CHICAGO — SIGGRAPH 2021 has announced new wave of production-centric featured speakers participating in the upcoming virtual conference, including Sergio Pablos, Amy Hennig, and Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan. Live events during the conference will take place throughout the week of 9–13 August, with on-demand content available from 2 August through 29 October.
Featured speaker sessions at SIGGRAPH 2021 offer a chance for industry experts to discuss some of the most prominent topics in computer graphics and interactive techniques. The first wave of speakers announced included 3Blue1Brown’s Grant Sanderson, MIT Media Lab’s Dr. Kate Darling, and University of California, Berkeley Professor Hany Farid.
“I am thrilled to welcome this fantastic lineup of experts to SIGGRAPH 2021,” shared SIGGRAPH 2021 Special Projects Chair Ian Failes, of befores & afters. “In particular, these sessions will offer unique stories across the spectrum of production — from historic to independent to major studio innovations — and I cannot wait to hear what Sergio, Amy, and Ed and Pat have to share.”
Sergio Pablos, founder of The SPA Studios, is a Spanish director, writer, and producer who started his career at Walt Disney Animation Studios, lending his skills to such classics as “Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “Hercules”, and “Tarzan”, among others. His most recent project through The SPA Studios, Netflix’s first original animated feature “Klaus”, was recognized with numerous award nominations and wins. In his session, Sergio will discuss “How to Build an Animation Studio”, sharing the story behind launching The SPA Studios in 2004.
"It has been almost 50 years that SIGGRAPH has been generously contributing to the world of computer graphics,” said Pablos. “I feel so privileged to be a part of it all."
Amy Hennig, president of Skydance Media’s New Media Division, is a 30-year veteran of the game industry and has served as creative director and lead writer on numerous titles, including Naughty Dog’s acclaimed “Uncharted” series and Crystal Dynamics’ groundbreaking “Soul Reaver” / “Legacy of Kain” franchise. In a fireside-chat format session, Amy will explore her career in interactive entertainment and offer her views on the future of gaming and where the industry is headed.
“I’m excited to join the virtual stage at SIGGRAPH 2021,” shared Hennig. “I look forward to sharing my passion for innovations in interactive narrative and my thoughts on the new media landscape at such a prestigious venue.”
Finally, in a special session tied to this year’s Retrospective program, 2019 ACM A.M. Turing Award recipients — a distinction known as the “Noble Prize of Computing” — Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan will open the 2021 conference with a session that offers their perspectives on the events that advanced computer graphics, their careers, and future lessons for the industry.
“RenderMan had far-reaching consequences which continue to this day,” noted Catmull. “There is a very instructive story about the approaches used in its development and impact.”
Adds Hanrahan, “I have been attending SIGGRAPH since 1981. It is an honor to share stories about my computer graphics journey with so many close friends and colleagues.”
Featured speaker sessions will be streamed virtually throughout the week of 9–13 August. Access to the sessions is open to all virtual pass levels. Register for SIGGRAPH 2021 at s2021.SIGGRAPH.org/register.