ACM SIGGRAPH reveals final SIGGRAPH 2020 numbers, and prepares for SIGGRAPH 2021, which aims to be a hybrid physical and virtual event, both online and in Los Angeles.
SIGGRAPH 2019 concluded with the highest attendance since 2013, boasting an audience of 18,700 global professionals in computer graphics and interactive techniques, but in 2020 the event, which was planned to take place 19–23 July, moved online, a first for the 47-year-old annual conference, as the organizers pivoted to design an all-digital conference that is as unique as its typical in-person offering.
“SIGGRAPH 2020 launched online on 17 August, after pivoting plans quickly from an in-person to virtual format. And, with content still available on-demand to registered participants through 27 October, we’re not quite done yet. My team and I are incredibly proud of what we accomplished and the model we’ve set for next year’s committee to take over and continue to innovate,” noted SIGGRAPH 2020 Conference Chair Kristy Pron, of Walt Disney Imagineering.
Film production under the pandemic
The virtual event may not be appreciated by all, but it does have advantages, one of them being that content for most programs will continue to be available within the virtual platform through 27 October. Those who could never find ways to follow all the events happening during the show, have now an extended period to watch different conferences included in the vast program. Registration is already closed, but those who have registered have a free pass to go back to the sessions.
The online format did not bring more public, as the final numbers from the organizers note that “more than 10,000 professionals joined the conference’s first completely virtual offering”, against the record audience of 18,700 seen in 2019. But the 2020 edition reached an international audience from 95 countries instead of the 79 countries present in 2019, which represents a new record.
With an average of 495 views per session, the 2020 event featured topics ranging from cyber illusion to award-winning research to real-time (literally!) demonstrations and how the pandemic is affecting film production. The top five sessions were community favorite “Technical Papers Fast Forward”, a two-part course on “Advances in Real-time Rendering for Games”, “Physically Based Shading in Theory and Practice”, “ILM Presents The Making of ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’”, and “Making Machine Learning Work: From Ideas to Production Tools”.
SIGGRAPH 2021 will be a hybrid event
The 47th annual SIGGRAPH conference was the first fully virtual event hosted by ACM SIGGRAPH, and organizers continue to evolve thinking for the year to come amid continued COVID-19 uncertainties. Looking to the conference’s future, SIGGRAPH 2021 aims to be a hybrid physical and virtual event, both online and in Los Angeles. While everybody expects that the 48th edition fills with animation downtown Los Angeles for five-days, the experience acquired now will be important if, due to the pandemic, the next event must be moved exclusively online, again.
Conference organizers are excited to offer a choice of attendance options and possibilities for SIGGRAPH events going forward, and SIGGRAPH 2021 — the 48th annual conference — will mark the inaugural rollout of this format. More information on the hybrid event and how to submit content or exhibit will be available through the just-launched website: s2021.SIGGRAPH.org.
Shares SIGGRAPH 2021 Conference Chair Pol Jeremias-Vila, of Pixar Animation Studios, said “Next year in L.A., and virtually, we want to offer a high-quality experience that will feature breakthroughs in research and technology, speakers who inspire, and community collaboration. I look forward to building on the successes of 2020 and continuing to evolve both our in-person and virtual conference.”