Sunday, July 31, 2016

Siggraph 2016

Siggraph is a tech convention for those that work or want to work in the computer graphics field. These are the artists that make that CGI you see in movies, from its creation to its inception. Computer graphics have come a long way, with the effects and creatures getting more intricate and detailed, their realism making (or breaking) a film. People from all over the world, professionals and enthusiasts alike, come every year to Siggraph to learn more about the new technology, hardware, and program updates, as well as network. If you work in the industry you know this is the place to be.

This year, the annual Siggraph conference took place at the Anaheim Convention Center, using every space available with talks, demonstrations, courses, a computer animation festival, along many related events throughout the week. The exhibition hall is the best place to start. This is where one can come up close and personal with the different companies that make CGI happen. Intel was promoting their latest programs and offering a VR experience, VR being the emphasis of many of the companies present, as it seems that, unlike 3D, VR is here to stay. Advances in motion capture could also be seen as the usual dotted suit can now be replaced with smaller and less costly options. Rendering times are getting smaller even as the files also get bigger and more complex, thus bringing the need for upgrading hardware and software with these changes. 
Not to fear, products for upgrading were also present, whether it was cameras to capture your future 360 video or capture facial features to be used for your CGI character, every aspect of how CG is created was covered. 
If you were interested in working there was a job fair as well, with companies like Blizzard Entertainment, Sony,  Weta Digital (The Lord of The Rings effects people, all the way from New Zealand, but at least 3 years of experience were needed to be considered), Deluxe VR (a year old VR wing of Deluxe!), Legend3D, Hangar 13 Games, being part of the companies present for those that wanted to apply or get more information on how to get into the business.  

Next to the Exhibits hall is the more hands on experience,  where students and developers can feature their latest technology, whether is a vibrating chair race, or a light controller piano, or a VR tag game, you can find many interesting inventions. An unconventional art gallery is also present, with light and animation making these pieces stand out. There was also a 3D photo booth and another with an upside down effect from intel. Let's not forget the VR Village, where you could experience different ways VR can be used, and it's not only for games any more (though, wasn't TV an invention that was proposed to be a tool for "education" when created?). The center piece of the hall was this big mecha-like rig you could get into and walk it from one side to the other, getting all the attendies, mainly students, in line to experience the ride.

To many that are not in the industry, something like this could be downright boring and complicated. But to us movie enthusiasts it is always interesting to see how all these effects, all these creatures get created and put on the big screen,  all the work and hours it takes to get a few seconds of screen time done, all the hours it takes to create a CG heavy or animated feature. If you are planning or interested in working for a computer graphics related job, Siggraph is a great place to see how it works. Don't miss it next year!

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