July 27, 2010 1:34 am

Tags: Avatar, SIGGRAPH

Sergio at SIGGRAPH: Day Two

Today, it was the second day of the SIGGRAPH convention, and if I had to pick a word to describe it I'd say it was intense. Today, I took the time to experience some of the sections, such as the Sandbox and International Center, interacting with people and pretty much seeing what they have available outside the more technical talks and such.

My first stop was the Sandbox. The Sandbox is this area where you can see gaming-oriented technology in action. They had consoles playing God of War III and Blur, real time fluid simulation systems, and also a proof of concept software that simulates the behavior of real painting mediums on a canvas, called Project Gustav.


The system used a Wacom tablet and allowed you to use different types of brushes, chalk, and paint. The whole thing feels very organic and you can even see the effect of tilting the stencil as you paint your stroke.


Near the Sandbox, there's the Disney Learning Challenge. They had all these educational games that can be used to teach different things. For example, one of them was about a dog, and you had to take the dog to the vet by using your logic to solve the puzzle. The game also asked you to create objects using geometrical shapes, that you could then use on the level by request of the talking dog (DOGeometry).


Another of them reminded me of those little games where you cut out shapes to assemble figures. You can create figures of your own, or use the figures included in the software. The software also had an option to record a video explaining what your figure was about ( Another web-based game was "Journey to El Yunque" (, a game-simulator hybrid meant to teach kids about life cycles, hurricanes, and ecosystems. Since this one is a simulator, you can learn how different variables and situations can affect parts of your ecosystem, as well as make your own predictions and make comparisons with the real-life results.


Today's keynote presentation was by Don Marinelli. However, before that, they presented the different awards. Some pictures of this first part of the presentation can be seen below.


Don's presentation was about his blending of art and computer science, and how this shaped his way of thinking about education. He considers that we shouldn't be focusing only on the emotional or the intellectual part, but rather blend those together to find a way to educate. To tell the truth, the whole thing is a complete paradigm shift, but I hope it can be done, as I also think we need a different way of thinking about education.


Unfortunately, the whole talk is too much to be discussed here, but if you can get the DVD that includes the keynote, it's definitely worth it.


Today's Production Session was about Avatar. They discussed the different aspects of the production, from concept to final product. Since there are many talks about Avatar running through the convention focusing on specific things (such as character deformations, Pantaray, the virtual cameras, performance capture, and such), the talk made extensive use of references to those talks. What I loved about the talk was how they shared Cameron's vision about the movie. It really makes you see things with a completely different perspective.

Near the end of the day, I took the time to go to the Latin American CG meeting, where I got the chance to see what the Latin American community was all about. Unfortunately, there weren't many attendees. What got my attention is that the guys from Argentina have a professional chapter, which made me envious as I was pushing to have a chapter in my own country some time ago (a plan that never took off).


The day closed with an Electronic Theater screening. All I can say is that you haven't been to SIGGRAPH if you don't go to the Electronic Theater. Even if some of the works they screen may have been available on the Internet for some time, watching them on the big screen is a completely different experience. Watching the Assasin's Creed 2 and The Beatles Rockband ones blew me away.

That's the end of day 2. The show floor opens tomorrow, so everything's going to be even more amazing.


Be sure to also read:

Sergio at SIGGRAPH: Day One

Sergio Aris Rosa [nemirc], is Sr. Staff Writer for the Renderosity Front Page News. Sergio discusses on computer graphics software, animation techniques, and technology. He also hosts interviews with professionals in the animation and cinematography fields. You can follow him on Twitter, and if you want to see what he's up to you can visit his blog.

July 27, 2010

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