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SIGGRAPH Asia: CG Platform Attracts Innovation
Last month the fifth edition of SIGGRAPH’s growing Asia event wrapped up in the island city-nation of Singapore after four days of talks, papers, exhibits and industry hobnobbing, furthering its goal of advancing its position as a global platform to showcase the region’s best digital innovations and breakthrough concepts to the world.
While techy ingenuity from many sectors was on display, there was still a strong showing of animation and vfx relevant technologies and talents—both for entertainment and for research, architectural/scientific rendering and other emerging applications. The highlight for any CG aficionado was the Computer Animation Festival, chaired by Nanyang Technological University’s Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann.
Out of 483 submissions, 45 films were accepted for the Animation Theater program and 31 for the Electronic Theater. The submissions and selections revealed an increase in entries from Asia over last year, and of the accepted films 26 are student efforts and 50 came from active game and film companies. In addition to more traditional narrative CG efforts, outstanding achievements in time-based art, scientific visualization, visual effects and real-time graphics were represented.
Highlights of Electronic Theater included Hyeseung Yoo’s Her Story (AniSEED), Vera Angstenberger’s Oh Sheep! (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg) and Amandine Boué’s The People Who Never Stop (Autour de Minuit Prod.) Standouts of the Animation Theater were Mohammed Jassim’s poignant The Power of Generation, Angstenberger’s Bear Me (Filmakademie), ArtFx’s Billets s’il vous plait (Nathaile Lapuyade, Elodie Hickson, Rémi Julien, Tristan Jeanbourquin, Lucie Lavergne, Oscar Aveline) and the collaborative film Father by Christian Mueller (eyecatchproductions), Maria Stanisheve (Compote Collective) and Vanja Andrijevic (Bonobostudio).
Another big draw for those entering or working in the vfx and animation industry were the big-name Production Sessions: Oscar-winning vfx supervisors Paul Franklin of Double Negative and Ben Grossman of Pixomondo presented on the production of The Dark Knight Rises and production workflow innovations of Hugo, respectively. Pixar’s RenderMan team demonstrated how the software aided the production of last year’s Brave and how it is being utilized for the upcoming Monsters University. VFX supervisor Nigel Sumner of Industrial Light & Magic’s Singapore studio took attendees behind the scenes of the epic The Avengers, while Lucasfilm’s CTO Dave Story outlined the projects being developed at Lucasfilm’s campuses in San Francisco and Singapore. And Daniele Bigi, CG supe for The Moving Picture Company, took the audience on a high-tech journey to an alien planet for the special session on Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. To round off the event, PDI co-founder and current head of Cloudpic Richard Chuang shared his expertise and observations on the past couple of decades of the development of the CG industry in Asia on the last day.
Also in attendance were key hardware and software vendors like Next Limit Technologies, Side Effects Software and TechViz which presented on their latest and most innovative products. Young artists and techno whizzes flocked to the recruiting sessions put on by the likes of Double Negative and Pixomondo, and those looking to further there skills were offered a variety of choices on the show floor as representatives from schools around the world stood by to answer questions—among them North American schools Academy of Art University and VanArts.
In addition to the myriad theater offerings, sessions, talks, exhibitions, briefs and technical papers, the 2012 SIGGRAPH Asia event saw the second edition of the new Symposium on Apps program—which aims to cover the development, technology, and marketing of mobile applications, including, computer graphics software and hardware, games, augmented reality, location-based services, animation, and social networking. Presented in the format of panels, talks and workshops, the program put stronger emphasis on the graphics aspects in mobile applications. The Symposium on Apps has proven so popular since it debuted at the Hong Kong SIGGRAPH event in 2011 that the U.S.-based SIGGRAPH event organizers introduced a stateside mobile program as well.
All in all, the 2012 SIGGRAPH Asia in Singapore was a rewarding return for the event to its inaugural city. You can learn more about the speakers, papers and projects presented here and if checking out the ever-growing industry on the other side of the world (not to mention a much warmer winter) sounds appealing for next year, don’t forget to register for the 2013 SIGGRAPH Asia in Hong Kong, taking place November 19-22 at sa2013.siggraph.org.