Amongst the crowds of neon-green Nvidia lanyards bearing the name tags of each attendee, I spent over 15 hours on August 13th consuming a visual feast at this year’s SIGGRAPH in Vancouver, Canada. This was my first year attending SIGGRAPH, which was hosted inside the vegetation-covered Vancouver Convention Centre. Much of my time within this mega-complex was spent watching the panels and various digital animation presentations. As part of the Production Sessions, Industrial Light and Magic delivered excellent presentations showcasing the computer graphics behind Transformers: Age of Extinction and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And Framestore followed up with a presentation that helped illuminate their process in creating the visuals in Gravity – a movie with the most convincing and stunning visual effects I have yet seen.
Beyond the Production Sessions there was more than an eyeful of animated shorts to take in. The Dailies took the format of a series of short animation presentations with creator commentary ranging in topics from refining the rag doll physics in The Last of Us to a simple yet powerful satellite visualization animation. The non-stop 2-hour flurry of presentations had a refreshing variety of disciplines and truly felt like a melding of arts and sciences. There was also an impressive range of student animation projects presented as part of the Daytime Selects, including the beautiful and emotional Un Conte (see video below). While the evening’s Electronic Theater placed its emphasis on movie trailers and commercials a little too much for my tastes there were still several gems to be discovered including Box (see video below) which employs a dazzling combination of real-world robotics and digital projection as well as the lovely Disney-produced Feast.
Here are a few of my personal favourite animations from SIGGRAPH 2014 and I encourage you to watch them all: