Siggraph 2009 CAF - Part 1 - Siggraph Computer Animation Festival

The art of animation has long been celebrated at the annual SIGGRAPH conference. For years, the Electronic Theater and Animation Theaters presented juried selections

during evening and daytime shows, respectively. Last year, the structure changed, refl ecting a traditional competitive festival format. This year, change is in the air yet again amid the colorful backdrop of New Orleans. Evening and afternoon performances are on tap once again in a fusion of sorts of the previous festival formats.

The Evening Theater comprises two 50-minute reels: the Jury Chair’s Reel, which highlights the top-ranked jury fi lms arranged by this year’s jury chair, ILM’s Miles Perkins, and the Festival Chair’s Reel, which contains a selection of top-ranked juried content curated into the Computer Animation Festival by this year’s festival chair, LightStage’s Carlye Archibeque. Each night opens with a real-time demo, including Fight Night 4, played on the big screen in real time by their respective designers.

The Afternoon Theater, meanwhile, splits the remaining selections and places them in thematic reels. For example, the Digital Schoolhouse reel contains all the scientifi c visualizations, urban-planning demos, and other material that enlightens the viewer about a specifi c subject, such as the universe, using CGI tools. Other highlights include a kid-friendly reel, dubbed Young at Heart, and one that borders on film noir, called The Underneath, which “is full of amazing pieces that dip into the dark side of narrative animation,” says Archibeque.

In addition to the theater presentations, the festival will contain session content. “I love a good theme, and for the reels that make up the theater content, I wanted to have a purpose and a reason for each being programmed the way it was, not only thematically but also structurally,” says Archibeque, who is also executive producer.

Archibeque says she built the festival with a nod to the 2009 SIGGRAPH theme “Network Your Senses” by  looking at projects that use multiple technologies, as well as technologies with multiple applications—for example, stereoscopic fi lm techniques being used for entertainment as well as biomedical purposes, or GPUs, which create real-time content but may be incorporated into the VFX workflow. “It makes for interesting collisions of strains of the intelligently creative people who attend SIGGRAPH.”

This year, more than 100 projects will be featured at the festival, including those appearing on these two pages.

—Karen Moltenbrey