Watch the Siggraph 2015 animation festival winners

The trailer for Siggraph 2015′s Computer Animation Festival. The event showcases the best new work in fields ranging from indie animation to games, and from visual effects to scientific visualisation. See the winners below.

Siggraph’s Computer Animation Festival showcases the best new CG work being created anywhere in the world – no matter which part of the industry you work in.

Over the past 15 years, many of the winners in the festival’s animation categories (Best In Show, Jury’s Choice, Best Student Project) have gone on to Oscar nominations – or even Oscar wins.

And since 2014, the festival has also recognised the work of pioneers in other fields of computer graphics, from cinematics and music promos to simulations and visualisations.

If you’re in Los Angeles between 9 and 13 August, you can see the winners live, along with all of the other ads, cinematics, shorts and simulations on show in the festival screenings.

But if you can’t make it to California (or if you just want a sneak preview), we’ve rounded them up below.

Obviously, we couldn’t post entire movies, so we haven’t covered Paddington, which won Framestore the award for Best Visual Effects, or Home, which won for DreamWorks in the Best Animated Feature Film category.

But that still leaves eight pieces of gorgeous eye candy for you to enjoy, including the show’s overall winner.

Best In Show
Citius, Altius, Fortius
Director: Felix Deimann

Felix Deimann’s graduation short, created during his studies at Fachhochschule Dortmund, turns sport into art.

Citius, Altius, Fortius (it’s the Olympic motto: ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’) motion-tracks and rotoscopes original footage of famous Olympic performances, replacing the athletes with simple geometric forms.

The austere visual style, elegant score and judicious use of camera moves and retiming all contribute to a finished piece that celebrates the grace of both human movement and abstract forms.

Read an interview with Felix Deimann about the short on Faded & Blurred

Jury’s Choice
Amir & Amira
Directors: Sara Ayoub, Martial Andre, Benjamin Condy, Ariane Dedulle, Cecilia Maturi, Tatiana Tchoumakova,ESMA

Amir and Amira begin as identical children. But as they grow older, they begin to take on distinguishing characteristics: short hair for Amir, long for Amira; male and female clothing.

Eventually, they become puppets controlled by disembodied hands that emerge from behind a curtain, forced to move and behave in ways ‘appropriate’ to their gender, and punished when they resist.

It’s an elegant way in which to explore the arbitrary roles society imposes on us, and one that, in the hands of a talented team at leading French art school ESMA, ends on a note of hope.

Visit the Facebook page for the film

Best Computer Animated Short
Jinxy Jenkins and Lucky Lou
Directors: Michael Bidinger, Michelle Kwon, Ringling College of Art and Design

Being chronically unlucky isn’t much fun. But it turns out that being chronically lucky isn’t much better.

Ringling College has turned out some of the funniest student shorts of recent years, and opposites-attract comedy Jinxy Jenkins and Lucky Lou certainly has its share of sight gags and set pieces.

But more than a simple joke short, it’s both a universal love story and a reflection on how people complement one another in relationships, set against a colourfully stylised digital San Francisco.

See development art from the short on Tumblr

Best Student Project
L3.0
Directors: Alexis Decelle, Cyril Declercq, Vincent Defour, Pierre Jury, Isart Digital

The plot of French student short L3.0 may reference WALL-E, but the tone edges more towards I Am Legend, as sentient toy robot Leo wanders the streets of a Paris emptied of all living creatures.

It’s an odd, and surprisingly effective, blend of cuteness and grittiness, carried over into the art direction, with the cartoony lead character contrasting with the photorealistic butterfly and live-action environments.

Read an interview with the creators of L3.0 on the RenderDigimania blog

Best Visualization or Simulation
Multi-scale Multi-physics Heart Simulator UT-Heart
Director: Hirofumi Seo, Sciement

Sciement’s compelling medical visualisation uses actual data from UT-Heart: a supercomputer-based multiphysics heart simulation developed by The University of Tokyo and Japanese research institution RIKEN.

The simulation combines research in engineering and physiology to mimic the behaviour of the heart more accurately, and is expected to help predict the outcomes of real patients undergoing heart surgery.

Read more about the research behind the simulation on the RIKEN website

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzCEdSKMkdU

Best Game
Assassin’s Creed Unity (E3 cinematic trailer)
Director: István Zorkóczy, Digic Pictures

Topping our own ‘Best of E3‘ list in 2014, Digic Pictures’ masterly trailer for Assassin’s Creed Unity puts the cinematic qualities back into games cinematics.

The vast, movie-scale environments – shown off by Digic’s trademark birds-eye-view opening shot – and huge crowd scenes contrast powerfully with the rather smaller-scale human drama playing out in the plot.

Best Music Video
League of Legends: Curse of the Sad Mummy
Director: Shy the Sun for Riot Games

A four-minute animation created to promote a multiplayer online game that spawned a multi-million-dollar e-sport, Curse of the Sad Mummy isn’t exactly your average music promo.

But it’s hard not to be seduced by the beautifully intricate visuals, created by design collective Shy the Sun, while LoL’s huge player base helped the short reach a vast audience: 7.5 million YouTube views and counting.

Read more about the project on Shy the Sun’s website

Best Advertisement
Ikea, ‘T-shirts’
Director: Dougal Wilson, Blink Productions. VFX: MPC

This whimsical Ikea ad is a second successive win for director/VFX house tag-team Dougal Wilson and MPC, who took the award for Best Advertisement last year their snarky Three ‘The Pony’ spot.

Using a T-shirts as stand-ins for birds, the team used a mixture of puppetry and CG to bring its very unusual flock to life, setting the animation against footage of some stunning real-world environments.

Read more about the making of the ad on MPC’s website

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AMD unveils FireRender

AMD has unveiled the 3ds Max version of FireRender, its OpenCL-based GPU renderer, at Siggraph 2015.

Functionality and system requirements
FireRender is an unbiased path tracing renderer, and includes a native physically based material system.

Unlike the majority of GPU-accelerated engines currently on the market, it’s based on OpenCL so – although intended for use with AMD’s FirePro workstation GPUs – it should work with any card that supports OpenCL 1.2.

FireRender also provides a CPU backend, so the renderer can run on any combination of CPUs and GPUs.

As well as Max’s native materials, FireRender 3ds Max plugin supports Corona Renderer materials out of the box, as well as V-Ray materials via Corona’s material converter.

As far as we can see, there isn’t any information about the renderer on AMD’s website yet, but the company has provided us with the following feature list:

  • High-level rendering API (C-style)
  • Unbiased/biased path-tracing
  • State-of-the-art sampling algorithms
  • Multiple importance sampling
  • Many lights support
  • Adaptive rendering
  • Physically based materials
  • Layered material support
  • Standard uber-material
  • Volumetrics
  • Physically based camera
  • Lens and sensor simulation
  • Physical bokeh
  • Motion blur
  • Analytic and physical lights
  • Point, directional, spot
  • Area lights
  • Image-based lighting with IS
  • IES profiles support
  • Incandescent material
  • Physical skylight
  • Post-processing filters
  • Numerous image reconstruction
  • Tonemapping
  • Based on open technologies (OpenCL, OpenGL, OpenImageIO, OpenVDB)

For more information visits the AMD FireRender web site

NUMECA FINE/Turbo 10.1

NUMECA Worldwide, main developer and supplier of CFD software program techniques for the multi-physics design simulation and optimization of commercial merchandise and processes, has launched FINE/Turbo 10.1, the newest model of the excessive accuracy multi-block structured Navier-Stokes CFD software program devoted to inner, multistage rotating and turbomachinery stream simulations.

The simulation course of is streamlined with:

– AutoGrid5: Automated grid generator for turbomachinery configuration, delivers the very best high quality structured meshes with minimal consumer enter. Its Wizard mode handles all kinds of rotating equipment configurations and complexities.
– FINE/Turbo move solver: 3D Navier-Stokes movement solver, acknowledged because the quickest and most correct for turbomachinery configurations. Acceleration of a number of orders of magnitude is achieved because of the CPUBooster method, NLH strategy and HPC scalability.
– CFView: Superior post-processing device, offers devoted move visualization and evaluation outputs in an easy-to-use turbomachinery-oriented mode.

Algoryx Simulation, Kongsberg Maritime Ink R&D Deal

Kongsberg Maritime and Algoryx Simulation have entered a five year agreement, which supports Kongsberg Maritime’s continuing development of fidelity and realism in its K-Sim range of maritime simulator systems.

Simulators are today essential and integral in training, planning, prototyping and decision making for anchor handling, navigation, dynamic positioning, crane handling and many other complex processes in the maritime domain. Kongsberg Maritime simulators are built on 40 years of simulation experience. This ensures that its portfolio provides the industry with the most realistic and pedagogically sound simulators, which are also ideal for research and development in addition to pre-mission planning.

Algoryx Simulation develops real time physics simulation technologies for integration into maritime simulators, resulting in realistic motion dynamics. Algoryx’ physics simulation kernel, AgX Dynamics, can solve millions of physics equation in real time, enabling integrated simulation of the many interacting mechanical components of maritime systems, such as wires, chains, winches, anchors, cranes, engines, drums and more. These simulations are also fully integrated with wind and water dynamics as well as ship hydrodynamics.

Kongsberg Maritime and Algoryx Simulation have already collaborated for eight years. During this time Kongsberg Maritime has delivered the world’s most advanced simulator and simulation technologies to training institutes and ship owners worldwide. This collaboration has now been secured in a premium partnership for another five plus five year period of research and development.

“From Algoryx’ simulation engine, we get unprecedented simulation performance, which contributes to quality and stability in our marine training simulators,” says Erik Hovland, General Manager Simulation, Kongsberg Maritime. “The agreement ensures that we can fine-tune our simulator precision and performance whilst adapting to future advanced training requests.”

“We have had a fantastic collaboration with Kongsberg Maritime for the past eight years and we are truly happy to continue this work,” says Kenneth Bodin, CEO of Algoryx. “Kongsberg Maritime’s experience in maritime simulation combined with our competence in physics simulations have contributed tremendous value to the development of AgX Dynamics. At the same time, I am convinced that our technologies, when used in operator training simulators, have contributed to offshore safety and reduced the number of accidents as well as made many operations more effective and economic.”

US NIH Launches 3D Print Exchange Library

The American National Institutes of Health has launched the NIH 3D Print Exchange, a publicwebsite that enables users to share,download and edit 3D print files related to health and science. These files can be used, for example, to print custom laboratory equipment and models of bacteria and human anatomy. The launch coincides with the first White House Maker Faire, an event designed to celebrate innovation in science, technology, engineering and math.

Few scientific 3D-printable models are available online, and the expertise required to generate and validate such models remains a barrier. The NIH 3D Print Exchange aims to eliminate this gap with an open, comprehensive, and interactive website for searching, browsing, downloading, and sharing biomedical 3D print files, modeling tutorials, and educational material.

“3D printing is a potential game changer for medical research,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “At NIH, we have seen an incredible return on investment; pennies’ worth of plastic have helped investigators address important scientific questions while saving time and money. We hope that the 3D Print Exchange will expand interest and participation in this new and exciting field among scientists, educators and students.”

NIH uses 3D printing, or the creation of a physical object from a digital model, to study viruses, repair and enhance lab apparatus, and help plan medical procedures. The 3D Print Exchange makes these types of files freely available, along with video tutorials for new users and a discussion forum to promote collaboration. The site also features tools that convert scientific and clinical data into ready-to-print 3D files.

The 3D Print Exchange is a collaborative effort led by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). “3D printing is helping to advance science at NIAID and beyond,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “The ability to design and print tangible models of pathogens, for example, can give researchers a fresh perspective on the diseases they study and open new and promising lines of investigation.”

Additional support is provided by other NIH components, including theEunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Library of Medicine. The 3D Print Exchange is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Ignite External Web Site Policy and Ventures  External Web Site Policy programs, which help support innovation within the agency.

NIAID conducts and supports research  — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

NASA Tests 3D Printed Rocket Engine

3D printing and additive manufacturing has the potential to be used within space travel. There could be a time where space stations and spacecraft are constructed in space using this process.

Back on earth and in present day, NASA are examining ways that 3D printing can be used to produce rocket engines.

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has just completed successful testing for Aerojet Rocketdyne who have designed and manufactured a rocket engine injector, which was produced using 3D printing.

Usually, such technology would take around a year to manufacture however, with this process it can take less than four months with a 70% reduction in costs.

The rocket engine detector was manufactured using a method of high laser beams, which melt and fuse fine metallic powders into 3D structures.

“NASA recognizes that on Earth and potentially in space, additive manufacturing can be game-changing for new mission opportunities, significantly reducing production time and cost by ‘printing’ tools, engine parts or even entire spacecraft,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology in Washington. “3-D manufacturing offers opportunities to optimize the fit, form and delivery systems of materials that will enable our space missions while directly benefiting American businesses here on Earth.”

Testing consisted of examining the process of design, manufacture and test using the laser melting technology.

“Hot fire testing the injector as part of a rocket engine is a significant accomplishment in maturing additive manufacturing for use in rocket engines,” said Carol Tolbert, manager of the Manufacturing Innovation Project at Glenn.

What testing has shown is that NASA are ready to move toward the development of full sized, additively manufactured parts.

Similar testing on 3D printed rocket parts have taken place at the Marshall Space Flight Center whereby, using “hot fire testing” were not only able to test the 3D printed rocket parts but were also able to compare them to traditionally manufactured parts, showing no difference besides the saving in costs.

So it looks as though NASA are stepping up their 3D printing, additive manufacturing research and development. The savings on cost and time is a major positive and could benefit space exploration in the long term.

Virtual Reality Is Not Just For Facebook: Chinese Military Pilots Train In 3D

In a 2014 exercise, People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF) pilot cadets train using virtual reality (VR) headsets to providing 3D imagery, flatscreen monitors doubling as Heads Up Display (HUD), while also using civilian Saitek X52 video game joysticks. Given the poster with a JH-7 strike fighter in the background, the pilots could belong to a PLANAF maritime strike squadron. In addition to providing a cheaper, immediate step before stepping into an aircraft simulator, the 3D VR headsets allow for an augmented, integrated group training to improve interactions between the trainees and instructions. The PLANAF’s introduction of VR technology at such an early stage of pilot training is part of a wider Chinese trend in increasing accuracy and rigor in all stages of military training.