CGSociety - SIGGRAPH ASIA 2012 Diary

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Wrap

Mon 3rd Dec 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012



 

Bringing it all down to the final sessions, Singapore delivers a good show.

 

OK, the overview. As far as SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 went for participants, the sheer volume of sessions meant there was always something different and new to experience. The days were packed with information from major studios in the region, But, yes, the numbers were down to some extent and consequently there were some sad faces among many of the exhibitors.

 

 

Over four days out at the EXPO MAX Atria Conference hall in Changi, the conference and exhibition drew more than 4,250 attendees from 56 countries, of which 22 percent were students from educational institutions across the region. In all, 68 percent of all attendees came from outside Singapore.

 

Despite several high-end pullouts at the last moment, much of the content was really a welcome chance for those in the asian regions to hear from those in the heavily publicised movie industry in Europe and the USA.  The chance to talk face to face with the technologists and veterans. Even more so, there was a chance for local Singaporeans to show that their city was indeed a viable hub for movie and game production.



The Best in Show Award for Computer Animation Festival went to The People Who Never Stop by Florian Piento from Autour de Minuit Production.


The 2012 Computer Animation Festival Jury Award went to Oh Sheep! by Gottfried Mentor and Leonid Godik from Filmakademie-Baden-Württemberg.
 

 

Richard Chuang was the keynote Featured Speaker for SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 and the subject of his talk was his life up to now. He spoke of his journey around the world, researching the animation and film industries in and around Asia in the nineties for the DreamWorks team. Also, how he developed a taste for knowing when the trends were telling him to move on from big studios.  He noted there was never a shortage of production houses wanting to name themselves their country's PIXAR.  While PIXAR did produce the world's first CG feature animation, each country had their own milestone in being the first in each country.  For instance, CGCG Taiwan is the oldest studio in Asia (1988).  The list below brings it into focus, showing the first CG animation produced in each country:

 

A.Li.C.E - Japan 1999Sinbad and the veil of Mists - India 2000

Wonderful Days - South Korea 2003

Dragon Blade - Hong Kong 2005

Through the Moebius Strip - China 2005

Zodiac - Singapore 2006

Memory Loss - Taiwan 2010

To succeed in CG is not to build a studio and throw people into it.  There has to be a concerted effort to build a Studio instead of a Factory, a focus to study Art and Science and an ability in Operations, Governance, Planning, and the building of the creative arts team.

 

After noting several examples where TV episodes were being created by some animators as one man projects, Chuang also noted the Shift of content. A shift to where the content was Fresh, Social, Mobile and Reactive. Where web animation and content can ensure the creators know when the viewer is focused. "They can have the ability to know when you play, stop, rewind," he explained. "All info is available to the content creator. So they know what to provide the next day. It's not just creating content, its the infrastructure between content and people. New studios need to be Creative, Efficient, Global and Connected."

 

As mentioned, the SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 conference will be staged back in central Hong Kong. A very popular location in the previous conference in 2011. Hopefully the close quarters to mainland China will bring much wanted attention across the harbour once again.

Related links:

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

SIGGRAPH Asia 2013

SIGGRAPH Asia Saturday

Sat 1st Dec 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

CGSociety late Friday afternoon spent some time with the SIGGRAPH Pioneers, for a gathering of artists and technologists with more than 20 years experience behind them. It was staged by the Peddie Foundation and sponsored by the Khronos Group. I had an engrossing conversation with Professor Andrew Hanson about math, but then I escaped the Convention Centre, with aims to go the Singapore Markets mid city, before a walk along the river. Our little group consisted of Dave Hemsath our bookseller, and Amirhossein Erfani from CGART.ir, and his partner Mina Mani. We met up at the Lau Pa Sat hawker center, built and operating inside and around a most impressive old framework housing down by the water, constructed in 1825 to bring fish straight off the boats. From there we walked down along Boon Tat Street and along the river before the last train back towards Changi where I was staying.  (Yes, I missed that last train!)

 

 

First thing this morning after checking out from the Capri Fraser, I navigated down into the long halls of the EXPO Atria Conference center. Past the colorful crowds for the ultimately entertaining trade shows in the other parts of this huge complex. The Halal Food Festival, a huge clothes merchandising trade show and the Singapore Running Festival.  Anyone who who can run from out here in Changi, all the way down to Singapore City and back, has my full respect and admiration.

 

First up today was a quick showcase presentation on the latest work from the Blender teams worldwide. This is a Birds of a Feather group, which explained why everyone was up-vibed and enthusiastic about the meet. "Great ideas come faster when we both talk on the same level," said one participant.

 

A very cool collection of shorts was being shown end to end as the group chatted, starting with the Australian Kajimba film from 2004, and right through to the latest pieces like 'The Black Forest', 'Spike the Mouse' and 'The Beautiful Queen Marya Morevna: Demo”, part of Morevna Project, targeted at creation full-feature anime movie using Open Source software only. This particular animated short created using Synfig Studio, Blender, Pencil, MyPaint, Remake, GIMP. Editing done in Blender.

 

Assassin's Creed Oceans

Fri 30th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Art meets design. With cliff and tree climbing, Assassin's Creed 3, Brotherhood and Revelations brings the player into the world of totally impossible gynamstic adventure. Hugues Ricour, Senior Producer and Georges Torres, Senior Technical Director for Assassin's Creed showed the audience through the hoops for a series of stunts used in the three editions of the game. Jumping from building to window, from bridge to crane. Lots of completely impossible physics and do not try this at home.


Assassin's Creed has land battles but has also been some major sea battles. Georges' speciality was water, with particular focus on the way rigid bodies like solid boats react and give forces to the water around it. The team showed the technologies behind the ocean rendering during the architectural construction of the ocean battle real time ocean simulation water rendering, and four studios: Montreal, Aneccy, Paris and Singapore.


The ocean sim starts with the generation of the mass of each entity, like the depth gives a different color, and the sand and rocks below give a different color as does the color of the sky above. The interactive of the ship against the water, giving it's own presence a visible footprint and reaction to the water, made the whole battle feel very real. They have to be RealTime. Scalable and realistic   Based on Jerry Tessendorf tiles system combined at run time. It is a screen space grid as a vertical buffer.


Boat trails and splashes by sampling the ocean surface by foam with Gaussian and Perlin noise. Georges spoke of the Beaufort scale, a wave setting or two actually about 4 to 5 setting cranking in strength from 0 to 12. Water tint and opacity as a light extinction via RGB. Depends how deep or stormy is the water and time of day. The mix of math, gameplay and interactive graphics was richly palpable in the game.  If you strip away any doubts you may have about the cliche ridden soundtrack, the wooden characters onboard, and completely impossible manoeuvring and speed of the ships, the game is fun, visually spectacular and I swear some of the sequences, I could see flying fish, smell the ocean and feel the spray of water on my face.

 

Related links:

Ubisoft

Prometheus at SIGGRAPH Asia

Thu 29th Nov 2012, by | siggraphasia2012


 

MPC's Lighting Supervisor for Prometheus Daniele Bigi likes to keep busy. The movies being worked on at the vintage London facility are 'The Seventh Son, 47 Ronin, World War Z and Man of Steel and a couple more that cannot be spoken of as yet.  I spoke with him after his presentation this afternoon in Singapore.

 

 

Daniel Bigi told me of his enthusiasm to work on the rumoured Prometheus movie. He would be sending test renders to his Head of Department at MPC, just to hint that he was ready to be there on the crew for this then unknown quantity.  It was really one of those films, being a big fan of the Alien films.

 

"It was a really good vibe, and Ridley really worked very closely with the previz team, so he got in there very early with the crew," says Bigi.

Learned some lessons about creating the Nostromo ship in Prometheus. Trying to bring the ship scale up and complexity in the surface, primarily to accentuate the history and allusion of purpose in the skin of the craft. Turning the 2D Concept painting into a 3D model that did not deviate from the original concept. Not an easy task.

 

Bigi talked about the inhouse applications, created to take on tasks with the pipeline under specific headings. The ALICE crowd system, like Massive. Their Tickle render pipeline mayatoprman, the Furtility groom tool, the Papi rigid body solver and the KALI 'destroyer' for pre-sliced destruction simulator.  The Kali engine is available to the industry as a DMM.  It's a smart solution to overcome these problems. The Juggernaut was also one of the vehicles that had to be remade in 3D. "The thought of having someone in the company spend several month copying the complexity of the pipes was distressing," he says, "but then we found that we had to.  There was no other way to attack the problem."

 

Lighting was the saviour for the assets in the film. The overall exterior light during the majority of the Prometheus film was overcast. Omni directional illumination allowed Bigi to work a consistent look, but they were losing shapes. In an HDRI lighting, a no-hero lighting regime, the Juggernaut did not even look metallic. Ridley wanted the lighting to bring the toughness of the various ships' surface.

 

Daniel Bigi currently working on The Seventh Son at MPC and World War Z, which requires more development of the Alice crowd system to complete the extra complex mountain of zombies shots as seen in the trailer recently.

 

 

DNeg at SIGGRAPH Asia

Thu 29th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

I peeked into the 'Birds of a Feather' for Pipelines and Tools' this morning. They were all deep into discussions and Marcus from Lucasfilm had the floor talking about his work with Agile and showing Buckshot on screen thru GoogleDocs. Pipelines were a passion for the crew at Lucasfilm, and the topic of the day was the 'Level of Detail' systems in use in productions and also render optimisations. Many people in the room were in praise of them because looking closely over a workflow allowed them to be fixing problems before they occur, "as opposed to dealing with bottlenecks." 

 


Downstairs and out onto the show floor for 2012. With Lucasfilm front and center as I walk in, the industry's heavy hitters were making themselves known and visible.  For example, over to the right from Lucasfilm, Paul Franklin had just begun speaking [read: shouting] into the microphone about the history of his company Double Negative, now well established in Singapore after three years, as well as the spread headquarters in London, which are now housed in a new facility all together, after the big move a week ago.



Over the past year or so, Double Negative has wrapped work on projects like John Carter, Captain America: The First Avenger, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. They're now working on Man of Steel, Les Miserables and Captain Phillips and a bunch of other titles. Paul's talk was exploratory in as much as speaking about how Chris Nolan's work in The Dark Knight included a lot of practical effects on top of the CG work provided by DNeg. Paul recalled the night they flipped a double-D truck end-over-end in the middle of the Chicago city street. 

 

When I chatted with both Amy Quek [recruiter] and Steve Muangman [Head of Compositing] from Double Negative this evening at the SIGGRAPH Asia Reception, they both wanted to point out that Double Negative Singapore are looking for staff in the Compositing and Match Move departments, as well as associated talents especially from the local community of artists.  So if you've ever wanted to work with these guys and can move to Singapore, They want to hear from you.


Related links:


Double Negative

CAF in Singapore

Thu 29th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 


The Chair of this year's Computer Animation Festival Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann has said that she had deliberately steered away from selecting short animations that carried an overly violent theme or sexual overtone. The festival that was screened this morning at the Electronic Theater as well as the Animation Festival was filled with the most inventive, enjoyable material, full of hope and talent, and some very good storylines.  It's a bit like taking the bad language out of comedy. My two cents is that there really is no need unless it is in context.


 

A film called Fat follows a day in the life of a farmer in surreal circumstances. Yohann Auroux Bernard, Gary Fouchy and Sébastien de Oliveira Bispo from Supinfocom Arles created this charming sunny farm field study with a bright palette of color, sunny sets and cows and chickens that inflate in the most inopportune moments. Very entertaining. The stream of wooden tunnels in the next film Shelter by Carl Burton was on the verge of a disturbing nightmare. Of course the full screening of the Festival burned up lots of time so I had to run out to get on with seeing the rest of the show, happening outside of this black room.

 

Karlheinz Brandenburg opened his Featured talk with a history of the MP3 and in his opinion, his more or less lucky break to be on the team to work on audio compression. More people buy music from iTunes than vinyl records or CDs. But the business of music production and live music presentation is expanding. Because music can now be bought as a single song online, and compressed into smaller and smaller packets, the industry, he suggests, "has been given back to the artist in some ways." 


Looking into the process of the audio sink, which is the end of the day is the brain. Brandenburg's projects recently has been studying music as it is received by neurons.  Using a well known Paul Simon track, Brandenbug could show by playing the difference between noise and musical signal, a clearer picture of what can be taken out is relatively straight forward. I posted a longer interview with Brandenburg down at the beginning of the Diary for SIGGRAPH Asia 2012.


 

Fast Forward

Wed 28th Nov 2012, by Paul | siggraphasia2012


 

Coordinating the entrants of the Fast Forward contest has always been a complex business. Like juggling wet cats, so I'm told. And on the big night, after all the wrangling is done, it falls to the amazing people volunteering here at SIGGRAPH Asia to tick all the final boxes and make sure it all goes on stage correctly.

 

This is just about the fastest SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 gets before the trade floor doors open tomorrow morning. The Technical Papers Fast Forward here in Singapore was a large affair with 77 papers to present.  Each spokesperson was given 40 seconds to give enough details to whet some appetites. [One day I hope to see Dailies at the Asian shows. Another fast-paced additon to the US SIGGRAPH where small studio teams have mere minutes to show and tell how they did a particular effect on a professional job.]

 

 

Some seriously interesting sessions are awaiting all over the next three days. If you are local and want to consider a one day pass I strongly suggest it.  You will be more than enthralled and entertained as you go between the Pierlot rooms from 9:00 Thursday thru. It'll be a bit of a dance but I figure I'll rush between rooms a bit.  At least that's what I am considering doing.

 

Singapore was kind last night after I finished my chores. I took the MRT into the city, $2.40, and took one of those unscheduled, unplanned deviations on a whim as I looked out the window in the dark night. Aljunied is a station I passed on the way into Singapore this evening for dinner.  Looks amazing strip to walk along for eateries. Right along the train line with lazy breezy lines of smaller establishments.

 

Related links:

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Fast Forward

Special Sessions preview

Tue 27th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Walking around the conference center is a truly multi cultural experience.  As in all SIGGRAPH conferences there people from everywhere, each with a different reason for coming.  I ran into some Pakistani gentlemen Qasim Naeed and Abullah Naeem Khan over for the conference. Although primarily in engineering, they both are impressed with the scale and quality of the courses and presentations they are looking forward to.  They are friends of the solo Pakistan EXPOSÉ 10 entrant, Qasim Shuja.

 

I also spoke to Hock Hian from Dreamworks about his session coming up later in the week. Originally from a farming family on the western side of Singapore Island, Hock is a tremendously interesting guy with an amazing story. Nurturing his art talents from an early age, his parents helped him to get to the USA to pursue his art and now he is working at DreamWorks.  He calls it, "naive and adventurous." Animation wasn't happening in Singapore back in the days when he left, so he really was thrown in the right direction.

 


Right now, Hock Hian is working DreamWorks, toiling away on The Croods, set for an early 2013 release.  and will talk about his talk on previz. He will also cover his early works with How to Train Your Dragon, as well as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Astro Boy, 2012 and a bunch of TV shows. He also had a stint at Sony Playstation for six years, wring on some of the leading game productions.


  Previsualisation: Assisting Filmmakers in Realizing their Vision; Thursday, 29 November 2:15pm until 6:00pm in Topaz 220.

 


Also caught up with Nigel Sumner from Lucasfilm, who is working on 'Pacific Rim'.     He is interested to see how the conference has grown over the last four to five years and he is most intrigued at the level of work being presented from the technical side of things.  It's a very busy week for him.  There are two full scale productions on the go at the moment at the facility.  Some amazing visuals coming out and some tight deadlines. 'Pacific Rim' is definitely big, with massive art direction, lots of action and the challenges that this brings to the crew. Giant robots were mentioned. 


"Lucasfilm has been doing what its done, for many years, and we are always evaluating the toolsets we use as an ongoing concern," Sumner says. "We've trying to use more off-the-shelf established tools into our workflow.  With that is the changing pipeline and the challenges that kind of moving forward brings with it.  It has to be which tool is best for the job, as opposed to looking just internally."


This brings in NVIDIA's CUDA technology, Autodesk's software with a concerted effort to work with what is know to be the best pipeline for high end production. Plume iterations were mentioned. Thousands in the time usually meant for five. Plume has allowed the Lucasfilm crews to use NUKE's deep compositing technology for rendering, and stereo ratcheting, and saving so much time in production.


Nigel Sumner will be talking about effects done by the San Francisco and Singapore crew on The Avengers film.  How Joss Wedan's vision was brought to the screen, with taking Iron Man to the next level, and the digital reinvention of New York City for the movie and the creative process for the Hulk character.  He will go deep into the light casts for the skin, and the tech process on muscle and skin. This will be 1pm Thursday, on the Concourse.

 

Related links:

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

PreVizualisation Course

The Avengers CAF Production Session

Wednesday Sessions

Tue 27th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

The first SIGGRAPH session off the rank was a course that delved into the methods of recreating complex emotions in video game characters and virtual environments. Bit of a long name, but stay with me.

Based in scientific studies, Erik Geslin from ENSAM Paris Tech brought us through the methods implemented in video game production and competing game play.


"The evolutionary theory of emotion was displayed running from Plato, Confucius and Descartes," explains Geslin, in his thick French accent. "The rendering of emotion within an asian culture is related, but certainly not the same as European flavour of emotion, which brings in a gothic stance."

 

The discrepancies are due to the known evolutionary changes in the psyche over centuries. Also, the expression of emotion can be different depending on the life background of each character. Which gets into development of scripts and other areas. Getting a grip on the finer points of emotion through historical research is only one way to gather a great knowledge, so the animation of these signals can be correctly displayed in productions.

 

SIGGRAPH began in earnest this morning.  Like the day before the Trade Show opening in the USA SIGGRAPH, there isn't that buzz of subsequent days, but in behind the doors of each of course room was the intense and animated delivery of researchers at their best. 

 

The session by Erik Geslin pulled into the side road of neuroscience a little deeply, in an attempt to fully understand the very fine points of emotions and where they come from. As to how deeply this can be directed towards character emotions and appearance, I see it become more applicable once robotics and virtual live web characters are being developed to animate themselves.  Hmm, suddenly is an exciting field.

 

As a first step into SIGGRAPH this year, this course material was pretty deep.  But as is mentioned, once emotions are completely understood, who knows the possibilities of generating robotic character applications.

 

Related links:

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

Singapore arrival

Mon 26th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

CGSociety is approaching Singapore in the big A380, prepping up to post and present about as many papers, sessions, displays and demonstrations as one person can do.

 

For those flying in, Singapore will be stormy.  32C all week, Thunderstorms and 93% humidity. The EXPO Max Atria is out there for protecting visitors from the elements, being one of the newest and most environmentally friendly conference centers in the world. It is pretty much 'out there' for location as well. It is nearby the Changi airport, as opposed to in the midst of the Singapore city.  Getting into the city is easy though. A quick MRT ride is available pretty much all day and into the night.

 

In its fifth edition this year, and revisiting the city of the inaugural show, SIGGRAPH Asia continues to advance its position as a global platform to showcase the region's best digital innovations and breakthrough concepts to the world.

The Disney Research teams had seven papers accepted to the Technical Papers and the Technical Briefs sessions. The research areas include: Physical Models; Dynamics; Video & Image Manipulation; Stereo & Displays; Motion Capture & Synthesis; Global Illumination and Visual Environment & Interaction.

This year Chaos Group will be at booth C12 in the Trades Hall (opening Thursday at 10am) where in cooperation with Innocom Technologies. They’ll be showing the most recent enhancement in V-Ray for 3ds Max and V-Ray for Maya; as well as Phoenix FD for 3ds Max, and for Maya.  There will also be a sneak peak preview of V-Ray 3.0 at this show.


SideFX will be at the show with a booth and have a Houdini Tips & Tricks Event with Chris Roda. He works for Electronic Arts Sports and the CG Supervisor for Madden Football.  Save the date: Friday, November 30 (6:30 to 10:00 pm) at the Singapore EXPO (Topaz 221)


Related links:

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

Chaos Group

Experience SIGGRAPH Asia

Thu 22nd Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Prepare for a week with spicy VFX and tasty CG goodness.

 

From November 27 through to December 1, SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 is at the EXPO MAX Atria in Changi. CGSociety will be there doing daily roundups of the sessions, attractions, talking to speakers, bringing the news and thoughts as we make our way around the show floor as well as around the many gatherings planned for the week.

 

 

Singapore is known for great food and culture, but also it has a melting-pot population with the reputation as brilliant technologists not afraid of hard work. Many VFX artists I've talked to having taken up residence and a job package in Singapore, with say, Lucasfilm or DNeg, is impressed with the richness and variety of culture within the one city, and the closeness of many brightly attractive countries nearby.

 

 

Yes, from London, you can go to Paris, Belgium or Amsterdam for the weekend. But from Singapore you can step off to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Vietnam and many other superb locations. For the creative mind, you cannot get better inspiration than this.

 

 

 

It is this proximity of difference that cultivates art, inventiveness and a refreshing sea change in people who visit. These are my thoughts on Singapore, having visited the island about six times in the past 30 years.  To have the opportunity now to visit and experience the place again to see the SIGGRAPH Asia for the second time is a bonus, and not to be missed.  If you reading this in a classroom in KL, a job in Jakarta or on a laptop in Lanna, get your stuff together anyway you can and register to come across to Singapore. Games, Movies, TV, Augmented Reality and web. Get over here anyway you can. SIGGRAPH Asia is the conference you need to attend, to be a part of the fastest growing industries not only in your region.  All over the developed and developing world.


Related links:

SIGGRAPH Asia Registration

A week to SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

Tue 20th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

With the SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 conference a week away, EventKaddy has released the first of the Apps to track the sessions, events and attractions going on at the show.  It shows a breakdown of Days Events, Tracks or programs available, and the list of Speakers you can follow, to make sure you do not miss their presentation.

 

The App also includes a full list of displays in areas such as the Emerging Technologies (72 of them), Art Gallery (51), Courses (17), Exhibitor Sessions (23) and Speakers (well over 120).

 

On the front page, the App gives an overview of sessions, a list of exhibitors which is updated live, maps of the floors, videos where available as well as several options for Twitter feeds, and other Social Media connections available. An exploration of the Sessions tab brings up a full detail for each and every presentation, including times, speakers and rooms.  When 'favorited', this builds a good diary of sessions day to day which does not require WiFi, and is updated if anything changes, closer to the start time.  There is even a spot to grade the session and leave comments.  Speakers will be in the spotlight; no pressure.  ;-)

 

 The Extras tab also brings a list of transport options, and local directions.

 

 

 

Related links:

EventKaddy App link

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Emerging Tech

Sun 18th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Register online now! Experience SIGGRAPH in Singapore.

The Emerging Technology program at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 received 52 submissions. Out of these, 21 pieces were accepted and will be on display at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012. Showcasing a wide range of new and interactive technologies from all over the world, there were submissions from Japan, Singapore, US, Canada, Taiwan and Austria, with 80% of the submissions from the Asia Pacific region.

 

Some of the institutes contributing to this year's Emerging Tech program include MIT Media Lab, Keio-NUS Cute Center, Sony Corporation, University of Tokyo, National Taiwan University and Osaka University.

 

SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 Emerging Technologies Program includes an enthralling display from the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Japan, titled Cryptone. Cryptone enables interaction between the performers and the audience in music performance venues. Sound IDs consisting of high frequency DTMF are used for communication between devices. Cryptone is easy to use in sound performances and can enhance the music entertainment experience.

 

 

Second Surface is a Multi-user Spatial Collaboration System based on Augmented Reality. This is a novel multi-user augmented reality system for real-time project collaboration. Users can create and place three dimensional drawings, texts and photos on the augmented spatial canvas located in the everyday environment, and share generated contents with co-located users. Kind of like share screen on steroids. Brought to SIGGRAPH Asia by the Sony Corporation and MIT Media Lab.

 

Tagtool is a collaborative virtual workspace for visual expression, built by Attentive GmbH and OMA International GmbH. The system runs on off-the-shelf tablet computers, allowing users to create animated projection paintings.

 


There is a flying telepresence robot, called a Flying Head which synchronizes a human body's motion with that of a robot through the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle. The operator can easily manipulate the telepresence UAV using body motions such as walking, looking around, and jumping.


Augmented Satiety realizes modifying the perception of satiety implicitly and controlling our nutritional intake interactively according to the meal and its nutritional value by changing the apparent size of food with augmented reality.


"SIGGRAPH Asia 2012’s Emerging Technologies will not only showcase high-tech interactive demonstrations, but also act as a catalyst enhancing future collaboration and technological innovation across a wide range of research fields," says the Chair of the Emerging Technologies Masahiko Inami. "In the world of interactive technology, we strongly think, 'trying is believing'. Therefore, I sincerely hope attendees will try every work, perform subjective evaluations, and share their impressions with the demonstrators."



Related links:

 

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

 

Registration
Emerging Technologies

Symposium on Apps

Tue 13th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Symposium on Apps is a continuation of some of the most exciting work, including Augmented Reality coming into mainstream research.  Last year's inaugural Symposium on Apps in Hong Kong was a successful test of the content genre and the Chair of the SIGGRAPH Los Angeles Mobile program Lars Erik Holmquist has curated with his committee, a very exciting program for Singapore.  Selections include creating the best material for the mobile web, even an extension of publications as elements stand out off the 'page'.


Demonstrations
Saturday, first of December is the big day for the Symposium on Apps. From 9am through to the close out at 6pm in the Tourmaline 207 Room, there will be demonstrations of three of the most interesting advances in Interface developments, Digital Music advances and a 3D Interactive Assembly which is a Simulation Mobile Application for an Intelligent Configurable Robot.

There is also a display of 'GimmeDaBlues', an Interactive Jazz/Blues Player and Generator for iOS Devices.

Additionally, there will be panels, presentations, and workshops on the Saturday, the last day of the conference.


Panel: The Curse of Choice -­ How Will Users Find My App!?
09:00 - 10:45 |  Tourmaline 207
  
Mobile Graphics Techniques - Hardware and Software
11:00 - 12:45 |  Tourmaline 207
  
Case Studies: Apps for Museums, Kids and Tourists
14:15 - 16:00 |  Tourmaline 207
  
Mixing Graphics and the Real World
16:15 - 18:00 |  Tourmaline 207


The PDF of the Conference Locator for SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 is now available for download and a mobile App for iOS and Android will appear closer to the opening date.

 

Related links:

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

PDF Conference Locator  [Direct download link]

Symposium on Apps

 

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Registration

Tue 6th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Registration and Access information for the SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 conference.

 

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 brings together leading names from the animation, graphics, digital art, and technology sectors for a myriad of informative sessions and presentations.

You can also avoid long queues onsite and get 10% off registration fees if you register online before 20 November, [23:59 Singapore time]. OnSite registration begins on 27 November at 14:00.

Visitors who would like the Exhibits Only Pass can register online now with the following code: SIGA1200880.

 

Included in the Full Conference Access Pass is admission to all programs and events of SIGGRAPH Asia 2012, and one Electronic Theater ticket.

The Full Conference DVD-ROM is also included in your bag when you pick up.
SIGGRAPH Members: SG$990
SIGGRAPH Student Members: SG$460
Non-Members: SG$1,090

In a Full Conference ONE DAY Access Pass, is admission to all programs and events for one day of SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 and one Electronic Theater ticket. Access to the Exhibition and Exhibitor Talks & Sessions are included for three days, 29 November - 1 December.   The One Day Pass is only available for onsite registration for SG$500.

The Basic Conference Access Pass includes admission to the Art Gallery and Emerging Technologies, The Animation Theater, Technical Papers Fast Forward, the Exhibition, and the Exhibitor Talks & Sessions for all conference days. SG$150 and then onsite for SG$200.
An Electronic Theater ticket can be purchased separately for SG$20.


One Electronic Theater Ticket gives you access to one Electronic Theater screening. One ticket is included in all Full Conference Passes and Full Conference One Day Passes. Additional tickets or stand-alone tickets can be purchase online and onsite. Tickets are limited and it is recommended to purchase them online, for SG$20.

 

Exhibits Only Pass gives Admission to registered professionals, invited guests, trade, business visitors and students in related fields free of charge. A business card or student ID is required to prove that you are in the CG and interactive techniques related fields must be produced at the time of registration.

Visitors who have been invited by one of the SIGGRAPH Asia exhibitors or the organizer can register online at no charge with their invitation code.

Exhibits Only Pass includes admission to the Exhibition and Exhibitor Talks & Sessions for three days, 29 November - 1 December.

 

 

Related links:

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

Registration

Falling Tech

Sun 4th Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

A team from Georgia Institute of Technology, including a researcher from Industrial Light & Magic presents a new method to generate agile and natural human landing motions in real-time via physical simulation without using any mocap or pre-scripted sequences. Sehoon Ha (Georgia Institute of Technology), C. Karen Liu (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Yuting Ye (Industrial Light & Magic) have generated a general controller that allows the character to fall from a wide range of heights and initial speeds, continuously roll on the ground, then get back on its feet without straining any joints. The character’s motion is generated through a forward simulator and a control algorithm that consists of an airborne phase and a landing phase. As well as showing a display of the best landing practise for real-time animations, this lines up with those actions of experienced free-jumpers in life action videos.




Falling and Landing Motion Control for Character Animation
 

 


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Technical Papers detailed PDF

Georgia Institute

Story and 3D

Thu 1st Nov 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

In this surprising morning course session titled, 'The Story Structure for Programmers, Game designers and Artists', Craig Caldwell from the University of Utah began by saying that everybody has a shell of a story arc in their head, because that is what they expect in a story. An interesting supposition that he went on to show, with examples literally through the ages of Hollywood and European movie script writing. The pattern is pretty much the same and has been written about for many years through storytelling, and nowadays in TV, movie and gameplay. Character, World, Goal, Conflict and Change. Everything has a beginning, middle and an end.

 

Karl Soule from Adobe took to the rostrum in an NVIDIA session wanting to talk about the ways Adobe After Effects has changed the perception of 3D in titles. He brought optics across from the NVIDIA site, a web graphic, just a simple png. He then proceeded to demonstrate GPU accelerated 3D Ray Tracing. It removes the third party app render and export stage in the product.

 


There is also an advanced camera tracker system within Adobe After Effects. It figures out depth, and places text in a layer with the 2D video. In an HP laptop, Soule had an NVIDIA Quadro 5000M installed, which accelerated the performance of the machine by a magnitude of 27. Karl cites different comps available from his blog that simulate silver or gold and a hard wooden floor. I am writing a piece at the moment abut the use of After Effects and Premiere Pro, so this session was useful to see the latest features. Karl Soule rolled through some of the most interesting points for 3D rendering of text and motion tracking within After Effects.

 

The Peddie luncheon was this afternoon as well and I don't ever miss it. Every SIGGRAPH. Jon Peddie, Kathleen and a host of helpers organise a panel of heavy hitting specialists in their field to dish out ideas and this year, it was the democratisation of 3D. The panel was Gerrie Blank from Intel; David Forrester from Lightworks; Neil Trevett from the Khronos Group; Gavin Greenwratt from Straightface Studios and Phil Miller from NVIDIA. How far will this democratisation go? The panel cited the Napster and iTunes revolution for audio, the advent of YouTube and H264 compression for video, and now we are on the cusp of bringing the ability to generate true 3D (not stereoscopy, characters) to the masses, or closer to that point. They also noted Sensable, Autodesk's 123D Catch, the Motherport from Kinect and InfiniteZ as an active element to bring the ability to the wider base.

 

A point was made that it is not just characters, but also assets of all kinds. Chairs, tables, vehicles and clothes. Forests and buildings. Many companies have already brought this to the masses, like Evolver, Mixamo and the Unity engine. Reaching into the future, the Augmented Reality is now becoming introduced. The p[hotoreal holodeck is next on the cards, so say a blue-sky prediction from this group. There was talk of alternative world, which is already being created, and server-based software as a different way of creating the material.



SIGGRAPH Asia futures

Wed 31st Oct 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Looking out for a moment into the far future, OK at the end of NEXT year, the location for the next SIGGRAPH Asia has been revealed. The sixth ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques will be held in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 will be chaired by Professor Wenping Wang from The University of Hong Kong. Professor Wang is associate editor of the journals, Computer Aided Geometric Design (CAGD) and IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG). He has also chaired several international conferences such as Pacific Graphics 2003, ACM Symposium on Physical and Solid Modeling 2006 (SPM 2006), and IEEE International Conference on Shape Modeling (SMI 2009). Click here to find out more about his research work.

The 2013 event expects to draw conference attendees, exhibition visitors, and exhibitors from over 50 countries worldwide. It also aims to surpass the most successful edition of the conference and exhibition in 2011.

SIGGRAPH Asia will continue its tradition of being the premier platform for the advancement of graphics, animation, art, and technology. Apart from maintaining its strong standing amongst the academic research community, SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 will also strengthen its foothold within related industries by adding more industry-relevant content such as Master Classes and Production Talks and Panels.

The Call for Submissions for the conference programs will start in March 2013. Exhibition and sponsorship bookings will begin in December 2012. Contact us early to find out more or visit our booth at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 in Singapore from 28 November to 1 December.

 

 

Online Registration for the Singapore SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 closes on Tuesday, 20 November at 23:59hrs Singapore Time.

 

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Technical Papers

Sat 27th Oct 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

The SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Technical Papers program.

 

The Chair, Peter-Pike Sloan of the NVIDIA Corporation, says that of the 326 submissions, a total of 77 papers were conditionally accepted. "These papers were chosen by the Papers Committee based on the importance of the problem being solved, the impact and potential of each paper, and its technical strength and rigor," says Sloan. "The SIGGRAPH Asia Technical Papers program adheres to the highest scientific standards and this year is no different. Accepted papers are from all over the world, and the broad set of topics covered include rendering, motion-capture, stereoscopy and fluid-simulation, among others. As always, excellence of the ideas is the predominant criterion for selecting this outstanding set of papers."

The Technical Papers Fast Forward is on Wednesday, 28 November 18:45 - 20:00 in the Garnet 217 room.  The Technical Papers sessions proper begin from the following morning at 9am in the Peridot rooms 201 and 206, and carry on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. These sessions each day covers all manner of subjects and can be viewed in the SIGGRAPH Asia Technical Papers page link below.



A sampling of Technical Papers reveals new elasticity-based Deformers for Character Articulation by the crew at ETH Zurich.

This paper will present a closed-form skinning method that approximates nonlinear elastic deformations at a fast speed. Skinning weights that are optimized for the standard linear and dual quaternion skinning techniques are not sufficient to match the visual quality of the original elastic deformations, so this new skinning method based on the concept of joint-based deformers is proposed, similar to nonlinear variational deformation methods.

This final algorithm is fully automatic and requires no input from the user other than a rest-pose mesh and a skeleton. The runtime complexity requires minimal memory and computational overheads compared to linear blend skinning, while producing higher quality deformations than both linear and dual quaternion skinning.

 


The 'Motion-Guided Mechanical Toy Modeling' session from Hangzhou Normal University, Peking University and Microsoft Research Asia, presents a new method to synthesize mechanical toys solely from the motion of their features. The designer specifies the geometry and a time-varying rotation and translation of each rigid feature component. The new algorithm automatically generates a mechanism assembly located in a box below the feature base that produces the specified motion.

Parts in the assembly are selected from a parameterized set including belt-pulleys, gears, crank-sliders, quick-returns, and various cams (snail, ellipse, and double-ellipse). Positions and parameters for these parts are optimized to generate the specified motion, minimize a simple measure of complexity, and yield a well-distributed layout of parts over the driving axes. The solution uses a special initialization procedure followed by simulated annealing to efficiently search the complex configuration space for an optimal assembly.

 

 

The high number of submissions this year demonstrates the recognition of the Technical Papers program at SIGGRAPH Asia and SIGGRAPH as a premier venue to demonstrate scientific excellence, innovation and novelty in graphics and interactive techniques. The Papers Committee has selected an exciting program of papers that will contribute significantly to advancing the field.

 

 


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Technical Papers

Chaos Group in Singapore

Sun 28th Oct 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Chaos Group is attending SIGGRAPH Asia for the fifth consecutive year to meet up with friends, partners and users and show the latest enhancements to our products.

 

 

The whole crew will be at booth C12 in the beautiful Max Atria Conference Center, where a varied program is prepared for each day of the show. Specialists will be showing the most recent enhancement in V-Ray for 3ds Max and V-Ray for Maya, simulating fire, smoke and liquids with Phoenix FD for 3ds Max. And you'll see the latest product addition, Phoenix FD for Maya and a sneak peak preview of what is coming in V-Ray 3.0.

 

Local reseller Innocom Technologies will be there to present you the courses in their training center. Customers Lightfeel and Drawiz will share their experience with V-Ray and uncover the secrets of making photo realistic architectural visualization and CG creatures. Check out the full program through the link below.

 


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V-Ray presentations at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

Special Sessions

Tue 23rd Oct 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

The SIGGRAPH Asia conference this year will be held in Singapore but, outside of the city, further towards the airport. Covering over 123,000sqm of indoor and outdoor space, the MAX is one of the regions most talked-about venues. The original plan was to go back to Suntek in the midst of the city, but the logistics of a massive construction project that has taken in the Pan Pacific Hotel and Suntek complex, made the move out to MAX a very attractive decision for a number of reasons. With natural light being a focus in some of the rooms, this will give presentations more of an air of the FMX venue, with a light space for viewing Art Gallery pieces, Posters and Emerging Technologies.

 

 

As mentioned in the previous post, Paul Franklin will be one of the headlining Special sessions at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012. Also on the agenda, MPC's Daniele Bigi who will cover the tools and tech required on the production of Ridley Scott's Prometheus on Thursday 29 November in the Garnier 217 Room at 2:15pm. The Lighting Supervisor on Prometheus, now the CG Supervisor at MPC on production with The Seventh Son, Daniele Bigi will have much to say about all aspects of the digital pipeline during the production of one of the year's big VFX hits.

 

Senior TD Georges Torres and Senior AD Julien Proux from Ubisoft talk about the technical challenges of simulating real-time water and producing linear gameplay on Friday straight after Paul Franklin's presentation in Garnier 217. The new science of Linear Gameplay sequencing has a lot of interest and will be sure to spark great discussion at the show, for all kinds of future storyline construction within gameplay.

 

 

On Saturday, Oscar winning VFX supervisor Ben Grossman talks about the much lauded workflow of HUGO, discussing the work done by Pixomondo with ten of its facilities across Germany, the USA, Canada, China and Great Britain. This represents a entirely new (and possibly unbeatable) model of VFX production where the VFX handover chases the sun, keeps every team fresh, informed and not burning so much midnight oil.

 

Lucasfilm's LucasArts console game division has been producing some stunning realtime game visuals and on Saturday, the last day of the SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 conference Dave Story, the CTO of Lucasfilm, will bring forth some of the research results of game/film convergence. There will be hints on the directions that Lucasfilm will be taking future story-telling flavours, both for movie and game production, as well as other medium.

 

Paul Franklin

Tue 23rd Oct 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Paul Franklin will be presenting a Special Session at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 on the photo-realistic visual effects in the production of the The Dark Knight Rises', the conclusion to Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy. Franklin was the overall Supervisor for the movie and he will be talking about all the digital work generated for the film.

 

 

Paul Franklin is a co-founder of Double Negative VFX in London as well as an Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor with over 20 years' experience. He has played a large part in defining the modern European visual effects industry. His credits include all three of Christopher Nolan's Batman films, Inception and the Harry Potter series.

Paul is a constant contributor to CGSociety with many feature interviews during the Potter and Batman productions, as well as Inception in 2011. Continuing the ‘dream theme’, he was also a judge in the CGChallenge  Dreamscape last year. I spoke to him on a foggy London morning this week.

 

 

A director once said to Franklin that ‘VFX is the only part of the film-making process that is not on the payroll’. This made sense to him immediately of course. “What is meant by that was that there are other departments like camera, sets, lighting and grips, where the very, very talented people come in and do their craft very well, and then they leave and go on to the next project, job done,” Franklin explains. “Whereas the VFX pipeline on a film can take years and years to develop.  It’s not down to individuals on a set so much as a group from outside, bringing ‘it’ in with them.”

 

 

“There is a real desire out there from the VFX vendors themselves to develop their own intellectual property (IP) for the creation of their own VFX movie productions,” states Franklin. “But of course, producing the films is a very different business to creating the visual effects for them. Here, people like Neil Blomkemp have a great advantage, with a history of producing  District 9 and now Elysium which is coming out in 2013. Here is a film-maker who came from a VFX background.” Like a cinematographer becoming a director/producer, there is hope of a new model of film-making being produced.

 

 

personal personal personal personal personal personal

 

 

Paul Franklin will be presenting his Special Session at 2:15pm on Friday 30th November in the Garnier Room at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 at the MAX Complex.


 

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SIGGRAPH Asia Videos

Mon 22nd Oct 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

SIGGRAPH Asia features some videos on the approach to the November show.

 


SIGGRAPH Asia 2012


SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 CAF video
 



Technical Papers Video (released Oct 31)

Themed Echo this year, the SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Art Gallery invites artists from around the world to showcase their innovative and leading-edge digital contributions on the aesthetics and meaning of nature through a myriad of mediums and techniques.



Online registration is available now and closes 20 November at 23:59 GMT +8, Singapore time.
 

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Karlheinz Brandenburg

Thu 18th Oct 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

'Father of MP3' the next Featured Speaker at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

Audiology is closer to neuroscience nowadays than ever before, and digital art is closer to acoustics and psychology. All stemming from research being done by people like Prof. Karlheinz Brandenburg, one of the Featured Speakers at this year’s SIGGRAPH Asia in Singapore at the end of November.  The Professor is known as the ‘Father of MP3’. I spoke to him via Skype from his home in Germany.

“There are many different technologies that came together to finalize the audio format we all know as MP3. This goes back quite a bit more than most people know,” begins Brandenburg. “There was basic research in earlier times. The story about the team in Erlangen starts with an advisor of my PhD work, who in the 70s felt we could help each other out. Around that time, the ISDN became itself a new network, was standardised and about to roll out. His idea was that this new technology should be used not just to transmit speech but to transmit high quality audio.”

Back then the team tried to patent this compression but couldn’t because we were told we couldn’t patent ‘impossible’ ideas. So the idea required some extra research, and as a PhD student, Brandenburg wanted to help and that’s where it all began. “This went very slowly. In fact, according to the state of the art, the patent officer was right,” explains Karlheinz. “I looked into the technology for speech coding, also the properties of the human auditory system, and acoustics. The idea was ahead of it’s time so much that it was deemed as impossible.”

But in the 80s, there was this idea to do digital audio broadcasting. And for that, there was a lot of public funding available. “So, suddenly at Erlangen, we didn’t just have single people, but instead we had whole teams available. Fraunhofer opened a new institute and Brandenburg’s PhD advisor was the first director of that institute and the director of Fraunhofer Institut put together a team to look at these issues.

The Moving Picture Experts Group [MPEG] was also involved in the development. This group oversees the video standards used today, and they needed audio compression standards as well. There were other researchers who were finding the same standards, and they came to collaborate. “In 1991, the project almost died. During modification tests, the encoding simply did not want to work properly. Two days before submission of the first version of the MP3 codec, we found the compiler error,” explains Prof. Brandenburg. “In 1992, there was at last a version of the standard ready with three different modes or layers. Called MPEG 3.”

At that time, Digital audio was being transmitted over ISDN lines for digital radio transmissions. Although it was a niche market, this was the developing area. “In 1994, it was decided that the Internet would be a good market for the future. Back then, the audio quality was not very good and the idea of streaming audio across these networks was just beginning,” explains Prof. Brandenburg. In the days of Windows 3.1, the file extension only was allowed three letters, so ‘MP3’ was conceived.    14 July 1995.   MP3 has become the symbol of the sounds of modern society with ‘music on the move’. Of course there is also the choice of streaming digital radio from a smartphone, not just from 20 or so local stations but from 20,000 radio stations, broadcasting throughout the world.

Prof. Brandenburg's doctoral thesis on digital audio coding and perceptual measurement techniques formed the basis of the MPEG-1 Layer 3 codec of audio compression. He also advised development of the MPEG-2 AAC, the codec of choice for modern devices including iPod, iPhone and audio streaming. The royalty income from the development and use of this technology has been folded back into development, so we have been able to stay at the leading edge for more than 20 years. 

“We know a lot about how our ears work, but then the sound goes into our brain, and there, there are a number of effects that are not well understood yet,” adds Brandenburg. “It’s not just the sounds coming to my ears. It’s my experience; what I did last, what I see. All this influences what I hear and what I make of the experience.”

SURROUND SOUND
“The work being done in the realm of surround sound is applicable to not just the cinematic experience, but wherever you have loud speakers available,” explains Prof. Brandenburg. “This new idea is built on ideas from Daus Technical universities, in The Netherlands, again, a long time ago.”

This field is called Wave Field Synthesis. Instead of having the sound mixed for production of 5.1 or 7.1 output, this technology allows you to regenerate the source in a format that lets you store the audio ‘objects’. “This lets you render them to whatever you have available to play back the sound. It is an approximation of a physical representation of the sound waves in a room,” explains Brandenburg. “This research is allowing us to recreate sounds to not only have the sound coming from a certain direction in a room but also make it originate from a certain point in the room.”

Using the full gamut of tricks on this ‘immersive sound’ system, a subject can have the feeling of being transported somewhere else.  Inside a closed booth, or out in a forest, on a beach or in a windswept field of wheat. The application of this technology in the arts field is rather mind-blowing.  “You really must hear it, to really appreciate it,” adds Prof. Brandenburg.

 

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Karlheinz Brandenburg

 

SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

Richard Chuang

Thu 11th Oct 2012, by Paul Hellard | siggraphasia2012


 

Richard Chuang is the First Featured Speaker at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 in Singapore.

Richard Chuang has an incredible history, highlighted when he joined Carl Rosendahl and Glenn Entis to nurture PDI into one of the first computer graphics animation companies working in the very early eighties. He co-wrote the company’s own CG animation software with Glenn Entis, which was then used for the following 20 years. For the development of further foundation software, the now merged PDI/DreamWorks team won four Scientific and Technical Academy Awards. The high point saw the success of Antz, and the Shrek and Madagasgar movie franchises.

In his talk at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012, Richard Chuang will be talking about the Rise of CG in Asia. He has tremendous insights into the way Asian culture and imagination can rise to create some wonderful stories. The culture differs from the West, but he says he has a solution to make sure the young artists of the world have a way to produce some of the best work to be seen in years, free from the cost of large studio overheads.



After 28 years, Richard Chuang left PDI/Dreamworks, having stayed at the studio he’d worked at on over 1,000 projects. Before Chuang was to finally leave, his job was to find production capacity around the world. Because of his past experience in the service industry, he knew studios all over the planet. So, Chuang spent the early 2000s traveling the world, helping set up a television production company in Hong Kong, a film studio in India and animation studio in Japan. “What struck me throughout this voyage, was the tidal wave of new young talent available in this region,” Chuang says. “They were all taking advantage of the internet age and actively learning skills and accumulating knowledge, in every corner of the globe. It was then I realised that the ‘big studio’ idea had to change.”

Richard Chuang was charged with doing this journey within the big studio mindset and he knew at some point it had to change. One day, he even took a call from The President of Disney Live Action, Alan Chapman and Ed Catmull, the President of Disney Animation. They thought he’d be the perfect guy to run a new big studio they were building called IMDigital, the Bob Zemeckis studio.

“As soon as I realised they were trying to build another one of those big studios, I knew that it wasn’t what the world needed,” explains Chuang. “The world has moved towards a younger content creator who is much more dynamic, with new fresh ideas constantly. We needed a studio that fit the networked generation. My son was doing a project online, so I could see it all happening in front of me. I knew we weren’t addressing the needs of this generation of talent.”

That’s when Richard Chuang decided to move on and begin the Cloudpic company. While at DreamWorks though, he had stayed very hands-on to the work that he did. Right up until the year he left, he was still programming. “Still directing, supervising and always trying to reinvent myself,” he adds. “Part of what is done here at Cloudpic is trying to solve that problem from the ground up. Building the tools and capability to allow people to connect together with minimal cost.” The greatest barrier to building a big studio is of course, the cost. Having built a few in many parts of the world, Chuang knew first hand.

The approach Cloudpic was that it is a peer-to-peer based system where users can ‘one-click’ invite a friend to work on a project that is peer-to-peer based where all the assets are managed automatically. Without the costs of building a large studio. This is a virtual disk drive, agnostic to what software is being used. This is a simple virtual storage device that is totally secure within your space. And this isn’t aimed at the big studio. This is aimed at the artist. Chuang repeats the saying that ‘art comes from within’, and the Asian artist needs to feel they are able to speak up, be heard, and take a risk.

There are global differences in cultures that make collaboration at a studio level difficult. There is the social status quo model in the USA that gives them the advantage of not being afraid of speaking up, so there was a large number of artists participating in making something better. In Asia, there is a tendency to not speak up even if they see something wrong. So, the challenge in Asia is to free people up, to be able to participate in the creative process. Chuang admits that it is very hard to create art that works in both spaces. Asia and the West are very different. Asian storytelling is very different to storytelling in the West. There is a tendency of course to make a lot of eye candy that is commercially successful.

The Cloudpic company is artist-centric as opposed to studio centric, so the collaboration is available on a smaller scale, closer to the ground, with more of a chance to grow from the idea, as opposed to direction from above.

Early Bird registration for SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 expires soon.

 


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Richard Chuang

 

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