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SIGGRAPH Announces 2017 Production Sessions

The sessions will feature expert creators across film, games, computer animation, visual effects and virtual reality, presenting their work on projects like ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,’ ‘Cars 3’ and ‘Overwatch.’

CHICAGO -- SIGGRAPH 2017, the world’s leading annual interdisciplinary educational experience showcasing the latest in computer graphics and interactive techniques, has announced the highlights of this year’s Production Sessions program. SIGGRAPH 2017 will mark the 44th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, and will be held 30 July–3 August 2017 in Los Angeles.

SIGGRAPH Production Sessions are a chance for the world’s elite computer graphics experts and creatives to explain their processes and techniques. Following each presentation, attendees have the opportunity to ask questions about the complex productions, which span the genres of computer animation, visual effects, games, virtual reality, themed entertainment and the latest computer graphics applications.

New in 2017, the Production Sessions program will be debuting the Production Gallery, which will feature motion picture and games artifacts from major studios. Among the memorabilia will be pitch boards from Disney’s Moana; concept artwork and maquettes from Cars 3, Overwatch, and Final Fantasy XV and costumes from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The gallery will also showcase an exhibition from Sony Pictures Imageworks’ archives to celebrate its 25th anniversary, with items from Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Men in Black, Ghostbusters and Stuart Little.

“Since the Production Sessions program began, it has grown and evolved to become an attendee favorite with universal appeal. I am proud to be part of that tradition and to continue expanding the scope of Production Sessions content as well as initiating the all-new Production Gallery. While we have an amazing lineup that retains strong animation and VFX, we are also featuring a VR panel with Google Spotlight Stories and Oculus Story Studio and presenting a look at Blizzard’s trans-media approach in creating Overwatch. Plus, for the first time, we are bringing a live-action TV series to the SIGGRAPH stage,” said Emily Hsu, SIGGRAPH 2017 Production Sessions Chair.

This summer, there will be 11 Production Sessions. Among the highlights are:

Game of Thrones: Building & Destroying Meereen
The Rodeo FX team will take you through the process behind the creation of the award-winning environment of Meereen in seasons 4 and 5 of Game of Thrones, then its destruction in season 6. Created in season 4, the impressive city features a giant gilded pyramid crowned by a golden statue. What started out as a 2.5D matte painting evolved into a fully CG city in season 6, threatened to be destroyed when it’s under attack by a fleet of ships.

Valerian and City of a Thousand Planets
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the visually spectacular new adventure film from Luc Besson, the legendary director of The Fifth Element, and is based on the ground-breaking comic book series Valérian et Laureline.

This session zooms in on the technologies deployed to create this fabulous universe.

ILM Presents: Behind the Magic, The Visual Effects of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Join the visual effects team from Industrial Light & Magic as they discuss the Academy Award nominated effects work that went into Rogue One. Space battles, planetary destruction, “CG Miniatures,” a re-programmed imperial droid, a Death Star and, yes, some digital human work for good measure, the crew will provide insight into the film’s biggest challenges and discuss the solutions that brought this new chapter in the Star Wars universe to life.

The Making of Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Set to the backdrop of “Awesome Mixtape #2,” Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand. Marvel Studios, Weta, Framestore, and Method Studios will take SIGGRAPH audiences through their VFX journey as they created some of the movie’s most heart-stopping moments.

Crazy Eight: The Making of a Race Sequence in Disney/Pixar’s Cars 3
In this deep dive into Cars 3, learn how Pixar filmmakers pulled off one of their most complex sequences ever: a figure-8 demolition derby filled with car crashes, mud, and explosions! The production team discusses the artistic and technical challenges involved in bringing this race to life. Park at your own risk. Pixar is not responsible for any damage to your vehicle (the conference will also be screening Cars 3 for all attendees on Sunday evening, 30 July).

Blizzard Entertainment Presents: The Making of the Overwatch Animated Shorts
Learn how Blizzard Animation had to radically alter some of its production workflows and much of the technology used to produce the six episodes of Overwatch. Using the groundbreaking GPU-based ray-tracing renderer Redshift, the Overwatch shorts represent an entirely new, cost-effective animation pipeline that allows rich, high-quality content to be created in a fraction of the time traditionally associated with pre-rendered workflows. Blizzard’s team will also share some of the strategies, tools, and techniques employed to create a world worth fighting for.

Notes Hsu, “Although each project is very different in terms of production technique and process, all of our presentations embody the conference theme, ‘At the Heart of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.’ The drive to overcome challenges, spirit of innovation, and passion to create really does stand at the heart of these sessions.”

As a bonus, discover what takes a production to the next level during the Sunday, 30 July, panel, “The Academy’s Science and Technology Council Presents ‘Hidden Figures’ in Collaboration With NASA.” Moderated by Beverly J. Wood, BJWOOD Consultant, LLC, and Academy Science and Technology Council member, the panel will feature NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers and research scientists, as well as members of the creative team behind the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Learn more about this session.

Last but not least, the Productions Sessions program will host a very special meet-and-greet with Google Spotlight Stories Director Jorge Gutierrez “Son of Jaguar” on Wednesday, 2 August, from 4:30–5:30 p.m.

Register for SIGGRAPH 2017 at