I had a neat treat in my email inbox this morning, from Cinefex magazine, that bi-monthly magazine that has featured motion picture visual effects since 1980.

So what’s so special about SIGGRAPH 2017?

Well, I’m glad you asked!  I’ll let the folks at Cinefex tell you…

The SIGGRAPH 2017 Production Sessions program provides a platform for creative professionals to explain their processes and techniques in the fields of computer animation, visual effects, games, virtual reality, themed entertainment, and the software applications used by the artists who create them. Each presentation ends with a Q&A session that allows attendees to quiz the experts.

New in 2017 is the Production Gallery, featuring motion picture and games artifacts from major studios. Check out the pitch boards from Moana, concept art and maquettes from Cars 3 and costumes from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The gallery will also showcase a 25th Anniversary exhibition from Sony Pictures Imageworks,’ with items from films including Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Men in Black, Ghostbusters and Stuart Little.

I first heard about this massive confab in an interview with computer graphics professionals Brian Wyvill and George Mallen, friendly fellows who were part of the ground-breaking computer effects created back in 1979 for Alien.

And as those Virginia Slims ads used to say in the late 60s, “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

Special effects today, though light-years beyond those in Alien and other films of that era, were built on the foundation established by computer animation professionals back then, and continued through their ongoing research and development projects.

In fact, in all the discussions I’ve come across that relate to the Nostromo’s computer interfaces, I hear few complaints that the effects are out-dated. On the contrary, viewers perceive (correctly, IMHO) that they characterize the battered workhorse quite aptly.

That’s an amazing tribute, considering the work done for the film is nearly 40 years old.

You can read more about the SIGGRAPH 2017 conference (July 30 through August 3 in Los Angeles) at the Cinefex Blog in their overview, or jump right in at the official website.

Thanks to Brian and George for opening my eyes to this amazing world of creativity.


1 Comment

  1. UPDATE: Brian wrote to tell me he will not only be at SIGGRAPH this year in LA, he is currently the vice-president of the organization.

    He also added: “The production sessions would be of interest to your readers along with the e-tech exhibition, which has the latest in VR technology, haptics, interactive sensors and many more wonderful (and weird) exhibits. The audience is a mixture of computer scientists, animators and artists, production people of one stripe or another, and people just interested in high tech, stuff.”

    So if you get to go to the conference, look him up and let him know you read about it here at The Nostromo Files, will you? Cheers!



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