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SIGGRAPH 2013 Technology Preview

Get a taste of what some of the industry’s leading technology developers have on tap for SIGGRAPH 2013, including product announcements and demonstrations, Exhibitor Tech Talks and User Group meetings.

SIGGRAPH 2013, to be held July 21-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, promises a full program of panels, presentations, technical papers and production sessions, as well as the Computer Animation Festival, the world's leading festival of the most innovative and accomplished computer graphics.

See below to get a taste of what some of the industry’s leading technology developers have on tap for the SIGGRAPH 2013 Exhibition, including product announcements and demonstrations,  Exhibitor Tech Talks & Sessions and User Group meetings taking place throughout the show.

Real-Time ACES Decoding and AMD FirePro GPU-Enabled RRT/ODT Processing at 4K

Tuesday, July 23 – 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Interactive decoding enables real-time adjustment in scene-referred linear light of color balance, contrast, and effective exposure of high-dynamic-range ACES. Efficient coding/decoding using floating-point provides extra precision to support these features.

FirePro Technologies for Visual Computing

Wednesday, July 24 – 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Visual Computing is the combination of two key assets from AMD: compute and graphics. Visual Computing needs numerous specific features in graphics and compute in order to become a new experience in digital content creation, multimedia, or visual simulation. AMD FirePro Technology provides these key features, delivering the best experience in Visual Computing.

Adding More Life to Your Characters with TressFX

Tuesday, July 23 – 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Crystal Dynamics and AMD made headlines earlier this year with the first fully simulated and rendered head of hair in a video game completely driven by the GPU, which added a new dimension of life to Lara Croft in the re-imagined Tomb Raider. This presentation demonstrates how to achieve exceptional hair rendering with DirectX 11's compute pipeline and shows that it really is possible to breathe new life into our characters with something as simple as a well-styled head of hair.

On Tuesday, July 23, Autodesk will host a User Group event at The City National Grove in Anaheim, CA from 7-10PM PST. Attendees can learn about the latest technology from Autodesk, hear from visionaries and guest speakers, connect with Autodesk staff and executives, and network.

Featured presentations include:

  • Image Engineon Elysium
  • Microsoft Studiospresenting Xbox One next generation game development – including Crytek's Ryse:Son of Rome
  • The latest invirtual production with Lightstorm Entertainment
  • Production ClubInc., creators of the Skrillex Cell, will present a real-time motioncapture demo
  • A virtual DJperformance during post-event cocktails

Autodesk software will also be featured in several partner booths including: BOXX Technologies (#659), Intel (#201), Natural Point (#535), NVIDIA (#803) and Wacom (#119). Additionally, Autodesk will be giving scheduled product demos throughout the show in the following partner booths: AMD (#521), Fusion-io (#651), Imagination Technology (#351) and PNY (#731).

For more details, and to register for the User Group meeting, visit Autodesk AREA.

Immersion, stereoscopy and interactivity are standard requirements for modern collaborative visualization environments today. But the greatest images in the world are useless without an equally high resolution, high performance display system to show them on.

Christie’s innovation and technology delivers immersive 3D with picture-perfect images at SIGGRAPH 2013. The Christie Mirage 4K – the first and only 4K DLP projector with 120Hz performance, designed for 3D immersive visualization applications will be showcased. The Christie Mirage 4K series provides 10,000 to 35,000 lumens brightness, a variety of input options including DisplayPort, HDMI and HD-SDI, and built-in Christie Twist for curved screens and blended array visualization applications.

Attendees can also step inside the company’s enhanced Christie HoloStation, a personal visualization solution that displays up to 16.8 Megapixels of data in a 3D stereoscopic and interactive tracked environment, all in a compact footprint that fits into nearly any cubicle or a lab in any facility.

Christie HoloStation

Foundry images courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Epson will be showcasing demos by industry-leading app developers utilizing the cutting-edge Moverio BT-100 smart glasses. Moverio smart glasses are the world’s first Android-powered headset featuring micro projectors that create an 80-inch HD display in front of the wearer's eyes while still allowing users to see the world around them. The dual-projection technology enables the display of 3D augmented reality overlays for an endless array of applications in a variety of industries, as well as gestural computing and YouTube video gallery viewing.

Epson will also be showcasing its new SureColor T-Series plotters designed for the engineering community and how they’re impacting today’s engineering and graphic design workflows with brilliant, crisp output on any media.

Montreal-based software engineering company Fabric Engine will demonstrate new products that will bring the time, energy and financial costs often associated with the production process under control. Whether it’s unleashing multi-threaded performance inside packages like Maya and Nuke for technical directors (Creation: Splice) or showing off a new procedural locomotion system for crowds and characters (Creation: Horde), booth #737 (with Shotgun Software) is where the future of content creation tools become a reality.

Throughout the show, Fabric Engine will be also giving a sneak preview of Creation: Stage, a high-performance scene assembly, lighting and shader authoring system that was developed with Creation Platform. Every day, the team will demonstrate how it works seamlessly with Shotgun’s asset management technology.

User group events will be held on July 23 & 24 in room 213a. Tuesday’s event begins at 10:00am and will cover Creation: Splice, while Wednesday’s event will give an in-depth look at Creation Platform, starting at 4:30pm and will include presentations from Hybride and MPC on their use of Fabric Engine’s technology.

Creation: Horde curiosity can also be satisfied at a Fabric Engine tech talk that will show off how its powerful and interactive UI works wonders for small to medium-sized VFX crowd shots. Starting at 5:30pm in Hall A, Phil Taylor, CTO of Fabric Engine will lead attendees through demos before ending with a short Q&A. Full details can be found here.

At this year's SIGGRAPH, Canon U.S.A. will be in booth #502 and will showcase visualization products for input and output for the consumer, business and industrial markets.

This visualization workflow will demonstrate four product lines:

  • A green screen demonstration is Canon’s new approach to digital pre-visualization for movie production. Canon’s Mixed Reality Division is collaborating with Stargate Studios to showcase this workflow.
  • Cinema EOS Cameras, which feature Canon's unique Super 35mm CMOS sensor and provide a modular, portable and eminently adaptable system of cameras, lenses and accessories built for modern cinematography applications, will be on display. A video presentation highlighting film clips from recent productions that utilized Cinema EOS products will also be shown.
  • The third component features high resolution REALiS projectors that will display film content in a small theater setting.
  • The Large Format Printer Group will display their imagePROGRAF iPF6450 and will print movie posters throughout the course of the show.

“V-Ray Day at SIGGRAPH” will be held at the SIGGRAPH expo center (room 203A) on Wednesday, July 24. Its exclusive presentations will feature supervisors from ILM, Digital Domain, Method Studios, Scanline VFX, Pixomondo and Zoic Studios and will show off the ways V-Ray continues to support VFX artists. This event will be held in two sessions and will be open to all SIGGRAPH attendees (see the full program and register for this event).At SIGGRAPH 2013, Chaos Group joins forces with some of the VFX industry’s top artists. Together they will host two events packed tight with production run-downs of commercial spots, television shows, game cinematics, and blockbuster films including Star Trek Into Darkness, Oblivion, and Iron Man 3. SIGGRAPH visitors will also see a sneak preview of Chaos Group’s next major release: V-Ray 3.0.

At the Chaos Group/Trinity3D booth at the Expo floor, Chaos Group will be previewing V-Ray 3.0 and holding master classes in Phoenix FD and V-Ray for Maya (booth 110).

Together with partners NVIDIA (booth 803) and BOXX Technologies (booth 659), the Chaos Group team will also be demonstrating the latest advancements in V-Ray RT.

Participation in two Birds of a Feather sessions (BoF) will give Chaos Group’s development team a chance to unearth some of V-Ray’s 3.0 key technical aspects. In the first session, V-Ray creator Vlado Koylazov will share details about deep compositing support in V-Ray 3.0 (22 July 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., room 213B); while Chaos Group developer Ivan Mavrov will demo Open Shading Language support at an OSL BoF session (22 July 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., Hilton Anaheim - Malibu).

“V-Ray User Event – Los Angeles” is a post-SIGGRAPH event that will be hosted at The Gnomon School of Visual Effects. Starting at 6 p.m. on July 26, artists from Pixomondo will demonstrate how V-Ray was used on Oblivion and Star Trek Into Darkness, while Blur will highlight the game cinematics of Batman: Arkham Origins and The Elder Scrolls Online. This event is open to the public (see the full program and register for this event).

At SIGGRAPH 2013, Imagination TechnologiesCaustic Professional will showcase new developments in ray-traced graphics through a series of tech talks, customer demonstrations, and sneak previews of Caustic Visualizer for Maya v1.2 and Caustic Visualizer for 3ds Max 1.0 at the Imagination Technologies booth, 351.

Imagination will also lead several talks at SIGGRAPH on the advancement and expansion of ray-traced graphics technology for rendering photo-realistic, cinema-quality 3D to artists in media and entertainment:

Monday, July 22, 2:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. – Convention Center, room 304 A-D Ray Tracing is the Future and Ever Will BeThis SIGGRAPH course will feature James McCombe, Imagination director of research and Caustic co-founder, as part of a session presenting the state-of-the-art in ray tracing technology.

 Tuesday, July 23, 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. – Convention Center, booth 117 “Accelerating Look Development with Real-Time, Interactive Ray-Traced Viewports” During this tech talk, presenters will discuss real-time use of Imagination’s ray tracing hardware and Visualizer viewport plugins to help users make better-informed creative choices in their modelling and lighting pipelines

Wednesday, July 24, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Convention Center, room 303 A-B New Directions and Developments in Mobile GPU DesignThis SIGGRAPH panel will include McCombe in a discussion on taking full advantage of the latest GPU design and implementations to bring advanced graphics to smartphone and tablet users.

Wednesday, July 24, 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. – Convention Center, booth 117 “The Architecture of High-End Mobile Graphics Hardware” This tech talk will highlight the key aspects of Imagination’s PowerVR GPUs, including information on the new PowerVR Series6 architecture; the architecture behind high-end mobile devices set to ship in the next 6-12 months. Presenters will also compare PowerVR Series6 against PowerVR Series5/5XT, as well as other conventional GPU solutions, and provide an overview of how the hardware works.

Daily – Ongoing in the Imagination Technologies booth 351 Joining Imagination’s booth will be Mads Drøschler of Freaky Nest and Gavin Greenwalt of StraightFace Studios, who will showcase the commercial VFX and arch-viz projects they’ve created with the Caustic Visualizer and Series2 card. Additionally, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday and 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, Steven Roselle of Autodesk will showcase how he uses the Visualizer and Series2 card in his Maya workflow.


3D modeling, painting, animation and rendering solutions developer MAXON will feature technology demonstrations at SIGGRAPH 2013 highlighting the use of the company’s 3D creative tools, including CINEMA 4D and BodyPaint 3D. Visitors will also see demonstrations of the new technologies from MAXON -- CINEWARE and CINEMA 4D Lite -- aimed at delivering a new level of integration between CINEMA 4D and Adobe After Effects.

The MAXON main stage, located in the exhibition hall at booth #315, promises to be the place for convention attendees to gain insight from some of today’s most acclaimed 3D creative professionals who will reveal tips, techniques and workflow successes using CINEMA 4D on a wide variety of high profile projects.

Guest artists scheduled to present include Nick Campbell,the online phenom behind, Los Angeles-based freelance VFX designer/animator Casey Hupke, Munich, Germany-based motion graphics designer Robert Haranitzky, Imaginary Forces artist Ryan Summers, FUSE animation and visual effects supervisor Chris Korn, Toronto-based independent filmmaker Anthony Scott Burns, and Chicago-based Built Light founder Jack Bransfield.

For MAXON enthusiasts unable to attend the show, the company is dedicating a live stream from its SIGGRAPH booth at C4DLive. Visit for live broadcasts and expanded information on guest presenters, presentation schedules, news from the show floor, and more.

At SIGGRAPH this year, motion capture provider OptiTrack is featuring markered skateboarders shredding a half-pipe in its booth (#535). The custom 30’x20’ setup maximizes the available capture volume by leveraging the wide-angle capabilities of 24 Prime 17W cameras powered by recently released Motive:Body software. Specially engineered skateboards featuring LED markers embedded on the decks, trucks and wheels allow them to be tracked alongside the skateboarders’ movements and will be captured, delivered and rendered in real time in the first live demonstration of its kind. Also performing with the skateboarders will be an expert quad roller skater.

Pixar’s SIGGRAPH 2013 booth in Los Angeles features regular demonstrations by speakers from around the world. Highlights include:

The Blue Umbrella and RenderMan Chris Burrows – Technical Director, Pixar Animation Studios During this presentation, Burrows will give an overview of how they used some of the new features in Pixar’s RenderMan to complete Pixar’s short film, The Blue Umbrella. Topics will include Physically Plausible Shading, Deep Compositing and, other tips and tricks for optimizing renders.

Laika: VFX Shading Mitch Prater – Laika VFX Shading System Architect An overview of the design criteria, implementation, and capabilities of Laika’s custom physically-based shader authoring system used with RenderMan Studio, showcasing examples of production workflows and look development.

Monsters University: Global Illumination and Slim Davide Pesare – Software Engineer, Pixar Animation Studios Monsters University is Pixar’s first feature film to adopt an entirely physically-based workflow when it comes to lighting and shading. Pesare will present the reasons behind this ambitious project, and discuss the details of implementing ray-traced global illumination with Pixar’s RenderMan on Monsters University.

To see the full lineup + presentation times, visit

Qualcomm will be participating in the New Directions and Developments in Mobile GPU Design panel on Wednesday, July 24, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. in meeting room 303 AB. Leaders in mobile graphics from Qualcomm, Intel, NVIDIA, ARM and Imagination Technologies are coming together in a panel that will cover the newest and best ways advanced programmers can take advantage of GPU design implementation and optimize for mobile-specific platforms. The panelists will also explore where mobile graphics are headed and discuss their companies’ respective visions for the future of mobile graphics.

Qualcomm will also be exhibiting its latest graphic technologies throughout the week in the Qualcomm booth #823. Demos will include Adreno tools (SDK, Profiler, Debugger), Fortress: Fire, Marooned (Unity Exclusive demo) and “Swimmer” and “Car” (new ACG demos) featuring Open GL ES 3.0.

Cloud-based rendering services company Render Rocket will showcase two new innovations at this year’s SIGGRAPH exhibition: a new, open source cloud-rendering application called Render Rocket LaunchPad, and a new cloud resource management tool called Render Rocket Throttle.

LaunchPad allows artists to tap into the power of cloud rendering with one click-and-submit step. Accessed directly from within the menu of Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, or Maxon Cinema 4D, LaunchPad will automatically check, package up and submit a render job (or series of jobs) to the Render Rocket cloud. This helps artists launch render jobs faster, and removes the risk of render failures by ensuring that all elements of the scene file, all references and networks paths, are correct. Artists can monitor their submitted renders from within the application in order to see which jobs are launched and rendering. LaunchPad will be available for Windows and Mac.

Render Rocket’s Throttle puts customers in the pilot's seat with the ability to control render resources working on their project and the ability to manage their project costs and render delivery. With Throttle, users can now scale up or down the number of servers working on their renders on-the-fly in order to meet their deadlines and budgets. For high performance “need it yesterday” jobs, users can “throttle up” to hundreds of servers; or for projects where cost management is critical, users can “throttle down” the number of servers for significant cost savings. In addition, users can prioritize their render jobs using drag-and-drop functionality in order to best use their resources.

Render Rocket will debut the two new innovations at this year’s Siggraph in the Intel Studio Lounge (Room 201B off the show floor). Both LaunchPad and Throttle are expected to launch in early Fall.

At this year’s SIGGRAPH Conference, Shotgun Software, developer for pipeline tools for the visual effects and animation industry, will be showcasing the latest 5.1 release of the company’s popular production management platform from booth #737.

The Shotgun 5.1 release enables a host of new features including a redesigned user interface, simplified browsing tools and the option to create and edit playlists in Shotgun’s included Screening Room review tool. Demonstrations from Shotgun integration partners Tweak Software, Zync Render, Fabric Engine and Codex will also be available at booth #737 throughout the conference.

Shotgun will be hosting two events open to Shotgun customers, or anyone interested in optimizing VFX, animation and game development pipelines. The Shotgun User Group meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 23, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. in room 213a and will provide a sneak peek at what’s coming in Shotgun 5.2 this fall, and an opportunity to share industry best practices and discuss common challenges with peers.

A second Pipeline Toolkit User Group event will be held on Wednesday July 24, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. in room 213a and will host an in-depth technical discussion focused around Shotgun’s latest tools, multi-studio and script to screen pipeline prototypes, and a general discussion about common issues and best practices around modern pipeline development.

SmithMicro Software will showcase the newest version of its 3D animation software program, Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014 at SIGGRAPH 2013. Perfect for artists, illustrators, animators and graphic designers, Poser enables users to easily create full 3D scenes with digital humans, animals and props. In addition to an extensive library of pre-loaded characters and content, Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014 come equipped with new features such as Subdivision Surfaces for improved bending fidelity, Bullet Physics for adding increased realism to animation and Live Simulation mode for previewing dynamics in real-time.

Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014 provide new professional level features, even at the base version of the software. The integration of Pixar’s OpenSubdiv library enables artists to define subdivision levels by prop, figure or even individual body part with ease. This feature, known as Subdivision Surfaces, improves bending accuracy, smoothens polygonal surfaces and boosts overall performance by enabling lighter poly-count content. Poser’s new Bullet Physics tool simulates rigid body dynamics, soft body dynamics and even dynamic strand-based hair. Poser artists can now add jiggle and bounce to any prop or character, paint soft body constraint weights to animate and more. Users can even preview their animations in real-time with the Live Simulation feature.


The Foundry is headed to SIGGRAPH once again this year with a full lineup of guest speakers showing work using NUKE, MODO, KATANA, MARI, HIERO & ftrack, along with a special MODO User Group meeting with Brad Peebler.

There will also be daily presentations by The Foundry covering all the news from the latest product releases and updates from The Foundry’s Research team, plus a very exciting peek into the future of NUKE. See the full theatre schedule and times.

The Foundry’s FLIX

News of the latest edition to The Foundry's portfolio, FLIX, surfaced earlier this month. FLIX is a web-based visual story development tool that allows creative collaborators – including directors, editors, cinematographers, storyboard and previs artists – to work together in one easy-to-access place. With FLIX, users can work together to hone and perfect ideas and concepts as they develop the visual story of a film or project.

Before The Foundry took over commercial development earlier this year, FLIX was developed as an in-house solution at Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI). FLIX has been in use at SPI since 2008 and has been used on more than 15 projects including The Smurfs and Hotel Transylvania. This new venture is a continuation of the strong relationship between the two companies following the successful development of KATANA, the advanced framework for lighting and look development, which was commercialized by The Foundry back in October 2011. FLIX is not currently available to buy off-the-shelf, but interested facilities can contact The Foundry to find out more and inquire about adoption.


At SIGGRAPH 2013 in booth #601, Thinkbox Software will showcase the latest advancements to its Deadline render management solution as well as new and updated plug-ins for Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max including:

  • Deadline 6.1
  • VMX for Deadline
  • Krakatoa MY 2.3
  • Frost MY
  • Stoke MX 2.0
  • Krakatoa MX 2.2

Motion capture technology innovator Vicon will be launching the latest addition to its suite of 3D motion capture tracking systems at SIGGRAPH 2013, booth #771.

The pioneering new facial animation product will offer users the ultimate in efficiency and performance for games and film production, and will set the standard for affordable, accessible and high-quality character realism. The system will be available either as a stand-alone product or as part of an end-to-end facial animation workflow to give users complete flexibility.

Vicon will also be showcasing its recently launched real-time motion capture software, Blade 2. It enables the most effective production pipelines and workflow efficiency for motion capture projects, and integrates seamlessly with Vicon’s wide range of high-quality cameras.

Demonstrating the company’s expertise within the engineering industry as well as media and entertainment and life sciences, Vicon will also be using SIGGRAPH 2013 to showcase its immersive reality and virtual reality product,Apex, to the engineering sector. This unique Vicon product is a precise, robust hand-held tracking tool. Its ergonomic design and flexible controls enable the user to interact intuitively with virtual objects in a 3D environment.

Wacom’s in-booth theatre (Booth #119) at SIGGRAPH 2013 will be the place for attendees to gather and learn about digital content creation from leading animation artists provided by the Creative Talent Network. This select group of artists will demonstrate their drawing and story-telling skills using a Wacom Cintiq interactive pen display and accompanying creative software applications. 

Participating CTN artists include Brian Kesinger, Armand Baltazar, Brett Bean, Armand Serrano and Jason Scheier. Download the full lineup and schedule here.

Sunnyvale, CA-based zSpace is a 3D technology provider that enables natural interaction through virtual-holographic imagery, making projections – similar to those in Iron Man – a reality. zSpace is poised to change the way people interact with their computers, outfitting each user with the tools to model, build & create in a 3D environment.

zSpace will be exhibiting its flagship system at SIGGRAPH, demonstrating how the technology can advance the computer graphics & interactive industries with immersive 3D tech.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.