Computer Animation Festival Award winners announced on eve of SIGGRAPH Asia 2013.
The SIGGRAPH Asia Computer Animation Festival is a hugely popular program that gives attendees the chance to acquaint themselves with a myriad of computer-generated animation clips and visual effects. This year the Computer Animation Festival received a total of 506 submissions from 51 countries. Of these, the top three submissions have been hand-picked by the jury and will be awarded ‘Best of Show’, ‘Jury Award’ and ‘Best Student Project Award’.
The prestigious ‘Best of Show Award’ goes to '5 Meters 80', a film by Nicolas Deveaux and produced by French production house Cube Creative Productions. The film follows a herd of giraffes that decide to embark on a series of adventurous high-flying acrobatics, with humorous effect. It was selected for its incredible use of CGI, which, combined with excellent animation creates genuine affection and emotion.
Nadia Micault’s film, Sonata, made in collaboration with another French production company, Autour de Minuit Productions, won over the jury to win the ‘Jury Award’. Set in an imaginary musical world that seamlessly marries artistic movement and expressive emotions, the film revolves around the story of a young woman who wishes to escape and in order to do so must open up and reinvent herself.
Bringing the awards to a close is Wedding Cake, directed by Viola Baier and produced by Germany’s Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg. Awarded ‘Best Student Project’ for 2013, Wedding Cake strikes the perfect balance between storytelling and visual image rendering, as its two main characters, marzipan figures from the top of a wedding cake, try to sculpt the perfect wedding out of icing.
Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd., will also host two panel sessions discussing recent films that they have been a part of, one of which is Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s science fiction epic that demanded an incredibly wide-ranging scope of visual effects, from aliens to human-piloted robots.
Inspiration is in the air at SIGGRAPH Asia 2013, particularly with the Featured Sessions program, which features internationally acclaimed animation and visual effects studios. PIXAR Animation Studios, Image Engine and MPC will each share the expertise, art and techniques that lie behind the creation of some of this year’s most highly anticipated films.
Learn from the best with PIXAR’s Director of Stereo Production, Joshua Hollander, who will use a colorful slideshow and clips from various Pixar films to illustrate his session, Stereoscopic Pixar – Three Eyes, Three Dimensions, presenting an overview of the technical and production processes behind the studio’s stereoscopic releases, as well as delving into their creative philosophy.
Image Engine, known for providing the visual effects for Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi epic, Elysium, will examine the techniques that they used in Inside Elysium: From Earth to the Ring. Peter Muyzers, the studio’s Visual Effects supervisor will lead a discussion around the challenges involved in creating two polarized worlds, with a particular focus on several artistic and technical trials in creating specific elements of the movie.
The third and final session, MPC’s From Previs to Pyramids, MPC Presents the VFX of World War Z, looks at the creative and technical processes behind the visual effects of World War Z, demonstrating how the team took early concepts through to completion on what was their most challenging project to date.
To further complement the conference sessions, interactive technologies, technologically-centric installations and performances, SIGGRAPH Asia’s Art Gallery invites artists from around the world to showcase their innovative and cutting-edge contributions to digital aesthetics in a world where science, technology and art combine. The theme for the exhibits this year is Future/Past, allowing artists to create stunning visual and sound works, augmented-reality (AR) installations and performances that attendees can interact and engage with. For the first time ever this year, the Art Gallery is supported by Art Papers; academic papers that highlight theoretical issues concerning contemporary art in our global society.
One of the Art Gallery’s major highlights, that will be open to all members of the public, is The Virtuale Exhibition. Presented in collaboration with Digital Art Weeks International, The Virtuale Exhibition is an exhibition of AR artworks that use new digital tools to both view and interact with the art. Curated by Arthur Clay from ETHZ in Switzerland, the exhibition takes AR artworks and focuses on the use of public space, mobile technologies and the way that people engage with art on a public sphere. 11 pieces of art have been installed in and around Hong Kong in places such as Victoria Peak and Hong Kong Park.
The SIGGRAPH Asia management committee have opened up to the idea of featuring of the Business Symposium in Hong Kong, the first time it has been available at any SIGGRAPH Asia, held this year in the beautiful southern Chinese port city.
The Business Symposium will spark an interactive dialogue between stakeholders in the content creation industries. Spanning one full day, attendees will be able to focus on interesting and topical issues occurring in the industry. The Business Symposium will be split into three segments; Hito, Mono and Kane.
Hito turns its focus to the most pliable and profitable element in any production studio, that of the staff, and Hito looks at ways to generate the best work from them. A panel of speakers will talk about training, education and up-skilling programs.
Mono turns the view around to the ways people are reaching out to the markets. The constantly evolving market trends are morphing from from one form to the next, sometimes with consequences, but with hindsight opens more opportunities.
Finally, Kane will sum up the Business Symposium by examining how the initiatives looked at in Hito and Mono could be funded by either corporate or government financial schemes.
The Business Symposium features experts and opinion leaders as speakers, including Shuzo Shiota, the curator of the Symposium and President and CEO of Polygon Pictures Inc., Sen Lai, Principal and CEO of 3dsense Media School, and Richard Chuang, founder and CEO of Cloudpic Global.
The Business Symposium is not the only way attendees can gain insight into the mechanisms of the computer graphics and interactive techniques industry. The business focus of SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 is further complemented through the Exhibitor Sessions & Talks. Held from 19 to 22 November, the Exhibitor Talks and Sessions will give attendees the opportunity to experience hands-on presentations and learn all about new developments in product innovation.
Some of the highlights from this program include talks from Side Effects Software. Their talk, entitled Houdini and the Houdini Engine, will explore how Houdini can be applied across various fields, from feature film visual effects to procedural game art to impressive and effective commercials. Side Effects Software will also showcase the new Houdini Engine that allows for integration of its technology into a wide range of digital content creation apps, including the upcoming experimental plug-ins for Autodesk Maya and the Unity game engine.
Another technological advancement that has enjoyed recent success will be discussed in Stratasys’ talk, 3D Printing – The Future is Now. Following 3D printing’s recent transitioninto the mainstream, the trends of 3D printing in areas such as mass customization, rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing will be explored, demonstrating how the process helps drive innovation and business value in Asia.
In what will undoubtedly prove one of the most popular talks of the entire event, PIXAR Animation Studios will reveal how their latest feature film, Monsters University, delivered new levels of visual sophistication. Learn how RenderMan Studio 18’s lighting and shading tools made that possible as part of the Monstrous Advancements in CGI: RenderMan Studio 18 talk. This session also features a special screening of The Blue Umbrella, which features these new techniques of photorealistic lighting, shading and compositing.
For those attendees that want to speak directly to exhibitors and other professionals, as well as understand more of the general computer graphics industry in the region, the Hong Kong ACM SIGGRAPH Professional Chapter will host a networking event that also gives a comprehensive overview with presentations on computer graphics in advertising, 3D productions and feature animation films.