SIGGRAPH Revs Up Animation Program with ‘Making Of’ Sessions

SIGGRAPH 2021 Production Sessions and Talks boast an impressive lineup of more than 20 behind-the-scenes looks at the “making of” recent high-profile productions in film, television, virtual reality, real-time and games. Attendees will hear from the best minds in computer graphics and interactive techniques through on-demand and live virtual sessions during this year’s conference.

In addition to more content from 2021 Oscar winner Soul, conference programming will feature recent releases from Pixar Animation Studios (Luca) and Walt Disney Animation Studios (Raya and the Last Dragon); 2021 Emmy nominees WandaVision and The Mandalorian; and deep dives on the metaverse, among other gaming and interactive projects. New this year, the conference will also offer two Production Sessions Special Sessions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on its year-round initiatives and one from Cinefex that will look back at the publication’s legacy in the industry.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, teamwork among studios to collaborate and produce stunning visual effects and innovative animations over the last year has been inspiring,” said SIGGRAPH 2021 Production Sessions Chair John Kalaigian. “The sessions we’ve selected for 2021 demonstrate the ways creators have pushed the limits of existing pipelines and processes, as well as offer inspiration for all of the industry as the world changes yet again.”

Animation highlights include:

  • Learning to Trust – The Making of Raya and the Last Dragon | Production Session | Tuesday, August 10, 11 a.m. PDT | Disney animation filmmakers show how they collaboratively crafted the extensive lands of Kumandra and filled them with distinctive characters and detail that represent a compelling mix of fantasy and Southeast Asian influences.

    • Wrapped Clothing on Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon | Talk | Wednesday, August 11, 3 p.m. PDT | Cloth simulation Q&A.
    • Cooking Southeast Asia-Inspired Soup in Animated Film | Talk | Dynamics/simulation Q&A.
    • Populating the World of Kumandra: Animation at Scale for Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon | Talk | Thursday, August 12, 2 p.m. PDT | Crowds and hair Q&A.
    • The Atmospherics of Raya and the Last Dragon | Talk | Friday, August 13, 2 p.m. PDT | Art rendering Q&A.
    • Creating Diversity and Variety in the People of Kumandra for Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon | Talk | Friday, August 13, 3 p.m. PDT | Set creation Q&A.
  • Pixar’s Soul and the Search for Authenticity | Production Session | Thursday, August 12, 4:30 p.m. PDT | The production faced many immense challenges, not to mention building a dialogue across all elements of the pipeline to help ensure an authentic approach. Hear from a cross section of people who worked as artists on the film, along with those who participated in the “cultural trust” which helped guide many of the artistic choices along the way.

    • Adding Style, Folds and Energy to the Costumes of Soul | Talk | Wednesday, August 11, 3 p.m. PDT | Cloth simulation Q&A.
    • Imagining the Great Before | Talk | Friday, August 13, 3 p.m. PDT | Set creation Q&A.
  • Underwater Procedural Vegetation on Pixar’s Luca | Talk | Friday, August 13, 3 p.m. PDT | Pixar’s procedural vegetation system was extended to create lush underwater seascapes for the film, including a new procedural motion system to emulate flowing underwater motion and tools to integrate it with hero simulations.
  • Trolls World Tour: Desert Bling | Talk | Friday, August 13, 3 p.m. PDT | The fantastically realistic environment of Trolls World Tour enters a Glitter Desert, blending the visual expectations of a sand-filled desert with the physical nature of millions of flattened glitter pieces. We developed mathematical procedurals, a hand-drawn keyframe system, and custom USD software with 10 times faster than native cook times.

    • DreamWorks Art-Driven Shot Sculpting Toolset | Talk | Wednesday, August 11, 3 p.m. PDT | Cloth simulation Q&A.
    • Wig: The Hair Story from Shrek 2 to The Croods: A New Age | Talk | Thursday, August 12, 2 p.m. | Crowds and hair Q&A.
  • Sony Pictures Imageworks and Sony Pictures Animation Presents: The Mitchells vs. The Machines | Production Session | Monday, August 9, 11 a.m. PDT | This session focuses on the artistic and technological challenges of creating a visual style that has never been seen before through the lens of the story of an everyday family’s struggle to relate while technology rises up around the world.
  • From Quest to Quill: Pushing the Boundaries of VR Storytelling in Baobab’s Baba Yaga and Namoo | Production Session | Thursday, August 12, 9 a.m. PDT | The team behind SIGGRAPH 2019’s Immersive Best in Show-winning project reveals creative and technical insights from the award-winning VR projects.
  • Pixar’s OUT: Experimental Look Development in the SparkShorts Program | Talk | Thursday, August 12, 2:30 p.m. PDT | Filmmakers present the conception, design and implementation of the film’s unique visual style, from virtual production techniques in layout to painterly texture mapping systems and hybrid 2D/3D lighting.

Live events of the 48th SIGGRAPH conference and exhibition run August 9-13, with content available online and on-demand from August 2 through October 29. Production Sessions and Talks are open to participants with Ultimate registration, Production Sessions Special Sessions are open to Enhanced registration.

Learn more and register at



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