Disney Land for 3D Artists: SIGGRAPH ’16

By Chris Bronson, Associate Creative Director, 3D Artist / 08.08.2016

I recently returned from Anaheim, CA where I spent the last week attending SIGGRAPH. SIGGRAPH is an incredible conference that celebrates all that is computer graphics and interactive techniques. With over 14,000 attendees from 73 different countries, for a few days, this is Disney Land for graphic animators.

Registration Proof that I was there

Google Pearl and Environment Storytelling

The conference started with a workshop hosted by Oscar-winning animator, Patrick Osborne. He discussed the making of Pearl, a Google Spotlight story told in a 360-degree viewer. This storytelling technique through 3D environments is one of the latest animation trends that has many applications to the work we do here at ITC.

Play around with Google Pearl here!

Quality Over Convention

Next, the Technical Papers Fast Forward was an incredible two-hour session where presenters took one minute each to show the results of their technical research. I wouldn’t be surprised to see many of these ideas incorporated into future content creation updates. Next was the showcase of open-source animation software, Blender. I’ve always found it impressive what can be created with open-source software and it validates my assertion that while the tools are important, it’s the quality of the work that ultimately matters.

Real-Time Graphic Rendering at the Speed of Your Cursor

Next were several sessions on real-time graphics. The challenge with real-time graphics is maintaining a high-quality image that renders as fast as your cursor moves across the screen. These sessions highlighted many optimizations to consider. At ITC, I use the real-time graphics renderer, Unreal Engine 4, to build many of our interactive fly-throughs for booths, environments and scenic pieces. I have already found myself testing these new techniques and plan to incorporate them more in the coming year.

Screen shot of what a real-time graphics renderer looks like

Learning From the Best in the Business

On to the exhibit floor where I had the honor of speaking with the people who create the software I use on a daily basis, it was really eye-opening. From animation software, rendering platforms, or even facial expression recognition apps, it was all on show floor, showcasing the latest technology and its applications.

Another highlight was the Computer Animation Festival. It was a remarkable showing of the best of the best in animated shorts. After the Festival, there were many production sessions from the experts at Disney, Pixar, and ILM. It was incredibly inspiring to hear from the masters in the field.

The Finding Dory Session

Overall, SIGGRAPH 2016 was a world-class experience that provided more than enough knowledge, technique, and inspiration to last all year long. I can’t wait to see how they build on it next year!


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