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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SF VR : Featuring Jaunt, SculptrVR & Penrose Studios

  Presenters: Bruna Berford  |  Lead Animator | Penrose Studios Anatoli Adamov | Director of Engineering | Jaunt Studios Nathan Rowe | Founder | SculptrVR When: Wednesday, July 20th. Door opens at 6:00pm for mixer & refreshments – presentations wrap at 9:00pm Where: Zynga SFHQ Theatre (directions) Online registration is required (here) – there will be no tickets at the...

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The Making of Google Spotlight’s “Pearl”

  Pearl is a short film directed by Patrick Osborne, the Academy Award-winning director for best animated short film Feast in 2015 for Disney.    Set inside their home, a beloved hatchback, Pearl follows a girl and her dad as they crisscross the country chasing their dreams. It’s a story about the gifts we hand down and their power to carry love. And finding grace in the unlikeliest of places.    Pearl is Google’s 7th Spotlight Story and was produced as both a theatrical film and a 360° VR story for mobile and Cardboard, one of the first stories to be produced and experienced on multiple platforms.     Our task: create a 360º interactive animated film with a strongly art-directed, highly stylized non-photorealistic look, with naturalistic character animation tightly synchronized to an original song, and a story that collapses decades into minutes through montage, and make it run in real time on a wide range of devices, from mobile phones to VR headgear. No problem!   Among the challenges the speakers will discuss the following: Editing and montage in a 360º narrative (which we believe we’re among the first to do.) Elastic time and ambisonic audio in music-driven interactive storytelling. Achieving Pearl’s non-photorealistic look on mobile phone hardware. How the art of Pearl pushed the technology of our Story Development Kit (SDK). Adapting a single interactive narrative experience to a diverse range of hardware modalities, including handheld devices (both mono- and stereoscopic), non-interactive video (both rectangular and spherical), and full 6DOF VR. Presenters: David Eisenmann  |  Producer Cassidy Curtis |  Technical Art Lead Scot Stafford |  Sound & Music Supervisor Rachid El Guerrab |  Technical Project Lead   When: Wednesday, June 1st. Door opens at 6:30pm – finishing at 9:30pm Where: Zynga SFHQ Theatre (directions) Online registration is required (here) – there will be no tickets at the...

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