SIGGRAPH Sessions Spotlight Disney, Polar Express, Star Wars

Each year, SIGGRAPH Special Sessions offer interactive presentations by some of the world’s most imaginative experts on diverse topics. It has been announced that his year’s program will offer a glimpse into the past, present and future of digital technologies, featuring a look at the legacy of Disney animation, a behind-the-scenes peek at Warner Bros.’ The Polar Express and an ILM Star Wars retrospective, among others.

The Legacy of Disney Animation: A Journey to the Past, Present and Future Through the Eyes of Disney Animators, Directors, Designers, and Storytellers" will offer insight by Walt Disney Feature Animation’s top filmmakers. Through clips from the Disney vaults, along with footage from current and upcoming projects, the accomplished artists will demonstrate how color, animation, art direction and storytelling influence contemporary animation techniques as the 70-year Disney legacy is passed on to a new generation of artists. Moderated and organized by Steve R. Goldberg of Walt Disney Feature Animation, the session will feature panelists Eamonn Butler, Dan Cooper, Mark Dindal, Randy Fullmer, Ian Gooding and Glen Keane.

The Polar Express: Artists and Technicians Reveal How They Transformed a 3D Train Ride Into a 3D Stereoscopic Adventure" will be presented off-site at the IMAX Theater at the California Science Center. Visual effects supervisors, artists, and technologists will show how they transformed Robert Zemeckis’ painterly film into a stereoscopic IMAX experience. This unique session will include footage from The Polar Express and some very early glimpses at a Sony Pictures Imageworks project still in production, both in true 70mm stereoscopic IMAX. Organized by Sande Scoredos and Moderated by Rob Engle, both of Sony Pictures Imageworks, the panel will feature Rob Bredow of Sony Pictures Imageworks and Hugh Murray of IMAX Corp.

With George Lucas set to deliver the SIGGRAPH keynote address, the confab will offer "A Star Wars Retrospective From Industrial Light & Magic: Environments, Space Battles, and the Characters Who Fought Them From 1977 to 2005." In this presentation, ILM luminaries Dennis Muren, John Knoll, Roger Guyett, and Rob Coleman will walk attendees through all six installments in the series, comparing the techniques that ILM employed over the years to bring these historical environments, characters and space battles to the screen. The panel discussion is organized by Kate Shaw of Industrial Light & Magic and moderated by Don Shay from Cinefex.

Of interest to video game players and industry pros is "Jump! Shout! Dance! Sing! An Interactive Conversation About Games, Game Art, and Play That Goes Way Beyond the Joystick." This session brings together art directors, game designers and controller builders for an enlightening, entertaining and possibly hilarious look into an alternate future of gaming. Moderator Alex Pham of The Los Angeles Times will welcome panelists Henry LaBounta of Electronic Arts Canada, Greg LoPiccolo of Harmonix Music Systems, Richard Marks of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Michael McHale of Konami Digital Entertainment and Fred Swan of Logitech, Inc.

SIGGRAPH 2005 Special Sessions begin Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. and close Aug. 4 at 1:15 p.m. For more complete details, go to