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Q&A with Production Sessions Chair Mikki Rose

Festivals and Events

Q&A with Production Sessions Chair Mikki Rose

Mikki Rose

Mikki Rose

This year’s lineup of the ever-popular Production Sessions was headed up by Mikki Rose, a 15-year veteran of the conference whose team picked the lineup from more than 40 submissions.

Animation Magazine: The conference theme this year is “Render the Possibilities.” How does it tie into the Production Sessions?

Mikki Rose: It happens to plug in really nicely to production sessions, just because the whole idea behind production sessions is to get a broad overview of the process of making these projects. We asked all our presenters to sort of do an overview of how their project was thought of or inspired and then actually carried out. And also one of the things we asked them to do is highlight challenges and specific problems or needs in technology and things like that, and help us understand how they got past those challenges.

Animag: Why do you think these sessions are among the most popular events at SIGGRAPH?

Rose: We’ve got a very nice mix of visual effects for live action feature films, animation for feature films and some short projects in there as well. And then VR, games and we even have a representative from the themed entertainment world, which is something I’m very excited about.

Animag: Are you seeing more interest in VR?

Rose: Absolutely. VR is huge right now and at SIGGRAPH, as a conference, we are trying to embrace that as much as we can. We had our VR Village program for the first time last year and it was an astounding success and it was crazy. So we’re really excited about that and it’s part of the reason we tried to get a representative from that area into the production sessions this year. u

Production Sessions


10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. The Making of Pearl, A Google Spotlight Story. Directed by Oscar-winning animator Patrick Osborne, Pearl is a 360-degree experience that takes place entirely in a car and explores the gifts we inherit from our parents. Panelists include: Patrick Osborne, Director; Rachid El Guerrab, Spotlight Stories Project Lead; David Eisenmann, Producer; and, Cassidy Curtis, Tech Art Lead. Ballroom B.


2-3:30 p.m. Kubo and the Two Strings: One Giant Skeleton, One Colossal Undertaking. For this upcoming film, LAIKA built an immensely powerful puppet  to scale, resulting in an 18-foot skeleton with a 24-foot wingspan that was a massive undertaking for the crew. Panelists include: Steve Emerson, VFX Supervisor, and Steve Switaj, Engineer, Camera and Motion Control. Hall B.


10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. The Making of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios, Industrial Light & Magic, Rise FX and Method Studios will show how they created some of this hit movie’s most heart-stopping moments. Panelists include: Victoria Alonso, EVP, Physical Production, Marvel Studios; Dan Deleeuw, VFX Supervisor, Marvel Studios; Jen Underdahl, VFX Producer, Marvel Studios; Russell Earl, VFX Supervisor, ILM; and, Greg Steele, VFX Supervisor, Method Studios. Hall B.

3:45-5:15 p.m. The VFX of Disney’s The Jungle Book. The visual effects team behind Jon Favreau’s live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book discusses the creative and technical challenges behind bringing the story’s characters and stunning full CG environments to life. Panelists include: Andy Jones, Animation Supervisor, Walt Disney Animation; Adam Valdez, VFX Supervisor, Moving Picture Company; Keith Miller, Digital VFX Supervisor, Weta Digital.


10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Under the Sea – The Making of Finding Dory. Top animators and technical artists will deliver a deep dive into the process behind this animated film, which required an entirely new back-end pipeline and cutting-edge technology. Panelists include: Steve Pilcher, Jeremie Talbot, Jim Brown, Masah Ellsworth, Chris Burrows, Chris Chapman, Ian Megibben, and John Halstead. Hall B.

2-3:30 p.m. Star Wars: Battlefront – Game Development in the Star Wars Universe! The DICE team reveals some of the work that went into this award-winning, visually stunning game. Panelists include: Kenneth Brown, Technical Art Director; Jonas Andersson, Visual Effects Artist; Pontus Ryman, Senior Environment Artist; Anders Egleus, Senior Visual Effects Artist; and, Oscar Carlén, Senior Lighting Artist. Ballroom B.

3:45-5:15 p.m. Deadpool + Colossus Our Favorite [Anti] Superheroes. Digital Domain worked on the three main aspects of Deadpool: Colossus, Deadpool interacting with Colossus and the Helicarrier. Blur Studio created the film’s opening title sequence and provided previsualization for several action sequences. Panelists include: Jan Phillip Cramer, Animation Director, and Scott Edelstein, CG Supervisor, Digital Domain, Inc.; Franck Balson, Previsualization Supervisor, and Sebastien “Zeb” Chort, CG Supervisor, Blur Studio. Hall B.


10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. From Armadillo to Zebra: Creating the Diverse Characters and World of Zootopia. Walt Disney Animation Studios pushed the artistic boundaries of this production to create vastly different environments filled with hundreds of unique characters. Panelists include Ernest Petti, Nicholas Burkard, Brian Leach, Sean Palmer, Michelle Robinson, and Hans-Joerg Keim. Hall B.

2-3:30 p.m. Developing Mass Effect: New Earth – A 4D Holographic Adventure. This session focuses on the development of a first-of-its-kind theme park attraction at California’s Great America in Santa Clara. The experience features “holographic 3D,” using the world’s largest and highest resolution 3D LED screens combined with 4D effects. The partners behind this upcoming project are BioWare, Cedar Fair, 3D Live, and Halon Entertainment. Panelists include: Robert deMontarnal, Business Deveopment, BioWare; Christian Dieckmann, VP Strategic Growth, and Howard Newstate, Executive Producer, Media Networks Cedar Fair Entertainment Company; Clint Reagan, Previs Supervisor, Halon Entertainment LLC; and, Nathan Huber, Co-Founder and CEO, 3D Live. Ballroom B.

3:45-5:15 p.m. Industrial Light & Magic Presents the Visual Effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The ILM team will discuss the range of challenges presented by bringing the latest installment of the storied Star Wars series to life. Panelists include: Daniel Pearson, CG Supervisor; Patrick Tubach, VFX Supervisor; Paul Kavanagh, Animation Supervisor; and, Polly Ing, CG Supervisor. Hall B.


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