Production Sessions and Talks Programs at SIGGRAPH 2022 Emphasizes Technological Advances

Image Courtesy of DNEG Ⓒ 2021 Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

SIGGRAPH 2022 accentuates the advances of technology in computer graphics as part of its Production Sessions and Talks programs. Industry leaders from the film, VFX, and animation sectors will share their behind-the-scenes stories for their projects in the Production Sessions program. Another program that allows creators to impart successes and trials of their work is with the SIGGRAPH 2022 Talks. The Talks program includes conversations from a variety of subjects that affect the SIGGRAPH community and address important topics, such as race and gender. The 49th annual conference will run 8–11 August in person, with on-demand talks from participants available virtually 25 July–31 October 2022.

“The Production Sessions Program covers the growth and progress made in computer graphics technology across the industry,” said SIGGRAPH 2022 Production Sessions Chair Stephanie Eisenberg. “This year is no different, and I’m excited to have these production teams share their stories, especially how new techniques advanced their work on films such as Dune, Lightyear, and Encanto. The SIGGRAPH 2022 Production Sessions program allows creators to showcase their work and discuss the highs and lows that happen during the production process.”

Highlights from Production Sessions program include:

The VFX of Dune: Bringing an Iconic Story to Life [in-person]
Contributor: Stephen James, DNEG
‘Dune: Part One’ is the remarkable science fiction epic and the introduction of Denis Villeneuve’s vision of Frank Herbert’s Dune universe to viewers. DFX Supervisor Stephen James holds an eye-opening discussion of the pivotal role that DNEG played in bringing Villeneuve’s immersive vision to life. He will share enthralling behind-the-scenes details of the project, and dive into the meticulously detailed VFX work, and impressive creatures that played a climactic role in the creation of an iconic film.

Lightyear: Beyond the Infinite [virtual]
Contributors: Nathan Fariss and Chris Wiggum, Pixar Animation Studios
‘Lightyear,’ Pixar’s sci-fi action adventure, is the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy. In this Production Session, Nathan Fariss and Chris Wiggum trace their challenging journey to create a cohesive visual look that was both stylistically unique yet referential to the Toy Story world. This includes sets, characters, shading, tailoring & simulation, effects, compositing, and lighting. Their mission was one of ultimate complexity as they faced technological and artistic challenges all while racing against the clock to finish the film.

Weta FX Presents: The Batman [in-person]
Contributors: Beck Veitch and Dennis Yoo, Wētā FX
The Batman is the 19th appearance of the Caped Crusader in film, and as such, director Matt Reeves needed to find a new angle for the titular hero. The result is a brooding, ominous tone befitting the Gotham City setting and reflective of Reeves’ emotionally complicated version of the Batman. Compositing Supervisor Beck Veitch presents the work alongside Animation Supervisor Dennis Yoo. Beck and Dennis will also talk through the production of two major environments–the Batcave, an abandoned neo-gothic subway, and the City Hall, where the mayor’s funeral is gate-crashed by an unlucky victim.

We Don’t Talk About Bruno – An Encanto Musical Sequence Unveiled [in-person]
Contributors: Michelle Robinson and Tad Miller, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. In this session, the filmmakers break down their collaborative process in creating the iconic song sequence, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” as well as discussing the work and tight focus that went into creating this large, diverse, magical family. From building characters for a musical set in Colombia to a deep dive into the cinematography process, the discussion will cover the theatrical inspiration and partnerships between choreography, layout, and animation.

The Champion: Neural Render Case Study [virtual]
Contributor: Mike Seymour, University of Sydney
The Champion of Auschwitz is the first full-length feature film that was neural rendered in order to allow the actors to be converted from performing in German to performing in English. In this Polish film, set in WW2, the entire production was filmed and finished in German. Using advances in AI and machine learning, the actors’ faces have been replaced by inferred versions, visually built from English re-performances of the original dialogue. This production session discusses the important issues involved in doing professional neural rendering on a large scale – hundreds of shots, often with multiple characters in the same frame. Based on new technology, The Champion used only the footage already edited for the final German version of the film, combined with a robust and non-intrusive recording of the actors delivering the lines in English. The panel will discuss innovations in technology and provide insights into further advances that the team is working on, as well as the lessons learned and the advances in ML that allowed the wide-scale adoption of this technology in place of traditional dubbing or subtitles.

“For the Talks program, we’re excited to discuss the latest techniques and technological innovations that are being implemented today,” stated SIGGRAPH 2022 General Submissions Chair Chris Redmann. “The SIGGRAPH community continues to develop solutions to advance the computer graphics industry. From user solutions that can be applied to common workflows to unique practices that can assist in preserving history, our industry continues to evolve. These are conversations that I believe this year’s participants and attendees will appreciate and value.”

Highlights from the Talks Program include:

Sex and Gender in the Computer Graphics Research Literature [in-person]
Contributors: Ana Dodik, MIT; Silvia Sellan, University of Toronto; Theodore Kim, Yale University; Amand Phillips, Georgetown University
A discussion around a survey of the treatment of sex and gender in the computer graphics research literature from an algorithmic fairness perspective, which reveals scientifically incorrect and potentially harmful assumptions. The talk proposes ways of addressing these as technical limitations and pose open questions.

Fast and Robust Solution for Cubic and Higher-Order Polynomial [virtual]
Contributor: Cem Yuksel, University of Utah
Demonstration that shows cubic and higher-order polynomials can be solved easily and efficiently. A presentation of a fast and robust method for finding real roots of cubic and higher-order polynomials. It provides guaranteed convergence and satisfies the given error bound.

Modular Scene Filtering via the Pixar Hydra 2.0 Architecture [virtual]
Contributors: Tom Cauchois and Steve LaVietes, Pixar
A conversation about the design of the Hydra 2.0 architecture and how it enables modular pipeline- or workflow-specific scene transformations. The discussion includes two examples: configurable material network transformations, and fine-grained scene data merging for application integration and supporting proxy object workflows.

How We Reconstructed the Neighborhood Destroyed by the Tulsa Race Massacre [virtual]
Contributors: Yuliya Parshina-Kottas and Anjali Singvi, The New York Times
The New York Times used archival materials, data, and maps to make a 3D visualization of the African American neighborhood of Greenwood (Tulsa, Oklahoma), before it was destroyed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. This discussion will be around the use of geo-spatial data analysis, 3D, and machine-learning to recreate the lost neighborhood.

Building an Illustrated World in The Bad Guys [virtual]
Contributors: Jeff Budsberg, Pablo Valle, and Paolo de Guzman, DreamWorks Animation
The artistic style of “The Bad Guys” is inspired by the strong and simplified details of 2D illustration with its hand-drawn imperfections. Similar to traditional artists, the film needed techniques to selectively apply detail and thoughtfully deconstruct objects, focusing on artistic flexibility while maintaining scalability.

Access to the SIGGRAPH 2022 Production Sessions and Talks programs is available at varying registration levels. Learn more and register for the conference at s2022.SIGGRAPH.org/register.

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