The CG Revolution on Display in Singapore

The inaugural edition of SIGGRAPH Asia (Dec. 10-13) offers a mind-expanding showcase of the region’s talent as well as a colorful snapshot of future possibilities.

If anyone needed yet another proof of the growing importance of Asian countries in the computer graphics and animation arena, they should simply glance at the impressive program lineup for the inaugural edition of SIGGRAPH Asia, which will held Dec. 10 thru 13 at the Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Singapore.

Following the tradition of SIGGRAPH in the U.S., the show will feature nine main programs’art gallery, computer animation festival, courses, educators’ program, emerging technologies, job fair, sketches and posters, technical papers and trade exhibition. According to organizers, half of the pieces displayed at the event’s art gallery were created in the region, and 30 percent of the materials accepted were from Asia. In addition, 14 Asian universities are represented in the sessions, chaired by the likes of Ken Anjyo of OLM Digital, Inc; Xin Tong of Microsoft Research China; and Hyeong-Seok Ko of Seoul National University.

Certainly, there is no shortage of industry visionaries and high-profile CG stars booked for the event: Don Greenberg, director of Cornell University’s computer graphics program and Rob Cook, VP of advanced technology at Pixar are two of the confab’s featured speakers. Lee Stringer and Matt Aldrich of Lucasfilm Animation Singapore will discuss the creation and inspirations behind the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series and the game Star Wars: The Clone Wars’Jedi Alliance. Among the many panels and discussions planned for the event are discussions of how to set up an animation studio in Asia. Kevin Geiger, president and CEO of Animation Options and former Disney Animation Studio alum will offer a workshop on CG production principles and how to maintain an efficient pipeline and workflow.

SIGGRAPH Asia attendees will also be able to take in two of the U.S. confab’s most popular features’the Electronic Theater and the Computer Animation Festival. ‘Attendees expect us to present the same quality of projects, especially at the Electronic Theater,’ says Jinny Choo, Computer Animation Festival chair. ‘We’ve also added an invited screenings program such as The Best of SIGGRAPH Award Winners.’

Asia, particularly China, Japan and Korea, contributed close to half of the entries at the CAF this year. A total of 685 submissions from 44 countries were received. ‘More than 70 percent of the pieces presented in the Computer Animation Festival are being shown for the first time and they represent the work of both internationally renowned production houses as well as creative students who may be the industry stars of tomorrow,’ notes Choo.

Among the many projects that qualify as top-draw eye candy at the Animation Festival this year are sneak previews of the new Capcom game Street Fighter IV by Polygon Pictures Inc.; the alternate ending to I Am Legend; and Sony Pictures Imageworks’ Speed Racer: Car Flip. Also on the must-see list are the preliminary concepts behind Double Negative’s fire simulation and rendering for Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and Lucasfilm’s sketches for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Iron Man and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Since SIGGRAPH isn’t only about the entertainment universe, attendees will be able to learn about some of the latest technological breakthroughs at the Emerging Technologies program of the confab. Keio University’s Flaneur Telescope is only one of these major technologies on display. This amazing digital telescope allows viewers a first-person viewpoint of buildings, shops and objects as they follow their path on a map.

SIGGRAPH has always played an important role in bringing together job applicants with employers in the tech and vfx sector, and the Asian event is no exception. The job fair aspect of the event will be in full effect as companies such as Double Negative, Ubisoft, Lucasfilm Animation and Media Development Authority of Singpaore (MDA) will be on the lookout for new hires in the region.

As Alyn Rockwood, SIGGRAPH Asia conference advisory group chair, points out, ‘With governments across Asia investing billions of dollars into the development of the local interactive and digital media sector, and production houses ultimately recognizing the vast talent pool that could be tapped in the region, SIGGRAPH Asia has an important and significant role to play. We are confident that the event will be a successful and rewarding experience for all participants.’

For more info, please visit www.siggraph.org/asia2008.