SIGGRAPH, the decades old computer graphics conference, starts up this coming Sunday, July 25th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The main conference runs through Thursday, July 29th, with the extremely popular Exhibition Hall, where various CG companies, schools and production companies present their wares, taking place Tuesday through Thursday, July 27-29.
SIGGRAPH 2009 Attendees
Sergio (nemirc) and I will be attending this year's SIGGRAPH and reporting on interesting events, conducting interviews and meeting with software companies throughout the week. Sergio will be flying in from El Salvador, while I'll be taking the subway to downtown LA for the conference every day. We've been comparing notes over the last few weeks and both of us have packed schedules that will leave us falling into bed late pretty much every night.
Last year, SIGGRAPH took place in New Orleans, which was a delight for me as the city is a wonderful place to visit. Apparently, SIGGRAPH adjusted their plans so that the conference will take place every other year in Los Angeles. Next year, they plan on holding SIGGRAPH in Vancouver, BC (Canada), which will mark the first time SIGGRAPH has presented the annual conference outside of the U.S. Vancouver is a great city and I'm hoping to attend next year as it will be a double treat for me.
Getting ready for SIGGRAPH as a journalist/reporter takes a lot of time because you have to go through a submission process to get accepted as a media representative, plus the schedule is so jam-packed with classes, presentations, speeches, movies, workshops and demonstrations that it's hard to decide on a schedule. And then, once you decide on something to attend, you are cutting out two or three other events that are equally interesting. In fact, SIGGRAPH is so packed with events that they even line the hallways you walk through with individual "Posters" on software/hardware inventions which frequently have the authors of the inventions standing by for questions or conversation.
SIGGRAPH 2009 Posters
The theme of this year's SIGGRAPH Conference is "the people behind the pixels" and will focus on the fact that although the conference always has high-level content, the people you meet there and who provide the content are frequently the most important part of the SIGGRAPH experience. This year's SIGGRAPH conference chair, Terence Masson, feels that the "personal connection" with presenters and attendees is "always the most important reason for going to SIGGRAPH."
Some changes and additions to this year's conference include the canceling of the FJORG! competition, where teams of animators compete over the course of the conference to produce the best animated short film. Apparently, the expense of the event ate into too much of the donation funding for SIGGRAPH. Too bad, as this was always an exciting and fun event (and not just for the participants). On the positive side, SIGGRAPH is adding "SIGGRAPH Dailies" to the conference, where animators get a chance to show/pitch their work in about 2 minutes. Out of 100 entries, the jury reduced it to 38 filmmakers, all coming one after another lickety-split. What a great idea (don't think they'll keep to the 2 minute limit though).
The two main keynote speakers this year are Don Marinelli, Carnegie Melon Entertainment Technology Center, and Jim Morris, Pixar Animation Studios. Both are fascinating artists and teachers and I look forward to hearing their comments on technology and computer graphics.
Some of my own schedule includes the MAXON CINEMA 4D luncheon, as well as meetings with CityEngine, New Tek, NVIDIA, Autodesk and StudioGPU (among others). I'll also be attending the annual Jon Peddie Research luncheon for a variety of speakers discussing "Heterogeneous Computing" (CG on the net). I'm going to spend a lot of time at the Studio attending workshops, and also plan on doing more focused reporting on the Art Gallery, which usually has some extraordinary technology on display.
SIGGRAPH 2009 Exhibit Hall
Of course, I'll be attending the Computer Animation Festival, which is really one of the best parts of the show this year. Thankfully, SIGGRAPH is going back to the 2-hour presentation of all of the animation selections, rather than breaking them up into shorter segments. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Jury award-winning film "Poppy," directed by James Cunningham from New Zealand. The trailer for the film, a World War 1 era story, looks wonderful. You can also watch the overall Computer Animation Festival trailer here. And be sure to read the interview with the Animation Festival chair, Isaac Kerlow.
Unfortunately, I won't be blogging every day from SIGGRAPH like I have for the last 2 years. Some of my schedule this year goes late into the evening and I wouldn't be able to cover the day's events adequately. I will be sending in several reports throughout the week with pictures and video. And then, I'll be doing a wrap-up of the whole SIGGRAPH 2010 experience the week after it closes.
I highly encourage anyone in the Los Angeles, or Southern California area, to attend SIGGRAPH. You can find free day passes for the Exhibition Hall if you do some Googling. Otherwise, a basic one-day pass runs $45 (Exhibition Hall only). Parking is good and I know you will have a great time.
SIGGRAPH 2010 looks to be an exciting and interesting conference. I've always come away from the event with renewed inspiration and ideas, not to mention having made new friends and contacts. I expect this year to be even better than in years past.
Be sure to check out the main SIGGRAPH 2010 site and download the advance program for a look at the schedule.
Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.
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