Maggie Oh

Member Profile: Maggie Oh

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

Currently I’m the Lead Technical Artist on Stadia’s R&D team. I’ve been working in a mix of filmVFX, games, and augmented reality for over 15 years now. I’ve rotated between engineering, art, and PM/ production pretty much the entire time. A sampling of my previous roles include: Technical Artist for HoloLens OS, Senior PM for Halo 5, Senior Cinematics Technical Director for Halo 4, Technical PM for Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group, and Digital Artist at Industrial Light and Magic.

2. What was your first job?

My first internship in the industry was at PIXAR Animation Studios, helping out with shaders on Cars. My first fulltime job in the industry was at Industrial Light and Magic – I started off in Rendersupport then eventually grew to Digital Artist. I am so fortunate to have my formative years at such prestigious companies! Previous to filmVFX, I worked in the dotcom industry as a web developer.

3. Where did you complete your formal education?

My bachelors is from MIT in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. I started an MFA at Academy of Art University, but dropped out to work at ILM. I’m currently a graduate student (part-time) at Harvard, concentrating on Management. I love learning, and one of my friends joked that if I could be a student the rest of my life he wouldn’t be surprised! To give back, I volunteer with the MIT Admissions Office as an Educational Counselor, and I’m one of the class officers for my graduating class.

4. How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?

I’ve been attending SIGGRAPH pretty consistently since 2001. In 2001, I helped demo “Alpha Wolf” with the MIT Media Lab in SIGGRAPH 2001’s Emerging Technologies section.

5. What is your favorite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference?

Oh wow, there are so many! Usually it’s meeting up with past co-workers in the industry – I’ve worked at about 14 studios/ companies so it’s a great opportunity to catch up with people on a personal level and watch their presentations & talks. It’s so much fun to support others’ professional evolution and growth.

6. Describe a project that you would like to share with the ACM SIGGRAPH community.

Lots to mention here, too! I really enjoyed working on LiveCGX, an augmented reality fashion show that had one performance at London Fashion Week, 2018. I believe that it is a minimum viable product for something bigger: more immersive, scaled up orders of magnitude, and applied to other industries and event types.

7. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?

Mozart – he was a prankster and a musical genius!

8. What is something most people don’t know about you?

I would say most don’t know about my music background – I had a radio show in Boston, DJ-ed professionally for a few years (mostly at raves and clubs), composed a piano & violin sonata, and can play a variety of instruments like piano, violin, guitar, and handbells.

9. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?

Definitely my dad. He implicitly taught me that I could to anything that boys could do. The list includes a lot of things, like how to drive, how to approach mathematics, how to travel like a local, and to aim for lofty goals. We would watch everything from Macguyver to Knight Rider to Batman: The Animated Series together. His dream schools to attend were University of Chicago, MIT, and Harvard, and I hope he’s proud that I’ve been able to attend all three schools throughout the years.

10. Is there someone in particular who has influenced your decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH?

Tony Baylis – thanks so much for attending my talk at Grace Hopper and inviting me to get more involved with ACM SIGGRAPH!

11. What can you point to in your career as your proudest moment?

My career path and its opportunities have always surprised me, so I’m not sure I have one singular moment I can hang my hat on just yet. I’m extremely happy to be at Google, on the ground floor of Stadia. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be at Google without these past proud moments/ accomplishments:
• From filmVFX, I was on the Pirates of the Caribbean 2 crew at ILM- Pirates2 won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. We all pulled together and delivered something amazing – I’m glad I was able to be a part of history!
• From games, shipping Halo 4. It was my first shipped game and truly marked my move from offline rendering to realtime rendering; it fundamentally changed the way I approach rendering pipelines and techniques.
• From AR, it’s a tie between HoloLens and LiveCGX (augmented reality fashion show at London Fashion Week 2018)