All posts by VRTO

Keram’s Siggraph 2018 Report

Siggraph 2017 saw a strong rally for a conference that had been struggling to find its footing in the wake of a surge of new tech and media conferences that had sprung up at every corner.

But boy, do they ever have their groove back. Siggraph 2018 – set in beautiful Vancouver – was a densely packed, uncompromising deep dive into the 5-seconds-from-now zeitgeist of media creation. It completely reversed any concern that may have arisen from the cautious mood at NAB 2018’s VR pavilion.

Out of all conferences I attend throughout North America, Siggraph by far introduces me to the most meaningful, deep, novel and significant new ideas and research in the media and tech space. There is no holdback. All in. I find that the Emerging Technology pavilion is often the most rewarding.

But I did really enjoy the Syd Mead gallery featuring his original paintings. Design. Design. Wow, what a difference a grand industrial designer/visionary can make.

Oh and Lightform‘s AR projection mapping solution? Game-changer. Imagine crossing your house with the Haunted Mansion, Peewee’s Playhouse and lysergic acid diethylamide. It is hard to believe when you first see it in person.
Ivan C Sutherland 50th Anniversary
Ivan C Sutherland - Siggraph 2018
Ivan C Sutherland – Siggraph 2018

Crossing another item off my bucket list – I had the pleasure of attending a 50 year retrospective of the venerable Ivan Sutherland’s work, ideas, career – accompanied by his colleagues of 50 years who developed the Ultrasonic and Sword of Damacles. They were all very modest about their work, and I almost believed them that it was no thing, until they started breaking down the many algorithms and innovations that practically came out of thin air, and rich pedigree to manifest these complex systems.

I only wish Doug Englebart was there with them to fill in an important and significant gap. But wow, what a a lineup.

Then Google showed up with their new lightfield-capture array of GoPros – a mutation of their Jump configuration, but using wholly new ideas to render lightfield/volumetric data – to capture the lineup of All-Stars.

Hp Mars Expedition VR - Siggraph 2018

HP created a leadership initiative program that invited students, hobbyists, enthusiasts, designers, scientists and beyond to imagine Mars once it has 1 million inhabitants. Over 9000 (heh) groups submitted entries and the results were cherry picked in aggregate to form a unified fly-through of an imagined future spaceport welcoming you to the Red Planet.

Powered by the little success story that are Positron chairs, I enjoyed the 15 minute ride along red carpeted museums and Star Trek-like tunnels to survey various ships and historic fictional fragments. It was like being on Disney theme part ride at Epcot. A few dropped frames here and there surprised me, especially since we are AT the HP booth AT Siggraph, but nothing another few optimization passes couldn’t fix.

But c’mon VR community – we have to stop with the glitches and dropped frames when it is proper public showtime. No excuses.

VR Arcade - Siggraph 2018

Yes there was a VR arcade and a VR Theater and even a VR museum, all of which were full and sold out all the time. They were…fine. And popular: Good pieces, many of which are currently freely available, and some of which we featured at FIVARS in previous years.

Virtual Reality Research HMD

It is a reminder that only a supremely tiny portion of the population has ever had any exposure to most of these pieces and will still wait for an hour and a half, or get to the box office at 730am just to get a look.

And when we talk about VR “games” we are talking more about interactive media, rather than a hair-raising Metroidvania-like that will have you throwing your gamepad against the cat.

Which I will use as a seque:

VR Games Are Coming into Their Own

so, as a separate packet I want to upload from my brain this week – VR games are just getting better and better. Even though some of us know that VR is going through its fourth fifth or even sixth rebirth/renaissance whatever, it is important to also remember how some things are kinda new.

Games are far richer and more visually complex than ever before, and this is exponentially amplified by the huge leaps being made in render, ray trace, AI and overall GPU technologies.

But also, we are now moving beyond the trial and error, “short quick demo of a mechanic” phase, where smaller objects, cluster with others to become more complex and evolved systems, and then those conjoin and mutate and evolve to form richer, better integrated mutlicellular experiences.

Here are some recent examples:

These are not your standard zombie shooters.

Now, with all that said, understand that we have spent a year trying to pull together a showcase of the best the Immersive media space has to offer on a global scale – so go buy your preciousFIVARS tickets and keep this thing growing.

Keram

Here are articles I thought were important from the week.

VRTO at DGP Labs at U of T

November 14th, 2017 Meetup – SideFX, Samsung VR and JanusVR’s Vesta

100 VRTO members and some curious University of Toronto students assembled for VRTO’s latest meetup at the Bahen Centre for Information Technology in downtown Toronto. Keram opened the evening and gave out a special $150 discount code for the HumanEyes Vuze camera and announced that submissions to FIVARS 2018 were now open.

He then welcomed to the podium Adam Lipper – head of Music and VR for Samsung Canada who described where Samsung VR has been and where it is going. One of the distinctions is that Samsung VR is no longer exclusively tied to Gear VR but is also a website, like YouTube, in its own right that can be accessed from any device. He also hinted that the platform will soon be offering heatmaps for better understanding of useage of content, among other significant updates.

He then unveiled a new partnership between FIVARS and Samsung VR that will showcase past selectees from the festival and offer another way for audiences to discover content that may otherwise be lost in the clamor for attention.

After a brief recess, VRTO invited to the stage Dr.s Karan Singh and James McCrae, co-founders of JanusVR and its free and hosted offshoot Vesta. An hour long workshop demonstrating the various ways to create, modify and write content for the immersive web platform followed.

Then SideFX rep Robert Magee took the floor to demonstrate how the powerful Houdini engine can be used to procedurally generate objects, environments, characters and effects for Virtual Reality applications, ensuring integrity, consistency and enormous flexibility. This was capped by sharing the free trial option or the annual Indie license for only $199 along with many resources for learning how to use this powerful node based architecture with APIs to hook into your favorite IDE or workflow.

The proceedings were followed with a social at a nearby pub where many fascinating conversations continued the night. Thanks to all who were able to attend or spread the word.

VRTO 2017 – Report, Images, Metrics and Videos

“The next insanely great thing may not come out of Stanford, it may come out of Toronto.”
~ Forbes

“Unlike Any Conference You’ve Ever Attended”
~ VRScout

VRTO 2017 was listed as Canada’s largest Virtual & Augmented Reality conference and expo by CP24, CityTV, 1010 Newstalk, Sirius XM.

Wow what a year it was! VRTO – administered by Constant Change Media Group and Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Jessy Blaze, Chrissy Aitchison and additional support from Candace Steinberg, Josh Miles Joudrie and Michael Duhacek partnered with the incredible crew at Ryerson University’s FCAD at Rogers Communications Centre (thank you Marie Crosta, Prachi Khandekar and Shawn Haswell) to pull together a virtually impractical and experimental conference. By all measures it seemed to work. Such approaches would not be possible without the good faith and support of community sponsors who included:

  • Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) at Ryerson University
  • Canadian Film Center/OMERS Ventures
  • Wemersive
  • Homido
  • Subpac
  • Igloo
  • AMD
  • Vuze
  • TADS Inc.
  • Mocha
  • MetaVRse
  • Pufferfish
  • Torus Media Labs/Canvas 360 Pro
  • Pandor Productions
  • Somato Cherry
  • Captive Camera
  • Sennheiser
  • Redlab
  • Freeman
  • Primacy / GivLuv
  • Promena
  • AWE Company / GeoGram
  • Mobile Capital Network
  • Combo Bravo
  • Malicki Sanchez Law
  • Made Good

and of course our many media and community partners. Thank you to the incredible speakers, panelist and presenters for your ideas, time and efforts. Thank you to our family who helped out in every respect. Thank you to the selfless and generous volunteers! Thanks to our publicity team at ClutchPR. Sincerely – thank you! Your support cannot be undervalued and is essential to these approaches!

By the numbers:

  • Total Speakers 100
  • Total Exhibitors 65
  • Total Attendees 800
  • 34+ Articles in Mainstream Media
  • 157M Online readership
  • 1.91M Est. Coverage Views
  • 2.44M Est. Coverage (Broadcast)
  • 4.27M (Web & Broadcast)

Featured coverage from Forbes, UploadVR, VRScout, CP24, CityTV, Newstalk 1010, SiriusXM, BetaKit, VRFocus, Dorkshelf, Hindustan Times (1) (2), MobileSyrup (1) (2) (3), IT Business, The Digital Circuit, Trendy Techie, Brockstar Gaming, Category 5

Now please enjoy a catalog of images from the event that ideally helps to sample the spectrum of minds and identities that contribute to an experience such as this.
Images (credit: Jaime Espinoza, Captive Camera):

VRTO 2017 Photo Gallery

Video:

 

 

Please watch talks, coverage and miscellaneous video from the VRTO 2017 conference at VRTO’s Official YouTube Channel. Sincerely, thank you for watching!

*this article is a work in progress and will continue to be updated with links, reports and media assets. Please bookmark it and share.