Sunday at Siggraph

Aug 12, 2018 at 02:13 pm by -gToon

Sunday, August 12th, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

I always like to ease into the Siggraph conference. Which is why Sunday is definitely the way to start this incredible conference. The huge crush of people and the high-decibel sound starts on Monday, so Sunday's events are light with plenty of room for wandering.

Soundtrack: David Bowie "Low"


  • Media Registration & Orientation
  • Blender Community Meeting
  • Art Gallery
  • Foundry All-Stars Event

One of the reasons I so enjoy attending Siggraph in Vancouver is their world-class convention center. Unlike the boxy, cave-like designs of other sites, Vancouver features a space filled with light and air. It's easy to step out of the hectic flow of people into an outdoor space where you can smell the ocean and enjoy a quiet moment.

Siggraph takes care of the media who cover the conference. There's always a press office where you can sit and catch up on the days events. It's also a hub for information about the schedule at Siggraph. Their media briefing is almost always excellent. The staff anticipates the info journalists need and are uniformly friendly and helpful.

I spent a good two hours in the press room getting up to date and organizing my info for the week ahead. I discovered that there is a "media pod" available for journalists for interviews. This is a small sound-proof booth suitable for video and audio recording. What a great idea!

Blender Community Meeting
I've been attending the Blender Community Meeting for over a decade now. Ton Roosendahl has every person attending introduce themselves which makes the meeting a real community event. Ton then covers the accomplishments and news of the Blender community and foundation.

The big news, of course, is the upcoming alpha release of Blender 2.8 in October, 2018. Ton did talk about other things like the release of Blender Benchmark and the success of the Blender development drive which brought many talented artists to Amsterdam to live and work on developing Blender code. I'll link to more details on Ton's presentation during the week.

Blender Spotlight
Approximately 8 Blender creators/developers shared their stories in the hour-long Blender Spotlight session. It's amazing to see the various ways developers use Blender. There were presentations on short filmmaking, crowd simulation, massive data processing (city sim) and even ways to preserve animal life through 3D scanning ( which was my favorite presentation.

Again, I'll link to more presenters as I get the information.

This is the second year Foundry has presented their All-Stars event. It was an informative and entertaining show. Foundry and their innovative applications Katana and Nuke (among others) have made a major impact on the field of visual effects. The All-Star event is their way of giving back to their customers by sharing their personal stories. The event is very low-key which allows those presenting to not have to put on a performance.

Although the All-Star event went much longer than scheduled I didn't hear any grumbling as we filed out of the theater. There were so many excellent power-point presentations that it's hard to single any out as being the best. I do think that the keynote speeches given by Janelle Croshaw Ralla (Marvel Studios), Kelsey Hurley (Walt Disney) and Renee Tam (Pixar) were especially enjoyable. It is so important for women to share their stories especially since women aren't often encouraged to work in technical fields. I was also impressed by the gentle, self-deprecating humor these three women used to tell their tales of overcoming obstacles.

I will not miss next years All-Star event from The Foundry. I'm also going to seek out some of the presenters for interviews. A full breakdown of Foundry's Second Annual All-Star event can be found here.

A Great Sunday at Siggraph
So much for easing-into Siggraph: it was a challenging day with lots of interesting people and exciting ideas. As usual, I'm psyched to find out more. Stay tuned as Monday will blast off!


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