SIGGRAPH 2011 will be in Vancouver, on August 7-11, 2011. I’ve given presentations at SIGGRAPH several times; each time was a great experience where I learned a lot and met some pretty awesome graphics people from the world’s top research institutions, film production companies, and game development studios.
SIGGRAPH has several programs at which game developers can show their work; I wanted to point out that two of the most important (Talks and Dailies) have deadlines on February 18th, less than two weeks away! Fortunately submitting a proposal to one of these programs doesn’t take much time. However, getting approval from your boss may take a while, so you don’t want to wait.
SIGGRAPH Talks are 20-minute long presentations which typically contain “nuggets” of novel film or game production tech. These can be rendering or shading techniques, tools for artists, enhancements done to support a tricky character design, etc. If it’s something a programmer or technical artist is proud of having done and it’s at least tangentially graphics-related, chances are it would make a good Talk submission. Submitting a talk only requires creating a one-page abstract; if the talk is accepted, you have until August to make 20 minutes worth of slides – not too bad. To get an idea of the level of detail expected in the abstract, and of the variety of possible talks, here are some film and game Talk abstracts from 2009 and 2010: Houdini in a Games Pipeline, Spore API: Accessing a Unique Database of Player Creativity, Radially-Symmetric Reflection Maps, Underground Cave Sequence for Land of the Lost, Hatching an Imaginary Bird, Fast Furry Ray Gathering, and NPR Gabor Noise for Coherent Stylization. If you are reading this, please consider submitted the coolest thing you’ve done last year as a Talk; the small time investment will repay itself many times over.
SIGGRAPH Dailies are relatively new (first introduced at SIGGRAPH 2010). These are very short (under two minutes!) presentations of individual art assets, such as models, animations, particle effects, shaders, etc. Unlike the rest of SIGGRAPH which emphasizes novel techniques, Dailies emphasize excellence in the result. Every good game or movie has many individual bits of excellence, each the result of an artist’s talent, imagination and sweat. These are often overlooked, or unknown outside the studio; Dailies aim to correct that. Dailies submissions are even easier than Talk submissions. All that is required is a short (60-90 second) video of the art asset, no audio, just something simple like an animation loop or model turntable. You will also need a short backstory; something that gives a feeling for the effort that went into the work, including any notable production frustrations, unlikely inspirations, sudden strokes of genius, etc. Don’t write too much – it should take about as long to say as the video length (60-90 seconds). To get a better idea of what a Dailies presentation looks like, here are two examples. The list of Dailies presented at SIGGRAPH 2010 can be found here: it runs the gamut from Pixar and Disney movies to student projects. I suspect not many artists read this blog, so any game programmers reading this, please forward it to the artists at your studio.
Good luck with your submissions!