43rd SIGGRAPH Render the Possibilities
July 2016 – The theme on the 2016 SiGGRAPH was Render the Possibilities. The render engines, once reserved for VFX in movie production, are now part of the ubiquitous computing capability in the cloud. The results of these render engines were on display in full force at SIGGRAPH, in the form of analysis from HPC, animation, VR, traditional CGI, and VFX. The conference featured hands on experiences in addition to the sessions and the VFX/animation festival. The show is unique as the presenters and attendees are a cross section of academia, industry, technologists, artists, story creators and delivery technology personnel.
The show featured 10 production sessions as highpoints in the conference. Seven of the sessions were from film production and three were related to VR and gaming. One of the production sessions on Captain America focused on the realities of large scale production and the extent of green screen with VFX in the projects. Less than 10 minutes of the over 2hour movie was direct captured on camera, the rest of the production was VFX. The other sessions showed similar ratios.
A major enhancement for the show was the VR village. This year marked the first year VR was brought in under the general submission process as a category on its own. The village consisted of 23 displays and 4 experience presentations. The VR village was not dedicated to a single platform, it featured Occulus, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear and content for the OSVR environment.
The Studio sessions focused on the rebuilding of a game. The game was a shift to having people participate in the physical game. The sessions used an Arduino IoT kit for the parts to create the physical aspect of the game. The sessions also supported the use of 3D scanners to create add-ons to the game. The 3rd day of the show featured a big battle on the new version of the game and was followed by a talk on the smart city project.
The conference had as its traditional highlight the Animation Festival. The festival features both real time and story captured content. There was also discussions on the composition and decomposition of the VFX that were used in the content. The winners in the multiple categories were collected together and displayed as a retrospective.
The show also had several keynotes. The opening keynote was fromZ. Nagin Cox of NASA/JPL and was titled “Dare to Do Mighty Things: Exploring Beyond the Earth”. Focusing on the recent robotic landing and satellite stationary orbit of Mars, she discussed the role that VFX and CGI play in the planning and creation of these journeys. More importantly, how those graphics create a tangible connection to the objects and cameras literally millions of miles away. These graphics play a large role in the contextual understanding of the actual photographic and sensor data that is obtained on the exploration.