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SIGGRAPH 2014 Preview


Before some awe-inspiring graphic hits the screen, someone has to figure out how to translate the artist’s mental image into a visible reality. Jaw-dropping panoramas and mind numbing abominations from the dark abyss lose a lot of their ‘kick’ if they are never translated to a medium where they can be experienced by everyone.

Granville Island Ferry DockWe are talking, of course, about Computer Graphics (CG). And where can you satisfy your lust for knowledge and satisfy your thirst for new experiences at the same time, you might ask? It just so happens that I have an answer – picture a beautiful seaport city in Canada that is absolutely stunning at night, especially if viewed from your yacht offshore in the Pacific Ocean. What’s that? No yacht? Well that’s OK you can’t really ride one right up to the Vancouver Convention Centre anyway. But what you can ride into is the SIGGRAPH 2014 Convention!

The convention begins August 10th, and the exhibits start on the 12th, with both wrapping-up on the 14th.  It’s the Forty-first (41st) International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques!

The SIGGRAPH Technical Papers Preview video link (below) gives you a little taste of some of the fun that can be had at the show.  The video is a sampling of the one hundred and seventy-three submissions. Connoisseurs and devotees of interactive techniques and computer graphics alike will be enthralled by the Technical Papers program

SIGGRAPH is the international forum to publicize new scholarly work. The acceptance rate for such technical A-la-Francaise-SIGGRAPH-2013-Best-in-Show-Awardpapers is under 26% so only the best of the brightest get showcased. SIGGRAPH has held annual conferences on computer graphics and interactive techniques since 1974, and ever since 2008 it has also had a conference in Asia once per year!

SIGGRAPH is also having an augmented reality/virtual reality contest (submission deadline was June 20th).   The finalists will all be demonstrating their systems at “Appy Hour” – SIGGRAPH’s new networking event on Wednesday August 13th during the show.  It’s going to be a how-to graphics extravaganza!

The technical papers feature such things as:

Self-Refining Games Using Player Analytics (Authors: Matt Stanton, et al) Data-generated simulations require favorable training data, crowd sourcing combined with the precomputed dynamics of fluids allows the game to learn player behaviors and thereby predict the most common movement configurations. It is also good at self correcting visual flaws and reducing errors.

Interactive Design and Optimization of Free-Formed Free-Flight Model Airplanes (Authors: Nobuyuki Umetani, et al) This program allows users to create model hand launched gliding airplanes on screen, and test their flight patterns via an internal aerodynamics model that allows the user to tweak their designs to eventually achieve maximal flight time.

Computational Design of Linkage-Based Characters (Authors: Bernhard Thomaszewski, et al) that allow even non-experts to browse different interactive designs and options while the continual optimization step helps regulate motion quality, and guard against errors.

studentvolunteersIt takes a lot of computing and know-how to design the graphics programs that generate those realistic and awe inspiring effects.  When artists understand what mental images are translatable to the screen, they can guide their vision accordingly. Some of the new possibilities allowed by things they’ll find at the SIGGRAPH show will generate new inspirations.  The show will offer short courses from 90 minutes to half-a-day long; subjects such as: asset production, video games, mobile graphics hardware, Digital Ira and Beyond: Creating Photoreal Real-Time Digital Characters, Building an Empire: Asset Production in Ryse, and more will be explored.

While at the conference, check out Real-Time Live! This is a veritable cornucopia of interactive achievements by the masters of creative computing. This 90-minute event showcases the latest direction and skills of this pack of madReal Time Live image computer scientists. It’s ALIVE… with cutting-edge techniques and interactive visuals. 3 of the 173 finalists from the competition will make an appearance as well here. The winning team will then be announced from the stage.

SIGGRAPH’S Birds-of-a-Feather Program is free to attend and relates to computer graphics and/or interactive techniques, bringing together people who share some sort of common ground like interests, backgrounds, technologies, or goals.  There will be over fifty of these talks touching on a variety of specific topics during the Show, with several different choices being available each day of the Show. For a listing of specific talks and their times, see s2014.siggraph.org/attendees/birds-feather

Each day of the Show contains at least 1 panel of experts (2 on Monday and Wednesday) interacting with their audience and sharing their experiences, exploits, opinions, speculations, and insights on a variety of topics – leading experts in interaction and graphics.

It’s not all software; talks, speeches, panels, and classes, too! There are animations and doohickeys, as well.  Try out some of the latest technologies, robotics, input devices, collaborative environments, etc. Emerging technologies (specifically those most useful to interaction and graphics) will have several displays. Explore the Studio in an interactive environment, check out some of the latest animation software and play with 3D printing, and modeling. Try your hand at gigapixel imaging, and other technologies of tomorrow with experts on hand to assist you.  In Production Sessions, you can ‘spy’ on world-class computer graphics experts at work. See their techniques, hear their process explained. At the end of each session, feel free to ask questions.

Make sure to check-out the Computer Animation Festival. This is the premiere annual festival of some of the most mind-blowing cutting-edge animated short features. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes this as a qualifying event and many of the works presented here this millennium have either won or been nominated for a Best Animated Short Academy Award.

siggraph-2014-space-time-student-poster-competition-contest-win-ticket-siggraph

Catch the ACM SIGGRAPH awards presentation while you’re at the show. You can also receive some one on one interaction with some of the exhibitors showing off their latest tech. After hours, they even sponsor a mixer.  After that, there’s still the nightlife of Vancouver to explore:www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u3Z1hDwGEmM

SIGGRAPH 2014.  If you’re in the graphics business, this is one Show you won’t want to miss!  Be sure to watch for us, Broadcast Beat Magazine, as we mingle our way around the exhibit floor and through the conferences!  Keep with the Beat – the Broadcast Beat! 

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Ryan Salazar

Editor-In-Chief, Publisher at Broadcast Beat Magazine, LLC.
Ryan started working in the broadcast and post production industry at the young age of twelve! He has produced television programs, built large post production facilities, written for some of the industry's leading publications and was an audio engineer for about ten years. Ryan previously wrote for Broadcast Engineering Magazine, Creative COW and his projects have been featured in dozens of publications.
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