SIGGRAPH 2005 Electronic Theater
Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 7 (July 2005)

SIGGRAPH 2005 Electronic Theater

(Best of Show), directed by Shane Acker, uses Maya, Photoshop, and After Effects to immerse the audience in a gritty textural world inhabited by creatures composed of fabric scraps and broken machinery.

, directed by Hitoshi Akayama, presents the rhythmic rolls of dice created with Maya and a Mel script that controls the arbitrary directions and speed of the movements.

, directed by Oury Atlan, Damien Ferrie, and Thibaut Berland of Supinfocom Valenciennes, focuses on small fabric puppets that don’t know what to do after finding their creator lying on his bench, dead.

Films and animated shorts will have plenty of screen time at the event, as they did last year. This year, however, they will play alongside a greater number of non-entertainment-related clips, as the festival pays homage to the behind-the-scenes usage of CG technology in these other arenas. “Our industry’s roots are in this field, and I have long thought that there should be a stronger scientific representation in the festival,” says chair Samuel Lord Black. In fact, the group’s outreach to the scientific visualization community paid with exceptional submissions, as the scientific and technical entries received the highest acceptance rate of all the categories.

In addition, students continue to exceed the jury’s expectations, as evidenced by the fact that two of the three festival awards were given to student works, while a total of 26 student pieces were accepted. International participation also was outstanding; more than half of the show (43 segments) contains selections from outside the US, with France-particularly French students-having a strong presence. In fact, this marks the third time in the past four years that French film students have displayed their creativity by winning SIGGRAPH Jury Honors.

La Migration Bigoudenn
(Jury Honors), directed by Eric Castaing, Alexandre Heboyan, and Fafah Togora of l’ecole de i’mage, uses Maya, After Effects, and Premiere Pro to tell the tale.

RESfest Opening, created by Motion Theory for the opening trailer at RESfest 2004, combined motion-control filming with 3D animation in a series of inventive scenes connected into a single camera move.

East End Zombies
, directed by Damian Hook of NCCA Bournemouth University in the UK, uses a quirky caricature style, created in Maya and Shake, in this tale of zombies who invade London’s East End.

For this year’s festival, a seven-member panel reviewed 560 submissions, narrowing the selections to 67 pieces. Twenty-six of these will be featured in the Electronic Theater, while 42 will be shown in the Animation Theater (one will be played in both venues). In addition, 11 animations will appear in the Art Gallery exhibit.

According to Black, there’s a broader range of emotional content this year, with a mix of humor, drama, science, and music. This is especially true of this year’s Best of Show (“9”) and Jury Honors winners (“Fallen Art” and “La Migration Bigoudenn”). “9” is one of those rare pieces that unveils itself more with every viewing, and the jury was impressed by its multiple layers of complexity and detail, Black says of the student-crafted animated short about a rag doll creature that musters all its courage to confront a mechanical beast.

Another student work, “La Migration Bigoudenn,” about a group of Brittany ladies competing to cook the best crepes, “tells a poignant story in a lovely, non-photorealistic style that is evocative of a strange, alien world,” describes Black.

ILM 2005 trio, from Industrial Light & Magic, highlights the state-of-the-art effects from Hollywood.

In the Rough
, directed by Paul Taylor of Blur Studio, is a classically styled cartoon animation, created in 3ds Max, Brazil, Digital Fusion, Premiere, DPS Velocity, and Photoshop, about a caveman.

World of Warcraft
, directed by Matt Samia of Blizzard Entertainment, provides a glimpse into the game’s world of frozen peaks and dusty plains.

Meanwhile, Tomek Baginski, a two-time winner at the festival, tells the tale of a decaying, forgotten military base in the Pacific, where soldiers who have lost their minds have gathered to complete one final mission in the short “Fallen Art.” Black says: “This is a monumental, thought-provoking film that takes us into the mind of a character who is creating art only for himself. The jury members lost themselves in the depths of this self-involvement, debating whether the artist creates the art, or the art creates the artist.”

Furthermore, in recognition of the growing popularity of high definition, the Electronic Theater will be projected in HD, and 17 of the pieces will be shown in their native HD resolution.

Kicking off these and other works in this year’s Electronic Theater will be a live graphic performance by J. Walt Adamczyk titled “Autocosm: Gardens of Thuban.” Created specifically for SIGGRAPH 2005, the production brings interactive computer graphics techniques into the realm of theatrical and musical performance by incorporating elements of animation, theater, dance, painting, sculpture, music, and interactive art.

Still images from the Electronic Theater appear on these pages. - Karen Moltenbrey

Visualization of an F3 Tornado
, directed by Robert Patterson and Donna Cox of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, employs NCSA-customized Maya plug-ins to re-create a supertwister.

Things That Go Bump in the Night, directed by Joshua Beveridge of the Ringling School of Art and Design, brings to life a child’s deepest fear with the use of Maya, Syflex, Shake, Painter, Photoshop.

, directed by Adam Janeczek and Florian Durand of Supinfocom Arles, looks at a small aerial world inside a sphere, where creatures multiply as they dance to a walz. The world was created using 3ds Max.