Transforming Collaboration in the Cloud

Dreamworks PipelineX is a unique approach to building a highly-scalable, multi-functional, and production-friendly feature animation pipeline on a core infrastructure comprised of microservices. We discuss basic service layer design as well as the benefits and challenges of moving decades-old production processes for an entire animation studio to a new, transactional pipeline operating against a compartmentalized technology stack. The goal is to clean up the clutter of a legacy pipeline and enable a more flexible production environment using modern, web-based technology. Ray Forziati and Dan Golembeski have both been working at DreamWorks for the past 10 years. Ray is currently the Director of Production Technology, guiding the integration of new pipeline technology into artist workflows, and Dan is the Director of Pipeline, managing the design and development of core pipeline infrastructure across the studio. Prior to their current positions, Ray and Dan served as Supervising Technical Directions on the films Rise of the Guardians and How To Train You Dragon 2, respectively, where they were responsible for overseeing the technology used on the films. DreamWorks creates and innovates 3D animated feature films, original TV series, and shorts, interactive media, live entertainment, themed experiences, consumer products, publishing, and trailblazing technology. Over the past 20 years, DreamWorks is the studio that has brought you memorable characters and moments from the films Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and How To Train Your Dragon. Artella focuses on celebrating the talents of artists globally by connecting them and their passions with other like-minded artists to shape the landscape of how animated content is made. A full virtual studio platform whose sole focus is on making production smoother, easier and funner for everyone involved so that artists can do what they do best; create. When tools and technology become invisible, magic can be created and the possibilities for the animation medium become inspired and endless. This is the passion behind what drives Artella. Artella is excited to share their direct experience working with their community on nearly 400 animated fully remote productions. Learn about the challenges and successes of remote working teams, the power of the cloud and where they see things headed next. Bobby Beck is the founder and CEO of Artella, The Virtual Studio Platform. Bobby is no stranger to online communities having started his first company, Animation Mentor, The Online Animation School, in 2005 that he still runs as CEO today. Bobby is known as a creative crusader championing what he calls, “a better future for artists where they can forge their own paths without borders”. Previously working as an animator at Disney Animation Studios, Tippett Studio and Pixar Animation Studios, Bobby has gone on to direct and produce four animated productions on Artellasince it launched in May of 2015; three animated short films and the...

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Creating a Believable Hero

Creating a believable hero will propose some guidelines and approaches for game developers with a desire to create a hero that will feel real to the player. The discussion will cover a beginning to end process of creating a believable character and can apply to any style of art. The discussion begins with some context to heroes and their place in history, with some examples from myth and popular culture. Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey will be referenced as a structure for building a dramatic arc and backstory for a hero. The process of visualizing the hero will be described in steps, from silhouette to finished design using Lara Croft and an example. Finally we will discuss the value of talented collaborators, modelers, animators, actors to help breathe life into your creation. SPEAKER BIO: Brian Horton is a 21 year veteran of the games industry and the Studio Art Director at Infinity Ward. His clients include Disney, DreamWorks, EA, LucasArts, Konomi, Activision and Square Enix. Brian was Game Director on Rise of the Tomb Raider and Art Director for Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Tomb Raider 2013, and Lead Artist for Silent Hill Homecoming, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, Clive Barker’s Undying . He has a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and has worked as an artist in comics and fine art in addition to games   When: Thursday, June 1st. Door opens at 6:30pm for mixer & refreshments – presentations will be 7:30 – 9:30 Where: Zynga SFHQ Theatre...

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Exploring Other Realities with Baobab and Meta

This month the popular AR/VR format returns with guest speakers from Baobab and Meta   Larry Cutler |  Baobab What are the differences between making a VR animated experience and a 2D animated film?  How do you create empathetic characters in VR?  How do you direct the viewer’s eyes when you no longer have a frame?  How do you balance audience participation against focused narrative?  What is your role in the experience and what are your motivations for participating? In this Larry will share Baobab’s collective learnings in immersive storytelling from their award-winning VR animated projects Invasion! and Asteroids! Larry Cutler is Chief Technical Officer of Baobab Studios, the leading VR animation studio. The company’s VR interactive animation, “Invasion!” starring Ethan Hawke, launched to substantial critical acclaim, with Roth Kirschenbaum Films (Maleficent, Snow White and the Huntsman, Alice in Wonderland) signed on to adapt it into a feature film. Right out of the gate, Baobab Studios garnered laurels from film festivals globally, from Tribeca Film Festival to Cannes. The film is a top ranking download on major VR players including Oculus, Samsung, Within, Hulu and others. Baobab’s latest film ASTEROIDS! starring Elizabeth Banks is an official 2017 Sundance Film Festival selection.     Charles Niu, Paublo Jansen, Eran May-raz |  Meta The concept underlying collaborative AR apps is simple and straightforward: both users should see the same object in the same place, interact with the object regardless of their position, and see the object from their respective points of view. But when it comes to actually coding a collaborative app in AR, the technical challenges are more difficult than you think: you have to make sure there is low latency while people are handling objects, that object movement is as smooth as possible, and calibration is aligning the object from both users’ perspective. In this presentation, the team behind the simultaneous collaborative AR experience Journey to the Center of the Natural Machine will share their tips, design considerations, and recommended resources for making holograms interactive between several people. Born in NYC and raised in Silicon Valley, Meta has been defining the field of Augmented Reality (AR) since the company’s inception in 2012. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Meta was selected by Y Combinator (YC13) for seed funding. Meta entered the marketplace with the first see-through glasses that allowed wearers to move and manipulate 3D content intuitively, using natural hand interactions. With the introduction of the groundbreaking Meta 2 product at TED 2016, Meta is once again redefining the market and delivering a new generation of Natural Machines™ that will become a healthy, vital extension of who we are.     When: Wednesday, April 12th....

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Animating Rogue One

  ILM Animation Supervisor Hal Hickel talks about the animation challenges in bringing the first stand-alone Star Wars film to the big screen. Hal Hickel joined Industrial Light & Magic in 1996 as an animator for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  On his next production, he was promoted to lead animator and given responsibility for the animation of several characters in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.  In 2000, Hickel was moved up to animation supervisor, teaming up with multi-Academy Award winning visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren on Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence. His special interest in animation lies in the challenge of integrating fantastic characters and creatures into live-action films.  Hickel has since supervised the animation work on Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, Iron Man and the first three films in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In 2007, his work on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was recognized with both an Academy Award® for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Effects and the BAFTA for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Hickel was the Animation Supervisor on Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi epic, Pacific Rim for which he received his fifth BAFTA nomination and a Visual Effects Society Nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects. Prior to that; he was the Animation Director on ILM’s first animated feature, Rango which received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In 2016, Hickel took on the task of animating the epic battle between orcs & humans in Warcraft and most recently served as Animation Supervisor in a galaxy far away for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Hickel studied Film Graphics at California Institute of the Art before being hired by Will Vinton Studios as a clay animator and motion control operator for commercials and television specials featuring the California Raisins, amongst other characters.  Hickel left Vinton in 1994 to join Pixar as an animator on their first animated feature, Toy Story. Upon completing Toy Story, Hickel was hired at ILM.   Presenter: Hal Hickel  |  ILM When: Wednesday, Feb 1st. Door opens at 6:30pm for mixer & refreshments – presentation will be 7:30 – 9:00 Where: Zynga SFHQ Theatre  Online registration is required  – there will be no tickets at the...

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Making Piper – Pixar’s Latest Short

Join us for our last SF SIGGRAPH event of 2016 for a look into the making of Pixar’s charming short “Piper” with guest speaker, Brett Levin. Brett works on technical art and software tools for animated films at Pixar.  Most recently he supervised technical production for the Piper short.  Prior to that he was co-lead on Pixar’s effort to switch to path-tracing for Finding Dory; led implementation of the scene description & compositing system for USD; and led animation, layout, and scenegraph teams for Pixar’s rigging & animation system Presto.  His first industry job was working on the Blade Runner PC game at Westwood Studios. As a special thanks to our local chapter members – free admission to this event! Presenter: Brett Levin  |  Pixar   When: Tuesday, Dec 6th. Door opens at 6:30pm for holiday mixer & refreshments – presentation starts at 7:30 Where: Zynga SFHQ Theatre...

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SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival 2016

The SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival is the leading annual festival for the world’s most innovative, accomplished, and amazing digital film and video creators. An internationally recognized jury receives hundreds of submissions and presents the best work of the year in the two programs of the Computer Animation Festival: Daytime Selects and the Electronic Theater. Selections include outstanding achievements in animated feature and short films, scientific visualization, visual effects, real-time graphics, game excerpts, and much more! The Computer Animation Festival is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival. Since 1999, several works originally presented in the Computer Animation Festival have been nominated for or have received a Best Animated Short Academy Award   Presenter: Jason Smith  |  SomaPlay When: Wednesday, Sept 28th. Door opens at 6:30pm for mixer & refreshments – presentations wrap at 9:30pm Where: Zynga SFHQ Theatre (directions) Online registration is required (here) – there will be no tickets at the...

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