SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 – sneak peek

We’re excited at fxguide to once again be the official podcast of SIGGRAPH Asia for 2012. This year the conference is being held at Singapore EXPO from November 28th to December 1st, and we’ll be there to cover the latest in computer graphics, image processing, animation and visual effects.

Check out our preview of SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 highlights below – including the featured speakers, tech papers, computer animation festival, courses, special sessions, the art gallery, emerging tech and the symposium on apps.

Featured speakers

Both of SIGGRAPH Asia’s featured speakers have been ‘featured’ recently on fxguide. Here we chatted to the inventor of MP3 Karlheinz Brandenburg about how research is changing our lives. And in this continuation of our Founders of VFX series we talked to PDI co-founder Richard Chuang about the history of PDI, his new venture Cloudpic and the state of the industry.

More information on the featured speakers sessions can be found here:

Technical Papers
Sculpting by Numbers tech paper, from MIT.

There’s always a diverse range of technical papers to consume at SIGGRAPH. This peer-reviewed research is often presented at a SIGGRAPH conference and then will find its way into a post-production pipeline some time later. There’s a rigorous process for the papers to get into SIGGRAPH, says the tech papers chair Peter-Pike Sloan from NVIDIA. He highlights the following as indicative of the breadth and quality of the overall program:

– SURE-based Optimization for Adaptive Sampling and Reconstruction
– Elasticity-Inspired Deformers for Character Articulation
– Motion-Guided Mechanical Toy Modeling
– Coherent Intrinsic Images from Photo Collections
– Example-based Synthesis of 3D Object Arrangements
– Correcting for Optical Aberrations using Multilayer Displays
– Accurate Realtime Full-body Performance Capture Using A Single Depth Camera
– Large-Scale Fluid Simulation using Velocity-Vorticity Domain Decomposition

See the full list of technical papers here:

Computer Animation Festival

Another popular part of SIGGRAPH is the juried CAF, incorporating the Animation Theater and Electronic Theater. The Computer Animation Festival Chair Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann notes that this year sees an emphasis on art and computer. “From the beginning, I did not like to see super hero or massive production but more individual films that tell a story that has a meaning in our life. Not only the selection was done on criteria like emotional storytelling but also the marriage of computer graphics and arts. I really liked to have a festival that is not different than an art festival, the difference being the mean of producing it (here, computer graphics).”

Watch the CAF preview trailer below:

Find out more about the CAF here:


There are two types of courses available at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 – invited courses and juried ones. The invited courses include sessions focusing on physically-based rendering, rendering at Pixar, media retargeting and how to write a SIGGRAPH paper. For example last year’s Pixar talks at Siggraph Asia in Hong Kong were really informative. The second are the juried courses, running the full gamut of computer graphics, vizualization and image processing.

Courses chair Michael Brown from the National University of Singapore highlights the Constructing a Stereo Pipeline from Scratch: Lessons Learned from Disney’s ‘The Secret of the Wings’ being presented by Disney Toon Studios, as well as the Polarized Light in Computer Graphics course, which fxguide profiled here in this fxpodcast with USC’s Abhijeet Ghosh.

See the full list of courses here:

Special sessions
Still from The Dark Knight Rises.

To see how a lot of SIGGRAPH-related research is used in practice, SIGGRAPH Asia is also hosting animation and vfx sessions on several films and games. Here’s a listing:

– Prometheus: A VFX Journey to an Alien Planet (Daniele Bigi, MPC)
– The Visual Effects of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Paul Franklin, DNeg)
– Technical Challenges of Assassin’s Creed III: Real-Time Water Simulation and High-Quality Linear Gameplay Sequences (Ubisoft)
– Production Workflow on ‘Hugo’: A New Model of International VFX (Ben Grossmann, Pixomondo)

Read more on the Special Sessions here:

Art gallery

The theme for the 2012 SIGGRAPH Asia Art Gallery is ‘Echo’. Art Gallery chair Yingqing Xu from Tsinghua University explains that echo is “a metaphorical representation of the correlations between the digital and the analog, the virtual and the real; the artist’s expression and the audience’s experience.” He highlights a few of the pieces below:

Coronado (UCLA, USA) – This Sound Sculpture art work is characterized by the use of simple and open source technology. At the heart of the installation is an ocean drum that plays itself via a microcontroller and three servo motors and this is the source of the sound that feeds the digital input into the computer.

The Gestus Project (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) – A custom software presentation generates a vector analysis of videos in a data set, and then uses this analysis to search for sequences containing similar movements. It then renders similar sequences side-by-side as a split-screen display, enabling users to compare the movements that occur in them. The software thus brings together scenes from different locations in the story, finding echoes between very diverse moments in the film.

See a preview of more from the Art Gallery here:

Symposium on Apps

The Symposium on Apps Chair Lars Erik Holmquist suggests that the entire computer graphics will have to be prepared for mobile, and certainly that is already happening. “We are consuming graphics on a variety of devices,” he says, “such as smartphones and tablets that didn’t even exist a few years ago. This requires both sophisticated optimization for smaller screens and slower processors, but also an understanding of new forms of interaction and content.”

The Apps Symposium will provide developers, content creators, graphics artists and users with a look into graphics development tools, augmented reality and other areas of mobile. “For example, we have a very interesting panel on how to get your mobile app out there, “The Curse of Choice -­ How Will Users Find My App!?,” says Holmquist. “Right now the marketplace is overloaded with apps, and most developers have a hard time being seen. On the other hand, the ecosystem is growing and changing at a rapid speed. Experts from Motorla, Yahoo! and several universities will present different strategies and future outlook.”

Check out more of the Symposium on Apps here:

Emerging Technologies

Always hands-on and always fun, Emerging Technologies are often the most surprising part of any SIGGRAPH conference. In Singapore you’ll get to interact with such tech as a Cryptone, demonstrating interaction between performers and audiences With inaudible DTMF sounds, a mixed reality mirror display, a floating volume viewer and even robot disc jockeys.


See more of the Emerging Technologies that will be on display here:

Exhibitors and Recruitment

Researchers, industry professionals, artists and students will also have access to several exhibitors and recruitment opportunities at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012. Just some of the companies exhibiting include Chaos Group, Next Limit, Shotgun Software and NVIDIA. Plus there’ll also be a presence from Animal Logic, Lucasfilm Singapore, Double Negative, Pixar and Pixomondo – who will allo be contributing to Exhibitor talks during the conference. See more information here:

More information

The above is really only a highlight of what’s on offer at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012. Don’t forget to also check out the Technical Briefs sessions, Posters and the co-located VRCAI and WASA conferences. For more details on how to register for SIGGRAPH Asia, head to their website here:, and keep an eye on fxguide for in-depth coverage.