Back from Siggraph 2019

Announcements, exhibitors, keynotes...

10 Sep. 2019
Christophe Bicchierai Consultant - Rendering expert
Christophe Bicchierai

One more Siggraph for RANCH Computing!

We take part in various events throughout the year, but Siggraph remains my favorite one. It is THE show of the founding fathers. Siggraph is a great mix of R&D papers, studio presentations, publishers or hardware suppliers’ announcements. It gathers a multidude of encounters and exchanges along with a very rich programme and openness to the 3D world that can not be seen anywhere else.


French Pavilion

On the French Pavilion, Golaem, our gold nugget, presented the release number 7 of their crowd simulation software with a new layout and a new nodal system. It enables gains in productivity thanks to a very easy handling. We could also admire the Emmy Award they won this year for their technical contribution to shows like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead.

Golaem team

Another company is also continuing its great development within the next few months: Mercenaries Engineering. They publish 2 software: Guerilla Render and Rumba. Rumba is an animation software and Guerilla is a renderer used for instance in the Playmobil movie.

Playmobil movie

The approach of Guerilla is slightly different from other software but you can understand the philisophy and handle the soft very easily thanks to tutorial videos and examples of scenes. It is robust, clearly made for production with a proven approach. The team of developers is very close to its community of users: every new feature hits the mark.

Mercenaries Engineering

InterDigital is an R&D company. On the stand, you can make a 3D scan of your face. The 1st step was a shooting of the face in a cabin equipped with about 20 cameras and a lighting as homogeneous as possible. Then there is the photogrammetric reconstruction using AliceVision software. Then comes the work of the team. It consists in an automation of a system which produces a rig (geometry, blendshapes and basic textures). Siggraph was the opportunity for the team to show their research and test their developments on new faces.  


Christophe Bicchierai 3D scan


Autodesk BiFrost for Maya

Was Autodesk starting to fear the rising interest for Houdini? The release of BiFrost for Maya might suggest so. With BiFrost for Maya, Autodesk highlights a nodal and visual programmation systemto create VFX like smoke and fire, of course, but also more advanced effects like snow. The new MPM solver (Material Point Method) allows to try cloth, fiber or granular simulations. Another good point: realistic previews directly ion the viewport with Arnod. Ready-to-use graphs are available for an easy handling and fast adaptation to your scene. The presentation looks promissing. Now let VFX artists create scenes to get a better idea of the product.  

BiFrost for Maya


Nvidia, a staple
Of course, a multitude of graphic cards on the stand to run the applications of partners, for rendering or artificial intelligence. It is naturally very impressive on interactive rendering applications, but with RTX 8000 cards costing €8,000 each. 


Another application caught my eye: GauGAN. GauGAN is an environment creation application using AI. It has been released a few months ago but I did not have the opportunity to talk about it. You delineate zones with plain colours (mountains, clouds, sea…) and GauGAN takes that concept and assembles images. The soft is in “lab” mode but it gives a good idea of what it could bring to matte painting in the future.


To test GauGAN: http://nvidia-research-mingyuliu.com/gaugan/


The opening ceremony introduced Victoria Alonso, Vice-President of Marvel Studio. Listening to Victoria sharing her career experiences is clearly in my top 5 moments of this year. So much passion, so much tenacity, such a great career! We’ve started to see more and more women in this industry for the past few years and we meet a lot of female students at shows but seeing a woman with such an important position in a studio must be a great motivation source for all young women. Studios need you! You can watch the keynote session here.

Victoria Alonso at Siggraph

Computer Animation Festival

Talking about success, French schools won great prizes again this year in the Computer Animation Festival: “Jury’s choice: The Stained Club” - Supinfocom Rubika (France) and Best Student Project “Stuffed” - Supinfocom Rubika (France).

The stained club

The RenderMan Art & Science Fair

The RenderMan Art & Science party is a must-attend event for geeks (and there are a lot of them among us). During this event, you could see a presentation of the new features of RenderMan and future developments. Dylan Sisson is the host and always shows a live demo with a lot of humour. The culmination is the presentation and the distribution of the “Walking teapot” (customized teapot based on the Pixar release of the year – Toy Story 4). 

Pixar's walking teapot

This year, RANCH Computing has been sponsoring several RenderMan art challenges for a total of 23,000$ of prizes.

RenderMan art challenge

Emerging Technologies

This part of the Siggraph gathers projects in progress. There were a lot of presentations about VR but also projects like a drone drawing tags or even the (slightly creepy) possibility to pilot someone else’s hand with electrodes and electric waves.

I seize this opportunity to thank our friends from Cap Digital and Minalogic, Stéphane, David, Claire and Klio for their organization of the French Pavilion. We were a total of 16 companies occupying one of the biggest stands of the show (right behing Nvidia and Unreal).

And of course, a MASSIVE THANK you to all the people who came to our booth.

We look forward to seeing you in Washington for Siggraph 2020!

Siggraph Pixel

Siggraph interview