SIGGRAPH 2018: Random Thoughts
Karen Moltenbrey
August 28, 2018

SIGGRAPH 2018: Random Thoughts

As they often say, “That’s a wrap!”

SIGGRAPH 2018 is now a memory, but what a memory it was!

For those who were unable to attend, you can get a good look at the major news from the conference and exhibition by reviewing the stories in the area of our website devoted to SIGGRAPH 2018. But following is my quick assessment and notes from the show.

If there is one phrase that can be used to summarize the show, it is “real time.” Real-time rendering, real-time interactivity, real-time anything and everything. 

Once again, SIGGRAPH held the Animation Festival’s Real-Time Live. Receiving the Best Real-Time Graphics and Interactivity award, determined by a six-member jury and the live audience, was Democratizing MoCap: Real-Time Full-Performance Motion Capture with an iPhone X, Xsens, IKINEMA, and Unreal Engine” by Cory Strassburger of Kite & Lightning.

At the HP Mars launch

“Real time” was extended beyond Real-Time Live, as well. A welcome addition were installations within the Experience Hall. Most impressive was the brand-new Immersive Pavilion, which featured a VR museum, Vrcade, Village, and the Computer AnimationFestival VR Theater. Again, tickets to the VR Theater were difficult to come by but well worth the effort. One of the most popular exhibits within the Immersive Pavilion, though, was Disney’s “Cycles,” the studio’s first foray into VR. Well done!  

SIGGRAPH Garage area

Of course, there were the SIGGRAPH staples, including the Computer Animation Festival, where the audience had the opportunity to select its favorite animation, and the Emerging Technologies.

As for the show floor, it appeared busy and fuller than it had been the past few years, whether or not that was because it was, or whether it was due to the configuration. HP had an interesting lure at the Studio Experience area: sending show-goers on a mission to mars, a VR experience to the red planet. HP teamed with partners on this global co-creation, made possible through over 1,000 design submissions. Another very cool display was that of Vicon, as it demonstrated its Origin location-based VR solution, and what better way to do so than by taking three visitors at a time through a quest in VR created by Dreamscape using the tech.

Without question, the big news was Nvidia’s new Quadro RTX built on the Turing architecture. Nvidia’s founder/CEO promises it will change computer graphics, and I believe that assessment. (For more on this, see related stories in our SIGGRAPH 2018 pages.)

Experiencing "Cycles"

Other big news came from Chaos, which debuted new real-time raytracing technology based on Nvidia’s announcement (and its V-Ray Days were a big draw). More products to watch out for: the work Foundry is putting forth in its product line, as well as development of its so-called Athera; the real-time engine development by Epic Games and Unity; continual development by Autodesk across its products as well as the efforts by Maxon to make Cinema 4D a formidable challenger in the marketplace; Pixar’s updated RenderMan; Allegorithmic’s extended efforts on Substance Painter and its Substance Alchemy, soon in public beta.

In terms of “events,” Nvidia’s keynote and Limelight take the cake. However, Foundry’s All-Stars featured a stellar lineup, while Side FX had show-goers buzzing at its HIVE presentations. Jon Peddie Research’s annual luncheon was enlightening, shedding a spotlight on the industry. It featured a number of industry experts discussing hardware and software in the cloud. Also there, Nvidia’s founder/CEO was recognized for his and the company’s ongoing innovations in the graphics industry. 

Of course, this is the tip of the SIGGRAPH 2018 iceberg. Look for more updates and analysis from the show on

At the Jon Peddie luncheon (top, the panelists; bottom, Greg Estes accepts the JPR for ongoing innovation in the graphics industry on behalf of Nvidia's founder/CEO Jen-Hsun Huang)