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SIGGRAPH 2017 — Detailed Show Reports on Computer Graphics Conference and Expo

At this year’s SIGGRAPH show returned to Los Angeles, the show gained momentum in the midst of the burgeoning VR/AR explosion happening across various 3D industries as well as foundational shifts happening at the developer level as game engines grow more important and low-level graphics APIs bloom further. Lurking in the background of this year’s SIGGRAPH is AMD’s resurgence as well as Apple’s promised return to pro markets at the workstation level.

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Pixar’s Renderman Art & Science Fair

This will be Pixar’s third year having the Art & Science Fair. This year Pixar cut the list into a smaller audience to focus better on the clients and users. Pixar gave a peek at what is coming for Renderman 22 and new enhancements for version 21.5.

07 – Pixar Renderman Presentation at SIGGRAPH 2017. (Photo by Akiko Ashley. All rights reserved.)

Here are some of the announcements:

  • Interactive capabilities in RenderMan 22. You can actually open up a real time window in Maya, which is pretty impressive.
  • Pixar Renderman is working on XPU, which is CPU+GPU cores actually working together.
  • They are creating breakthrough technologies for rendering characters including better skin through Path Traced Subsurface Scattering, and hair with new artistic control for hair including changing its color on the fly.
  • New faster rendering of over a thousand lights in a scene.
  • The updated Denoiser enables compositing workflows and is substantially faster due to advanced code optimization.

Renderman does run on the Mac and with new GPU acceleration with new iMac Pro options, I am expecting Renderman on the Mac to be blazing fast…

ILM, Pixar, and Disney host “Women In Tech”

ILM, Pixar, and Disney decided to host “Women in Tech” for the second year at SIGGRAPH as the previous year was successful in getting women to network and consider jobs in tech. I was surprised to meet women from Tennessee, Texas, and Vancouver, Canada.

Wonder Woman Inspires

The success of the movie “Wonder Woman” showed us that women are strong and can attempt the impossible. There is so much controversy about women in production and in tech that I attended this event in solidarity, for myself, and for the magazine. The event was held at Rosa Mexicano at LA Live near the JW Marriott. Recruiters from ILM, Disney, and Pixar attended with other industry veterans. Margaritas with lots of appetizers kept the party moving while recruiters looked for possible candidates for their companies.

Notes on Sessions and Other Stuff at SIGGRAPH

SIGGRAPH offers courses, art papers, art gallery, Birds of a Feather, panels, production sessions and much more. Courses fill up fast every year so if you go next year, go early.

Birds of a Feather brings like minded individuals together to network and chat. Emerging Technologies featured a ton of new and upcoming VR companies. The VR Theater was showing a few films created using VR tech. Films shown in the VR Theater include “Fantasynth,” “Song of Jaguar,” “Antarctica,” “Zero Days,” “Chocolate,” “Sonaria,” “Dear Angelica,” “Arden’s Wake,” “We Wait,” and “Rainbow Crow.”

“Son of Jaguar” and “Sonaria” were Google Spotlight stories. The Computer Animation Theater is a venue that is the prize of SIGGRAPH and a venue for the Oscar race. I am sad to say I didn’t make it this year.

08 – Edwin Ramirez (VFX Supervisor at Marvel) and Victoria Alonso (EVP Physical Production), (Photo by Akiko Ashley for Architosh. All rights reserved.)

I will say that the Production Sessions with VFX talent from ILM and other studios doing presentations of their work on “Rogue One,” “Spider-Man Homecoming,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Valerian, and the City of a Thousand Planets,” and the “Game of Thrones” session “Building and Destroying Mereen” gave you an inside look at how these VFX Houses deal with building an urban city, the technique, and tools they use.

If you watch the TV show “Game of Thrones”, the session showed you how they built Mereen and then destroyed it…though this may not be relatable to architects now, there are quite a few architects in visual effects. Visualization techniques for big projects are very similar. The lines are blurring in virtual reality so this is something you may want to start watching on your extra time, to learn things that help you think outside the box.

Closing Comments and Apple’s Mac in 3D Industry

As the industry changes and evolves, it is very important to put SIGGRAPH in perspective and to understand that as technology changes, the conference must change too.

It never started out as a conference about the “exhibits hall.” It was meant to educate and empower professionals through learning and networking. It helps students take their education to the next level. Even though you may not see Architecture represented as it was before, if you really look, it is everywhere. Apple is still in the game. Apple is introducing one product in the future to begin the ball rolling again.

I believe the iMac Pro is just the entry-level machine for professionals. Once it is released we will understand better Apple’s roadmap for Pros. Vendors show continual support for all things Apple, Mac, and iOS. I am looking forward to the SIGGRAPH after the iMac Pro is released; this should give us more news about development for the Mac Pro systems and the Metal 2 API.

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Reader Comments

  1. Fascinating stuff! Particularly the Chaos Group! Interesting reading!

  2. Posted by:
    Chris in NC
    September 1, 2017 11:16 pm EST

    Awesome write-up Akiko! 🙂 So envious you get to go to these!

  3. Thanks for the positive comments Chris in NC…we appreciate hearing this kind of feedback!

Comments are closed.

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