Last year was sold out, and this year is expected too also.
Last year DigiPro was sold out, and this year it is expected to be sold out also. Above, Larry Gritz at the 2014 event.

Heading to SIGGRAPH this year in LA? For hard core production types, the conference actually starts a day earlier – at the co-located Digital Production Symposium (DigiPro 2015). DigiPro is an incredible day of presentations from visual effects, animation, CG and academic professionals. This year it takes place on Saturday August 8th at the Los Angeles Center Studios, not far from the LA Convention Center. The specialist production conference is always popular, last year it sold out the approximately 200 seats, and the organizers are expecting the same response for 2015.

So why would you want to attend DigiPro, moreover what is the difference between it and SIGGRAPH?

We asked symposium organizer Eric Enderton, from NVIDIA Research, that exact question. “DigiPro is both narrower than SIGGRAPH,” he says, “in that it’s only about digital film production, and broader than SIGGRAPH, in that it’s about all of digital film production: not only computer graphics algorithms but also pipelines, practicalities, artist workflows, and so on.”

In this regard DigiPro is a bit similar to the SIGGRAPH Daillies but not identical explained Enderton, “SIGGRAPH Dailies is a great set of short case studies. DigiPro talks are longer, more in-depth, a little like SIGGRAPH Talks or Papers, but with this particular production focus – and the proceedings are published in the ACM Digital Library.”

DigiPro’s keynote speaker this year is Luca Fascione, Rendering Research Supervisor at Weta Digital. “For years,” notes Enderton, “Luca Fascione has been the mastermind of rendering technology at Weta Digital, as they’ve continued to raise the bar on photorealism and complexity and just beautiful filmmaking. Plus he’s the lead on their brand new renderer, Manuka.”

DigiPro 2014 learning from Nuclear Physics research with Eugene d'Eon
DigiPro 2014 learning from Nuclear Physics research with Eugene d’Eon click for a link to our fxguide coverage. 

The full program for DigiPro is below, and one can see the focus is on production tools, new algorithms and film pipelines from quite diverse film projects – such as Penguins of Madagascar or Mad Max: Fury Road. That means that the attendees are typically quite diverse also. “It’s a great group,” says Enderton, “a lot of supervisors and software developers from animation and visual effects houses around the world, and the researchers and software vendors who collaborate with them. Last year we had a half dozen CTOs. And it’s quite international – last year 40% of attendees came from outside North America, from 15 different countries. We want to build and support the film research community, so we’re gratified that a lot of folks come back year after year.”

Pixar's Bill Polson on workflow in 2014
Pixar’s Bill Polson on workflow in 2014

Submissions for DigiPro are all peer reviewed, according to Enderton. “The program chairs make the final calls, of course, but they do it by assembling an international program committee and getting their reviews of all the submissions. This year, Larry (Gritz, Sony Pictures Imageworks), Jono (Gibbs, DreamWorks Animation) and Phil Peterson (Techniqueology) did an outstanding job, the program looks terrific. That’s why I’m sure it will sell out! And, of course, the authors do the actually hard work, inventing and writing and presenting. I can’t wait.”

Here’s the full program – head over to DigiPro’s website to register.


DigiPro is small but attended by
DigiPro is small but attended by at least 6 major CTOs last year, and people from 17 different countries. 40% return year over year.


Luca Fascione, Rendering Research Supervisor at Weta Digital

Production tools

DreamWorks Animation Facial Motion and Deformation System
Sven Pohle; Michael Hutchinson; Brent Watkins; Dick Walsh; Stephen Candell; Frederick Nilsson; Jason Reisig (DreamWorks Animation)

Dataflow: ILM’s Framework for Procedural Geometry Evaluation, Simulation Authoring, Crowds and More
Rick Hankins, Nick Rasmussen, Andrew Johnson, Stephen Bowline, Brice Criswell (Industrial Light & Magic)

Motion Retargeting for Crowd Simulation
Yann Pinczon Du Sel; Nicolas Chaverou; Michaël Rouillé (Golaem)

Rapid: An Artist Friendly Particle System
Devon Penney (DreamWorks Animation); Nafees Bin Zafar (Oriental DreamWorks)


Improved Deep Image Compositing Using Subpixel Masks
Jonathan Egstad; Mark Davis; Dylan Lacewell (DreamWorks Animation)

Empirical Directional Wave Spectra for Computer Graphics
Christopher J. Horvath (Google, Inc.)

Efficient and Stable Approach to Elasticity and Collisions for Hair Animation
Galen Gornowicz; Silviu Borac (DreamWorks Animation)

Pipelines and Films

A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Pipeline
Bill Polson (Pixar Animation Studios)

ACEScg: A Common Color Encoding for Visual Effects Applications
Haarm-Pieter Duiker (Duiker Research); Alexander Forsythe (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences); Scott Dyer (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences); Jim Houston (Starwatcher Digital); Will McCown (Consultant); Ray Feeney (RFX); Andy Maltz (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences); Doug Walker (Autodesk)

Rigging Octopuses in ‘Penguins of Madagascar’
Evan Boucher; Nathaniel Dirksen (DreamWorks Animation)

Into the Wasteland – The VFX of Mad Max: Fury Road
Dan Bethell (Iloura)


Doug And Larry last year at DigiPro 2014
Doug Epps and Larry Cutler last year at DigiPro 2014

Fxguide is proud to be a key media partner with DigiPro for the third year in a row and we will have extensive coverage from the event.