5 Tech Trends from Siggraph 2018

Aug 21, 2018 at 12:46 pm by -gToon

The 45th annual Siggraph computer graphics conference closed last week. I attended four out of the five days of this jam-packed conference which took place in the amazing city of Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Over 16,000 people from 88 countries around the world came for 5 days of panels, talks, demos, screenings, presentations and, most importantly, conversations with people who have shared interests.

In this report, I’d like to share with 6 technology trends I discovered at the conference. This computer graphics technology is either peaking now or will do so in the coming year.

1. Cloud Rendering

Although cloud rendering (literally rendering your 3D work using the internet) has been around for several years the big sticking point has always been the issue of security. Apparently this issue has been resolved because everywhere I looked cloud rendering was being discussed.

Of particular interest was the Chaos Group demo/announcement of their Vray Cloud beta. I was blown away by how simple and effective it is to do your rendering in the cloud. Pricing is still an issue but the determining factor will most likely be how much rendering time you actually use. Note that rendering on the Vray Cloud is free while it’s in beta. All you have to do is register.

2. Working Remotely as a VFX Artist

In my conversation on Tuesday with James David Hatten, founder and CEO of VFX Legion, I was made aware that his company (and many other VFX houses) are increasingly using talented VFX artists who do their work remotely. With improved internet communication and great communication applications, there is a job market for VFX talent to work from their homes/studios.

3. GPU Rendering Breakthrough

NVIDIA announced a huge breakthrough in GPU technology: the Quadro RTX, the world’s first ray-tracing graphics card based on (and I mean it) the revolutionary Turing graphics architecture. Although I didn’t attend NVIDIA’S CEO Jensen Huang’s event reveal, I was able to watch it later and was blown away by the significance of NVIDIA’s new technology. Real time Ray-tracing is literally the holy grail of gpu rendering and NVIDIA has finally made it possible. Bravo!

4. Virtual Reality is Here for Good

There is no question virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality are here for good. It’s presence was ubiquitous at Siggraph 2018. I didn’t go for the major VR exhibits(Disney’s Cycles, StarVR and The CAVE), but I did spend time with at least 6 smaller demos. 5 at VR Village and 1 at the Google booth with the Google Daydream mobile VR headset. Storytelling in VR is getting so much better. I was very impressed with everything I saw. Plus, the headsets are getting more comfortable and have much better visuals. Looks like I’ll be buying a headset soon!

5. The Coming Virtual Studio

Along with the incredible development in virtual reality entertainment technology there is equal growth in the virtual studio. Imagine being able to work as a VFX artist from anywhere in the world and your studio, your team and your tools are all in a virtual studio. The Jon Peddie press luncheon (always a favorite event at Siggraph) featured a panel of virtual studio sensei’s who shared their experiences and discussed the obstacles that have to be overcome.

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