Does Anyone Remember This Person From San Diego?

I saw her a couple times and had me wondering where she got her pants. Anywho this post is really about Siggraph (the 34th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques) where not only those in the computer animation industry gather but people from a diverse group of occupations; computer programmers to experimental artists working in the electronic arts and even psychologists. I was lucky enough to work the conference as a student volunteer and for any student interested in animation-particularly digital, I strongly suggest you apply! It was a great experience, I learnt a lot and met a lot of great people in the industry and connected with students abroad. As a student volunteer I got full conference access and was able to participate in special talks with different studios where only volunteers could attend. AND free software!

I checked out some great presentations, including ILM's Transformers: Giant Frick'n Robots and Dreamworks' Shrekology. It was interesting to see playblasts of Optimus beside shots of Liam Neeson and Peter O'toole, as well as Pacino and Deniro in Heat, mimicking their acting. These were tests to see how they were going to encorporate mouths/lips into the transformer rigs. Some of the animators, particularly Keiji Yamaguchi looked like they had a lot of fun choreographing the action. Keiji animated the Kracken in Pirates and was responsible for Optimus's overall look. Apparently he went straight up to Michael Bay and told him Optimus needed a more heroic chin. That or the people of Japan would be very disappointed. Who doesn't like their Autobots manly? Unless we're talking about Arcee or Elita One.

The Shrekology talk went over the different stages of production. Sculptor Tom Hester talked about the character development process and David Smith reenacted one of his storyboard pitches, funny voices and all-he definitely stole the show, I felt bad for the VFX guy who had to talk last.

There's a lot more to tell, like Peter Jackson's short WWI film Crossing the Line shot in 4K (HD and beyond) or meeting a couple of the guys who worked on Burning Safari, but I'll leave you with some poorly shot, shaky pictures. My excuse being it was California so it was non-stop earthquakin'.

A warm welcome was waiting at San Diego International Airport:

San Diego Holiday Inn with free breakfast and forgetful staff. The entire week I ate only bagels, bran muffins fruit and yogurt but hey, I spent very little on food-more money for books!

Student Volunteer H.Q. On the table are various paper polygon creations. Note the sexy red vest we all had to wear on duty. Not pictured is the mandatory baseball cap-hat head all week.

FJORG! Was a new event this year, 16 teams of 3 compete to see who can pull off the best 15 second animated sequence. Great to see one 2D digital team. In 32 hours. In an arena. A rich tradition that hails back to the old Vikings days. I think.

The exhibition floor. Some of the booths: Lucasfilm, Disney and Laika.

This was cool, Sony Imageworks was one of the major sponsors this year and in addition to their booth had Karl Gnass teach short life drawing seminars.

Best for last of course.

Each year at Siggraph Renderman has given out a wind-up toy replica of the original Renderman teapot, with a different theme according to their latest film. Everyone at the conference goes crazy for these things, and the lineup is always huge, so I thought I'd get there early. Somehow I ended up first in line and got the first teapot of the day! They even took a picture of me! Yeah, a little weird. But awesome!

Did I mention how iron animators must not only stay and work in the arena for 32 hours while spectators come in and out, but resist some creative distractions? it's hard to tell, but in this picture are a couple of belly dancers! Later on they brought in their boa constrictor to dance with. There were also performances by martial artist, techno deejays and Chinese contortionists!Sounds like typical stuff I had to work through on any given night at the Seneca lab. For more info click here.

Handouts n' stuff.


Splash Panels