Looking back at our time at SIGGRAPH 2022!
Earlier this month, our DNEG teams from around the globe assembled in Vancouver, British Columbia for SIGGRAPH 2022, the world’s largest conference for Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, hosted by ACM SIGGRAPH. In case you missed it, here’s a run-down of how the whirlwind week unfolded!
For our first SIGGRAPH Event, Dune DFX Supervisor Stephen James and Dune Animation Director & DNEG Global Head of Animation Robyn Luckham took to SIGGRAPH’s Main Stage for our Dune Production Session. The two took a jam-packed audience through an hour of behind-the-scenes insights and breakdowns, exploring in detail the Academy Award-winning techniques our teams used to bring Denis Villeneuve’s sand-soaked vision to life.
Meanwhile, DNEG Creative Director Chas Jarrett joined other industry experts at ASWF’s Open Source Days to give an update about xSTUDIO, our in-house playback and review application that is part of the Academy Software Foundation’s Open Review initiative. You can watch his update in a recording of the event here!
On the second day of SIGGRAPH, our DNEG Suite opened its doors!
Located on the third floor of the Vancouver Convention Centre’s West Hall (and boasting the best views in town!) our DNEG Suite was home to our Talent Acquisition team throughout the duration of the conference. It was also where we hosted a non-stop line-up of exciting panels and presentations!
DNEG Creative Director Chas Jarrett kicked off the DNEG Suite events with a behind-the-scenes look at our in-house playback and review application xSTUDIO. After that, audiences delved into DNEG Virtual Production and VP techniques used on Bullet Train with Daniel Paulsson (VFX Supervisor) and Callum McMillan (DNEG VP Supervisor and Dimension Studio Co-Founder & CTO).
Next up, Chief Security Officer Royston D Ballard offered a closer look at DNEG’s security assurance and compliance framework. Then, for our final DNEG Suite event of the day, DNEG Senior AI Researcher Martine Bertrand moderated a panel on women in the creative and technology space, featuring Sheena Johnson (Head of Production, Vancouver), Doe Sebanakitta (UX Researcher) and Marieke Van Neutigem (Pipeline Supervisor).
Over at SIGGRAPH’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion stream, our DNEG talent took to the stage to shine a light on cultivating diversity at DNEG through our Global Mentorship Program. Featuring both mentors and mentees, the panellists reflected on their unique experiences during our pilot initiative. Moderated by Lorie Corcuera (Head of HR, North America West), the talk featured Stevie Stephens (Texture Technical Supervisor), Fred Chapman (Head of Creature, Vancouver), David Andrews (Animation Director) and Debbie Langford (CG Crowd Supervisor).
A WORD ABOUT SIGGRAPH 2022 | Stevie Stephens
“It was a humbling experience to speak on diversity at SIGGRAPH. A chance to meet so many people committed to improving our industry for all. I got to share my experience and hear direct feed back from people who are moved by the work coming from DNEG and what I had to share. This goes beyond just looking at the tech we used in entertainment. But right to the heart of the people that use that tech. It gave me goosebumps for the future.”
SIGGRAPH Day Three kicked off in full force, with our Talent Acquisition Partners Marissa Ng, Lica Pecho and Greg Stringer hosting a special presentation about life at DNEG! The trio brought special guests Ellen Duffin (Resource Manager, DNEG Animation), Andrew Zeller (VFX Trainer) and Ollie Hilbert (Head of Training, North America) on-stage for a comprehensive peek behind-the-curtain at our award-winning studios. Following that, Daniel Jenkins (Head of FX), Chris Philipps (FX Lead TD) and James Charles (FX Lead TD) took audiences on an adventure through DNEG’s FX work on Sony’s recent action blockbuster, Uncharted.
Later that day, it was DNEG Animation’s turn to take the DNEG Suite stage. Moderated by VP of Animation Technology Markus Kurtz, panellists Denis-Jose Francois (DFX Supervisor), Marieke Van Neutigem (Pipeline Supervisor), Adam Davis (Lighting Technical Supervisor) and Toba Siebzener (Character Lead TD) explored DNEG Animation’s history, technology and much anticipated upcoming projects. For the final talk of the day, DNEG Chief Scientist Oliver James presented on DNEG’s approach to colour-managing LED walls for in-camera VFX in virtual production.
A WORD ABOUT SIGGRAPH 2022 | Markus Kurtz
“SIGGRAPH 2022 was a fantastic opportunity to re-connect with peers and industry colleagues in person after a long time of virtual meetings. DNEG had a fantastic representation at this conference and was able to demonstrate our world class work across all divisions in several presentations and in our DNEG Suite.”
The final day of SIGGRAPH was all wrong — Ron’s Gone Wrong, that is! DNEG Animation’s Toba Siebzener (Character Lead TD) joined Chus Rodriguez Nieto and Paul Baaske on the SIGGRAPH stage to offer a behind-the-scenes look at how the team achieved procedurally generated vector graphics to bring the film’s adorable B*Bots to life. Following that, Toba and Chus provided hands-on demonstration at SIGGRAPH’s Lab Studios!
Meanwhile, our DNEG Suite concluded with a thought provoking panel on DNEG’s culture of belonging and the importance of Employee Resource Groups (ERGS). Denis-Jose Francois (DFX Supervisor, Animation), Emma Roumanas (HR Administrator), Jessica Glass (Production Technology Department Manager) shared first-hand insights about their experiences cultivating community at work, whilst also discussing the various ERGs at DNEG, such as Thrive, DNEG Indigenous Voices, DNEG Accessibility Working Group and others.
After that, Luis Placid (Lead Virtual Development Unreal Engineer) gave an inspiring presentation on real-time game technology to another packed house, while DNEG Animators Vanessa Rossi and Rafael Cardenas wrapped up their third day of demos at Ragdoll Dynamics’ Demo Booth.
A WORD ABOUT SIGGRAPH 2022 | Emma Roumanas
“Attending SIGGRAPH for the first time was an amazing experience! To see so many talented and motivated people come together to push the boundaries of our industry and make connections was inspiring! I am especially proud to have attended and participated in DNEG’s multiple sessions on the topics of diversity and belonging in the workplace. I really love to see this progress happening! Not to mention my own progress as I this is where I began working on my fear of public speaking with the help of my wonderful team!“
A WORD ABOUT SIGGRAPH 2022 | Luis Placid
“Words don’t begin to describe how useful it is to be at conferences like SIGGRAPH, where questions often not thought get to surface organically thanks to such a diverse group of peers participating. It was also an exhilarating experience to see how the advancements of real-time technologies seem to be revolutionizing so many industries, from filmmaking to textile creation. I can’t wait to continue seeing how the contributions from people of all walks of life continue to change the future of real-time.”
Thanks, SIGGRAPH team!
We had an amazing time at SIGGRAPH 2022, and we’d like to extend our warm appreciation to all the event organizers who helped make the conference an inspiring success. See you next year!