Siggraph 2010 – Day 3

Day 3 started early, we arrived at the convention around 8:00 am to get in line for the exhibit hall, which opened at 9:30 am. Although we were very close to the start of the line everyone went crazy when they opened up the doors. Many attendees including myself made a mad dash to the Pixar booth, unfortunately they weren’t giving away teapots until later, but I did get a nice Toy Story 3 poster.

Going around the exhibit hall there were several booths which were demoing MOCAP equipment, there was also studio booths such as Nickelodeon, Blue Sky, and Sony ImageWorks. Naturally Autodesk, Intell, and Nvidia had the largest booths. Nvidia was also doing there drawing contest, where participants have 20 minutes to create a drawing using their logo and a specific theme. This years theme was magnetic, though I didn’t win the contest I did get a t-shirt for participating.

At 11:00 am we headed to West Hal B for the Keynote speaker. This years speaker was Jim Morris VP of Production at Pixar. His presentation provided a brief history of computer graphics and how it made an impact on his life and career.

After the Keynote we broke for lunch, made another run through of the exhibitor hall, before returning to the West Hall for a production session on “How to Train Your Dragon”. This session discussed how the producers, director, writers and designers, went through several phases of story and style before they settled on the one they chose. Although they had the rights to the book, very early on they determined that the story was too childish and not entertaining enough for a feature film. Although many characters from the book were used, the entire story ended up changing drastically from the book.

After the dragon session it was the most anticipated event of the day, “The Making of Tron Legacy”. This event was just as packed as the keynote session, and featured a panel discussion with the producer, director, and visual effects artist. Interestingly enough the director Joseph Kosinki, started graduating from architecture school with skills in CAD and 3 D rendering. After graduating he decided he wanted to do something different, but still be able to use his 3D skills, so he decided to get into the movies. Tron Legacy tries to keep the same style as the original, while maintaining a modern feel. If you’ve seen the trailer might have noticed a younger Jeff Bridges ad Clue in the movie, this character was entirely CG and the panel eluded to other CG characters in the movie. DafPunk who are huge fans of the movie provided the soundtrack, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t sound like them. They tried a different sound for the film, that doesn’t necessarily match their usual stuff. Of course the best part was getting to see 8 minutes of the film, it was great and left you begging for more.

An interesting note is that the light suits in the film were actual light suits, they didn’t use cg for them. The reason, says Kosinki, is that they wanted to capture the light from the suits reflecting and illuminating the actors. The lights from the suits in the original film were hand animated over the film, thus producing no real light on the actors. If you also recall in the original film, the cyber world was all shot in black and white, not so for the new one. Through it makes sense computers from the 80’s only had 8 bit color today we have 32 million screen colors.

A quick round back in the exhibit hall ended the day. No Pixar teapots today, because we were in the keynote session, but there is always tomorrow.

The night ended with pizza and turning in early, still tired from the time change.

Akram Taghavi-Burris

Akram Taghavi-Burris is an award winning designer, an educator with over 15 years of experience in graphic arts and web design. Akram has an M.Ed. with an emphasis on Design Education and has been awarded several prestigious awards for her work such as the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Award and, the Davinci Fellows Award for innovation in teaching. Currently, Akram teaches Computer Simulation and Gaming (Video Game Design) at the University of Tulsa. to life.

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