I am getting ready for my annual trek to SIGGRAPH, and I hope to see many of our readers there. The yearly conference on computer graphics is, after all, one of the industry's top events for CG professionals, started back in 1974. Since then, SIGGRAPH has grown and evolved to reflect the ever-changing industry. If you think SIGGRAPH 2019 will be just more of the same, you are definitely wrong.
One major schedule change will be the Monday Night @ Live extravaganza. According to Mikki Rose, SIGGRAPH 2019 conference chair, the Computer Animation Festival Electronic Theater will take place off-site at the nearby Microsoft Theater in L.A. Live for one night only. The SIGGRAPH 2019 Reception will follow that event, starting in the L.A. Live plaza just outside the theater, giving show-goers a chance to network with connections old and new, while grabbing a bite to eat and sipping a drink under the downtown lights.
A brand-new program is debuting at SIGGRAPH 2019: the Adaptive Technology focus area. The goal for this program, says Rose, is to highlight content throughout the conference that helps people in their everyday lives, particularly those with alternate ability levels. "Throughout the years, we've seen research in the realm of computer graphics and interactive techniques strike a chord in this area. In its introductory year, we intend to focus primarily on installations in the Experience Hall with physical applications on-site, though we were pleased to find that several contributions to our Technical Papers, Talks, Panels, and Courses programs also touch on this topic," she says.
Additionally, for the first time ever, some SIGGRAPH conference awards will be presented as part of the Monday-morning Opening Ceremony, alongside presentation of the ACM SIGGRAPH organization awards. Those include Best in Show honors for Immersive, Emerging Technologies, Art Gallery, Art Papers, as well as all three Computer Animation Festival awards. The ceremony will also induct the latest class of SIGGRAPH Academy honorees and present the first-ever Distinguished Educator award as well as the prestigious Steven A. Coons award.
Want to attend but are having child-care issues? This year, SIGGRAPH 2019 will be providing child-care to attendees for children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years old for just $5 per child for the conference week. "With this offering, we hope to make it easier for parents of young children to attend the conference, as well as to expose children to computer graphics and interactive techniques at a young age. Our thought is that children who grow up watching role models interested in computer science participate in our community will spark their own interest in STEAM subjects, helping them to get involved in their own time," Rose says.
As for the keynote, Victoria Alonso, executive vice president of production for Marvel Studios, who will be speaking in a fireside chat format about her experiences in filmmaking and her thoughts on the state of our industry as well as what comes next. In addition, the Technical Papers Fast Forward is a great way to get an overview of all of the papers being presented, to determine which ones to attend. The SIGGRAPH 2019 Mobile App is even set up with a section dedicated to helping attendees of that session follow along with that presentation so everyone can build their schedules right then and there! "I suspect interested parties will notice a major uptick in artificial intelligence and machine-learning content this year, too," says Rose.
In addition to the Electronic Theater, Rose also calls the Real-Time Live! presentations a must-see, as are the Immersive Pavilion and the VR Theater. The VR Theater screening space has expanded to 55 seats this year in an attempt to better meet demand.