Below is feedback from students who attended SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, through the Spend a Week at SIGGRAPH program. The program was sponsored by the ACM SIGGRAPH Education Committee and the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Pioneers, with generous financial support from the National Science Foundation.
We’ve removed the student and mentor names, and reformatted the text for consistency.
All content, grammar and spelling are directly from each student.
I first found out about the SIGGRAPH conference through an online video
I first found out about the S.I.G.G.R.A.P.H. conference through an online video produced by Andrew Price, a computer animation artist. The video documented his experiences at the convention, and contained interviews with some of the volunteers. This exposed me to the possibility of attending the conference. I later, however, found out about the Spend a Week at S.I.G.G.R.A.P.H. program through two teachers at my school, one of which requested an application before I was certain the program was something I wanted to do. She believed that it was a wonderful experience for me that I should not let pass.
After my teacher requested the application form, I knew I had to apply out of politeness for her actions on my behalf, and out of my pure interest in the conference. I did further research on what to expect from the conference, and stumbled across the video summaries of the technical papers of previous years. I was amazed at what they had developed, and realized that the conference would provide an opportunity for me to learn more from this year’s technical papers and meet the people who developed these techniques.
From watching the aforementioned video, I had already seen what to expect from the exhibition floor, the job fair, and much of the emerging technologies portions of the convention. I did not, however, expect to see presentations on major films and the companies that produced the films to present their work; nor did I expect there to be as many talks, hands on work and experiences, and courses as there were. Therefore, after the first day at the conference, I was surprised and greatly pleased to be mistaken.
My Mentor was a great Pioneer Mentor, and provided me with invaluable knowledge and opportunities that I would not have been able to have otherwise. On the first day of the conference, he helped me understand how the conference worked, in terms of its schedule, and the value of the different types of events. He walked me through the layout of the convention center, which helped me become independent and confident in the conference. I would not have learned as much or gained as much as I did with the confidence he gave me without this. He also provided a description of the conference in past years and how each event had changed or grown to be a part of the convention. He also provided me insight on what future employers and educators want to see in their applicants. Further, he introduced me to the many other people he knew at the conference, including students of his from his university, and past students he mentored in the program. I was able to connect with these people because of him, and learned many different things from them as well, including insight on what my future career path may look like, and what I can expect from college work in the studies I would like to pursue. I will continue to learn from these people and possibly even collaborate with them on future projects.
At the conference, I attended talks hosted by major studios and learned about their pipelines and from that, I discovered in which department I want to work. I had hands on experience with the applications of haptic feedback in everyday life, such as with the use of magnetic patterns to create different haptic feedbacks when two surfaces rub together. I also experienced where the technology of Virtual Reality is going, which included increased resolution and field of view, and portability of the computer to which it is connected. Another development in the Virtual Reality field included the integration of the neurological effect known as the coat hanger effect with virtual reality to induce the viewer to subconsciously turn their head left or right. Attending the Production Sessions taught me that multiple studios work on a show, rather than just one company, and they highlighted the problems that arise when the work is shared between the studios.
My favorite events of S.I.G.G.R.A.P.H. were the Electronic Theater, Emerging Technologies, Production Sessions, and Real-Time Live. These all showed me where the industry was headed and gave me hope, inspiration, and excitement that will drive me to pursue a career in the industry. My least favorite part of S.I.G.G.R.A.P.H. was when I had to leave in the middle of an event because it was too technical for me to understand. I would have liked to understand what the presenters were talking about, because it deeply interested me, but I was lost and felt it was a waste of time to stay.
What surprised me the most were the people attending the conference, including myself. Everyone was friendly and open to conversation when I approached them and asked them about themselves to understand more about the conference and the events. I surprised myself because I am not usually an outgoing person, and am often very reserved, but during the conference, I was able to break that habit and interact with people who shared the same interest and passions with me.
Attending S.I.G.G.R.A.P.H. has shown me that many of the things I enjoy in the computer animation process, and aspire to do, are more on the technical side than the artistic side. I realized that I am fascinated by many of the technical aspects, including the simulations and the VFX department, and want to pursue a career in one of them. I will also continue to research the many different topics I heard about at the conference and look into the different resources I found I had access to, such as Houdini and Maya 3D student editions. I will continue to put myself out there and be more open to opportunities and actively seek them out.
I provide two pieces of advice to the students attending S.I.G.G.R.A.P.H. as part of the Pioneer Mentoring program in 2017. First, go alone. When you go with a friend or someone you know, you rely on them and stay with them too much. When you go alone, you are forced to meet new people and build a new network. The most important parts of S.I.G.G.R.A.P.H., are the people you meet, and the connections you form while you’re there. The other students in the program are wonderful people, as well as the mentors. Actively seek out people to talk to, not just on a daily basis, but, if you can, in each event you attend. Talk to the person you sit next to before the presentation starts. Many people are students as well, or are industry professionals who have worked on shows you recognize. These people can help open your eyes to a new world of thought and ideas, not just about computer graphics and academic study, but about the world we live in as well. Second, if you can, spend your downtime with your mentor. Most of the information I learned from my mentor was in the time we spent outside of events, such as eating lunch, walking between events, and at the reception. Don’t be afraid to ask to meet up with them and interact with them.
I advise the future mentors to be as available and flexible as they can with their schedules. Most of the information that mentors can provide to students will be conveyed through conversation outside of an event, such as during a lunch break. Additionally, they should introduce students to people they know, especially any students older than they are who can provide insight to what their future may look like in a couple of years.
I anticipated this event to be mainly booth-oriented with some of the emerging technologies
I was notified of this event by my Digital Animation instructor, Mrs. Chang, who was contacted by Kathleen Milnes. While there was the issue of the long commute every day, with out rides being provided by our stipend, and with this event being provided for free and an amazing opportunity to meet people who are in the fields that I want to pursue once I graduate, I was very eager to attend SIGGRAPH.
Before I arrived, I anticipated this event to be mainly booth-oriented with some of the emerging technologies, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was much more than I had imagined. The panels and talks I attended were very influential and inspirational. My mentor for the week was a professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. I met up with her on the second and third days of the week, and she was very helpful and gave me many tips on how I should go about my dream career of being an animator. She advised me to continue sketching for practice, and to observe the world around me and see how people and the rest of the world interact with each other. I will carry her words of advice with me moving forward.
At SIGGRAPH, I got to have many amazing and mind-opening experiences. I got an inside look on how an animation pipeline operates, the struggles I will have to face in the profession, and the different tools that animators use while working on films. I also got to walk around and talk to different people in the main exhibition hall about their company, school, or technology. It was beneficial for me to get a hands-on experience with not only practicing my social skills and etiquette, but it also gave me a sneak peek into what the professional world is like in emerging technologies. At the panels that I attended, I learned some important tips on not only how to get into the industry, but also what different animation companies are looking for in terms of work ethic and producibility. I made sure to take some notes while I listened, so I will take the information that I learned with me down the road.
What I enjoyed the most about SIGGRAPH were the panels and talks that I attended. I was very fascinated about what the professionals had to say, and they were probably the most beneficial to my future career as I do not know anybody in my immediate life who is in the field that I want to go into. As for my least favorite part, it was probably waiting in between panels. Other than the talks, and after you’ve seen all of the exhibition hall, there was not that much left to do. Other than that, SIGGRAPH was definitely a very positive experience to me.
I think what surprised me the most at SIGGRAPH was how many talks were centered around animation. To be honest, I was not really expecting much on animation, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a treasure trove of animation-oriented panels and booths. Attending this event has definitely made me want to pursue animation more, because now I know more about what the field entails and how I should prepare for it. I will definitely used what I saw and learned to steer my current curriculum and self practice to become ready for the animation field by the time I graduate college.
To future students attending the event, I would suggest to plan out your schedules beforehand so that you do not miss any events that you may want to attend. I unfortunately missed a panel that I really wanted to attend to one day because I lost track of time, and I still kind of regret missing that opportunity. I would also take as many notes as you can, whether it be of how to get into your preferred fields or of important people that you meet along the way. This will be helpful in retaining information even after SIGGRAPH ends.
As for future mentors, I would like to suggest to keep in constant contact with your students. Find out what they are interested in and steer them into the direction of either panels, booths, or other events that may be useful for them. My mentor did this for me, and I am very grateful for that.
In conclusion, SIGGRAPH was surely an amazing event to attend, and I am forever grateful that I was able to attend. I will definitely be considering returning to SIGGRAPH as a student volunteer sometime in the future.
I expected that SIGGRAPH would be a little more relaxed
I found out about attending SIGGRAPH through my TV Production teacher, who also told me about the mentorship program and that she thought I would be interested in attending. I decided to apply to the mentorship program because of my want to go into the film industry and from the great praise my father gave of the conference. Before I arrived, I expected that SIGGRAPH would be a little more relaxed. My Pioneer Mentor is truly fascinating with the extensive amount of projects and different fields he’s worked in. He was apart of the first year Disney Character Animation program in 1975, first started teaching when he was sixteen, and can draw like a camera, just to name a few. From him, I learned that you should find out and absorb everything you can about what you are interested in and that you can never know too much about something. I saw so many new and revolutionary technologies, I saw a wrestling match up close and personal, I scuba dived in water under ice, I became a bird, I saw what it was like to be on the International Space Station, and I saw the countless hours and work that goes into making many of the modern Hollywood Blockbusters. I heard talks on the production and design of creatures in video games and movies, I heard the amount of work and dedication a director has on their project, and I heard how stern opinions about certain companies can be change all by a demo reel. I experienced SIGGRAPH, which is something incredible that I will forever cherish and never forget. My favorite parts of SIGGRAPH were the VFX breakdowns of Rogue One, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Spider-Man Homecoming, the VR Theatre, VR Village, and the Electronic Theatre. My least favorite part of SIGGRAPH was my travel by Metro Bus and Train to and from the Convention Center everyday, but it was an obstacle I was willing to overcome. I was surprised the most to meet Victoria Alonso and share a brief conversation with her, she was incredibly nice and it was very cool to speak with her.
SIGGRAPH has made me wholeheartedly want to go into film and pursue my desire to be an editor. I will also incorporate everything I have learned at SIGGRAPH into my everyday life. Advice I would give to students who will attend future SIGGRAPHs would be hold onto what you’ve heard and learned, keep any ideas you may have gotten, and use it in any possible way, whether it’s for chores, school, essays, or even as possible words of wisdom, write it down. Don’t forget what you’ve seen and done at SIGGRAPH. Advice I’d give to mentors is to just keep doing what you’re doing, answer any questions your students may have, and help them out with the navigation of the conference. I’d like you, SIGGRAPH, to know that I greatly appreciate the once in a lifetime opportunity you have granted me the honor of and that I will use everything that I’ve learned from this conference throughout the rest of my life.
When I arrived I learned that everyone was extremely welcoming and wanted to help me keep up
I had the amazing privilege to attend SIGGRAPH this year. I found out about SIGGRAPH through my television production teacher, Ms. Harkins, at Notre Dame High School. I decided to apply in order to explore different career opportunities and expand my knowledge about the world of computer graphics. I wanted to get a better understanding of my own interests and possibly set a direction for my future. Before I arrived to SIGGRAPH I expected to go to a conference where I probably would not understand much since I am only a high school student and most of the people there have been in the technical industry for many years. However, when I arrived I learned that everyone was extremely welcoming and wanted to help me keep up, even though it was tough at times. Often times I did not fully understand what was going on in lectures, however, I was still able to take away important ideas and concepts that will help me in the future. My Pioneer Mentor was extremely helpful and inspiring. She has worked on many movies: from Harry Potter to Stewart Little, she has done it all. She shared stories about fun and difﬁcult times on set. She also explained many aspects about the industry that I did not quite get. For example, she explained to me how Harry Potter in the sky playing quidditch was a digital version and had to match exactly with the real life version of Daniel Radcliffe. I saw many different things at the conference. I was able to try many virtual reality devices and experience a world I had never before seen. I was also able to visit the job fair and speak with representatives of companies that I hope to work or intern for in the future. My favorite parts of SIGGRAPH was the virtual theater. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket and spend one hour immersed in a virtual reality experience. I also loved the studio where I was able to design my own t-shirts, 3-D printed glasses, and many other cool things. I was also able to learn how to use different softwares on the computers and tablets. My least favorite parts of SIGGRAPH were some of the lectures because I am not knowledgeable enough to completely understand and learn from the topics discussed. However, I hope to learn more and more so it was still beneﬁcial. What surprised me the most was that the representatives for different companies that were present loved to explain their products to us even though we were just high school students who were not interested in buying their products. They wanted to help educate us. SIGGRAPH opened my eyes to all the new forms of technology and taught me to think outside the box in regards to the artistic aspect of the technology present there. I hope my creativity and hard work will allow me to do something in this ﬁeld in the future as a career. I will use what I learned in SIGGRAPH at my school where they have softwares that I learned about at SIGGRAPH. I would tell the students attending SIGGRAPH next year to not be afraid to explore topics they didn’t originally plan to explore. I think everyone should experience the whole conference, because maybe a speciﬁc part of the conference will spark an unexpected interest in them that could lead to different career opportunities. I loved my mentor and I don’t think she could have done anything to be more effective in regards to my experience. I think mentors should communicate well with the students and see what they are interested in. I had an amazing time at SIGGRAPH and it was an honor to meet all the intelligent people there. I would like to thank the program for making this possible! I hope I can come back in the following years!
I also briefly learned about applying color theory into digital media
I found out about SIGGRAPH through my teacher Ms. Richter, she was well aware of my interest in the games industry so she suggested that I attend SIGGRAPH. I decided to apply because I wanted to dive deeper and get a head start into my future. Also because I knew passing up an opportunity like this would’ve been a mistake. SIGGRAPH 2017 wasn’t my first SIGGRAPH, I attended SIGGRAPH for the first time back in 2015 so, what I told myself was that I “knew” what to expect from SIGGRAPH. What I expected was to have the same experience I had in 2015, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My Pioneer Mentor, I ended up learning a lot from her. First thing I learned from her, once we introduced ourselves at SIGGRAPH, was a brief history on Pixar, and surprisingly there was a lot of stuff I didn’t even know about. From my mentor I also briefly learned about applying color theory into digital media, she had a course at SIGGRAPH about that but I couldn’t attend the course, but because I had such an amazing mentor she briefly talked to me about it throughout the week. Not only did I learn from my mentor, but because of her I got to meet and talk to another long-time attendee and I ended learning a lot from him as well. With that conversation I learned things like making sure I have a plan B, making sure that the path I want to take is truly what I want, and not to just keep all my knowledge to myself but instead be a mentor myself by mentoring my siblings.
Going back to when I stated that I was wrong to think I knew what I was expecting for SIGGRAPH 2017. I truly was wrong about what I was expecting; I experienced brand new things, even more so than my previous SIGGRAPH. First day, first thing I attended was a talk, The Art of Production. They had people from Pixar and Disney presenting, but the presentation that stuck with me from that talk was the presentation done by Square Enix . The presentation revolved around creating the creatures of Final Fantasy XV, and I was blown away by the amount of research and dedication that went into making the creatures look life like. Being someone who loves to draw creatures and monsters, and can’t really draw or sketch anything without giving it a set of sharp teeth, that presentation was beyond a good way to start my SIGGRAPH 2017 experience. And that was only the first hour or so of my SIGGRAPH experience. Throughout the event, I got to experience more eye opening talks, sessions, and courses. I got try more VR, and as is tradition when attending SIGGRAPH I attended the Computer Animation Festival.
My favorite parts of SIGGRAPH would have to be the Production Sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to sit down, and listen to how Cars 3 was made, how it took multiple teams to create and animate Rocket Raccoon, and how Blizzard created their animated shorts for their game Overwatch. I also enjoyed the Meet ‘n’ Greet sessions that were held. My least favorite parts of SIGGRAPH would have to have been, the Technical Papers, mainly because I’m merely a high school graduate and since I’m not in the industry yet, knowing how “x” can be improved and used in a certain way to get “y” didn’t really peak my interest. What surprised me the most wasn’t something at SIGGRAPH per se, but instead something I gained throughout, which was knowledge. I was really surprised at the amount of knowledge I accumulated throughout the event, not only through the event itself but through my mentor and other people I talked to at SIGGRAPH.
After experiencing SIGGRAPH for the first time back in 2015, I told myself that this definitely was the industry I wanted to be in and that I wanted a career in it. Experiencing SIGGRAPH for a second time only reaffirms that.
What I learned from SIGGRAPH will definitely not go to waste; I will use that new knowledge I now have to further my education and career. Not only that, but I will also take the advice of Mr.Fujii, and will use the knowledge I gained at SIGGRAPH to mentor my siblings and anyone else if I feel like my knowledge can help them build a future.
Some advice I could give to the students attending SIGGRAPH in the upcoming years through the Pioneer Mentoring program is to not just take advice from your mentor, but to also take advice from others. Yes, your mentor is a great source for knowledge, but maybe they aren’t as knowledgeable on something you want to know about. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and poke their brains. Chances are they’ll be more than happy to share some advice with you, especially since you’re a student.
As for mentors, some advice I could give them is to let your student be your guide. I ended dragging my mentor around and about into things she otherwise wouldn’t have attended, and she ended having a brand new SIGGRAPH experience which she enjoyed. Another piece of advice I could give to the mentors is to introduce your student to colleagues or people you know around the event, help your student start conversations and create connections.
Overall, I had a very pleasant and knowledge filled SIGGRAPH experience. I had to the opportunity to have such an amazing and wonderful mentor. As well as meet many people within the industry. I couldn’t thank the Pioneer Mentoring program or my mentor enough for such an amazing and worthwhile experience.
At SIGGRAPH I was able to see many potential careers
They way I found out about Siggraph was through my Graphic Design teacher. Near the end of the year after seeing my projects and my interests, my teacher decided that Siggraph would be a great place for me to go and explore the advancing technology in movie making and graphic design. The reason I decided to apply was because I wasn’t going to do anything in the summer anyways and I kind of wanted to see what virtual reality was like. Before I arrived for the convention I expected a kind of small convention that held only a couple of hundreds of people. However when I arrived I came to see that the convention was huge, and I mean that by the many events and the people attending.
At the convention I was given a mentor that would show me around Siggraph and talk about my career opportunities. From my Mentor I learned that I had to reach higher than what I set for myself and that no door is closed to me. hile at the convention I was able to see technology advances in D printing, virtual reality, advances in medical technology, and how movies are made today. t the convention I was able to experience a game while seeing through virtual reality, it was really cool. I was able to make choices in the game as opposed to older games where they only allowed a certain amount of choices. Overall my favorite part of Siggraph would have to be the STUDIO. The reason is because I was able to print my image on a shirt, bag, and book. It was really fun getting to photoshop the image and then print it on an actual shirt. For my least favorite part of Siggraph would have to be the panels. The reason is not because I didnt like what the topic was, its more that I didnt understand anything and was sitting there confused and kind of bored. The event that surprised me the most would have to be the Exhibtion. The reason was mostly because I received more free stuff than I had anticipated.
At Siggraph I was able to see many potential careers, one that stuck out to me would have to be advertising. I really want to create ads using advanced technology and such to get people to be interested. side from the careers, I learned that movies nowadays that are cartoon or animated are done so rendered in real time. Meaning that there is a person that is where state of the art technology to make the character follow the persons every move. It was really cool to watch.
An advice that I would like to give to future students of Siggraph would be, go to all the events that you can, even though it may sound boring or you dont understand it, being there would allow you to at least learn something that you had not before. lso you may never know it may spur something inside of you and give you a new meaning in life. nd for mentors, I would like to say that having someone to give you information would be really great and introducing people to the student based on the interest of the student would be very appreciated.
All in all Siggraph was a convention to remember. I had lots of fun and lots of learning new subjects. Siggraph was a really great experience.
SIGGRAPH has definitely opened my eyes to the inner workings of the world of computer graphics
I had first found out about Siggraph when my Digital Animation teacher had recommended me to attend the conference at the end of the school year. She gave me an application with the program information on it, and it was very promising to say the least. It immediately captured my attention when I found out that I could essentially attended the conference for free and be able to go there during my junior year. It helped that fellow students from my school would also be joining the program, so it made it easier for me to make my decision. It was certainly an opportunity that I wasn’t going to pass up.
My expectations for Siggraph was high, as I read that it was one of the largest computer graphics conventions in the entire world. The fact that animators, programmers, and other such workers from companies all around would be there excited me greatly. When I got to step foot into Siggraph for the first time, I was already able to meet recruiters and animators from Dreamworks, Disney, Pixar, and even college student animators!
Of course, I was eager to meet my mentor from the Pioneer Mentor program as well as each of us students were paired up with someone already working in the field of computer graphics. My mentor was a software developer for Samsung’s GearVR virtual reality project. He was a jolly and friendly person, and he gave a heads-up on what the work environment is like in different companies and the importance of doing what you can for your passion, whether it’s in your free time or helping out at your job. I got acquainted with other mentors as well, all of whom left great invaluable advices for the future.
One of the most interesting parts of my experience was definitely the panels I attended. The panelists gave a lot more insight on what went on during the productions of feature films and even little shorts for games like Overwatch. There were many times where I had to choose which panels to attend because two of them occurred at the same time, those I never regretted the choices. One panel that stuck out in particular was Disney’s demo reel presentation as Disney workers shared tips on applying to their company and what they look for in potential employers. It was an incredible experience to be able to hear firsthand how the hiring process goes, and the tips they gave were of great help. After each talk, I left the room with more understanding and experience than I did when I walked in.
When there weren’t any panels going on, I enjoyed walking around in the exhibition hall and checking out the booths and emerging technologies. There were very interesting inventions in the hall, especially one that engraved narratives and predictions on rocks. The college students who build the machine had picked up rocks around the area and had made up their own language to be inscribed upon them. Many of those inscriptions looked similar to alien symbols that are often seen in movies, so my curiosity was piqued immensely. A lot of companies had set up booths in the area as well and I was able to obtain many contacts and advice on potential colleges and companies.
The most surprising thing about the whole Siggraph visit was seeing Tiny the three-foot tall giraffe in the convention center. He had been brought in to help with a drawing class, the topic being how to draw more realistic figures using simple shapes. I didn’t expect a giraffe to show up at the center, much less fit into the rooms there. It was a nice surprise though, as it was the first time I would be that close to a giraffe in real life. It was definitely one of the most memorable things from Siggraph 2017.
I would use a lot of To any students wanting to attend Siggraph in the future, my piece of advice to you would be to network, network, network. There are plenty of people in the convention, most of whom can give a helping hand to anyone willing to reach out for advice. Interact with the people at the booths in the exhibition hall, and give business cards to spread your work. Have questions and don’t be afraid to ask them, your mentors can probably answer them for you.
Siggraph has definitely opened my eyes to the inner workings of the world of computer graphics. It’s filled with plenty of opportunities for high school students to learn more of their interests and to form connections and networks. Attending the conference is quite easily a remarkable experience to have under your belt, so don’t pass up the opportunity to go!
SIGGRAPH is a big place that holds so much opportunities for students and adults alike
I first found out about SIGGRAPH when my Digital Animation teacher offered me an application to attend. She had told me that I was recommended to take part in the student program that allowed high schoolers like me a chance to attend the biggest computers graphics convention in the world! When I read the application, what convinced me to apply was the fact that attendance was free, and I could get the opportunity to talk to various animation and technology companies and, quite possibly, be able to walk out of the conference with many connections to new people.
Once I applied for SIGGRAPH, the first thing that happened was that I got to be paired up with a mentor who will help me get the most out of my experience. My mentor was an employee for Adobe with a great sense of humor and easily recognizable with his bright blue bandana. From him, I got a bit more insight about certain technical careers like video game designing, and the knowledge needed to try to pursue those careers.
I expected quite a lot from SIGGRAPH due to its reputation as being one of the largest technical and animation conferences out there. I imagined seeing many cool people from companies such as Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, and they were really there! I had the opportunity to meet with recruiters from both Disney and Dreamworks, and I was able to attend talks from Marvel about how their films were made and how their solutions to the problems they came across during production.
There were always interesting panels taking place every day, so there was always some tough decisionmaking to be made. The choice was always worth it, though, and I ended up being given some amazing advice from very amazing people. Those same people also created some award-winning films and animation that was featured in a large theater, and the films had the audience wrapped around their fingers, filling them with laughter and awe. Sitting there and watching those films was my favorite part of the whole convention.
The exhibition hall featured plenty of emerging technology, and we were given the chance to test them out and play games, which were mostly virtual reality. My sister got to play dominos against a robot AI made by the company Nvidia and we were offered internship information and animation magazines from the various booths set up at the job fair. It gave me some more insight on animation and computer graphics careers, such as what they’re looking for in a resume and exactly what technologies are being used in the industries. It was enough to make me reconsider my career choices and pursue a job in this line of work.
Despite these opportunities, however, the most surprising part of SIGGRAPH was the fact that a three year-old giraffe named “Tiny” came to visit for two days at the convention. He was the model for a drawing session that taught people to use shapes to paint a picture rather than try for perfection. It was a great learning experience to enhance my drawing skills as well as a great chance to take pictures with Tiny.
To anyone who plans to attend the conference as part of the Pioneer Mentoring Program, my advice would be to approach and communicate with as much people there as possible. Go to their booths in the exhibition hall and try out their stuff and get as much information as you can about their colleges and how they got hired into their jobs. They are experts in their field and their knowledge is very valuable to aspiring students. Attend the panels that interest you, but also attend the ones that allow for a meet-andgreet with the panelists so that there is a chance to network and exchange contact information.
SIGGRAPH is a big place that holds so much opportunities for students and adults alike. It is a wonderful experience to have and I would gladly go back there when given the chance.
I would say that you should talk to everyone
I had never heard of Siggraph before my first experience this summer. I found out about it through a graphic design teacher at my high school who sent a message online to all students who would be interested in going. What made me apply was the things I saw on the website and some essays from people who had gone before. They talked about using VR headsets and just seeing that got me really excited because I had never had a VR experience before. Also, since I want to go into a field of computers and math, I thought this would be an opportunity to meet people who held mutual interests. I’ve never had a friend who wanted to go into computer science so when I saw this, I thought this was something I really needed.
Before I arrived, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it had lots of stuff involving technology. So when I got here, I was very impressed. What amazed me about my mentor was that he has been going to Siggraph since the 70s. He has worked on VR for many years. He is awesome. He told me about all the good things I should check out. The VR village was one of them which was definitely worth seeing. He told me about sessions to go to like the ones about the movie productions. His advice was very helpful. I got to meet many people and see amazing things at the VR village.
At Siggraph, I got to have the VR experience many times. It was my first time as well which made it even more incredible. I saw lots of different technologies which hadn’t been released out into the world yet. The movie production talks with their producers and people who took part in the movies were also good. I got to see those people in person. My favorite part about Siggraph was emerging technologies. I saw so many incredible technologies that amazed me. And the fact that I among others at Siggraph got to experience these first was even more exciting. What I didn’t like was that there were some technologies that you had to sign up for before to experience. I didn’t know that. It didn’t see anything that said that certain things had to be signed up for anywhere.
The most surprising thing was seeing holograms for the first time. They were different than what we see in movies but they were there. We needed to put on the VR headset for it and you could actually feel and play around with the hologram which I think was pretty cool. I had no idea before that holograms were starting to come out so soon. Before I went to Siggraph, I just wanted to go into the computer security. Now, I want to do lots of things. I want to go into graphic design, animation and physics because of all the cool tech I saw and I want to create something too. As soon as I turn eighteen, I will apply to become a volunteer at Siggraph. I want to keep coming to Siggraph. I will apply myself to my studies even more so one day, I can be one of those people doing presentations or showing their technology at Siggraph.
For students attending Siggraph in the future, I would say that you should talk to everyone. Go to production talks. Try to see as much as you can. You will get tired in those five days but it will be worth it. Go and see emerging technologies. Experience VR. Gather as much information as you can about Siggraph so you know what you want to do when you get there. To future mentors, I would say try to tell your assigned students about places they should go to or maybe even take them there. Tell them about the places that they should really visit. Students who don’t understand what to expect at Siggraph but are interested in technology and arts should definitely give Siggraph a shot. I didn’t know what to expect and I found something amazing. Going to Siggraph changed me. I saw so many incredible things. I even saw lots of things I didn’t understand. But I want to understand. I want to know those things like other people who saw them ad understand everything. Siggraph makes me want to do even more and I will. That is a promise to myself.
I really loved and learned a lot at the SIGGRAPH Convention
Coming to Graphic Design every day and doing absolutely nothing, my teacher knew something had to be done. So she introduced me and 4 others to journey into the mysterious of technology through the Siggraph Convention. Mostly, the only reason why I applied was because my teacher, Mrs. Chang, really wanted us 5 to have an experience of a lifetime in the world of technology. Even though I was hesitant to attend, I had nothing else to do during the summer anyhow. I expected the convention to be about companies trying to bring in more customers. But to my surprise, I really loved and learned a lot at the Siggraph Convention. Even though my mentor and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time together, he was the CEO of the program that is funding this trip for us, and he taught me the difference in pre-render and real-time rendering. I saw a lot of companies that were letting people try out their inventions of games, movies, etc. The best part in Siggraph was the shirt/book/engraving section near the VR Village. This really peaked my interest because I was able to make my own creation. The thing that really bugged me the most was the wait before I could try the technology. Though it was meant to be, I really didn’t like it that much, my legs were very tired. The exhibition really surprised me the most, out of the whole convention. I found out that through the technology, that I am able to be in the medical field but through technology. I will continue to use what I learned about photoshop for years to come. I recommend that you bring a book to read, or some very comfortable shoes because you’ll be waiting for a long time. Might I recommend that the mentors not bring their offspring along with them, it really breaks the connection between the Mentee and the Mentor. Just in general, this convention was an event of a lifetime.
Most of the people attending were foreign to Los Angeles
I discovered about attending SIGGRAPH from my high school art structure teacher, who had emailed my mother and I about the amazing program being hosted for students to attend the conference. She had been trying to get me into as many artistic programs as possible based on my career path. I had decided to apply because I am striving for a career in the arts, and I thought of this program and conference as an excellent place to kick start my career choices, as well as to give me more exposure to the industry and the people employed within it.
Before arriving at SIGGRAPH, I expected a very artsy and fun convention with many exciting things to do. While the conference was exciting and fun, it was more professional and was a more business-like environment, which I didn’t mind. The business aspect is actually one of the factors that intrigued me into learning more about the computer graphics world, and understanding more and more about the professions in that industry.
My Pioneer Mentor worked at a college and also worked in getting the funds for this student program. Marc texted me several times throughout the conference to let me know about different talks or panels I may be interested in, which definitely helped me open my eyes to many things that I would not have previously seen if it had not been for his guidance.
I attended quite a few panels that involved the production and creation of some of my favorite shows, like Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Rogue One, Stranger Things, and many more. My mentor was also able to connect me with someone who worked in the VR Theater, which I got to experience. I constantly attended the bookstore to look at the concept books and art books. There happened to be an art book of my favorite manga that I purchased. It is a very beautiful book that I use for reference now when I do illustrations of my own. One of my favorite parts of SIGGRAPH were the production sessions because of how large the room was and how in-depth the discussions were. I attended most production sessions and I got a lot of very good notes from them. I also loved Tiny the giraffe, he was such a beautiful animal! I myself am an animal lover, so seeing him made me very happy and warm inside. He also liked me very much! I also loved the Epson printing studio, where you could print your own design on a shirt. I made a shirt that came out wonderfully in the studio. My least favorite parts of the conference were all of the walking, and multiple Beauty andthe Beast talks were cancelled. Other than those, my SIGGRAPH experience was amazing.
The thing that shocked me the most while at SIGGRAPH was how most of the people attending were foreign to Los Angeles, and had flown in from many points of the world to attend the conference. It was amazing to see these people travel due to their dedication to their profession. I was also socked at how much it costs to attend the conference, which means that people are very serious about it and are willing to pay such a large amount of money.
Attending SIGGRAPH has made me seriously think about my career choices and what I would like to do. Before, I wanted to be a self-employed artist who just worked for clients. After seeing many people who have the same artistic passions as I do become computer graphics workers and animators and create beautiful work, I have decided that that is what I would like to do. Just looking at breakdowns of animated cuts and concept art has inspired me to become one of the people giving a lecture on how they created a popular movie sequence. At SIGGRAPH, I took many efficient notes from attending the different panels, and have consolidated them into
my notebook for different artistic tips and processes. I will use the knowledge that I gained from SIGGRAPH to influence my artistic processes and illustrations. I believe using my notes in this way will be most effective and will help me grow as an artist.
My advice to students in the Pioneer Program for the next time around is to not take absolutely anything at SIGGRAPH for granted. The conference is an amazing learning experience and will open your eyes to many new situations and opportunities—but only if you let it. You are the one attending, so it is in your best interest to get the most out of such an amazing opportunity. I also would suggest getting the app, as it helps you discover different
panels and such that you may be interested, all in the palm of your hand.
For future mentors, I think it would be a great benefit if the mentors could try to relate to their student, and try to get to know more about their career paths and interests. If the mentors were to provide this heart-to-heart with their student, the student would be able to receive first hand experience and advice with a trained professional in the industry, which I think is a crucial aspect for students attending SIGGRAPH.
I would like to thank Kathleen Milnes and Marc Barr for providing me with an excellent opportunity to experience a professional convention like SIGGRAPH. My attendance to the conference had a very wonderful impact on my life, and I cannot express enough how glad I am to have attended such an amazing place. SIGGRAPH will always be an unforgettable experience.
I spent a lot of time in the Studio and VR Village
Siggraph was an amazing opportunity that I got the privilege of hearing about this conference through my TV teacher who believed that I would learn a lot and thrive from this experience. I really did believe this experience would be extremely beneficial to me and my future career and decided it was important for me to apply. Before SIGGRAPH I honestly had no idea what to expect I thought there would be many moreteenagers than there were. I did not think it would all be industry professionals. My pioneer mentor was extremely helpful. She knew a lot about the conference and was very helpful in recommending panels and workshops for me to attend based on my own interests. I spent a lot of time in the Studio and VR Village, which was really helpful because it was very hands-on and that is the best way that I learn. I learned a lot about the 3D printing which is something that I have always been very interested in. My favorite parts of SIGGRAPH was seeing the giraffe and getting to have hands-on experience with tools and programs I have never used before. My least favorite parts were the panels because I did not know a lot of the lingo that the industry professionals were referring too, but it was very cool to learn and hear about that stuff. What surprised me the most about SIGGRAPH was the number of people who attended and how many people are involved in this industry. I still want to go into film editing which was not a focus that was really talked about at the conference which I wish it was talked about more. With what I learned I want to learn how to do visual effects when I edit and this conference really helped me learn how to use different software to edit. If I were to give advice to someone applying to be in the pioneer mentor program, it would be to get involved
with the program and to use the experience for help and for personal growth. My mentor was very helpful and understanding about what I wanted and which sessions I wanted to see and go to. She sent me articles to read based on my interests and really helped me learn more about my passions. I really enjoyed SIGGRAPH and I want to continue to learn more and maybe even go to Vancouver next August to be apart of SIGGRAPH.
SIGGRAPH yet again taught be something new and opened my eyes to the newest technologies
It was my third year at SIGGRAPH and it still managed to amaze me and teach me something new every day of the conference. That’s the best part about SIGGRAPH – with such a rapidly growing industry, there’s new technologies on display every year – and it’s always fascinating to see how much returning exhibitors have improved and developed their services in just one year. For example, last SIGGRAPH, I got to try out a product in a very early prototype stage. This year, I returned to see they had a fully fledged product and had made it to market. It’s this kind of rapid improvements and changes in technology that keeps me coming back each year to SIGGRAPH to experience firsthand the latest emerging technologies.
I had first applied for the mentorship program upon recommendation from my teacher, and jumped at the chance to apply due to the prospect of being able to get more out of the conference by interacting one on one with experts in the industry. I was not disappointed – before attending the mentorship program, I had no idea how much I was missing from SIGGRAPH until I had the chance to work with talented individuals in the digital media and film fields. I was so pleasantly surprised by how my mentors were willing to spend their time bringing me around and offering their knowledge and insight while exploring the conference with me. Both years, I had two different mentors who worked with me in different ways, but still managed to enrich my time at SIGGRAPH and give some good advice. Last year, my mentor traveled the exhibition floor with me as we discussed the technologies on display. This year, I was able to meet with my mentor almost every day, where we got to sit down and discuss careers in the program management room. The best part about meeting in there was that I was able to discuss with not only my mentor, but also any adult in the room. I recall that one day, I switched from person to person, learning about different aspects of the industry from anyone available, each enthusiastic and available to share their knowledge and resources with me and my peers.
The full conference badge the mentorship program gave was also an amazing perk of the mentorship program. That way, I could visit several production sessions held by giants in the industry such as Disney and smaller workshops where I could learn some practical skills. This eclectic mix of sessions to attend brought in a good amount of variety into the attractions of SIGGRAPH and were my favorite parts of SIGGRAPH, helping enrich my experience at the conference as a whole.
SIGGRAPH was such an amazing conference that my least favorite thing about it was not being able to do certain things like the VR Theatre: Despite arriving at 8:00 AM almost every day, I was never able to obtain tickets, and even after waiting in the standby line from 8-11, I still wasn’t able to attend. Perhaps if there was some way to sign up for tickets when registering for the conference or it was a system more like last year’s, where I was able to just line up to enter an area showcasing VR films, that would provide better access for attendees to the convention to enjoy the films. From what I could see, it was an immensely popular event and opening it up to the most people possible could be another potential draw to the conference.
I cannot wait to apply certain tips and tricks I learned at SIGGRAPH to my video and VR productions at home and during the school year. I’m already thinking about how to create a digital stunt double of myself (inspired by examples and demonstrations) and am armed with an arsenal of new tricks relating to filming in VR. My eyes have definitely been opened to the career possibilities in the digital arts field and I look forward to what the future holds.
SIGGRAPH yet again taught be something new and opened my eyes to the newest technologies while giving me valuable lessons via the mentorship program. I’m very grateful to have been a part of this program and hope it continues to grow and expand throughout the coming years. To anyone even just curious about the SIGGRAPH mentorship program and how it works: try it out. You won’t regret it. Spend as much time with your mentor as possible and you will gain so much more than just attending the regular conference. And to mentors: thank you so much for dedicating your time to us. By spending as much time as you can meeting and discussing with us students, you help enhance this program and SIGGRAPH as a whole. Thank you.
Interested in how art and technology can be incorporated together
I did a program called CSSI (Computer Science Summer Institute) and one of the coordinators sent out an email about SIGGRAPH. I was really interested in how art and technology can be incorporated together, so I applied. I want my career to focus on both art and technology. The closest thing that put two together is graphic design, VR/AR, animation, UI/UX, and web design, just to name a few. These careers always interested me and I figured both can work really well together. Most of my classes in high school were filled with art electives and during my senior year in high school I learned coding through Python at Chabot College and that was the first time I entered the world of programming. I’m still unsure what my future will hold, but I certainly know I would regret not pursuing anything related to art and technology. With that in mind I know my main focus in college and in life are those two. The conference held many events that I was looking forward to and was up my alley.
I didn’t think that there would be such a variety of events. There were keynote sessions (my favorite one was with Floyd Norman), panels, tutorials, and college students project presentations and demos. I also didn’t expect big companies to demo their latest product and give free “swag” (stuff).
There was so much I saw and it was kind of overwhelming, but my favorite presentation was seeing how students created their own editing system, making editing dialogue videos easier. The clips and script was side by side. All related scenes were put together in columns under the clip section and “idioms” such as jump cut would be inserted and that action would happen. Also with the use of face recognition, it highlighted the script depending on which person spoke. That was really cool and I also liked the session where Floyd Norman (animated Jungle Book) told the crowd that even with new emerging tech, such as VR, the content and story is important to succeed. Jungle Book is memorable because of its story. I use to play Pokemon Go so it was cool seeing the original prototypes, how it got to what it became and understanding why it was popular.
The Electronic Theater was a highlight of my experience at SIGGRAPH. The slideshow in the beginning proved how animation changed over the course of over 50 years since ‘66. I saw 25 short animated films and after that I now view films with a new ‘lens’ and analyze small bits such as the explosion effects, hair, and even the character and its movements.
There was panel on women who decided to do computer science and animation and it pushed me to continue what I decided to do. With my knowledge in computer science I want to check out the code that was given in some presentations from their GitHub and explore the visual effects that were shown in the presentations. I didn’t realize that animation used code.
I recommend downloading the app so you can see the description of each event, location and time. It helped me plan what I wanted to see because there were so many that happened at the same time. I met people from the same CSSI program as well, so it was fun exploring the conference with them and it made my experience memorable; don’t be shy and meet people.
I knew SIGGRAPH would give me even more perspectives
I am at a milestone in my life. I have just graduated from high school and am about to start my college career. I took an introductory programming class in Python my senior year of high school, and it got me really interested in pursuing a career in computer science. I’ve always loved science fiction movies and computer games, especially ones with sophisticated graphics, but I didn’t really know that much beyond that. I was therefore very fortunate to be chosen to be a participant in the 2017 Google Computer Science Summer Institute. The CSSI was three intensive weeks of learning code, making an app from scratch and then presenting it. Another very cool aspect of the Google CSSI was that they told me about SIGGRAPH. Of course, having learned how much I liked my experience at Google, I wanted to learn more about the whole industry – My only knowledge so far has been based on CSSI, which showed me one part of the industry. I knew SIGGRAPH would give me even more perspectives – probably teach me about sub-industries in the larger tech industry that maybe I hadn’t even heard of or thought of.
Another very important reason I thought SIGGRAPH would be good for me is that at the college I’m attending, Computer Science is a capped major, so it’s very hard to get into the program. When I visited the campus when I was trying to decide which college to attend, I sat in on a presentation that was all about what options there are for people interested in Computer Science but can’t get in. At that session, I learned about all of the different interdisciplinary majors that are available. So, I found out about majors like Cognitive Science, or Interactive Music/Art and Science that I hadn’t appreciated before. Therefore, I thought SIGGRAPH could add to my knowledge of the different ways different disciplines contribute to the larger tech industry. I felt attending SIGGRAPH would give me a true “behind-the-scenes” view of the various disciplines as well as the interdisciplinary nature of how everything has to come together to create the optimal experience for the end user.
SIGGRAPH definitely met my expectations! It was huge and eye-opening to see so many different facets of how computer programming, design and graphics are needed and how they all come together to form the products that we use and enjoy! I loved learning about the Virtual Reality technology. I admit it gave me a little bit of motion sickness, but it was still really amazing to see the cutting edge of this technology. One of the favorite presentations that I attended was the VR Theater. I want to make video games when I grow up, and I believe VR is the future of gaming.
I appreciated how SIGGRAPH planned for students to be paired up with a mentor. The convention is pretty overwhelming, so it felt better that I had connected with my mentor before the conference. He also told me about when he would be presenting, so I was happy to attend that. I learned there are many ways to learn animation including the program he runs at his school. It was very thoughtful of SIGGRAPH to anticipate that I might be somewhat overwhelmed by the convention and come up with the mentor solution to address that.
Overall, I think SIGGRAPH was a very good learning opportunity for me. While some of the presentations were definitely deeply technical (and full of advanced jargon) such that it was hard for someone not yet in the field to follow, I was inspired by the conference to learn more. I appreciate the opportunity to have attended a world-class convention on a field I am passionate about. Hearing all of these people and companies with the same passions come together in one place to share their passions, their work and ideas, and their emerging technologies was really inspiring. I recommend SIGGRAPH for all students who either already know they are interested in a career in technology/graphics, or who just think that they
might be, so that they can learn more and better define their future life plans. I can’t really think of a better way to amass as much information about the field in as short a time as attending this conference. Thank you for giving me this unique opportunity.
SIGGRAPH has affected what I might want to do as a career
I found out about the opportunity to attend SIGGRAPH from my TV Production teacher, Mrs. Harkins-James. She thought it would be a good idea for me to apply to the program. I learned that SIGGRAPH stands for Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques and is an annual conference. I immediately was interested, because I wanted to further my understanding of CG and interactive technologies and I wanted to learn from experts and innovators. I thought that the VR Village, Computer Animation Festival, Emerging Technologies, and Real Time Live all looked fascinating, and I would soon learn that they were. I was expecting a medium sized conference where there was mostly talks and panels but there was so much more than that.
My mentor was the Experience Hall Chair for SIGGRAPH 2017 and is going to be the General Submissions Chair for SIGGRAPH 2018/2019. I soon learned that Experience Hall was the most amazing place and if I could have spent a month in there I would have. She told me about Experience Hall more in-depth than I would have learned otherwise. She also told me about how it is being a woman in the industry. I was able to interview her for a segment on NDTV (Notre Dame High School’s weekly show). During that interview I learned that she started coming to SIGGRAPH as a student volunteer and has loved the family of the volunteers who keep coming back to SIGGRAPH. She is a Creative Technology Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering in Florida. When she told me about her job, I was instantly inspired to pursue a similar career.
One of the most amazing things I saw, heard, and experienced at SIGGRAPH was new connections being formed between people in the industry sharing their creations and innovations with each other. This conference provides a place for people to come together in such a way where they can share ideas and experience innovations. My favorite part of SIGGRAPH was Experience Hall because I love hands-on demonstrations. VR Village, Emerging Technologies, Art Gallery, and the Studio are all in Experience Hall. They are completely different venues but they are meshed together in one exciting experience which I thought was great. I loved being able to immerse myself in new VR and AR, especially the Project ISS VR Simulator. In Emerging Technologies, I was able to experience the future of so many different types of technologies from holograms to haptic feedback. The Studio provided me with the opportunity to make a design and use a laser cutter to make it come to life.
At SIGGRAPH, I also greatly enjoyed and learned a lot from the talks and panels. Since Project ISS was my favorite VR experience, I was able to go to an Experience Presentation and Birds of a Feather discussing its production. Two of my favorite Production Sessions were The Making of “Spider-Man Homecoming” and The Making of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”. In those sessions, I learned about the CG involved in those two films and also learned about females in the industry from Victoria Alonso, now one of my new role models.
Going to SIGGRAPH has affected what I might want to do as a career by exposing me to things that were related to my initial interests but also allowing me to discover other areas that I didn’t know interested me. I learned that I love VR and I probably want to have a career that incorporates VR in some way. Through listening to Victoria Alonso, I was inspired to follow a path of physical production on films. There were so many things that inspired me at SIGGRAPH, it is hard to comprehend all the paths that I could follow. I am going to apply what I learned at SIGGRAPH to my TV production class and our weekly show by constantly trying to improve my work on it. I will also apply what I learned when I am choosing a major in college and when I am applying to jobs. I think that being able to discover what my interests are during high school will really help me in knowing what path I want to follow later on.
To future students attending SIGGRAPH as part of the Pioneer Mentoring program I would say to not be overwhelmed when you first get to SIGGRAPH. When I first arrived at the LA Convention Center and walked through the door, I was met with over 16,000 attendees and multiple areas to explore. I felt overwhelmed but in a good way. I was most surprised by how many things there were to see and do. I wanted to be able to experience everything! Future students, it will feel like there is so much to do, and there is, but use the app provided to hone in on what really interests you the most. I would also tell future students attending SIGGRAPH that if there are two different talks, production sessions, panels, etc., that interest you going on at the same time, go to the smaller one, because the bigger one might be recorded and put online for you to watch later. Also, if you go to a session that doesn’t fully interest you, it is okay to walk out and go to a different one. Finally, go to Real Time Live, the Electronic Theater, and the VR Theater if you can — you won’t regret it. They are all amazing experiences that you will get to witness and participate in with others who are as passionate as you. This conference is all about discovering what interests you, so try to seek that out in the short five days you will have to experience all that SIGGRAPH has to offer.
The VR Theater was incredible and showcased storytelling in VR
I found out about SIGGRAPH through my Google Computer Science Summer Institute program lead, Fabricio Turcios. He suggested we apply to SIGGRAPH, so I looked it up online. After reading about it, I knew I wanted to go because it seemed like a lot of fun.
I decided to apply because I read about the virtual reality demonstrations that the convention would have. They seemed very interesting, and I had never tried virtual reality before, so I applied.
I expected SIGGRAPH to be a highly technical networking / mixer event for people in the industry (and I was not wrong). However, it was that and much more; it was one of the most fun events I’ve ever attended.
My Mentor is CEO of StanleyVision and led a talk on how to get into VR.
On the first day, I went to a talk about the creation of the Jackson Storm character and the creation of tattoo animations used in Maui in Moana. It was an awesome introduction, and I enjoyed learning more about what designers go through before pushing out a new character or animation. A lot of thought is put into every choice and the characters are the result of hundreds of decisions and hours of discussion.
On the second day, I went to a more technical talk. There, I learned about the rendering of oceans and procedural creation of clouds in games. The talk was surprisingly captivating because the math they used to create oceans and clouds was not like any other math I’ve seen. It was math that created believable randomness. Also, the developers used create algorithms to generate clouds and optimize the program so that it was not too taxing on systems.
On the third day, I went to the VR Theater. This was my favorite part. The VR Theater was incredible and showcased storytelling in VR. I watched Dear Angelica, and it was a changing experience. I completely believe that VR will be the future of entertainment. Stories can be told in such an immersive and emotional way in VR that is impossible in traditional media.
My least favorite part was a small segment of time on the 3rd day when I could not find an interesting non-technical talk. However, this was OK because I could go to the VR Village and spend time there.
I was most surprised by how entertaining and fun the convention was because I was not expecting it to be so fun and so entertaining; like I said, I thought it would be a very professional networking convention. I thought everything would go over my head.
I feel like I will entertain interning at companies like Nvidia and AMD after attending SIGGRAPH because a lot of the current problems in real-time rendering seem fun to tackle and attempt to fix. I see myself entering this section of software engineering. After going to many talks that used Unity, I think I will start using Unity and try it out. The talk about the clouds made me excited to try it out, and I know I can because the software is open-source so I can download it and run it on my computer.
I suggest students make a schedule, but star 2-3 events per time block in case the event you wanted to go to is too technical for you. Also, arrive early so you can get VR Theater tickets (it’s very much worth it). Mentors, you guys are awesome and you have a lot of knowledge to share! It’s great if you meet up during lunch to check in, but let the student explore the convention on their own.
The VR Village to me made me feel like I was in heaven.
I learned about attending Siggraph through a message that was sent out through Jupiter, a website that helps us keep track of our grades and upcoming events. One of the teachers. Ms. Connan Lee, at our school has connections with Otis and knows Kathleen Milnes. Kathleen told our teacher about this program and spread it to all the students at our school. She briefly explained what it was about and gave us Kathleen’s information so we could email her and learn more about the program.
I decided to apply because when I searched up online what it was I became very interested. I have always had an interest in technology and computer graphics and by me applying I could earn the chance to experience the upcoming technology in person. I told one of my friends about it and they all encouraged me to apply so that I could expand my knowledge more and so I could learn about future careers.
Before I attended I expected the conference to be small and not as large as it was. I thought it was going to be like only talks the whole time but it wasn’t. I didn’t expect to meet so many new people or get the chance to have a conversation with them. I expected there to be so many people attending that come from all around in order to attend this once a year conference.
My mentor currently works for google spotlight stories and it’s helping out currently with some new showed that are about to get released. My mentor had previously worked for Disney animation studios and also at Pixar. My mentor also had gone to Berkeley for school to study animation and other things that he uses in his work today. He was able to introduce me to various people like game designers so that I could meet new people and talk to them about my future. He showed me what I could possible do when I was older. I got learn about the different programs they have a Berkeley and that I might consider for the future. My mentor also told me things I could do in order to reach my goal and talked to me about what schools I could attend after I graduated.
At Siggraph i was able to meet new people that share an interest in what I want to do in the future. I learned and heard how they are able to make the films we see at the movie theatres and how much work it takes in order to get certain scenes. I got to see the emerging technology of the world and actually get to try it which was an amazing experience. I got to see technology in a whole new perspective. I also got to learn about what specific companies do. I was able to go to the VR Theatre, thanks to my mentor who got me in before the showing since I didn’t have a ticket for the screening, and see short films through VR for the first time and it was such a wonderful experience for me. I was able to actually use the technology and create stuff which I thought was pretty cool because who doesn’t like making new stuff right. I also got the opportunity to talk to some colleges that were there and also companies that I could possibly work for in the future. I was able to meet people from Disney and talk to them about my future and I was able to get their information so I could keep in touch with them about my life.
My favorite part about the whole thing has to be the VR Village because I spent most of my week there. There was so much technology to see that I couldn’t cover in one day so I kept going in order to learn more about the emerging technologies. To me it was mind blowing how such things are possible and how a group of people were able to make these. I especially loved how I was able to try all these new pieces of technology before other people in the world. The VR Village to me made me feel like I was in heaven. I also enjoyed being able to spend time with some people from my school who I don’t usually talk to and learn about them. The whole conference in general was so amazing that I loved the whole thing and I would most definitely want to go again in the future. I would also like to possibly become a volunteer for future conferences when I turn 18. There’s was nothing that I didn’t like because I loved everything so much.
What surprised me the most from the whole conference was seeing technology that can sync your muscle movements with others. The technology I saw throughout the week was the most surprising thing I saw because I just couldn’t believe my eyes about what I had just seen and was able to try. It was crazy how when you had the VR set on, it actually seemed like you were there. Everything I saw at Siggraph helped me expand my knowledge about an interest I’ve always had and that I can actually make a career out of it. I never really had thought about game developing as being a career I want to pursue but now that I had the opportunity to attend Siggraph i most definitely want to study coding and leading how to develop games so I can join these amazing people that I got a chance to meet. I would really want to pursue a career that deals with technology like engineering or possibly being able to create video games for the upcoming generations. I will use the knowledge I gained at Siggraph to help me out with choosing the career i want to pursue when I start college and applying the things I learned to the classes I will take. I would use the advice that people gave me in order to become successful and one day get the chance to work with them when I finish school. I will cherish the memories I was able to make the week of Siggraph and remember how it taught me that anything is possible if you work hard to make it happen as I saw in the various booths that showcased the emerging technologies.
The advice that I would give future students is that they have to make sure to contact their mentors right away so that they can learn some things about them and get to know them so that they aren’t complete strangers when they first me. Also to make sure you meet with your mentor on the first day because they can help guide you around since it is a pretty big conference and it might seem very overwhelming. Also to check out the VR Village because it’s such a wonderful thing to go see because of all the technology you get to see first hand. As well and meeting with your metro each day even though it might be weird at first but it’s very beneficial because you might learn about new things from them and they can introduce you to various people that can help you out in the future. I would tell the mentors that they should contact their mentees because some of them might be shy and so therefore might not want to talk first. Other than that the mentors should just continue being them because they were all wonderful. I want you to know that this has been the greatest experience of my life.
Develop a career with the magic mixture of digital arts and technology
One of my passions is to develop a career with the magic mixture of digital arts and technology. In order to reach my dream, I want to focus my energies in learning about new technologies for graphic design. When my animation teacher asked me if I was interested in attending the SIGGRAPH Conference, I thought it would be an exciting experience. So, I started to investigate and found out it could be an ideal place for getting specialized knowledge about the things I love to do. My dad has a major in Computer Science and we have very similar interests. He talked with me about how attending to SIGGRAPH was his dream when he was a computer science student. That was a very definitive thing since in addition, I was going to have the chance to fulfill one of my father’s dreams.
I expected the conference to be very busy and full of new experiences. I was hoping to get an insight into the industry, attend to many talks about how the field of digital media works. I wanted to meet people from many backgrounds and learn what paths they took to be successful in this field. My mentor, John Reinhard, was involved from the beginning and made sure to help me choose the experiences that would interest me the most since I wouldn’t be able to try them all. He helped me organize my schedule and gave me a window to choose things I would like to try.
Once I arrived, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of people there. As a high school student, I thought that my inexperience could be a disadvantage since the majority of those attending were already professionals in the field. However, later I was proved that it was a good thing to be surrounded by them, I could learn a lot and they showed to be very easy to talk with and helpful in answering my questions without complicated terms. In those few days, I attended to several talks that allowed me to get to appreciate first-hand technological creations. Many exhibitions were amazing. It made me notice that it’s one thing to hear others talk about their work, but when going to those exhibitions allowed me to appreciate them and even try them myself while talking to the developers, who always were very friendly and easy to talk with. I found the whole conference to be amazing. I really enjoyed all the VR booths. But what I think would be my favorite would be the Computer Animation Festival. It was a full showcase of amazing animations from distinct artists using all sorts of techniques.
I found SIGGRAPH to be having much more than for what I would have imagined. So much that it was overwhelming sometimes. What I regret the most is not being able to attend to all the conferences I wanted to because in several instances they were happening in different places at the same time. It surprised me how everyone was so polite, friendly and easy to talk with because I was expecting more a professional approach. I was also amazed by how quickly I felt like I belonged there and how natural it was to find others with the same interests as me. Attending to SIGGRAPH has definitely inspired me to try new approaches into the field I feel attracted to. This experience really had an impact on me and it will play a huge role when I have to decide about my future steps. It also allowed me to know about others paths that were taken by already successful people in Computer Graphics field. With what I learned at this conference I will begin to use new tools I discovered there, I plan to start creating my own portfolio of digital art and improve my theoretical knowledge.
As part of the Pioneer Mentoring Program in 2017, I would advise attending students to not be afraid of talking to anybody, it can seem scary but everyone was very attentive and helpful. This type of conversations turned out to be very inspiring sometimes and they can serve as practice for future interviews. They also propitiate networking in a more professional environment. I would recommend being always prepared, projecting the schedule for the conference beforehand and having something to take notes in because there is so much information being shared that is impossible to retain it all.
To future mentors, I would advise making sure to make contact with the students as soon as possible and get to meet their background and what they want to get of SIGGRAPH. As mentors, I think you will have a better understanding of what is represented in this conference and would be able to help the student decide what to do in it. Also, set some time aside to help them meet some professionals that the students might be interested in meeting. I am very grateful for this opportunity of attending SIGGRAPH, it was an amazing experience. Thanks to all the organizers of the Pioneer Mentoring Program and the whole SIGGRAPH conference.