The Lowdown on SIGGRAPH 2013

Written by Jeff Dash – Senior Medical Animator

I ask you; what’s worse than leaving your loved ones behind and flying thousands of miles to a convention by yourself? Leaving your loved ones behind and, flying thousands of miles to a convention with a coworker and him getting sick FOR THE ENTIRE SHOW. This year, it was Alexey.

This isn’t my first rodeo. No sir. I remember back when I went to my first convention. It was CES 2008 and, wouldn’t you know it, I was sick the whole time. Kinda puts a damper on things but sometimes you just have to laugh at the situation and make the most of it. That’s what Alexey and I did this year at SIGGRAPH.

So here we go: A recap of SIGGRAPH 2013 in Anaheim!

We’re here! Time to get our badges! Registration was a breeze and with the hotel so close we immediately dumped our swag bags and headed back to the show. And who do we run into? Alexey’s friend Tamara! Small world!

Thomas Direct at SIGGRAPH1) Hotel was super-close to the show!  2) Hello SIGGRAPH! 3)  Alexey found his friend from Russia – Tamara!

This is always a cool part of the show where you get to see, well, emerging technologies that are a year to a few years away from consumer availability. Everything here is a prototype and usually interactive. It’s fun to see what advances are being made by smaller companies and individuals. We got to create “paper robots” where we colored in a template with markers, then that template was scanned, and the software created a robot for a game where you control the robot with the Xbox Kinect.

Thomas Direct at SIGGRAPH 21) Alexey playing with an interactive rear-projected fabric  2) Shame this paper robot never made it to the big screen.
3) The two of us enthusiastically sitting down for a Z-Brush class.

The Exhibition was our favorite part of the show. What’s great are the live demos that occur at regular intervals where you can actually learn.  These demos were just as useful as the workshops/classes provided by the show. Some notable booths were Pixologic’s Z-Brush, Maxon’s Cinema 4D, Pixar’s Renderman, Luxology’s Modo, and, of course, nVidia’s booth. And, sometimes, you get the rare chance to meet someone you’ve always wanted to from one of your favorite companies. For Alexey, it was Jaime Labelle – Pixologic’s COO!

Thomas Direct at SIGGRAPH 3

Thomas Direct at SIGGRAPH 41) Exhibition show floor   2) Z-Brush Booth   3) Alexey meets Jaime Labelle
4) Some sweet 3D printing   5) Augmented Reality   6) Virtual reality

The Computer Animation Festival is always great. Being able to see animations from all over the world in one spot is a highlight of the show.  From student entries to small and large animation companies worldwide, the works shown are something you don’t want to miss. One of the highlights for me was the panel of animators which included Pete Docter! I’ve now seen three major players at Pixar (including Ed Catmul and John Lasseter from years past) The remaining three on my list are Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, and Brad Bird.

Each night, there was the Electronic Theater where most people gathered to watch the best of the show entries – popcorn included! This hour-and-a-half showing repeated the “best of” lineup.

A blizzard? In Anaheim? What? No!

Thanks to Alexey’s friend, Tamara, we got a free pass and a personal tour of Blizzard Studios in Irvine, CA (because that’s where she works). How cool is that? The artwork and sculptures on display were impressive to say the least.

Thomas Direct at SIGGRAPH 51) Jim Raynor and myself just hangin’   2) Alexey making friends back home jealous
3) Alexey and Tamara posing with an Orc statue

After four days full of art, animation, and tech, we were ready to head back home. All in all, I love SIGGRAPH. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s on the fence about going. Students get a great deal so if you can scrounge up the cash to go, do it.

Next year, VANCOUVER!!!

2 thoughts on “The Lowdown on SIGGRAPH 2013

  1. Pingback: SIGGRAPH 2013. California | Art Chronicles of Alexey Kashpersky

  2. Pingback: BLIZZARD. CALIFORNIA | Art Chronicles of Alexey Kashpersky

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