Conference Chair Peter Braccio Talks SIGGRAPH 2011
PB: The "Make it Home" theme came out of a volunteer-led discussion group that was attempting to quantify what SIGGRAPH was in the digital age and whether or not there were risks that were not addressed in moving the conference outside of the United States. Someone at this meeting made the strong point that no matter where SIGGRAPH was -- it was home. She then described a postcard of the famous Blue Marble picture of the Earth that had the word "Home" under it to reinforce the point. This resonated with everyone in the room.
BD: What is the new Symposium business think tank that you're launching this year for the computer graphics community?
PB: Very broadly, the four core constituents for the SIGGRAPH conference are Research, Production, Art, and Business. We have served the needs of the first three of these groups well over the years. The SIGGRAPH Symposium looks to expand the content for the Business constituents beyond the Exhibition. While the Exhibition fills several needs, it does little to formally address the issues, problems and opportunities that the computer graphics industry is seeing as a whole. The SIGGRAPH Symposium is our chance to provide an open, neutral, forum where these issues can be discussed and solutions will, hopefully, be found. This is also separate, limited registration category and takes place throughout Sunday of conference week. It is targeted at more senior level industry experts.
BD: I see Dailies! is back. What's new?
PB: The SIGGRAPH Dallies! selections for this year are more diverse than the they were in 2010. There are more university, game, and industry pieces in addition to the studio works. This makes for a more well-rounded presentation. All this content is available on the SIGGRAPH 2011 web site (as is most of our content), so you can see for yourself.
PB: As far as structure goes, there are a few changes for this year. The Computer Animation Festival screenings will all be held in one room, and the Production Sessions and Real-Time Live! programs will be held in another room. This will allow for six or seven Production Sessions, in addition to the three Real-Time Live! sessions. Also, the hands on component of Real-Time Live! (The Sandbox) is moving into the same room as other "experience" venues (Art Gallery, Emerging Technologies and The Studio).
We also will feature a dedicated 3-D day that includes a major Hollywood footage that has never been seen by the public before. There will be four Electronic Theater screenings (including one matinee) and several Festival Theaters screenings as well. The content is jam-packed with some of the season's biggest blockbusters and a wide variety of submissions across many categories (commercials to games).
Additionally, The Studio is continuing and expanding its Studio Talks sessions. These are now jury selected and SIGGRAPH-recognized sessions aimed at the nuts and bolts aspects of this field. You can think of these as a complement to the Dallies! Program in that these two things explore the realm of how the tool is used rather than realms of the tool creator or that of the finished work.
BD: What's the experience been like chairing the conference after being Guerilla Studio chair?
PB: I think that the experiences for me are fairly similar. In both positions I had wonderful groups of people that are smart, energetic and able to produce magic far beyond what I could. My job was to step back, provide them support and give them the space to make the magic happen. Come to Vancouver in August and you can be part of that magic too.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.