SIGGRAPH '22: ACM SIGGRAPH 2022 Educator's Forum

Full Citation in the ACM Digital Library

A Focused Animation Curriculum Model

We offer this curriculum as a model for a focused animation program that does not require the infrastructure of an animation major, multiple instructors, or many courses. Students who have taken two courses are well-prepared for technical director positions. Many students report this experience as a college highlight.

The success of the program is due to several key practices. Group critiques mimic “dailies” in industry and allow students to improve work in progress. Students are motivated to learn animation basics when they are applied to a final short film. We emphasize problem-solving over recipe-following so students become self-sufficient in learning new techniques. We provide a supportive and enthusiastic structure through in-class activities, TA support, and a well-attended final showcase. We discuss these principles along with course aims and lessons learned as we refined our approach.

A Game-Development Paradigm for Building Programming Intuition

A fundamental aspect of learning computer programming is the development of an intuition that can provide one with what needs to be done to solve a problem sans specific implementation detail. However, intuition cannot be taught using just lectures and/or readings. Students must be immersed in the process of programming, so relationships among the elements they learn become apparent. Often, short, discrete demonstration programs are used to introduce various programming schema. Given the disconnectedness of these short examples, they fail to help students gain a programming intuition. Using game development as the basis for an introductory programming class taps into students existing understanding of and intuition relating to image, sound, and games. It also demonstrates how various programming approaches can be used to the benefit of solving a large, meaningful problem, which, appropriately designed, provides ample space for the development of a student's programming intuition.

A Minimalist Social Robot Platform for Promoting Positive Behavior Change Among Children

We present the design of a minimalist interactive social robot named Haksh-E which integrates audio-visual perception with artificial intelligence to nurture positive behaviors in children. We co-designed the robot’s embodiment with children acting as design informants. The robot features expressive interactions, real time conversation and human action detection capabilities. Haksh-E can assist children in learning new behaviors as a tutor, play a supportive role in health interventions and also pose as an objective assessor of various indicators of health and hygiene.

A Whirlwind Introduction to Computer Graphics for Total Beginners

Color Scheming with Digital Media and Visualization

Emerging media and tech in a traditional company

Do you think that a company in the construction industry that manufactures aluminum doors and facades would have an internal animation, emerging-media, and tech R&D group? Well, here we are: the Virtual Construction Lab (VCL) of Schüco. In the span of six years, we have created diverse media in the fields of engineering visualizations, highly-technical assembly processes, training and marketing materials, amongst others; establishing ourselves as a creative and technologically innovative force inside a very traditional industry. Thanks to finding and understanding our own advantages and specific targets we managed to carve our own space inside the company, a position we leveraged to expand into more and more ambitious projects by carefully constructing captivating functional prototypes that address new needs and issues within the industry. This path has not been an easy one, but it is one we want to share in hopes others can learn from it and use it to establish their own teams.

We will go in depth into not only how VCL was formed, but most importantly, how we have managed to carve a space for ourselves and planted the seeds to develop increasingly ambitious projects. Starting with simple -but highly technical- renders to Virtual Reality interactive showrooms and presentations enhanced with the Unreal Engine Live Production pipeline, this exciting journey has taught us much about fabricating our own opportunities to realize our creative ambitions, and carving out a niche as an innovative force within the global company.

Thanks to a highly driven multidisciplinary and collaborative team, we have been able to address specific needs within the company with prototypes born out of our interests, expertise, and curiosity. Ultimately, we want to show that both successes and failures have helped us reassess our approaches, and constantly turn those small MVPs into bigger ongoing efforts.

“Get Real” Defining, Designing and Executing Virtual Production Curriculum at SCAD

Higher educational programs in Savannah College of Art and Design's (SCAD) School of Digital Media and Entertainment Arts have taken the leap to create a curriculum around virtual production including its adoption of the 40’x20’ LED volume set on SCAD's new 10,000 square feet backlot for the Savannah Film Studios and aggressively including real-time training for its students. In this article, we summarize a new way to define, design and execute virtual production curriculum through lessons learned in its flagship production, “Get Real”.

Holographic Sign Language Interpreters

We describe the implementation of a prototype system of 3D holographic sign language interpreters. The signing avatars, observed through wearable Mixed Reality (MR) smartglasses (e.g., Microsoft HoloLens), translate speech to Signed Exact English (SEE) in real-time. Such a system can be used by deaf and hard of hearing students in the classroom or other contexts to remove current accessibility barriers.

Immersive Media and Virtual Accessibility in Healthcare

Investigating Experimental Design+Theater+Coding Methodology to Teach Virtual Reality Design: A Case Study: Investigating Experimental Design+Theater+Coding Methodology

This talk presents a case study of how two Chicago-area faculty based at two different academic institutions collaboratively investigated the use of an original, experimental, and cross-disciplinary “Design+Theater+Coding” methodology for the teaching and guiding of University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) undergraduate design students in the creation of thought-provoking and empathy-engaging interactive Virtual Reality team projects regarding global issues, all within the context of a single-semester creative coding course in Fall 2021. This experiment explored and leveraged the relationship between theater, creative coding, and VR technology and considered how the relationship might enhance design studies.

Mentorship Matters

Opening the industry to historically underrepresented artists is vital to the growth and development of the world of VFX. In an effort to support this, a pilot program was conducted at Santa Monica College to integrate a mentorship experience into a community college composition course. Existing research tells us that students are more successful when they are mentored by an industry professional. However, this mentorship often looks like an internship. Due to location, time, and money, this is unattainable for many student populations. In its place, stakeholders from across the VFX community partnered with the school to integrate mentorship into scheduled course times. While not a perfect solution given time constraints and time zone limitations, this did open the door for students to access priceless guidance from established industry professionals.

From our initial meeting to the program exit surveys, we will share our journey to embed industry experiences into an advanced composition course. Additionally, we will address the bumps along the way and where we see room for improvement.

Is an integrated mentorship element the next step in secondary and postsecondary programs? What are the implications of the program for best practices in VFX education? How do we hope to see this program grow from the pilot? What methods of evaluation could be used to determine the impact of the program?

Onward!: Creative Careers in Animation, Computer Graphics, and Interactive Techniques

Industry panelists share perspectives and insights for students and educators who are considering careers in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Creative industries have transformed as a result of the global pandemic. Transformed workplace cultures and new technologies make room for alternative and dehabituated career paths, presenting a variety of opportunities and unforeseen challenges. Individual representatives discuss the general and specific state of affairs within their own industries, and provide insight into changing employment paradigms. Discussion includes advice for educators to help prepare students for changing workplace paradigms, as well as the preparation, training, and personal attributes students need to enter related career fields. Panelists consider what qualities make for desirable entry-level applicants in their respective fields, and elaborate upon changes in the transition from school to work resulting from the global pandemic. Represented industry segments include animation, big-data, interactive design, and game media. Questions considered include how pedagogy can help prepare and empower students for successful creative careers; what entry-level applicants should have (and should not have) on resumes, portfolios, and demo reels; and what can students do on their own to proactively acquire requisite credentials. Discussion will expose fresh outlooks on the futures of creative fields in computer graphics and interactive techniques.

OSL Shaders for RenderMan

Presenting Architectural Research in VR

In recent years, new standards for sustainable development and innovations in technologies require us to rethink the forms and functions of architecture that meet emerging needs for future cities. Anticipated developments in digital communication, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and new energy harvesting technologies are expected to change our lifestyles, leading us to reconsider how we design and organize spatial conditions in our built environment. Such changes will challenge the roles of designers and how they represent and promote their design solutions using new media, including virtual reality (VR) and digital design technologies.

In this submission, I present a design assignment that challenges students to create speculative building designs by applying anticipated technologies that can make our built environment more sustainable. The process in this assignment can be applied to other design fields, including product design and urban design. Many design disciplines can benefit by exploring educational approaches that help integrate new emerging technologies for sustainable product developments and incorporating new digital means for representations for such visions.

Stop Motion Animation in Toon Boom Harmony

The Accursed Share of Non-fungibles: What NFTs and Blockchains Suggest for Arts Practice, Pedagogy, and the General Economy

As described by Georges Bataille in his 1949 essays on General Economy, the Accursed Share refers to the excessive and non-recuperable portions of an economy that must be spent lavishly or luxuriously, or otherwise be destined to outrageous, destructive, and catastrophic expressions — most often resulting in war, or other ruinous and destructive acts [Baitaille and Hurley 1988]. How might we might consider Bataille's idea as expressed through the recent boom in Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and contemporary Blockchain technology? Between 2020 and 2021, the global trading volume of NFTs increased ten-fold [Nadini et al. 2021], with a reported global market of 22 billion USD in 2021 [Milmo 2021]. Researchers Matthieu Nadini (et al.) note that digital art sales accounted for roughly 10 percent of all NFT transactions in 2021 [Nadini et al. 2021]. The volume and frequency of the booming NFT market cannot be ignored, but what does it suggest for the future of art practice and pedagogy, and how does it relate to the excesses suggested in Bataille's notion of general economy?

A panel of artists and NFT pioneers demystify NFTs, discussing the virtues and vices of such radical shifts in art-commerce. Panelists expose the process of making and selling NFTs, the ecological and pedagogical impacts of blockchain technologies, and speculate on future outlooks for digital art practice. Discussion provides critical reflection on the philosophical and cultural implications that accompany shifts into evermore virtualized art-experiences. Questions considered include what import does Bataille's seminal text bear in relation to contemporary digital art practice; what are the tangible cultural and ecological effects of digital art practice; and what insights does Bataille's notion of general economy hold for the experience of contemporary art and future art practice. Discussion will expose fresh outlooks on possible futures of art practice and pedagogy, as related to the fields of computer graphics and interactive techniques.

There and Back Again: Graphics Education with a View Towards the Future

Teaching computer graphics has always been a juggling act between teaching fundamental techniques and expressing those techniques through graphics APIs. This talk surveys different teaching options over time, including our techniques expressed in our widely-used textbook. We consider the relevance of teaching graphics APIs given their evolution, and present a proposal for evolving teaching graphics.

Using a storyline to increase engagement in a course review

We present an approach to the end of course review session that increases student participation and helps them to identify how the topics that have been covered fit into a broader context. We provide examples of this approach being used for visual computing courses, including the refinements made based on the experience of running them. The approach uses a single strong narrative to connect a series of problems that allow students to apply what they have learnt and, in the process, realise how much they now know and how it fits together. It also serves to remind them what it was that initially attracted them to the topic. We also introduce an element of false jeopardy by pitting groups against each other in a friendly way that further increases the students’ engagement in the session.

Virtual Nature as a Digital Twin Botanically Correct 3D AR and VR Optimized Low-polygon and Photogrammetry High-polygon Plant Models: A short overview of construction methods

Virtual nature construction methods are covered in two processes, first with low-polygon 3D plant models ideal for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and the second with high-polygon 3D plant models using Unreal Engine 5 and Reality Capture. Critical for scientific and information accuracy is the iterative review process with the domain expert.

Visual Effects Pedagogy:: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as Visible and Invisible Attributes

Due to our proximity to industry pathways, VFX curriculums are good at mapping visible graduate attributes to core skills. Visible attributes are skills that can be measured via portfolio work and are reflected on student transcripts. Examples of such attributes may be building digital humans, creating physically accurate shaders, and designing story worlds. However, in order for the discipline of VFX to reflect our dynamic global culture and ensure equitable workplaces, we must also find ways to map graduate attributes to the values that drive technical and cultural diversity. Such attributes are harder to measure and can be understood as invisible attributes. 

VRm: A Virtual Reality Tool for Anatomical Study

VRm is the prototype for a Virtual Reality (VR) software tool for medical professionals to study anatomy. The tool is designed to improve learning outcomes for complex anatomical subject matter that is difficult to teach using traditional methods. VRm was developed at the Rochester Institute of Technology by faculty and students. In addition to developing the tool, the goal of the project was to explore pedagogical approaches emphasizing cross-disciplinary collaboration, production-based learning, and to utilize industry-standard software development methodologies in the context of a class.