With the 39th annual conference and exhibit running August 5-9 in the Los Angeles Convention Center, there’s plenty for CG fanatics and technophiles to check out. Here’s our list of can’t-miss confab events.
Electronic Theater: Enjoy the year’s most impressive CG feats in short films, commercials, music videos and more in the Computer Animation Festival’s entertaining program, with three evening runs plus a matinee. Don’t miss Jeffrey Call’s Estefan (Best Student Project), Erick Oh’s How to Eat Your Apple (Jury Award) or Yoshimichi Tamura’s Réflexion (Best in Show).
Big Screen Animation: Production Sessions on Disney-Pixar’s Brave (Monday), Sony’s Hotel Transylvania (Tue.) and LAIKA’s ParaNorman (Wed.) bring together top talents from these acclaimed studios to describe the processes and tech innovations behind these toon features. You can also learn more about the innovative digital technique developed for the new Disney short Paperman on Thursday.
Blockbuster VFX: Fascinating Sessions with vfx honchos from Hugo (Pixomondo presents; Mon.), Marvel’s The Avengers (Mon.), Real Steel (Digital Domain presents; Tue.), Sony Pictures Imageworks’ Men In Black 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man (Tue.) and Battleship (ILM presents; Wed.) explore the latest in big-screen fx. Learn even more about the process with a panel from DreamWorks Animation vfx supervisors (Wed.), a big 25th anniversary presentation from Rhythm & Hues (Tue.) and a virtual production primer from Weta Digital (Wed.)
McGonigal on Games: This year’s illustrious keynote speaker is Jane McGonigal, author of the fascinating treatise on the global impact of videogames Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. As director of game research and development for the Calif.-based Institute for the Future, McGonigal uses alternate reality games to conduct research and create communities with the aim of solving global problems. Her speech is sure to change the way you think about logging all those hours on Mafia Wars.
Talking Points: The popular (read: line up early) Studio Talks will cover an array of film and game production areas. Make room in your schedule for the “Wild Rides” session on Tuesday, which take you through the Magic Beanstalk Ride from DreamWorks’ Puss In Boots, the seascapes of Blue Sky’s Ice Age: Continental Drift and rushing river effects from Pixar.
The general Talks this year offer further looks into the complexity of top toons. “Head in the Clouds” will cover cloud modeling/rendering and volumetric effects with DreamWorks and Blue Sky crews. “Three Is a Crowd” will span 3-D performance capture using CageR (Télécom ParisTech) and the diverse animated crowds of Brave (Pixar) and Madagascar 3 (DreamWorks). “Building Character” will explore Paperman’s unique animation (Disney), while Pixar will present on Brave’s simulation, character design complexity and new skin strategies using biphasic materials. You can also learn how Brave’s Merida got her bonny curls during the “Hairy Scary” talk on Thursday.
The Next Wave: Get a glimpse of the latest tech applications for entertainment during Exhibitor Tech Talks from Next Limit Technologies, Imagination Technologies Ltd., AMD, Isotropix SAS and more throughout the event. You can really get into the nitty-gritty by attending one of the hard core Exhibitor Sessions presented by Intel and NVIDIA, which will be running from 9 a.m. til 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The future is now!
Early Bird Bonus: If you happen to be in town the weekend before SIGGRAPH, make sure you take advantage of the special Pixar in Concert event at the Hollywood Bowl (Friday Aug. 4 thru Sunday Aug. 6). Thomas Wilkins will lead the Bowl orchestra in an unforgettable night of music from the Pixar repertoire, including the Toy Story trilogy, Cars, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL•E, Up and Brave accompanied by familiar film clips.