software and I've been privileged to meet some amazing artists from all over the world. I am in constant awe of their talent to create such extraordinary imagery. As the Dailies chair, in my own little way, I get to help these artists show their craft and share their stories. "I'm also looking forward to some great presentations from Blizzard, DreamWorks, Look FX, Naughty Dog, Pixar, Tippet and others, but I shouldn't give away too many spoilers," he confirms.

Some 2012 Dailies

Related links:



Chaos Group @ SIGGRAPH

Fri 12th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Chaos Group shines the light on SIGGRAPH with V-Ray 3.0.


Chaos Group will bring some VFX artists to present two special events at SIGGRAPH in Anaheim on July 24. The panels will offer production run-downs of commercial spots, television shows, game cinematics, and VFX blockbusters like 'Star Trek Into Darkness', 'Oblivion' and 'Iron Man 3'. SIGGRAPH attendees will also see a sneak preview of Chaos Group’s next major release: V-Ray 3.0.

'V-Ray Day at SIGGRAPH' will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center (Room 203A) on Wednesday, July 24. The exclusive presentations will feature supervisors from ILM, Digital Domain, Method Studios, Scanline VFX, Pixomondo and Zoic Studios and will show off the ways V-Ray continues to support VFX artists. This event will be held in two sessions and will be open to all SIGGRAPH attendees.



Chaos Group will be sharing a booth with Trinity3D on the Expo floor. They will be holding master classes in Phoenix FD and V-Ray for Maya on #110. Together with partners NVIDIA on #803 and BOXX Technologies on #659, the Chaos Group team will also be demonstrating the latest advancements in V-Ray RT.

Participation in two Birds of a Feather sessions (BoF) will give Chaos Group’s development team a chance to unearth some of V-Ray’s 3.0 key technical aspects. In the first session, V-Ray creator Vlado Koylazov will share details about deep compositing support in V-Ray 3.0 (22 July 4:00pm – 5:00pm, room 213B); while Chaos Group developer Ivan Mavrov will demo Open Shading Language support at an OSL BoF session (22 July 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Hilton Anaheim, 'Malibu' room).


'V-Ray User Event – Los Angeles' is a post-SIGGRAPH event that will be hosted at The Gnomon School of Visual Effects. Starting at 6:00pm on July 26, artists from Pixomondo will demonstrate how V-Ray was used on Oblivion and Star Trek Into Darkness while Blur will highlight the game cinematics of Batman: Arkham Origins and The Elder Scrolls Online. This event is open to the public.

Related links:


Chaos Group @ SIGGRAPH

SIGGRAPH Rendering

Fri 12th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


AAA-Studio will be winging their way across to SIGGRAPH in California from Europe in a week to introduce the FurryBall 4 GPU renderer in a Tech Talk about OptiX with NVIDIA.

The session will be in Room #211 AB on Monday 22nd July at 4:30pm.

There they will demonstrate the features like the ability to fully raytrace shadows, reflections and refractions in unlimited textures, fur, and displacement points. Also demonstrated will be support available for network renderings, for multi-GPU renders in 3ds Max and other packages.

Also, IrayForMaya is being shown for the first time at SIGGRAPH at the NVIDIA booth. This product has seamless integration in Maya, which makes Iray available as a renderer for production.  




Related links:


NVIDIA Tech Talks


FurryBall 4




Fabric Engine

Thu 11th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013

Fabric Engine has its new Locomotion System, Stage Assembly and Lighting App, and plug-and-play dev framework on display at SIGGRAPH.


At SIGGRAPH 2013, Fabric Engine is demoing new products that will bring the time, energy and financial costs often associated with this process under control.  Throughout the show, Fabric Engine will be also giving a sneak preview of Creation: Stage, a high-performance scene assembly, lighting and shader authoring system that was developed with Creation Platform.  Whether it’s unleashing multi-threaded performance inside packages like Maya and Nuke for TDs (Creation: Splice) or showing off a new procedural locomotion system for crowds and characters (Creation: Horde), Booth #737 (with Shotgun Software) is where the future of content creation tools become a reality.  Every day, the team will demonstrate how it works seamlessly with Shotgun’s asset management technology.




User group events will be held on July 23 and July 24 in room 213a. Tuesday’s event begins at 10 a.m. and will cover Creation: Splice, while Wednesday’s event will give an in-depth look at Creation Platform, starting at 4:30 p.m. and will include presentations from Hybride and MPC on their use of Fabric Engine’s technology.

Creation: Horde curiosity can also be satisfied at a Fabric Engine tech talk that will show off how its powerful and interactive UI works wonders for small to medium-sized VFX crowd shots. Starting at 5:30 p.m. in Hall A, Phil Taylor, CTO of Fabric Engine will lead attendees through demos before ending with a short Q&A.



Related Links:



Fabric Engine


The Foundry @ SIGGRAPH

Thu 11th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Get a load of MODO, MARI and the rest of the range at The Foundry booth #103.


The Foundry has a full gamut of products to show off this year at the booth in the Anaheim show. There will be daily presentations covering all the news from latest product releases for NUKEX, MODO & MARI.

There will also be full booth demonstrations of Live Demonstrations of MODO, MARI, NUKEX, KATANA and FTRACK, with added presentations of how they interact and work seamlessly together.


ILM Concept artist Ryan Drue will be at the Foundry booth for the entire show showing how he has worked with MODO for many years, beginning with using it at home on personal works. Drue will show his work from the Pacific Rim production.

Also, an old friend of mine, and CGSociety, Cesar Montero, Surfacing Artist at DreamWorks will give a presentation on how he has worked with MARI on productions there. He will demonstrate his workflow on the 'Turbo' movie, which was the first production at DW to use the software.

Dr Jon Strack who heads up the grey-matter within The Foundry Research Team, will be coming along to give you the skinny on the ... research.  There will also be two work stations manned by the US Creative Specialist Team showing MODO, MARI, KATANA, NUKE, HIERO & OCULA up close and personal.


Related links:


The Foundry at SIGGRAPH  

SIGGRAPH 2013 videos

Wed 10th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Below is a collection of the range of preview videos for SIGGRAPH 2013, including the latest Computer Animation Festival preview, just updated.

Dailies Preview trailer

Computer Animation Festival Preview trailer

Emerging Technologies Preview trailer

Art Gallery Preview trailer

Technical Papers Preview trailer

Related links:


SIGGRAPH 2013 Registration


Tue 9th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Lars Erik Holmquist is the Chair of the SIGGRAPH Mobile Program for the second year running, with his work as the Principal Research Scientist at Yahoo! Labs. Holmquist has also been the Chair of the SIGGRAPH Asia last year in Singapore.


“Some of the top companies in mobile graphics hardware will present their latest technologies, including ARM, NVIDIA, Intel, and QUALCOMM," he said. “We are very excited about this year's SIGGRAPH Mobile program. We are seeing a lot of innovation in graphics as well as mobile applications, and it is clear that mobile is now an established part of SIGGRAPH."


A panel is planned to discuss new directions in mobile GPU Design. Speakers include Eric Demers, QUALCOMM Incorporated; Barthold Lichtenbelt, NVIDIA Corporation; David Blythe, Intel Corporation; Dave Shreiner, ARM Inc.; James McCombe, Imagination Technologies Limited; Anand Shimpi, AnandTech, Inc.  This panel is designed for advanced programmers.


This year's workshops will include classes covering the creation of mobile graphics and apps across many platforms. There will be displays of mobile games for positive change, stories of a theatre group that uses iPads in live performances, augmented reality for museums and the generation of digital photographs in a completely new way.


Related links:






SIGGRAPH 2013 people

Tue 9th Jul 2013, by Paul Hellard | siggraph2013


Now less than two weeks from the big SIGGRAPH opening, The SIGGRAPH 2013 Conference Chair Mk Haley has stepped forward to give her ideas about what it takes to gather the most out of the CG/VFX/Interactive Techniques conference.  After 25 SIGGRAPH's, she will be one of the experts. 


1. Plan ahead – use the Schedule at a Glance page to help try and prioritize your days in Anaheim.


2. Try to stay for more than a day – otherwise, trying to pack in the full SIGGRAPH experience in just one day can be maddening.


3. Don’t be shy – one of SIGGRAPH’s huge strengths is its welcoming and friendly people.  You meet people at SIGGRAPH that literally will change your life.


4. If you are completely new to SIGGRAPH be sure to attend the first-time attendee Birds of a Feather Session: Ready, Steady, SIGGRAPH!, Sunday, 21 July 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM, Anaheim Convention Center - Room 201 C


5. If you really, really, really want to get into a session, GET THERE EARLY.  Due to fire codes we are only permitted to allow a certain number of bodies in every room, so if you arrive only a few minutes early, you may not get in.


6. When in doubt, ask a volunteer.  You can always find volunteers around the SIGGRAPH 2014 booth that are anxious and eager to help out.  Pop by the booth for advice or just to chat about your favorite SIGGRAPH experiences.  Or you will find our wonderful student volunteers spread throughout the convention center.  They will all be wearing red t-shirts with “Ask Me” buttons on them.


7. Explore SIGGRAPH People - Add yourself to the gallery of SIGGRAPH People and browse and discover other SIGGRAPH attendees who will be in Anaheim.


8. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a light jacket and a hunger for everything that is awesome.


9. Collaborate with other attendees – whether that is in the Studio, at networking events, or anywhere else that people gather together during the week.


10. Get the new SIGGRAPH App to help you maximize your time onsite – it includes session feedback features, schedules, maps, exhibitor info, and an ability to connect with other attendees.  You will automatically be sent an invite to sign up for the app after you register.


Related links:


SIGGRAPH 2013 Registration

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