SIGGRAPH ’19 Tackles Facial Animation, AI, Game Ethics & Real-Time Production

SIGGRAPH 2019 has detailed its Real-Time Live! and Games programming for the upcoming conference in L.A. (July 28-Aug. 1), which will shine a light on topics including facial animation, AI, ethics and the future of real-time production. In addition, “Il Divino: Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling in VR” will debut at the show, powered by Unreal Engine.

Real-Time Live! showcases how essential real-time technology is and continues to be in revolutionizing the way we interact in an increasingly connected society. Following a theme of “thrive on live,” the innovations that teams will demo are well-positioned to enhance future technological applications.

“We have a great lineup of demos prepared this year and I am so excited to share the work our jury culled from nearly 50 submissions,” said SIGGRAPH 2019 Real-Time Live! Chair Gracie Arenas Strittmatter. “I hope you’ll join us as we take a look back at the past decade of Real-Time Live! and journey into its promising future. Our contributors will share new applications for robotics, ray tracing, AI, VR, games, film, and much more.”

Taking the future of production further, Games programming at SIGGRAPH spans conference Talks, Panels, Computer Animation Festival, Appy Hour, Immersive Pavilion and more. The conference committee and reviewers work together to help spotlight creators, visionaries and pioneers within the games industry from the world’s leading studios. Content is presented through sessions and demos that spotlight the latest rendering techniques, real-time tricks, asset pipelines, facial animation, advances in hardware and software, production challenges and accomplishments, VR/AR and beyond.

SIGGRAPH 2019 Games Co-chair Christopher Evans noted, “At SIGGRAPH 2019, attendees can expect to immerse themselves in the most engaging new gaming technologies and techniques. In addition to being a key place to learn about the latest research in games, the speakers and experiences lined up this year shine a light on the ways the industry is thriving.”

Highlights include:

Real-Time, Single Camera, Digital Human Development
Contributors: Doug Roble, Darren Hendler, Jeremy Buttell, Lonnie Iannazzo, Melissa Cell, Deer Li, Jason Briggs, Chad Reddick, Mark Williams, Lucio Moser, Cydney Wong, Dimitry Kachkovski, Jason Huang, Kai Zhang, David McLean, Rickey Cloudsdale, Dan Milling, Ron Miller, JT Lawrence, and Chinyu Chien, Digital Domain

Digital Domain Virtual Human will demonstrate our state-of-the-art, real-time, live-drive, digital human technology. We will show how photo-real digital humans with realistic facial animation can change the VR/AR experience.

“Reality vs. Illusion” Real-Time Ray Tracing
Contributors: Natalie Burke, Arisa Scott, Natalya Tatarchuk, and Sebastien Lagarde, Unity Technologies
We seamlessly transition from the filmed real-world car to the car ray traced in real-time powered by Unity, demonstrating advanced effects of real-time ray tracing technology in a live demo – dynamic global reflections and GI, multi-layer transparency with refraction, area lights, shadows, ambient occlusion, and more.

Il Divino: Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling in VR
Contributors: Christopher Evans, Epic Games
Experience Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling in virtual reality. Move around the space or take a guided tour. Users can also suspend on a virtual scaffold to see the work up close as few have seen it before. The experience will use the all-new Valve INDEX headset.

FACS at 40
Panelists: Mike Seymour, University of Sydney and fxguide (moderator); Erika Rosenberg, Stanford University and Erika Rosenberg Consulting; Vladimir Mastilovic, 3Lateral; Mark Sagar, Soul Machines; and, John Peter Lewis, Google AI

In 1978, research started in coding human expressions. The Facial Action Coding System (FACS) would become one of the cornerstones of facial animation. Forty years on, this panel discusses the strengths and limitations of FACS, its relevance in the age of AI, and what people are doing to improve it.

The Ethical and Privacy Implications of Mixed Reality
Panelists: Kent Bye, Voices of VR Podcast (moderator); Diane Hosfelt, Mozilla; Matt Miesnieks, 6D.AI; Samantha Mathews Chase, Venn.Agency; and, Taylor Beck, Magic Leap
The spatial computing affordances of virtual and augmented reality introduce all sorts of new ethical and privacy dilemmas, and this panel will be exploring best practices for navigating the biometric privacy, the AR Cloud, self-sovereign identity, and creating a framework for navigating the ethical and privacy implications of mixed reality.

THRIVE – Foundational Principles & Technologies for the Metaverse
Speaker: Tim Sweeney, Epic Games
Science-fiction notions of “the metaverse” are slowly becoming a reality as products such as Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox bring immersive social experiences to hundreds of millions of people and blur the boundaries between games and social networks. This talk explores the foundational technologies, economies, and freedoms required to build this future medium as a force for good.

Access to Real-Time Live! and most Games programming requires a Select Conference badge or higher. Register for SIGGRAPH 2019, the 46th international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques, at

Sistine Chapel VR
Sistine Chapel VR
Fortnite Thanos
Fortnite Thanos


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