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Storm Troopers Invade SIGGRAPH

X-wing in Atreum

Chapters Party at the Mayan


Banner Year for ILM

ILM usually has a presence at SIGGRAPH, but with presenters like George Lucas and Dennis Muren addressing attendees, and Star Wars commemorations like an X-wing fighter in the atrium and storm troopers on the show floor, this was ILM's year.  People came out raving from the course on Digital Face Cloning, where ILM had presented its cutting-edge work on creating a photoreal digital double of the baby in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events that replaced the real baby in a large percentage of the shots in the film.

George Lucas spoke in this year's Keynote address.  People started lining up three hours before Lucas began to speak.  George Lucas is in many ways one of the greatest movie producers and technologists ever, although some debated how history will regard his talents in other areas such as writing and directing.  As well as enjoying commercial success, he had advocated and brought about huge improvements in the creation of digital cinema and digital effects.  Surprisingly, considering his contributions to our field, Lucas was the subject of considerable controversy among CG artists attending the conference.  Partly this may be because his vision of the future is that special effects won't be special anymore, but instead will simply considered "editing," and he is always pushing for visual effects to be as fast, cheap, and convenient to filmmakers as possible.  He also recently started a studio in Singapore to produce a Star Wars animated TV series.  The government of Singapore is subsidizing the cost of starting up the studio, animators there are paid less than in his San Francisco area studios.  It is not known how much feature film animation might be done in Singapore once Lucasfilm goes into production of full CG animated features.

Party, Party, Party

SIGGRAPH is not just about papers, presentations, and products, it's also a social gathering, in which people in the small world of CG gather to meet old friends and make new connections.

In the 1990's, all the biggest studios threw lavish parties that helped build their images and helped them in recruiting.  This year, as with last year, the "best party" crown goes to Blur Studios.  Despite cut-backs from the big players, there were still enough parties going on that people often had several conflicting events to choose between on each night.

Boston, MA

After being stuck in LA two years in a row, it looks as if everyone is going to love SIGGRAPH 2006 in Boston July 30 - August 3.  I'm certainly going to be there!


3dRender.com : Industry & Jobs : SIGGRAPH 2005 : page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4
Pictures and Article Copyright © 2005 by Jeremy Birn