You can now re-visit one of the greatest ever SIGGRAPH presentations in history

ACM has made 50 years of their publications open and freely available, including this killer animation-related session.

I wasn’t there myself, but at SIGGRAPH ’89 in Boston, a very special session, which I don’t think has ever been repeated in the same way, took place. It was called ‘Bloopers, outtakes, and horror stories of SIGGRAPH films’, and it was made up of some of the biggest players in the late 80s in CG animation and visual effects.

These presenters openly and candidly talked about some of their CG shorts and projects and the challenges of bringing them to life with early CG and rendering tools. It’s very insightful. Remember, this was before Pixar’s Toy Story, but also at a time when much innovation had of course already been happening in terms of modeling, animation and rendering, including at Pixar, which had already produced shorts such as Luxo Jr, Tin Toy and Knick Knack.

The presenters were:

John Lasseter, Pixar
Bill Reeves, Pixar
Loren Carpenter, Pixar
Eben Ostby, Pixar
Michael Wahrman, deGraf/Wahrman
Jim Blinn, California Institute of Technology
Craig Reynolds, Symbolics
Chris Wedge, Blue Sky Productions
Graham Walters, Pacific Data Images
Bill Kroyer, Kroyer Films

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Bill Kroyer discussed his CG baby workflow for Pixar’s ‘Tin Toy’ during the session.

As you can see, each went on to continue doing incredible things in the field. But why am I am even identifying this presentation? Well, a few months ago, ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, announced that its first 50 years of publications, from 1951 through the end of 2000, would now be open and freely available to view and download via the ACM Digital Library. Usually you have to be a paid-up member to view the Digital Library, which includes access to SIGGRAPH technical papers, articles and other proceedings of the SIGGRAPH Conferences (and more).

Having free access to a wealth of material like this is a very cool thing, I think. There are so many gems to peruse, and I just thought this ‘horror stories of SIGGRAPH films’ presentation is one of the best. While it’s not a video–it’s instead a transcript of the presentation with some black and white slides–you do get the feeling the presenters really enjoyed sharing their bloopers. (And I secretly hope a session like this may one day return to SIGGRAPH…).

Read the PDF directly here.

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