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Sunday at Siggraph 2017

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For the first time in SIGGRAPH history, the Art Gallery is dedicated exclusively to works by Latin American artists and designers: speculative artifacts that apply digital technologies to map alternative futures. The gallery presents 10 provocative projects from seven countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, and México. -Siggraph Art Gallery statement

The Siggraph conference is such a large and unique event that you could go through it several times and still not have tasted everything this great event has to offer. No description is really adequate; you simply have to go to the conference and discover it for yourself. However, you can share with others aspects of the conference through description, pictures and quotes. That's what I'm doing today by sharing my Sunday at Siggraph 2017 experience.

Sadly, I'll only be attending the five-day event for two days this year: Sunday and Wednesday. Sunday is the first day of the conference and I like it a lot having attended Siggraph for over a decade now. It starts out slowly, but really builds a head of steam by the end of the day. Tuesday is the big day for the exhibition hall to open and hundreds of companies from all over the world vie for your attention and interest. On Wednesday, I'll be at the Exhibition Hall and will attend a variety of meetings with companies like Chaos Group, Reallusion, Maxon and several new companies that I'm eager to talk with.

Sunday at Siggraph

I was delighted to see that thought had gone in to making every part of the L.A. Convention center interesting and informative. There was a great VR demonstration in the South Hall called "Ghost Pain." It was cool to watch various people learn VR controls and then paint on a large screen in front of them much like graffiti.

Hustling over to Hall G, I waited until the doors opened on the Art Gallery, VR Village and Studio. These are often my favorite places to go to at Siggraph as they are filled with innovative art, practical sit-down art/tech crafts and demos of all kinds of VR experiences. I spent most of my time at the Art Gallery, although I'll try to get some VR demos as Virtual Reality is becoming a big, big thing at Siggraph.

At the Art Gallery, I learned that the theme was quite unique this year (they always select art based on an over all theme). This year it was Latin America and the 10 artists chosen for this year's gallery (out of over a thousand submissions) did not disappoint. Most of the art was in the form of installation art and they were somewhat large. I loved the variety of moods each art piece created in the viewer. Experiencing art directly as opposed to seeing it as a reproduction is a very unique experience. One reason why Siggraph continues to honor and focus on technology through art at the conference.

You can see some of the piece in the photo gallery above. Also, there is a complete list of each piece along with artists name, etc., at the very beautiful Siggraph 2017 website here: http://s2017.siggraph.org/content/art-gallery

Note that the Siggraph Art Gallery chair is Paula Gaetano Adi and the Art Galleryu Subcommittee is run by Alejandro Borsani.

There are three talks by artists showing at the Siggraph Art Gallery this year. I won't be able to attend, but I'll do my best to bring any video recordings that may be made of them. The talks are:

Experience Presentations: Art Gallery

ARTIST TALKS: COUNTER-ARTIFACTS
Moderator: Nao Bustamante

ARTIST TALKS: BIOCYBERNETIC SPECULATIONS
Moderator: María Fernández

ARTIST TALKS: UNSETTLED MACHINERY
Moderator: Andrés Burbano

Blender Community Meeting
The big part of my Sunday at Siggraph was devoted to the Blender Community Meeting. I've probably attended half a dozens of these meetings and they are all delightful. Run by Blender founder, Ton Roosendaahl, the event brings all kinds of Blender users together to learn about what's new in Blender and the Blender Institute and to share their ideas and, in some cases, art works.

Goal: a complete free and open source 3D creation suite for artists and small teams. Free to use for any purpose, forever:) - Blender Community Meeting quote

Blender has come a long, long way from its initial release in 2002. From a fledgling open source 3D application, Ton and the Blender Community have brought Blender into the 21st century. Blender is not only a professional level application, but the community has grown to include professional, industrial, medical and corporate support. And yet the application is still free, still open source and still a gateway for young people to enter into 3D and VFX for the first time.

What's unique about the Blender Community Meeting is that Ton has every single person attending stand up and introduced themselves along with their connection to Blender. Every year I see an amazing variety of people. This year there were several artists involved in medical visualization. There was a CNN video editor there who said he uses Blender for motion tracking in some broadcast segments. And there was the fellow from Hong Kong who said he'd been using Maya for many years, but wanted to see what Blender was all about.

I wasn't able to attend the second half of the meeting where artists share their work and the podium is open for anyone to say anything they wanted about Blender. You can, however, keep track of Blender at Siggraph via their FaceBook page which will update frequently. Also, there are several live-streaming events at Siggraph. Check this link for more info.

Blender development is in good shape. The big upcoming Blender 2.8 release is on track for a 2017 release (we'll keep you updated). Be sure to check Blender Nation and the Blender.org website for updates. I'll also be starting a project in Blender that will run here at Renderosity Magazine for several months.

Stay tuned for a Wednesday at Siggraph report which is coming up very soon!

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Art Gallery, Blender, Siggraph 2017, VR Village
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