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Graphics confab opens

Siggraph '99 sets sights on digital

Tech-savvy players in the computer graphics world converge today at Siggraph ’99, a three-day confab at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Now in its 23rd year, Siggraph is expected to attract 50,000 animators, artists, engineers, software developers, special effects artists and Web developers to play with the latest hardware and software toys, which will be used by many in Hollywood for features and television production.

Exhibit floor will feature more than 300 computer graphics and interactive technology product and services vendors showing off new products and upgrades. SGI, Quantel, Sony, Linux and f/x facilities Industrial Light & Magic and Digital Domain are expected to be some of the major must-sees.

The floor will also showcase emerging companies in a special area called Startup Park.

Digital film projection and high definition camera technologies from Texas Instruments, JVC, Panasonic and Sony, as well as conference sessions hosted by the technology’s users are also expected to draw crowds.

Screening sked

An annual highlight of the event is the screening of the most cutting-edge CGI short pics at Siggraph’s Electronic Theater, enabling its 42 entrees to qualify for Academy Award consideration for the first time. The pics, including Pacific Data Image’s “Fishing,” Blue Sky’s “Bunny,” Digital Domain’s “Tightrope” and Rhythm & Hues’ “Polar Bear Swim,” screen nightly throughout event until closing on Thursday.

F/x houses will also showcase their works, including ILM’s “Wild Wild West,” “The Mummy” and “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” Sony Pictures Imageworks’ upcoming “Stuart Little,” Disney’s DreamQuest Images’ “Mighty Joe Young” and Manex’s Oscar winner “What Dreams May Come.”

Separately, feature docu “The Story of Computer Graphics,” narrated by Leonard Nimoy, premiered Sunday and screens daily throughout the event.

Individual conference featuring panel discussions and papers on work in computer graphics began Saturday and ends Friday.

“After more than three decades of astounding technical, creative and artistic achievement, the field of computer graphics and interactive technology has matured,” said Warren Waggenspack Jr., Siggraph ’99 conference chair. “It now reaches a broad audience and fosters a unique bond between a diverse collection of communities including education, science, art, medicine, industry, government, and entertainment.”

Siggraph is sponsored by the international academic organization Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics.

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