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Geek Events

Siggraph 2016

 Siggraph 2016

I had the opportunity to visit Siggraph 2016 (short for Special Interest Group on Computer GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques ) in July of this year (2016)

Decked out with my Siggraph pass and ready to hit the show floor!
Decked out with my pass & ready for Siggraph 2016!

Even though the show was a while ago, it still remains fresh in my mind. It was that impactful. Siggraph’s attended by tens of thousands of computer professionals annually. Highlights of the conference include its Animation Theater and Electronic Theater presentations. Recently created CG films are often screened here. On the large exhibition floor, several hundred companies set up elaborate booths. They all compete for attention and recruits. Most of the companies are from the engineering, graphics, motion picture, or video game industries. Schools specializing in computer graphics or interactivity are also on hand.

Here I caught former Forbes contributor Jason Evangelho checking out Qualcomm's technology that captures your image and puts YOU right into a game! Google VR was on hand with demos.Cappasity was on hand showing off there economical 3D rendering software.


Cappsity showed off a turntable based, full size 3D scanner. Not filled with hugely expensive cameras either. Think of top scale web cam pricing. Amazing.
Cappsity showed off a turntable based, full size 3D scanner. Not filled with hugely expensive cameras either. Think of top scale web cam pricing. Amazing.

Numerous panels, with industry experts, are set up to discuss a wide variety of topics. From computer graphics through to machine interactivity or education. SIGGRAPH also offers many full and half-day courses in state-of-the-art computer graphics topics. There’s also shorter “sketch” presentations where artists and researchers discuss their latest work.

Some of these classes are invaluable to those in the industry. Many have instigated those ah-ha creative moments that we’ve seen brought into our games and movies of today. The melting pot of talent is truly incredible at Siggraph. I have an interest in the backbone of creation. I love the tools that are available to artists and designers. From game development to cad software that is used to create many of the items used in daily life. All are powered by the latest computer hardware and monitors. Many booths features the newest tech on the block, Virtual Reality. And it all was tossed into once place and stirred gently for an eye opening experience.20160726_152027

In fact, VR was in no short supply this year. Everywhere you turned, someone was offering some sort of VR tech or solution. from game development and immersion to job training simulators and even virtual archaeology! For anyone who doesn’t think VR is the next big thing, I can tell you from a development and design standpoint, Siggraph proved that it will be the tech of the future. Glad to see so much of it available today.

Accompanying VR were the advancements in 3D modeling. From small real-time scanning solutions to full body scans. The hardware to power it efficiently is here. The necessary software has grown exponentially. One company, Cappasity, has gotten it refined so much that it can do a 3D scan of you—on the spot. Whatever you are wearing, and even that 5 o’clock shadow, can be captured in the finest detail. A couple minutes of processing and boom, you can be imported into any game or show. The best part of it all? The cameras used aren’t part of some massive Hollywood budget. Rather, they are basically priced in the personal web cam range. (Company) is offering this 3D scanning booth [tool?] for only (?K). Think of the fun you can have at your next event or party with this!

At AMD’s Capsaicin event, AMD featured their latest hardware for the professional line. Radeon Pro also introduced a new look: blue. One of the most truly amazing announcements was the SSG, a professional graphics card with 1TB of SSD on board to provide instantaneous computing. How instantaneous you might ask? How about a demo they presented of real-time rendering on the fly. Not of 4k footage, but 8K! That was an impressive introduction of first of a kind hardware. Purposely designed to benefit the gaming and movie industry.

My Capsaicin Press badge.

With Radeon™ Pro SSG, for the first time, creators will be able to realize their imagination without constraints – imagine play back, work with and scrub 8K videos real-time, at 90 frames per second. We’re providing an unprecedented amount of non-volatile memory at an unprecedented proximity to the GPU, bypassing the operating system and other components in the PC. The possibilities are virtually endless, and will open up doors for developers that were shut or hidden before.

Speaking of Hollywood, this marked the first-ever exclusion of Disney from the floor in Anaheim, CA. Nevertheless there was still an entertainment presence, with workshops offered from some of the smaller studios that support the industry. The classes offered were abundant and informative, featuring topics such as workflow to animation; real-time rendering advancements; or on-the-fly designing.

Even  VR Job Simulators found a place at Siggrpah 2016 to show off how far they have come. AMD Powered, VR equipped, SimCraft full motion simulator was available for folks to try out at the Radeon Booth.

Seeing the technology in action was truly mind-blowing. One such case was the live presentation of actual footage being shot for an upcoming game, Hellblade by Ninja Theory (coming to PS4 & PC). The actress was 3D-captured in full motion acting her part on stage with all footage being rendered real-time. That means when it was played back, she was already in costume–on the set and in the game. Amazing! Check out the principle of this here.

Siggraph also hosted The Arcade. An experience that focused on games. From concept art through technology, to real-time implementation of cinematic rendering. The Arcade touched on everything from a look at development to the amazing accomplishments being made today with modern real-time engines. This was truly an awesome behind-the-scenes look at how what we see in games and movies actually gets there.

The Embodied Media Project in Keio University Graduate School of Media Design brought Haptic body suits to help further the immersive experience of VR

From major studios, software companies and hardware vendors that spotlighted their newest technologies, Siggraph was an eye opener. Especially for someone like me who resides on the outskirts of the industry. All this wonderful magic that brings us so much joy—whether it be through movies, modeling, or gaming—was wrapped up in one place. I’m definitely marking Siggraph 17 as a must-attend on my calendar. The bug has bitten, and I’m creatively so much better because of it.

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