Luminaries in Tech and Animation to Speak at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019

SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 will spotlight some of the foremost innovators and pioneers in the computer graphics and animation industries today.

“The featured sessions at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 are going to involve keynotes, panels and luminaries in our industry who are going to talk about the advances and the wonderful technology that is being developed in our industry,” says the event’s Featured Sessions Program Chair, Mark Elendt, who has been a developer at Side Effects Software for over 25 years.

The sessions span conversations about the making of some of the most famous animated films today, through to full dome experiences, and the technical aspects of creating, and securely protecting, mixed reality technology.

Highlights of the Featured Sessions include:

Staging the Endgame

Weta Digital’s Animation Supervisor, Sidney Kombo-Kintombo, will break down iconic scenes in the movie, to reveal how Weta’s animators leveraged new animation toolsets and extensive experience in the MCU to portray the inevitable fate of The Avengers. As an animator, Sidney’s credits include The Jungle Book, War for the Planet of the Apes and Avengers: Infinity War as an Animation Supervisor. He was a Senior Animator on Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar winning Gravity, and a Sequence Supervisor and Character Lead Animator for the majority of Rocket Raccoon’s shots in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. His credits also include The BFG, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Paddington. He recently wrapped on Avengers: Endgame.

Making of Pixar Onward

Set in a suburban fantasy world, Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. Pixar takes you through the making of Onward. Speakers to be announced.

Star Wars: Over Four Decades of Storytelling with Innovation

Rob Bredow, SVP, Executive Creative Director & Head, Industrial Light & Magic will highlight some of the most innovative visual effects in the Star Wars series, spanning forty years of work. A Visual Effects Supervisor and Co-Producer on Solo: A Star Wars Story, Bredow served as a creative partner to the filmmakers throughout the production, from the earliest story meetings to the final frames of visual effects. He also co-wrote and directed Trials on Tatooine, a story-based virtual reality experiment created in collaboration with Lucasfilm’s Story Group, ILMxLAB and Skywalker Sound. He has contributed as a supervisor on films such as Independence Day, Godzilla, Stuart Little, Cast Away, Surf’s Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, among others.

Analysis and Execution-How Weta Digital Created Junior for Gemini Man

Weta Digital’s VFX Supervisor Guy Williams will present how Weta Digital created a completely digital character, Junior, who is a younger clone of Will Smith’s character Henry in the film. Guy specializes in photo-real effects and creatures for live action film. In 1999 he worked on The Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand, and since that time he supervised work on Avatar, X-Men: First Class, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as well as The Avengers and Iron Man 3, both of which earned him Academy® Award nominations for Best Visual Effects. His most recent films are Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic The BFG and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; and currently, Ang Lee’s Gemini Man.

Childish Gambino’s Pharos-Real-Time Dome Projection for Live Concert

In late 2018, a dazzling three-day immersive music event was held in a 160-foot-wide inflatable dome in a remote New Zealand location. To create the experience, Weta Digital and 2n Design created captivating 360-degree interactive visuals for the dome projections. Keith Miller, Visual Effects Supervisor for Weta Digital and Alejandro Crawford, Co-Founder of 2n will present a glimpse behind the scenes of creating the ground-breaking and award-winning event.

In Conversation with Animal Logic’s Co-Founder and CEO, Zareh Nalbandian

Zareh, together with Ian Failes, Founder of VFX and Animation Publication ‘befores & afters’, will explore the symbiotic relationship between creativity and technology. Describing his journey of 28 years in the art of animation and storytelling, Zareh will discuss the challenges and strengths of setting up a creative studio in Asia-Pacific, and how we can apply these insights today.

The Story of HoloLens

The story of HoloLens is founded in the journey to merge the best parts of the digital world with the physical world. From the early days of Kinect to the launch of HoloLens 2, this singular pursuit has taken us through invention, leaps of faith, and an ongoing discovery of what this technology can do to transform work, play and communications. We will explore some of the toughest technical challenges, along with the human component and how it can guide our collective development of this new medium. This is the story of a more human path.

The Cyber Security Challenges for Next-Generation Mixed-Reality

Given that mixed-reality systems can control or alter a significant amount of our sensory input, the potential downsides of exploits of mixed-reality systems are very significant. System misuse by attackers can for instance lead to psychological, physical, reputational, social and economic harm. Panel speakers will explore potential threats in mixed-reality systems, discuss how to mitigate them and how to better protect end-users moving forward. Speakers for the session come from The University of Queensland, University of Oxford, University College London, Magic Leap and XR Safety Initiative (XRSI).

Proactive Large-Scale Pipeline Efficiency Management

Speakers from large-scale Animation and VFX studios will share their perspectives on how to balance creating amazing visuals in tight production time frames. The speakers for the session are Aidan Sarsfield (Head of Production Technology, Animal Logic); Ernest Petti (Studio CG Supervisor, Walt Disney Animation Studios); Mark Hills (Head of Systems Development, Framestore); Phil Pham (Computer Graphics Technical Supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic); and Renee Tam (Lightspeed Leadership, Pixar).

Bridging the Gap between Education and industry in the VFX, Games and Animation fields

We are in a golden age of screen media production, with Film, Games and increasingly Streaming TV pushing the boundaries of quality and scale every year. This is reflected in the rapid growth in the number of courses aiming to supply talent for productions. There is, however, a widening gap between many educational offerings and industry needs. The disparity between taught skills and basic industry requirements is both a personal loss to graduates and a threat to continued sector growth. In order to meet the opportunities and challenges in VFX, Animation and Creative Industries Education, most especially the talent pipeline, we need to get Academia and Industry working in unison. Speakers include: Mark Flanagan (Education Partner Manager at “Epic Games), Alwyn Hunt (Co-Founder of “The Rookies), Chris Ebeling (UTS Animal Logic), Anna Hodge (RSP Education/Flinders University) and Lara Hopkins (Industrial Light and Magic)

Computer Animation Festival

At the Computer Animation Festival 2019, “You will be able to see a lot of different films, coming from many areas of the world. We got a ton of submissions, and we are putting together a program that represents all the different aspects of computer graphics in terms of animation, visual effects, and advertising, and so on,” says Computer Animation Festival Program Chair, Pol Jeremias-Vila.

Two highlights of the Panel and Production Talks at the Festival include:

  • The Making of The Lion King – Elliot Newman, MPC VFX Supervisor, will take us behind the scenes of the film’s computer-generated imagery (CGI) production.
  • Visualizing “Birth of Planet Earth” for Fulldome Theaters, which will feature a panel of speakers including Robert Patterson, a visualization designer at NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Lab and Associate Director for Production of the eDream Institute; along with Donna J. Cox, SIGGRAPH Asia 2019’s keynote speaker, along with visualization programmers AJ Christensen and Kalina Borkiewicz.

SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 will take place at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre from 17 to 20 November 2019.

Visit https://sa2019.siggraph.org