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SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 Announces Keynote Speakers

Digital Domain co-founder Scott Ross and Columbia University Professor Steven Feiner to share expert insights into computer graphics and augmented reality at the 7th ACM SIGGRAPH Asia Conference and Exhibition running December 3-6 in Shenzhen, China.

Over four days this December, Asia’s largest computer graphics (CG) event, SIGGRAPH Asia 2014, will be hosted in Shenzhen, China. SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 will present a myriad of experts and exhibits in a range of fields, including hardware, software, film and game production, as well as research and education.

Among the experts this year are the conference’s two keynote speakers: Scott Ross and Steven Feiner. As leaders and game-changers in their respective fields, Ross and Feiner will share compelling information and research about the changing nature of Computer Graphics and Augmented Reality (AR), leaving the audience with unparalleled insight into the future direction and trends of these dynamic subjects.

Scott Ross Asks: ‘Can Asia Become Hollywood?’

Scott Ross

As a pioneer in the digital media and entertainment industry, Scott Ross has worn many hats throughout his career. As a co-founder of renowned Academy Award-winning digital production studio Digital Domain, Ross’ commendable direction saw the studio receive Academy Awards for ground-breaking visual effects in Titanic, What Dreams May Come and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as well as several Academy Award nominations for numerous other films.

Before forming Digital Domain, Ross led George Lucas’ vast entertainment empire, running Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Skywalker Sound, LucasFilm Commercial Productions, and DroidWorks. Under his leadership, ILM won five Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects (Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Innerspace; Terminator 2; The Abyss; and Death Becomes Her).

For his keynote speech at SIGGRAPH Asia 2014, Ross will examine whether China will surpass the United States and become the world’s largest box office territory by 2021. Given the importance of Asia’s movie-going public, will Asian filmmakers and Asian stories refocus Hollywood’s vision? Or will a new power emerge independently?

Columbia University Professor Steven Feiner Shares New Research

Steven Feiner

Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, Feiner also directs the Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab and Columbia Visual and Graphics Center. For over 20 years, Feiner’s lab has been undertaking Augmented Reality (AR) research. His research created the first outdoor mobile AR system using a see-through display, and pioneered experimental applications of AR to fields such as tourism, journalism, maintenance, and construction.

Feiner is co-author of Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice. He received the IEEE VGTC 2014 Virtual Reality Career Award, and was elected to the CHI Academy. Together with his students, he has won the ACM UIST Lasting Impact Award and best paper awards at ACM UIST, ACM CHI, ACM VRST, and IEEE ISMAR. Prof. Feiner is lead advisor to Meta, which is developing 3D AR eyewear.

Computer Animation Festival Awards Top Three Achievers

The SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 Computer Animation Festival presents the most stunning animation and visual effects works. Every year, it showcases the latest technologies and creative innovations for attendees, and this year it will continue to thrill with a variety of creative arts and technological advancements.

With a high number of submissions this year, the Computer Animation Festival continues to further anchor its position as a major festival in Asia. This year’s Best of Show Award has been given to Bang Bang!, by Julien Bisaro of Caïmans Productions in France. Bang Bang! presents a dazzling visual narrative, further enhanced by a rapid pace that keeps viewers completely engaged from the start to its satisfying ending.

The Jury Special Prize was presented to James Cunningham of Media Design School (New Zealand), for his short film Over the Moon. The Best Student Project Prize was awarded to Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou, by Michael Bidinger and Michelle Kwon of the Ringling College of Art and Design (United States).

“I would like to emphasize that there are quite a number of outstanding pieces that attracted the committee and jury's attention with intriguing visual designs and gripping narratives,” said Computer Animation Festival director Jinny Choo.

Courses Explore Contemporary Topics in Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques

Chaired by Richard Zhang of Simon Fraser University, the Courses component of SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 sees experts present a wide variety of topics in computer graphics and interactive techniques, with a special focus on design and content creation, interactive technologies, user experiences, as well as fabrication and big (visual) data. All topics will be tailored to seasoned professionals and students.

Among the highlights this year: How to Design and Build New Musical Interfaces, by Michael Lyons of Ritsumeikan University and Sidney Fels of the University of British Columbia; Motion Capture for Mobile Phones – Hands On, by Feijo Filho of the Nokia Institute of Technology; and Bringing Stories to Life: Developing Narrative for Games, Animation, and VFX by Craig Caldwell of the University of Utah. Additionally, prospective future submitters of Courses topics should make time to attend How to make a SIGGRAPH Paper by Daniel Cohen-Or of Tel-Aviv University, Dani Lischinski of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Niloy Mitra of University College London, Xin Tong of Microsoft Research Asia and Li-Yi Wei of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Record Submissions for Technical Papers

This year, the highly-revered platform for presenting the latest technical research findings on computer graphics and interactive techniques saw more papers with a focus on 3D printing, scene reconstruction, digital photography and video, alongside a range of other topics. 

The SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 Technical Papers program received a record-breaking 355 completed submissions. A total of 63 papers were accepted from over 16 countries and regions around the world.

Among this year’s highlights are: Mirror Mirror: Crowdsourcing Better Portraits, by Junyan Zhu and Alexei Efros of the University of California, Berkeley and Aseem Agarwala, Eli Shechtman, and Jue Wang of Adobe Systems, Inc; Leveraging Depth Cameras and Wearable Pressure Sensors for Full-body Kinematics and Dynamics Capture, by Peizhao Zhang, Jianjie Zhang, and Jinxiang Chai of Texas A&M University and Karen Liu and Kristin Siu of the Georgia Institute of Technology; plus Rendering Volumetric Haptic Shapes in Mid-air Using Ultrasound by Benjamin Long, Sue Ann Seah, Tom Carter, and Sriram Subramanian of the University of Bristol.

The Business of Computer Graphics

The "business of the business" is more important now than ever before. Companies are no longer exclusively run by creative or industry visionaries, but rather by those focused on success and return on investment.

SIGGRAPH Asia 2014’s Business Symposium aims to examine the most important topics relating to the financial success of businesses in the computer graphics industry. Matters presented will include Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA), cloud strategies, intellectual property, and tax incentives will be key points of discussion alongside industry-specific topics like creative management, production efficiency, and best practices.

The program features a 60 minute Q&A session with Scott Ross, followed by two 90-minute sessions focusing on a variety of topics, including how to successfully run Computer Graphics businesses in China, how to find and retain talent, cloud usage and patent law.

Featured panelists and guests include: Teresa Chung, GM of Lucasfilm Singapore; Thilo Kuther, CEO of Pixomodo; Shuzo Shiota, President of Polygon Pictures; Harley Zhao, founder of Original Force; and Ashley Lui, founder of MindWalks Studio.

Featured Sessions Bring Innovative Thinkers and Top Talent

The Featured Sessions give conference attendees the chance to listen and learn from the world’s most exciting and innovative talent. This year, SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 is proud to feature two talks from two inspirational individuals, Peter J. Bentley and Robb Denovan.

Peter J. Bentley

Dr. Bentley is currently an Honorary Reader and Senior College Fellow at University College London, where he also runs the Digital Biology Interest Group. His areas of research interests cover evolutionary algorithms, computational development, artificial immune systems, swarming systems and other complex systems, applied to diverse applications including design, control, novel robotics, nanotechnology, fraud detection, mobile wireless devices, security, art and music composition.

Bentley authored the number-one bestselling iPhone app iStethoscope Pro. Through his research and his books he often gives plenary speeches at international scientific conferences, public lectures, takes part in debates, and appears on radio and television. He has published over 250 scientific papers and is editor of the books Evolutionary Design by Computers, Creative Evolutionary Systems and On Growth, Form and Computers, and is the author of The PhD Application Handbook and the popular science books Digital Biology, The Book of Numbers, The Undercover Scientist and Digitized.

Dr. Bentley’s talk is titled More Than Skin Deep. In this talk, Dr. Bentley describes how biological systems such as evolution, growth and immune systems, can be used to inspire graphic models with examples from his lab (art installations, collaborations with special effects companies, collaborations with biologists). He describes how interdisciplinary research enables these different forms of representations and how the models provide new understandings of the phenomena being examined.

Robb Denovan is a senior animator with Pixar Animation Studios. He has amassed over a decade of experience in the animation industry with stints at numerous top studios such as MPC London, Weta Digital, and Pixar Animation Studios. Denovan has worked on a variety of highly successful films including King Kong, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Clash of the Titans, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, La Luna, Brave, Cars 2 and Monsters University. He is currently working as a Senior Animator on Pixar's upcoming film Inside Out scheduled for release in 2015.

The title of Denovan’s talk is Inside Pixar Animation: Animating a Shot from Conceptual Stage to Final Polish. In this talk, he will share his secrets on animating at one of the top studios in the world and offer insight into how Pixar's legendary animation is created.


Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.