The SIGGRAPH 2003 website has just updated its Courses section, and once again presenters from many VFX facilities will be among the speakers. Christophe Hery, Associate VFX Supervisor at ILM, will speak at the RenderMan Course on Sunday July 27, 2003, about the techniques for rendering Dobby (in particular his skin with sub-surface scattering techniques) from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. There will also be a look on the techniques used on Pixar's Finding Nemo. Speakers from Pixar, Imageworks, Weta Digital, and Disney will also be present on several other Courses.
The RenderMan course returns once again, this will be its 9th edition. This time around there seems to be a stronger Pixar slant to the content. Some previous speakers return, like Guido Quaroni of Pixar, while others are new like Per H. Christensen who was the lead force behind PRMan 11's global illumination features. Christophe Hery, Associate VFX Supervisor at ILM, will discuss the techniques behind Dobby, from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Christophe was the main lead in the implementation of the sub-surface scattering techniques used to create and render Dobby's skin. He has worked on such projects as Jurassic Park 3, Sleepy Hollow, both Star Wars prequels, Jumanji, The Mask, Spawn, and Daylight. He has also contributed to the Stupid RenderMan Tricks sessions at Pixar's User Group Meetings. You can read about the course here:
Other VFX related courses include: one on non-photorealistic rendering with Brett Achorn and Daniel Teece from Disney who will discuss Disney DeepCanvas technology, one on physically based modeling with John Anderson (former lead developer at ILM) and Michael Kass of Pixar, one on HDRI and image based techniques, with Dan Lemmon of Weta Digital (and formerly of Digital Domain), one on global illumination techniques with Per H. Christensen (who is a top researcher in photon mapping and the main force behind PRMan 11's GI implementation) from Pixar, one on cloth dynamic simulations with Ronald Fedkiw (ILM consultant) of Stanford University and Rob House of Imageworks, one on hair simulation with Armin Bruderlin of Imageworks, one on rigid body and fluid simulations with Ron Fedkiw of Stanford, one on simulating nature like clouds and mountains with Ron Fedkiw of Stanford and Jos Stam (responsible for the fluids engine in Maya 4.5) from Alias/Wavefront, and one on Monte Carlo ray tracing with Matt Pharr (previously at Exluna) from NVidia and Henrik Wann Jensen (main researcher on photon mapping and researcher of sub-surface scattering techniques and fire simulations, now being used and tested inside ILM) from the University of California, San Diego. You can read about the courses here:
Course 10: Theory and Practice of Non-Photorealistic Graphics: Algorithms, Methods, and Production Systems
Course 12: Physically Based Modeling
Course 19: HDRI and Image-Based Lighting
Course 27: Global Illumination for Interactive Applications and High-Quality Animations
Course 29: Clothing Simulation and Animation
Course 34: Photorealistic Hair Modeling, Animation, and Rendering
Course 35: Plausible Simulation
Course 41: Simulating Nature: Realistic and Interactive Techniques
Course 44: Monte Carlo Ray Tracing
As always there are plenty other non-VFX interesting courses on some of the hottest topics in CG research like real time shading, the new OpenGL Shading Language, video game mods, one man CG animation productions, public policy and copyright issues, large scale and immersive environments and projection methods and the latest technologies in multimedia and the Internet. You can read the course descriptions and listing here:
Also there is a listing in the schedule of a Special Session called, Creatures, Critters and Clones, which might have speakers from ILM, on Monday July 28, 2003, from 6pm to 8pm. There is also going to be a Special Session on Pixar's next film, Finding Nemo, on Thursday July 31, 2003 from 1pm to 3pm.
Just be sure to note that this year SIGGRAPH will run from Sunday through Thursday, for a full 5 days (as opposed to until Friday), and many courses, including the RenderMan one will start in the morning on Sunday (which means that for the most part SIGGRAPH 2003 only looses half a day of content and activities). Also noteworthy is the fact that there is only one reception on the schedule though two are referenced on the description. Due to the tough economic situation facing SIGGRAPH it would not be surprising if only one Reception is organized. You can see the Schedule of Events here:
Many thanks to Leona Caffey of Smith Bucklin and Associates, who are the main force organizing the conference behind the scenes, for the very prompt heads up.