• Speaker Biographies

    To interview these speakers at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019, email us

    Professor Donna J. Cox

    Ground-breaker in Data & Scientific Visualization,
    Internationally Recognized Computer Artist, Designer & Writer;

    Revolutions in Mapping the Digital Universe: Stories of Satellites, Supercomputers, and the Art of Data Visualization

    Prof Cox is known for creating extraordinary visualizations of data. For example, she led the team that visualized the recent, award-winning fulldome experience, "Birth of Planet Earth", which will be discussed at SIGGRAPH Asia's Computer Animation Festival.

     

    Donna will deliver the keynote address at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 on Monday, 18 November 2019, at 1pm - 2:45pm at Great Hall 1&2, BCEC, South Bank, Brisbane.


    Professor Donna J. Cox, MFA, PhD, is the first Michael Aiken Chair, professor in the School of Art and Design, Director of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL), Associate Director for Research and Education at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She’s Director of the Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media (eDream) Institute at NCSA. Cox will be speaking on “Revolutions in Mapping the Digital Universe: Stories of Satellites, Supercomputers, and the Art of Data Visualization”.

     

    Biography

    Jeffrey Shaw

    Leading Figure in New Media Art Since 1960’s;

    Making Things Making Meaning - Frontiers in New Media

    Jeffrey has been a leading figure in new media art since its emergence from the performance, expanded cinema and installation paradigms of the 1960s to its present-day technology-informed and virtualized forms. In a prolific oeuvre of widely exhibited and critically acclaimed works he has pioneered and set benchmarks for the creative use of digital media in the fields of virtual and augmented reality, immersive visualization environments, navigable cinematic systems and interactive narrative. His signature works include include Corpocinema (1969), Viewpoint (1975), Heavens Gate (1986), Legible City (1989), The Virtual Museum (1991), EVE (1993), Golden Calf (1995), configuring the CAVE (1997), The Web of Life (2000), PLACE-Hampi (2006), T_Visionarium (2008), Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang (2012), Divine Comedy AR (2018).

     

    Shaw will be speaking on the “Making Things Making Meaning - Frontiers in New Media”. Stay tuned for more details.

    His keynote address at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 is on Tuesday, 19 November 2019, at 1pm - 2:45pm at Great Hall 1&2, BCEC, South Bank, Brisbane.

     

    Biography

    Inigo Quilez

    Co-founder, Shadertoy;

    Why Do I Create Images with Mathematics - A Journey of Innovating in Tech

    Inigo's belief in free education has driven him to give more than 50 talks, publish more than 100 articles, produce more than 50 demoscene works and release more than 300 open-sourced procedural art pieces. In that line of work, in 2013, Inigo co-founded and co-created the website Shadertoy together with Pol Jeremias (also available for interviews), the free online computer graphics learning social platform, to which he also contributes with content regularly.

     

    Quilez will be speaking on “Why Do I Create Images with Mathematics - A Journey of Innovating in Tech”. His keynote address at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 is on Wednesday, 20 November 2019, at 1pm - 2:45pm at Great Hall 1&2, BCEC, South Bank, Brisbane.

     

    Biography

    Ernest Petti

    CG Supervisor, Walt Disney Animation Studios;

    "Frozen 2" and the Past, Present, and Future of Tech at Walt Disney Animation

    Ernest Petti is Studio CG Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios. In this role he acts as a bridge between Production and Technology for long-term strategic initiatives, orchestrating the initiatives and projects of the Workflow team and uniting them to fit within the studio’s vision for workflow. Credits include "Ralph Breaks the Internet" (2018); 2016 Oscar-winning feature "Zootopia"; 2014's Oscar-winning feature "Big Hero 6", as well as "Wreck-it Ralph" (2012), "Tangled" (2010), and "Bolt" (2008).

    Sidney Kombo-Kintombo

    Animation Supervisor, Weta Digital;

    Staging the Endgame; Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel Avengers

    As an Animation Supervisor, Sidney ensures that the animation his team delivers is the best in the industry, whether it’s achieved through performance capture, keyframe animation, or a combination of both. Sidney joined Weta Digital in 2015 as a Senior Animator on The Jungle Book and went on to work on War for the Planet of the Apes and Avengers: Infinity War as an Animation Supervisor. Credits also include The BFG, Avengers: Age

    Rob Bredow

    SVP, Executive Creative Director & Head, Industrial Light & Magic;

    Star Wars: Over Four Decades of Storytelling with Innovation

    Rob Bredow is a strategic and visionary leader with a unique understanding of how media and innovation can join forces to tell great stories and create groundbreaking experiences. As SVP, Executive Creative Director and Head of Industrial Light & Magic, Bredow is responsible for the company’s overall creative strategy and global operations. Most recently Bredow was the Visual Effects Supervisor and Co-Producer on Solo: A Star Wars Story. He served as a creative partner to the filmmakers throughout the production, from the earliest story meetings to the final frames of visual effects. He leveraged his background in innovative technology to help tell the story of the film, creating grounded images with a unique shooting style designed for the movie. He has contributed as a supervisor on films such as Independence Day, Godzilla, Stuart Little, Cast Away, Surf’s Up, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, and others.

    Zareh Nalbandian

    Co-Founder and CEO, Animal Logic;

    Empowering Storytellers Through Technology | In Conversation with Zareh Nalbandian

    Zareh Nalbandian has been managing, developing and producing large-scale screen projects for over 25 years. He has collaborated with iconic directors, producers and artists on some of the most successful feature films of our time. He was Executive Producer on Academy Award winning Happy Feet, he produced the animated adventure Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, directed by Zack Snyder which was produced entirely at Animal Logic’s studios in Sydney, Australia. Most recently Zareh served as Executive Producer on The LEGO® Batman Movie and is currently Producer on Peter Rabbit (2018) and Executive Producer on The LEGO® Ninjago Movie (2017) and The LEGO® Movie Sequel (2019). Zareh is committed to building a successful, globally competitive digital production industry in Australia. He enjoys strong personal relationships with key US Studio Executives and leading Directors and Producers, in addition to the continued day-to-day management of the company. Zareh guides the development of an exciting slate of feature film properties and continues to push the boundaries of digital storytelling.

    Elliot Newman

    VFX Supervisor, MPC Films;

    MPC Film presents: The Making of The Lion Kin

    Elliot Newman has more than 15 years experience working on the VFX for some of the industry’s biggest movies, from Harry Potter to The Lion King. Prior to The Lion King, Elliot was CG Supervisor on The Jungle Book, overseeing the 3D team’s work on 54 species of animals and stunning CG environments, resulting in an Oscar, BAFTA, VES, Annie and HPA Award. Previously Elliot held the position of Global Head of CG, as well as Head of Assets, supervising MPC’s teams globally. He joined MPC in 2004 as a Character Modeler on Kingdom of Heaven, Poseidon, and 10,000BC. During his presentation at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019, MPC Film VFX Supervisor Elliot Newman will reveal how a team of 1200 VFX artists worked with Director Jon Favreau to bring The Lion King to a new generation. As the sole provider of visual effects and animation, the MPC team was led by: MPC VFX supervisors Adam Valdez and Elliot Newman, whom worked closely with VFX Supervisor Rob Legato and Animation Supervisor Andy Jones, crafting every photo-real frame of the movie.

    Guy Williams

    Weta Digital;

    How Weta Digital Created Junior for Gemini Man

    In Ang Lee's action-thriller Gemini Man, Will Smith's character Henry faces off against Junior-a younger clone of himself. Weta Digital VFX Supervisor Guy Williams presents how they created Junior as a completely digital character. Creating a digital human has often been described as the 'holy grail' of visual effects. For Gemini Man, there was an interesting twist because at 23, Will Smith was already a very recognizable figure. At SIGGRAPH Asia, Guy will share the extensive anatomical and physiological research Weta conducted to prepare for the creation of Junior, down to the movement of individual pores. All of this was to ensure they captured the youthfulness not just the likeness, of a 23-year-old Will Smith, Guy will talk about how this project pushed them to advance their character pipeline, to help artists reveal Junior in astonishing detail at 120 frames-per-second in 4K stereo.

     

    Guy has over twenty years experience in the visual effects industry and specialises in photo-real effects and creatures for live action film. He came to New Zealand in 1999 to work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since that time he has been Visual Effects Supervisor on Avatar, X-Men: First Class, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as well as The Avengers and Iron Man 3, both of which earned him Academy® Award nominations for Best Visual Effects. In his role as Visual Effects Supervisor, Guy has taken on the many facets the role requires including managing the pre-production, look development and pipeline setup phases to onset supervision and finally to post production and shot completion. He is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Guy's most recent films are Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic The BFG and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He is currently working on Ang Lee's Gemini Man.

    Hao Li

    Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California;

    Deep Fakes

    Hao Li is Chair of the ACM SIGGRAPH Frontiers Workshop on Truth in Graphics and Future of AI-Generated Content panel at SIGGRAPH Asia. Increasingly realistic computer graphics, computer vision together with advances in AI, are facilitating stunningly realistic imagery, video, social and synthetic experiences. These effects no longer require the skills of visual effect studios, but can be produced by anyone. This realism also means that it can be challenging to identify reality from fakes. An example of this are technologies such as Deep Fakes which convincingly swaps faces in videos, or allows one to manipulate facial expressions and speech of a person. While new creative tools are enabled for various entertainment applications and avatar creation technologies, there is a growing concern for the spread of disinformation and privacy, due its accessibility by end users. Coupled with this, the increasingly prevalent use of AI algorithms is also gaining attention due to a number of high-profile incidents of algorithmic bias, for example computer judged beauty contests that deducted points for dark skin and AI-driven recruitment that biased against female applicants. Hao Li will lead a panel discussion that examines the positive and negative sides of these technologies, their rapid adoption on social media platforms and apps, and discuss what a community of researchers and practitioners can do build trust in algorithms and ensure that techniques are not misused; and explore how the future of AI-driven content creation will impact society.

     

    Hao Li is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California, the Director of the Vision and Graphics Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, and the CEO/Co-Founder of Pinscreen, an LA-based startup that makes photorealistic avatars accessible to consumers. Hao's work in Computer Graphics and Computer Vision focuses on digitizing humans and capturing their performances for immersive communication, scalable 3D content creation, and telepresence in virtual worlds. His research involves the development of novel data-driven and deep learning algorithms for geometry processing. He is known for his seminal work in non-rigid shape alignment, real-time facial performance capture, hair digitization, and dynamic full body capture.

    Mark Hills

    Head of Systems Development, Framestore;

    Face Tracking

    Mark Hills is the head of the Systems Development team at Framestore, where he has worked since 2006. His interest in large computing systems began as a teenager, when he found the components of 50 PCs in a skip and turned them into a working renderfarm — mounted in a recycled kitchen cupboard. Mark holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Nottingham, with his thesis in face tracking. At SIGGRAPH Asia, Mark Hills is participating in a panel from large-scale Animation and VFX studios to share his insights to the studio's challenges on how to balance between creating amazing visuals as well as given a tight production time frame.

    Charlie Han

    Product Lead, HoloLens, Microsoft

    Charlie leads Product for HoloLens at Microsoft, where he is responsible for customer-centric product definition, coordinated execution across the hardware, software, and GTM teams, and roadmap for HoloLens futures. His most recent work has been on HoloLens 2.
    The story of HoloLens is founded in the journey to merge the best parts of the digital world with the physical world. From the early days of Kinect to the launch of HoloLens 2, this singular pursuit has taken the HoloLens team through invention, leaps of faith, and an ongoing discovery of what this technology can do to transform work, play and communications. Charlie can discuss some of the toughest technical challenges, along with the human component and how it can guide our collective development of this new medium.

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