Siggraph 2010 Review - The People Behind the Pixels


SIGGRAPH is the preeminent international event for professionals in the computer graphics and technology fields. Drawing thousands of people from all over the world and this year's 37th conference was a huge success, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Sponsored by The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), an educational and scientific society uniting the world's computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue and share resources,  SIGGRAPH is an interdisciplinary educational experience including a commercial exhibition where leading-edge software and hardware companies exhibit their products and offer candid instructionals on approaches of use by experts in the field. This creative community consists of people who are energized by research, science, art, animation, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web.  Installations included in the conference include close-up views of the latest in digital art, emerging technologies, hands-on creative collaboration as well as the Computer Animation Festival, showcasing works from the world's most innovative and accomplished digital film and video creators.  The Computer Animation Festival is juried and curated exhibiting outstanding achievements in time-based art, scientific visualization, visual effects, real-time graphics, and narrative shorts.  It is an official qualifying event for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Animated Short Film award.

Real-time body motion tracking

The main exhibitions hall included cutting-edge products in hardware and software as well as job fair booths for those interested in finding work.  Real-time samples of various technologies enabled attendees to see what the various products are capable of as lectures from leading experts in the industry were held.  Contests and giveaways made the event fun while learning about the latest in technological capabilities.

Drawing contests by NVIDIA

Various adjacent rooms showcased lectures, demos and innovations in emerging technologies.  Workshops where participants could test new software and hardware with a hands on approach with experts in their fields instructing step by step utilizing the latest versions.  

ZBrush learning lecture

The Art Gallery show called Touchpoint: Haptic Exchange Between Digits explored the polysensory nature of human experience in a technologically enhanced environment.  Experiential art was exhibited where the viewer becomes part of the piece through interaction via unique physical interfaces.  The work of Henry Kaufman called The Lightness of Your Touch where the viewer's hand interacts with glowing light forms allowed for a personal impression inserted into the piece.A video of the work in action can be seen here.

Wacom display

Interactive 3D games were also showcased along with a unique holographic-type device in its early stage of development called 360-Degree Autostereoscopic Display, a sample of it in action can be viewed by clicking here.  It has many potential applications, such as amusement, professional visualization, digital signage, museum display, video games, and futuristic 3D telecommunication.  This display has a digital-video input port for connection to computers or other devices.

Practical Simulation of Dispersed Bubble Flow

Technical Papers focused on disseminating new scholarly work in computer graphics and interactive techniques.  Topics ranged from a new application for browsing street-level imagery to new advancements in architecture.  These papers covered core topics of computer graphics such as modeling, animation, rendering, imaging, and human-computer interaction, and also explored related fields of audio, robotics, visualization and perception.  A total of 390 submissions for this aspect of the conference were reviewed by a distinguished panel of 49 jurors, and 103 papers were selected for presentation at SIGGRAPH 2010.

Natural Plastic by Faiyaz Jafri

The Computer Animation Festival, held in conjunction with Siggraph, offered more than viewing experiences.  In additional to the multiple screenings, the festival included interactive sessions and opportunities to learn industry techniques,  secrets, behind-the-scene stories and advice from some of the most successful professionals in this field.  Nominees for awards were chosen from 750 submissions from around the globe presented by both professional studios and students alike.

Loom by Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, and Csaba Letay

  The Best In Show Award went to Loom (Germany) which tells the story of a moth being drowned in one of nature's complex cycles. It was the final project of Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, and Csaba Letay at the Filmakademie Baden Württemberg, Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction. Production time, including story development and preproduction, was one year.

 The Jury Award went to Poppy (New Zealand) Directed by James Cunningham which is an independent short set on France's western front in World War One. Two New Zealand soldiers are trapped behind enemy lines. They find a baby in a muddy ditch, under its dead parents. One of the men wants to save it, the other does not. Based on true events, "Poppy" was written by the great-grandson of one of these soldiers. An innovative combination of motion capture with exquisite facial animation.  

The Best Student Projects Prize Award went to The Wonder Hospital (USA) directed by Beomsik Shimbe Shim, California Institute of the Arts.  In this student project, a girl enters a mysterious hospital that alters her way of seeing beauty. She is given a choice between two images of her face, "Before" and "After". As she continues on this illusionary journey, she realizes that beauty is something very different from what she expected.

Other favorites which evoked strong responses from the audience can be seen in their entirety through the links to their respective names as follows:

" Logorama" (France) directed by Francois Alaux, Herve de Crecy and Ludovic Houplain

" Gorillaz Stylo" (UK) directed by Pete Candeland and Jamie Hewlett

" Light of Life" (Japan) directed by Daihei Shibata

" Natural Plastic" (USA) directed by Faiyaz Jafri

" White Drawing" (New Zealand) directed by Kurt Adams

Several parties were also held at the end at nearby hotels for the public to mingle and meet with Siggraph attendees.  The 23rd Annual Sake Barrel Opening Party was held at the nearby JW Marriott and honored revered Japanese digital artist Yoichiro Kawaguchi for his 40 years in computer graphics. 

Sake Barrel Opening Party

Upcoming SIGGRAPH Conferences are as follows:

, 7 - 11 August in 
Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

SIGGRAPH Asia 2010
,15 - 20 December
 in Seoul, South Korea

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