2020 has been a peculiar year (putting it in kind words), since pretty much everyone has been affected by the coronavirus, in varying degrees.
A lot of events around the globe have been cancelled or have been forced to change and adapt to the current situation. For this reason, SIGGRAPH 2020 changed from a physical event into a virtual event. The reasons for this change are not something we would like, but if you look at the bright side, this means a lot more people should be able to attend SIGGRAPH this year, since the barrier of entry has been lowered, specially for those of us living outside the U.S. This is also my first SIGGRAPH since 2010.
This year’s schedule is a little different. The event actually began this week, with the on-demand content, then next week they will offer the sessions and also the exhibition (this part is going to be interesting to see), and then, the next month they will have the recordings of all the sessions.
To access SIGGRAPH 2020, you go to a web platform where they have all the different things available for you. Since some stuff is not available until next week, there’s a limited amount of content you can access (only the on-demand content). However, you can also take a look at the exhibition presentations and also the sessions, so you can organize your schedule for next week.
One thing you can access right now are the “Posters” where you can find a lot of different researches and techniques to improve workflows or create new effects. These can be very interesting if you are into research or software development and are looking for new techniques. For example, the developers of 3d modeling software Dust3D (which I have covered in the past) has used these kinds of research for their software.
The Experience Hall hosts the Art Gallery, Computer Animation Festival, Immersive Pavilion and Emerging Technologies. The entire list of the pieces is found on a carousel navigation menu, and, when you click on a piece, you are taken to the description page.
Looking at the pieces from the Art Gallery and Immersive Pavilion from a web browser is definitely not as exciting as being able to see them in real life, specially since many of those are interactive pieces, and that crucial aspect is lost in this online exhibition. You could argue it’s the same for the Emerging Technologies pieces.
That’s not to say the Computer Animation Festival’s experience is the same. You usually watch the pieces on a really big screen in a cinema, so watching them on your computer screen (or TV) is a change, although, if you have a big TV, the experience will be better.
Even with these limitations, I think having a virtual SIGGRAPH is a very good thing overall, since it opens the doors to a lot of people who wouldn’t be able to attend any other way. Personally, I’d love to see them continue this trend, or maybe have some sort of hybrid, where some people can attend in person while others are able to follow the event online, in real time.
Attend SIGGRAPH 2020: https://s2020.siggraph.org/