SIGGRAPH 2012 – Part I
Written by: Matthew Perrin Resident Ghost Writer
Do you ever find yourself gazing—as I often do—at your cell phone or computer and think: this is really…beautiful? Everywhere you look, technology is aestheticized—intentionally designed to be beautiful. As humans increasingly invent and interact with digital devices, designers and developers continually quest to beautify those devices. The result of such efforts is something akin to a set of standard techno aesthetics that serve to visually define computer couture at any given moment in history. Whether your tablet or laptop is designed in California or South Korea, you can expect it to feature a “futuristic” blend of sleek lines, polymers, and metals. But since many digital devices these days look similar, one might wonder where standard techno aesthetics originate. The simple answer: SIGGRAPH. Although the history of the acronym itself is complex, the organization responsible for its creation describes SIGGRAPH as an “international conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques.” This annual convergence of artists, designers, scientists, and educators (currently expected to exceed 20,000 participants), is now in its 39th year and begins on Sunday in Los Angeles, California. More than simply a meeting of minds, the ideas and inspirations that coalesce and disperse at this gathering profoundly impact the appearance and appeal of the gadgets and games that we encounter each day.
It has become a tradition at Ghost Productions to send two lucky Ghosties to SIGGRAPH each year. As of today, Jason Craft (Post-Production Head) and Brian Thompson (3D Production Head) are bound for California. But this won’t be the first time for Brian. Way back in 2007, while still in college, he worked at SIGGRAPH as a student volunteer. In exchange for a week of operations support, wherein he helped maintain event proceedings and procedures, Brian enjoyed free accommodations, a special presentation from creative insiders at DreamWorks Animation, and access to an otherwise cost-prohibitive event that myriad visual design students fantasize about. Highlights of Brian’s trip included a Pixar panel discussion of the film “Ratatouille” and the Emerging Technology exhibition, which featured the new innovation of unmediated stereoscopic 3D projection: no glasses required! But SIGGRAPH does not just consist of lectures and exhibits. As entertaining and potentially inspiring as those may be, such events would not justify the cost of removing two of our best Ghosties from their projects and sending them on vacation for a week (sorry guys…). No, SIGGRAPH also hosts numerous training seminars taught by industry experts who instruct attendees in the use of emerging tools and techniques. Can you see where this is leading? That’s right, Jason and Brian are about to get schooled. Learn more about their “educational” adventure in Part II of our SIGGRAPH 2012 feature.