SIGGRAPH '19- ACM SIGGRAPH 2019 Production Sessions

Full Citation in the ACM Digital Library

The making of Marvel Studios' "Avengers: Endgame"

The fourth installment in the Avengers saga is the culmination of 22 interconnected films and has drawn audiences to witness the turning point of this epic journey. Our beloved heroes now truly understand how fragile our world is, and the sacrifices that must be made to protect it. It is a story of friendship, teamwork, and setting aside our differences to overcome an immense obstacle. Join Marvel Studios, Digital Domain, ILM, and Weta Digital as they discuss how the most diverse collection of heroes, environments, and visual effects were assembled into this ultimate climactic final chapter.

Disney presents: the making of The Lion King

In this production session, VFX Supervisors Robert Legato, ASC and Director of Photography Caleb Deschanel ASC will reveal how they worked with Director Jon Favreau and the VFX and Animation team at MPC Film (Moving Picture Company) to develop a new approach to filmmaking, harnessing the latest filmmaking technologies and creative talent to bring The Lion King to a new generation. As the sole provider of visual effects and animation, the MPC team was led by: MPC VFX supervisors Adam Valdez and Elliot Newman, whom worked closely with Legato, Deschanel and Animation Supervisor Andy Jones, crafting every photo-real frame of the movie.

Step right up, everyone's a winner: the making of Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4 continues the rich history of the previous three films, while also expanding the world and exposing the characters to new and exciting challenges. For Woody, a journey far beyond the kids' rooms and neighborhoods he's always known introduces him to new faces that test his assumptions of what it means to be there for a child. And of course, he'll need the help of some old friends to navigate the adventures he encounters. In this session, the crew will discuss how the sets, characters, cinematography and even pipeline were all developed to celebrate this next chapter. Please keep your hands inside the ride at all times.

How to Train Your Dragon: the hidden what?

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World represents the final installment of the Dragon trilogy whose releases spanned 9 years during which technology changed dramatically. The filmmakers will discuss how the third film evolved to embrace new technology, particularly Physically Based Rendering and improved simulation capabilities, while remaining true to the design principles established in the first movie. It was critical to the storytelling that the Hidden World, home of the dragons, needed to be expansive and endless despite being underground. It needed to be rooted in the naturalistic style of the franchise, yet feel alien to our human world. We will discuss the creative design challenges and technical hurdles faced in bringing this world to life. Due to the introduction of new software and pipeline, built on USD, as well as schedule challenges, the production process resembled less of our traditional linear pipeline typical of feature animation production with much more back and forth between departments working at the same time. The panelists will explore how this "controlled chaos" that characterized production of The Hidden World impacted the final film.

Creating the immersive world of BioWare's Anthem

The savage world of Anthem is volatile, lush, expansive, and full of unexpected characters. Bringing these aspects to life in a real-time (30fps) interactive environment presented a wealth of challenging problems for BioWare's technical artists and rendering engineers. These developers work with content creators to bridge art and technology through creative problem solving in areas such as performance/runtime, shaders, and artist tools. This retrospective panel will highlight some of the team's work, alongside reflections on innovation, distributed collaboration/coordination, and the successes and challenges of creating a new IP for the world to enjoy.

"Space Explorers: Life in Orbit": filming VR in microgravity

In December 2018, TIME and Felix & Paul Studios launched virtual reality cameras---built to operate in microgravity---to the International Space Station. Since then, filming has documented astronauts from several countries in their daring missions more than 250 miles above Earth, capturing life in space as viewers have never truly seen before, and culminating in the first-ever spacewalk in cinematic virtual reality. Join Felix & Paul Studios, along with collaborators from NASA and the ISS National Lab, as they share insights from one of the most ambitious VR projects ever undertaken. In this production session, we will discuss the background of how this partnership came to be, before diving into the technical challenges of capturing cinematic virtual reality on the ISS. How do you direct a scene in such a tight and constrained place, especially while down on Earth? How can you transfer terabytes of data from the cameras to Mission Control? And finally, what does it take to build and operate cameras that can capture a spacewalk? The team will explore the variety of challenges inherent in such a groundbreaking project, from building a camera that can capture an EVA (extra-vehicular activity) in the extreme environment of space, to tracking and crafting months of astronaut footage into a cohesive episodic narrative. Finally, the team will share never-before-seen early footage from the project.

The VFX of Netflix series

From the tragic tales of orphans to a joint force of super siblings to sinister forces threatening 1908s Indiana, the VFX teams on Netflix series have delivered some of the year's most astounding visuals. We've queued three of them up for bingeing en masse. Join creatives behind A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY and STRANGER THINGS as they present some of the work, techniques, and passion that brought these worlds and characters into being.

For the throne: the making of 'Game of Thrones': Season 8

The eighth and final season of "Game of Thrones" was the most anticipated show in recent television history. The cinematic saga spanned six VFX-heavy episodes, from the spectacular Battle of Winterfell to the destruction of Red Keep, and its aftermath. In this talk, Weta Digital, Image Engine, Pixomondo, and Scanline team up to reveal the VFX they created for the climactic conclusion to "Game of Thrones," and how their collective work on the long-running series created a new standard of cinematic television that has forever changed the landscape of TV viewing. The visual effects supervisor from each facility will delve in to the creation over 3000 VFX shots across every episode, featuring dragons, large-scale environments, and epic battles. They will describe how they used cutting-edge film techniques to produce some of the most complex VFX ever seen on TV, and, in doing so, rewrote the rules of what can be accomplished on the small screen.

First Man: Redefining in-camera FX

As the lead VFX house DNEG's work on First Man was centered around trying to achieve some of the most realistic and immersive in-camera VFX shots ever seen. The team used a blend of cutting-edge in-camera VFX techniques, special effects, scale models, and never-before-seen footage from NASA's archive to tell the story of Neil Armstrong's journey to the moon and back. Join Michelle Eisenreich, DNEG VFX Producer, (and DNEG's Academy award-winning DFX Supervisor Tristan Myles - note: depending on Tristan's availability TBC) as she/they share(s) insights on how the First Man VFX crew were able to realise this by using one of the biggest LED screens ever built on a movie set.

Alita: Battle Angel: the art of being human

Alita: Battle Angel follows the young cyborg Alita as she unearths her extraordinary past. Her palpable humanness was key to the film's success and her character represents a new standard of photoreal digital doubles and humanoid CG character realization. Visual Effects Supervisor Nick Epstein will discuss how Weta Digital's advances in performance capture, CG biology, and facial animation brought her story to life.

Swing into another dimension: the making of "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

This production session will explore the art and innovation behind the creation of the Academy Award®-winning "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." The filmmaking team behind the first-ever animated Spider-Man feature film took significant risks to develop an all-new visual style inspired by the graphic look of comic books. The hand of the artist is visible in every frame, including misalignments and bleeding colors, imperfections rarely seen in CG animation. The entire look of the film was driven by artists' intentions, in which design and style was more important than accuracy or realism. The presentation will delve into the new technology developed and the changes to both the pipeline and workflow required to accommodate working in this new visual style. Every department at Sony Pictures Imageworks was asked to reconsider what it means to make an animated feature in the spirit of this revolutionary comic book style and to bring something new to the look of the film. Various new techniques were developed including the rigging and animating of facial line work, 2D hand-drawn effects and stylized rendering.