The year 2011 was a milestone for SIGGRAPH, marking the first time that the conference was held outside the US. The decision turned out to be a popular one, and attendees embraced the Canadian locale and the beautiful venue. Three years later, in 2014, Vancouver against stepped up as host to the event, and this year, we return there.
During the past years, SIGGRAPH has evolved with the times, highlighting new technologies and programs, such as the Immersive Pavilion and VR Theater, as well as a Business track, Real-Time Live!, and much more. There is one thing that SIGGRAPH is not, and that is complacent.
Here, CGW talks with Roy Anthony, SIGGRAPH 2018 chair, about the conference and how it is staying relevant to the CG industry after all these years.
"We are excited about a number of enhancements we've made to a few key programs relating to this year's audience. We have increased the presence of virtual-, augmented-, and mixed-reality projects and experiences - and we are introducing our new Immersive Pavilion in the East Convention Center, which will be dedicated to this area. We've incorporate immersive tech into our Computer Animation Festival with the inclusion of our VR Theater, back for its second year, as well as inviting a special, curated experience with the legendary computer graphics professor Ken Perlin from NYC."
According to Anthony, he and the SIGGRAPH volunteers will be kicking off the week in a big VR way with a special session following the opening ceremony, with Ivan Sutherland, considered the "father of computer graphics." That 50-year retrospective will present the history and innovations that sparked our industry, he says, and will highlight many of the journeys and innovations we have come to see as being commonplace today.
"We're also welcoming back our production community with a special treat," Anthony says. "We've brought to the fold a past voice from production, Syd Meade, a world-renowned and legendary 'Visual Futurist' (Blade Runner, TRON, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Aliens, Time Cop, Tomorrowland, Blade Runner 2049), who will display an arrangement of his art in a special collection called 'Progressions,' which will be seen within our Production Gallery experience." (The Production Gallery also returns for its second year.) "Progressions" will exhibit more than 50 years of artwork by Meade, from his academic years to his most current works of art. Through selected drawings, color preliminaries, and finished paintings, attendees will get a glimpse into his thought process, unique approach, and detailed techniques as the pieces move from idea to final artwork.
SIGGRAPH has also increased its production-theme elements conferencewide - there are many Talks, Sessions, Panels, and Production Gallery exhibits sure to delight attendees throughout the course of the conference, with something of interest to every level of sophistication and life cycle within one's career.
"We've also invested a great deal of thought into our presentations as to how the arts can be displayed through technology this year. And, we're proud to have this year's Art Gallery curated by Dr. Andres Burbano," says Anthony. "We'll also be featuring a large cross-section of digital artworks in the Art Gallery culled from the indigenous communities located across the Americas - the earliest storytellers. To have their work shown in a modern digital context is very exciting."