Saturday, July 31, 2010

Siggraph 2010

I went up to Los Angeles this week to attend this year's Siggraph expo. In addition to a show floor, demonstrations, panels, and lectures, Siggraph has an area called the Emerging Technologies show, where you get a sneak peek at a variety of engineering marvels from around the world. I took a few pictures as I walked through:

Clockwise from top left: adjusting the direction of a pair of synthetic eyes via joystick, my friend Sabine dancing with a small French robot, a set of sensors that could be positioned in any number of arrangements, tickling a holographic pixie.
Left: Two people testing a "scent sensor" that, when activated by a perfume-scented piece of paper, would bloom and attract bees and hummingbirds cast from a projector above. Right: putting my hand out in a scanning field, where it was then rendered on a computer in real time. It was like putting my hand underneath a falling stream of virtual water and seeing its shape appear on the monitor. Very cool.
On to the show floor. I stopped by the Vancouver Film School table, and saw that I'm now included in their alumni book. It brought a nice feeling of closure to see it.

Another real time 3D scanning booth, only this had a much larger field to step into. The render on the left was taken from my iPhone. 
This Tandent booth had some impressive technology. It was able to isolate the shadow layer of an image and remove it to show the subject as if it was evenly lit from all directions. There was one before/after shot that they had of a wrinkled receipt with the after version looking essentially like a printed-out text document, it was so clear. When applied to faces (in real time, no less) you got this result (original video feed on the left, then the isolated shadow layer in the middle, then the differential "diffuse image" on the right):
The man at the booth who was explaining the tech to me said that the main function they were developing it for was facial recognition software.
On the way out, I bumped into animators Shawn Kelly and Carlos Baena, co-creators of the world-famous Animation Mentor online school. Both were extremely nice and fun to talk with, and I was very pleased to hear from Shawn that Red Dead Redemption is currently very popular with his coworkers at ILM!

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