11 Things You Can’t Miss During SIGGRAPH 2021

by | 4 August 2021 | Conferences

© 2021 Flopine

Still undecided about joining the SIGGRAPH 2021 action? Already registered and overwhelmed with where to start watching? We’re here for you! This list spotlights content you can’t miss during the live week, 9–13 August.

1. Conference Welcome & Featured Speakers Kickoff

Join SIGGRAPH 2021 Conference Chair Pol Jeremias-Vila as he kicks off the live week on Monday, 9 August, at 6:45 am PDT. Following the welcome, get ready for our first Featured Speaker session “Turing Award and Beyond: In Conversation With Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan” at 8 am PDT.

And, of course, make sure you check out the full featured speaker lineup:

  • “The New Breed: What Our History With Animals Reveals About Our Future With Robots” feat. Kate Darling | 9 August at 1 pm PDT
  • “Graphics, AI, and the Emergence of Shared Worlds” feat. Richard Kerris, presented by NVIDIA | 10 August at 8 am PDT
  • “How to Build an Animation Studio” feat. Sergio Pablos | 10 August at 1 pm PDT
  • “Through the Looking Glass: The Next Reality for Content Production” feat. Eric Iversion, presented by AWS | 11 August at 8 am PDT)
  • “Programmatic Visualizations in Mathematics” feat. Grant Sanderson | 11 August at 1 pm PDT
  • “High-fidelity Ray Tracing Pushing New Boundaries” feat. Jim Jeffers, presented by Intel | 12 August at 8 am PDT
  • “Omni, Meta, Uni, and All the Other Verses You Care About” feat. Timoni West, presented by Unity | 12 August at 1 pm PDT
  • “Fireside Chat With Amy Hennig” | 13 August at 8 am PDT
  • “Creating, Weaponizing, and Detecting Deepfakes” feat. Hany Farid | 13 August at 1 pm PDT

2. AR Dilemmas

This live-only Frontiers Talk from University of Sydney’s Mark Pesce will aim to answer questions on AR dilemmas as we enter what will be known as the “augmented decade”. There are no easy answers, only questions of agency, power, authority, and control; questions that technology alone can not answer — yet must be addressed before augmented reality achieves scale.

3. Networking Opportunities

Attendee-only social hours will be held each evening throughout the live week within ohyay — don’t miss the chance to meet up with SIGGRAPH friends you miss or make new ones throughout custom spaces the conference committee has designed just for you.

Beyond live events, you’ll also be able to request meetups with fellow attendees directly through the virtual conference platform and we’ve built an exclusive Discord space for attendees to chat with one another (and our contributors) during and beyond live events.

4. Retrospective Celebrations

The history of computation has been driven by the desire to produce images, sounds, and facilitate interactions. Even though this approach was not evident in the first attempts to write the history of computing, recent research exposes the trajectories of the computational image and the interactive methods as a fundamental component of computing history. The all-new Retrospective program celebrates that history with a selection of panels that look back, including “Silicon Graphics Legacy” on 10 August at 11 am PDT, a session that will feature Jim Clark and others discussing bringing the silicon to Silicon Valley. While they’re all worth catching, the following two will not be recorded, so bookmark them now: “Sisters of Code” on 11 August and “Making Computer Graphics History Public” on 12 August.

5. Live-only Production Sessions & Panels

Blink-and-you’ll-miss-em! A handful of SIGGRAPH 2021 Production Sessions and Panels — and their accompanying Q&As — will be live only. When planning your schedule, watch for a note in the description that details whether or not a session will be recorded. (Note: The same is true for many live-week contributor Q&As from presenters in Technical Papers, Talks, and more.)


SIGGRAPH 2021 partners with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to bring two very special sessions to the conference. The first, on 9 August at 9 am PDT, will bring the 93rd Academy Awards® VFX Bake-Off to the SIGGRAPH stage, showcasing discussions of the techniques behind the 2021 shortlisted films. The second offers at look at the Academy “Beyond the Oscars® and features members such as SIGGRAPH 2018 Keynote Speaker Rob Bredow, of ILM.

7. Directors’ Special Sessions

Celebrating both the Electronic Theater and VR Theater program selections, these three sessions throughout the live week will spotlight directors of many of the incredible projects featured:

8. Special Events

Get as close as is virtually possible to contributors from the Art Gallery and Production Sessions with special live events and performances. Either add them to your schedule (“Watch Me Work”, “Meet & Greet”) or visit the project page in the Experience Hall to sign up (Art Gallery).

9. First-of-its-kind Games Course

Are you a game developer or do you just really love game engines? Either way, we’ve got a Course you definitely can’t miss! On Thursday and Friday, catch “Rendering Engine Architecture for Games” parts one and two as experts bring state-of-the-art and production-proven rendering engine architecture details for fast, interactive rendering of complex and engaging virtual worlds of video games to SIGGRAPH. Speakers include professionals from Unity, Activision, Roblox, and Sony Santa Monica Studio. Plus, don’t miss its companion, attendee-favorite games course, “Advances in Real-Time Rendering in Games” parts one and two.

10. Diversity Summit

Since 2018, the ACM SIGGRAPH Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee has organized its Diversity Summit during the annual conference with an aim of spotlighting how DEI makes our communities, industries, and teams stronger and how we can make our world more inclusive and accessible. Don’t miss powerful sessions like “Anti-racist Graphics Research”, “From STEAM to Dream: College to Career Connections with Latinx Technical Directors”, and more, a handful of which will not be recorded.

Plus, catch even more live-only, community-organized Birds of a Feather sessions and events honoring diverse communities in computer graphics and interactive techniques, including “Women in Technology: Knocking Down Barriers”, “LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Meetup”, and more.

11. Real-Time Live!

Featuring a live pre-show from shader artist Flopine (pictured above) with music by Throno Crigger that starts at 4:30 pm PDT, attending Real-Time Live! live means YOU get to be part of awarding one of the incredible demos the coveted Audience Choice prize.

Register today for access to all of this incredible content, plus over 500 other sessions and demonstrations on the latest innovations in the industry. Explore our Ultimate, Enhanced, and Basic registration levels to determine the best fit for your experience; if content is not “live only”, registering will grant you access to all sessions through 29 October.

Use code SIGGRAPHSAVINGS for a free Basic registration or $25 off the Enhanced or Ultimate levels.

Looking for more highlights? Check out Conference Chair Pol Jeremias-Vila’s post on LinkedIn Pulse!

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