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SIGGRAPH 2015: Full Coverage of Computer Graphics Show

This year’s focus was very much on VR (virtual reality) & Cloud Based Rendering. The focus on Virtual Reality brought a new creative energy on the show floor for exploration into a new frontier. VR in architecture & games was a big subject in the VR Village. Developers had discussions of how the hardware & software is driving development of this new space to make it affordable to the masses.

This years SIGGRAPH was held in downtown Los Angeles. What is interesting about the Convention Center Location is the changes that are coming to the Los Angeles skyline as it evolves.

You can see the skeletons of multiple construction projects litter the skyline near the Convention Center that will change the skyline forever. I counted over 20 new buildings in the next year.When you think of SIGGRAPH people sometimes forget this is a convention/tradeshow about innovation in the space of computer graphics.

01 - Commercial Development in Los Angeles is accelerated towards a new face for the city.

01 – Commercial Development in Los Angeles is accelerated towards a new face for the city. Photo by Akiko Ashley. All rights reserved.

Architecture, Design, & Art are all finding new tools to help visualize their ideas, concepts, and designs with real time interaction.  Remote Cloud based rendering means not having to have as many CPU’s locally. As with every year, visual effects & animation dominate the conversation at SIGGRAPH. I wanted to focus on new core technology rather then platforms, so this will tell you what is available and if these are the tools you need to adapt to your workflow.

MORE: SIG: Final Complete Siggraph 2015 Event Photos & Notes

The Exhibits floor was smaller this year with vendors like Pixologic, New Tek, Autodesk, Apple, and Adobe absent on the show floor. This year only 14,800 people attended SIGGRAPH 2015, down 6400 from the last time it was in Los Angeles in 2012. A serious discussion needs to happen about these numbers, and the change in the market place as comic conventions attract a growing number of artists & geeks interested in tech & content including animation and visual effects.

SIGGRAPH coverage for this year begins here:

Robotics and the iPad—Paulo Henrique Machado

One of the first things I saw at SIGGRAPH was a robotic creation nicknamed R2D2 (homage) created by Double Robotics using an Apple iPad that allowed a man named Paulo Henrique Machado, a computer animator paralyzed living in a hospital in San Paulo, Brazil since he was a baby. He has always dreamed of going to SIGGRAPH. Double Robotics came to his aid with a robot they created, allowing him to participate at SIGGRAPH through telepresence.

02 - R2D2 created by Double Robotics using an Apple iPad. Photo by Akiko Ashley.

02 – R2D2 created by Double Robotics using an Apple iPad. Photo by Akiko Ashley. All rights reserved.

He could view all the events of SIGGRAPH through the iPad screen & communicate with attendees. He participated in sessions at SIGGRAPH even though he contracted polio since birth and was hooked up to an artificial respirator 24 hours a day.  His official badge hung from the robot. He was fun to talk to. I exchanged a conversation with a laugh. This made my SIGGRAPH, meeting this wonderful man. Technology a catalyst of change that allowed someone who couldn’t be there in person, to accomplish a dream. It made me see my iPad & technology in a whole new light.

NVIDIA—The Show Stopper

NVIDIA was the showstopper on the show floor this year with their new software development design tools to help clients customize real time visualization of their work with their DesignWorks suite of tools for developers and artists. NVIDIA is the leader in the high-end visualization Physically Based Rendering technology with their Quadro Graphics cards, iRay technology, and this new suite of DesignWorks tools that streamline development.  Demonstrations of Cloud Based Rendering with comparisons of a 3-D object rendering remotely in Santa Clara and the real object in real time was indistinguishable.


I attended the Press Conference for NVIDIA Product Announcements, people were blown away with presentations from key partners including Hao Ko Designer Director, and Principal at Gensler he was showing off the New NVIDIA office building in Santa Clara designed by his team using Physical Based Real Time Rendering to walk through the building.  He showcased the use of the NVIDIA new software suite of tools that gave him real time feedback on the building in 3D and it’s interiors including how the light would feel at different parts of the day, as day lighting the building was a focus of the design. When you consider the sheer size of the file with all the heavy geometry, it was impressive to watch the real time changes happen as we watched taking advantage of the new DesignWorks suite. Imagine not having to wait to render frames & see some of the detail that has previously been difficult to distinguish in real time rendering. Cloud Rendering means not having to buy the hardware locally, with Broadband Internet connection you can render at a Remote Render Farm & not have to buy & manage hardware.

MORE: Wrap-Up: NVIDIA Launched DesignWorks VR at SIGGRAPH 2015

NVIDIA announced on Friday, August 7th that Pixar licensed NVIDIA’s technology for accelerating feature film production. NVIDIA’s GPU rendering technology was key in creating the PIXAR short ‘Lava’ (seen in theaters before ‘Inside Out’

ESRI and its CityEngine

ESRI City Engine showed how easy it is to build or design a city with their City Builder tools. The software runs on both Mac, PC, & Linux. It has easy to use editing tools that make creating a 3-D blueprint fast & efficient, Using standard 3D format you import assets into several software packages. ESRI provides training materials for Architects, Urban Planners, GIS professionals, Game Developers and Motion Picture Artists. City Engine was used to create the world of ‘Big Hero 6’.

SimLab Soft and Composer 6

SimLab Soft was doing demos of a cool stand alone 3D application used for presentation (not a CAD application) that is very useful for Architects & Interior Designers called SimLab Composer 6. Pro Edition.


03 NVIDIA was the show-stopper this year with its new rendering software technology kit. Photo: Akiko Ashley. All rights reserved.

It is designed to cover all the needs of an Architect or Interior Designer by giving them all they need from lighting to rendering with extensive architectural materials libraries, with an easy to control sun & sky system. IES data support with realistic lighting & special interior renderer. It has easy to use camera system. You can turn any 3D model into an interactive environment, export to 3D PDF, Web GL, & iOS/Android. It has real time rendering, and a feature called Billboard that allows you to create geometry that is camera aligned and Billboard will rotate on the Z axis to face the viewer so you can add as many trees as you want. It runs on both Mac & Windows.

next page: Houdini, Pixar, the new Mari 3 and more…

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Reader Comments

  1. This year’s focus was very much on VR (virtual reality) & Cloud Based Rendering. The focus on Virtual Reality brough…

  2. SIGGRAPH 2015: Full Coverage of Computer Graphics Show | via Architosh

  3. SIGGRAPH 2015: Full Coverage of Computer Graphics Show | Architosh

  4. “NVIDIA is the leader in the high-end visualization Physically Based Rendering technology” – according to Nvidia maybe. iRay has been a pathetic failure of the last 5 years. And there is nothing new about Physically Based Rendering technology they presented. Most certainly not a show stopper.

Comments are closed.

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