SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 Celebrates Best In CG

Category: News
HONG KONG — During the week of December 13, over 7,000 artists, designers, researchers, manufacturers, developers and trade visitors from close to 50 countries across the globe gathered in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for  the annual computer graphics and interactive techniques conference and exhibition.

A showcase of the very best in animation, visual effects and human-computer interaction, SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 features seven submission-based programs, namely the Art Gallery, Computer Animation Festival, Courses, Emerging Technologies, Symposium on Apps, Technical Papers, and Technical Sketches & Posters. This is the first time that the Symposium on Apps program, a platform for developers, computer graphics veterans and novices to discuss the opportunities and challenges in mobile app development, was introduced. The program also features internationally acclaimed industry experts who participated in Special Sessions and Featured Speakers Sessions.  

DELVING INTO THE DETAILS OF ON-SCREEN BLOCKBUSTERS

The secrets behind the success of notable Hollywood animation and visual effects blockbusters, such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Puss in Boots and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, werer unveiled at SIGGRAPH Asia 2011. 
 
Highlights include:  
 
- Coming Full Circle with Transformers: Brennan Doyle and Abishek Nair of Industrial Light & Magic Singapore (ILM Singapore) shared with audiences the challenges of bringing robots to life in a Computer Animation Festival Panel. Audiences were thrilled by a breakdown of the destruction sequence of Chicago, as depicted in the movie. The speakers also touched on ILM’s involvement in re-creating the experience of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons in the new Transformers theme ride at Universal Studios Singapore. The ride was just launched on December 3.  

- Mythical creatures and magical environments Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: This Computer Animation Festival Panel by ILM Singapore shared with audiences how many of the mythical creatures and scenarios in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was created. In particular, the speakers presented a breakdown of one of the movie’s more complex scenes – a variety of ships trapped in bottles, and how it was delivered in stereo 3D.

- Puss in Boots: India's role in the Making of an Animated Blockbuster: This special session highlighted Asia’s growth in the computer graphics and animation industry. DreamWorks Dedicated Unit, Technicolor India (DDU) shared insights and challenges in developing the special effects for this well-loved animation in India. DDU is a collaboration between DreamWorks and Technicolor India.

RECOGNIZING OUTSTANDING DIGITAL ANIMATION AND GRAPHICS

The annual Computer Animation Festival continued to present the very best in computer animation, honoring the top three works through the Best of Show Award, the Jury Award and the Best Student Project Award. 

The award winners are: 

- Best of Show Award: La Détente
Pierre Ducos and Bertrand Bey
Kawanimation (France)
In this unique and visually stunning piece, audiences were taken through the First World War in a world of toys. In a trench during the First World War, a French soldier becomes paralyzed with fear. His mind disconnects from reality and escapes to a world where wars are fought by toys, brought to life through striking visual effects. 

- Jury Award: Paths of Hate
Damian Nenow and Marcin Kobylecki
Platige Image (Poland)
Paths of Hate is a short tale about the demons that reside deep in the human soul, with the power to push people into the abyss of blind hate, fury and rage. This short animation presents a story set in a comic book focused on a visual duel between two pilots. Driven by blind fury, the two pilots chase each other and thereby write cryptic messages of madness into the firmament.

- Best Student Project Award: Last Fall
Andreas Thomsen and Michelle Nardone
The Animation Workshop (Denmark)
Last Fall tells the story of a father’s love. When an accidental plane crash causes a devoted father to lose his little daughter, the father follows his daughter into death and discovers a mechanical Afterlife. This uncompromising, robot-controlled Afterlife presents him with both danger and hope. What secured the Last Fall’s status as the Best Student Project was its impressive graphics and animation that far surpassed the jury’s expectations. 

JOURNEY INTO THE REALM OF FANTASY

The fantasy theme continued at SIGGRAPH Asia through visually stunning installations and art pieces showcased in the Art Gallery program. With FANTAsia as a theme, the Art Gallery presented 24 innovative art pieces that invite visitors to unleash their inner childhood in a world of fantasy and play. 

Visitors walking through the Gallery were able to see:
 
- Miroir/Mirror: Miroir, by Université Paris 8, draws inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, immersing visitors into a strange universe created by mirrors. Instead of the usual distorted images that visitors usually encounter at carnivals, these mirrors transform the face of anyone looking through them into an animal face through the use of augmented reality technology, creating a supernatural experience. 

- Scent of Lollipop: This work, by Chung-Ang University, allowed participants to revisit their childhood memories with the option of imprinting their own drawings onto a lollipop. The message behind this exercise is to encourage return to a time of youth, hope and aspirations.

- Lit Tree: Attendees could walk around the tree, which responds to visitors' motion with light choreography. Set up by Kimchi and Chips, this art installation proposed an alternative to the media facade, whereby designers and advertisers use LED and projection technology to display graphics through the built environment. 
The Technical Sketches and Posters program  further urged audiences to imagine the possibilities in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Through 44 Technical Sketches, and 59 Posters, the program presented attendees with raw, cutting-edge ideas that could potentially push the boundaries of commercial and artistic applications of computer graphics and interactive techniques in the future. Among the notable pieces:

- Interactive Climbing Route Design Using a Simulated Virtual Climber: This Technical Sketch, by University of Tsukuba, The University of Tokyo, Japan Science and Technology Agency and the Berlin Institute of Technology, presented a climbing route design tool that uses a virtual climber to give interactive feedback. It aimed to enable novice climbers to build fun and interesting routes.

- Automatic Generation of Facial Wrinkles According to Expression Changes: This Poster by Waseda University proposed a novel technique that automatically generated facial wrinkles according to expression changes.

- The Laser Aura: A Prosthesis for Emotional Expression: This Poster, by the University of Tokyo, studied how a wearable device translates bio-sensed data into cartoon-like graphics that can be projected onto physical surroundings.

A PREMIER GATHERING OF LEADING NAMES

Featuring more than 120 exhibitors from Asia and beyond, the SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 Exhibition demonstrates the versatility of computer graphics today. Among the leading names that showcase their latest innovations were Autodesk, NVIDIA and PipelineFX. Visitors gained a holistic view of the developments in hardware and software in computer graphics as well as services such as Chaos Group’s V-Ray and 3D graphic solutions by Shanghai Global Design Information. 

The exhibition floor also hosted 10 educational institutions showcasing their latest research and ideas that can potentially bring the industry forward. Reflective of the growing potential of the computer graphics market in the region, established players such as Lucasfilm, Pixomondo and Double Negative held recruitment drives at SIGGRAPH Asia 2011.  

“This year’s SIGGRAPH Asia presented yet another opportunity for attendees to be enthralled with the possibilities that computer graphics and interactive techniques can offer. Celebrating both the successes of pioneers and emerging artists, researchers and professionals in the field, this year’s committee has worked hard to put together an exceptional line-up of eminent works and pieces that we hope inspired future breakthroughs in Asia and the world. With an increase in the number of high-caliber contributions from all over the world, the return of interactive programs, such as the Art Gallery and Emerging Technologies, and a consistency in the programming to stay up-to-date on industry trends, I am confident that SIGGRAPH Asia will continue to be an important platform for the computer graphics and interactive techniques communities around the globe,” said Jeff Jortner, President of ACM SIGGRAPH.


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