SIGGRAPH 2020 announces its immersive programming, including several Virtual Reality experiences

In Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality News

August 19, 2020 – SIGGRAPH 2020, an annual conference showcasing the latest in computer graphics and interactive techniques, has announced its immersive programming, as well as the winner of the second-annual ‘Best in Show – Immersive Experience’ award. The annual conference, which kicked off yesterday and is this year being held virtually, will offer virtual attendees the chance to learn about the making of over 30 experiential projects, as well as other unique opportunities to this year’s event. 

During the conference, Magic Leap will be releasing its “The Last Light” experience — a VR Theater selection — to the Magic Leap World store.

“The VR Theater was met with challenges this year, but we are thrilled to have worked with our contributors to elevate their incredible projects and offer a peek into how they were created,” said SIGGRAPH 2020 VR Theater Director, Monica Cappiello, of Cogswell College. “We’re doing this through two ‘making of’ director’s panels as well as some exclusive on-demand content for participants.”

Typically a seated, theatrical space, the VR Theater may not be the same to this year’s virtual visitors, but attendees will still get to experience 10 selections, including a VR playbill created exclusively for the conference by a team of students from Savannah College of Art and Design and available for free via the Steam store. (Read about the making of the project here.)

Additionally, the ‘Immersive Pavilion’ adds to the content mix with 20 other selections of its own. The immersive content being presented spans everything from sports and haptics, to immersion in historic events. Participants with appropriate hardware will also be able to experience the following selections: “The Book of Distance”, “Dr. Crumb’s School for Disobedient Pets”, and “The Outpost”.

“While a chance to experience, play, and learn about these technological advances across the evolving mediums of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality physically is not in the cards this year, the education and entertainment value is still there,” added SIGGRAPH 2020 Immersive Pavilion Chair, Chris Redmann, of Unity Technologies. “The content our creators will share with the community is incredibly inspiring.”

Highlights across all immersive programming include:

BEST IN SHOW – Immersive Experience
DeepView Immersive Light Field Video | Immersive Pavilion
On-demand: 17–28 August; Session: Friday, 28 August, 9 am PDT

Experience 6DOF immersive VR from Google’s system for capturing, reconstructing, compressing, and rendering high quality light fields. The representation is streamable, while allowing for realistic reflections on water surfaces, atmospheric effects such as sparks and fire, and complex thin structures including tree branches.

Battlescar – Punk was invented by girls | VR Theater
On-demand: 17–28 August; Panel: Wednesday, 26 August, 3 pm PDT

“Battlescar” follows a year in the life of Lupe, a Puerto Rican-American living in the late 1970s in New York City. The experience explores the secret worlds of the Lower East Side in the ’70s.

ESPN VR Batting Cage | Immersive Pavilion
On-demand: 17–28 August; Session: Wednesday, 26 August, 8:30 am PDT

The ESPN VR Batting Cage is an interactive, immersive experience that can engage sports fans dynamically with live pitch data.

The Last Light | VR Theater
On-demand: 17–28 August; Panel: Wednesday, 26 August, 3 pm PDT

In this story from Magic Leap, a young woman travels home to deal with a difficult family situation, resulting in a story told through spatial computing that deals with loss and recovery.

Baba Yaga: Designing An Interactive Folktale | Talks
On-demand: 17–28 August

Baobab Studios presents experiments in authoring interactive, VR narratives across its two most recent projects: “Baba Yaga” and “Bonfire”..

‘Myth: A Frozen Tale’ – Stylized Effects for Real-time VR | Talks
On-demand: 17–28 August; Live Q&A: Wednesday, 26 August, 12:30 pm PDT

This talk covers how the “Myth: A Frozen Tale” VR short inspired by a Walt Disney Animation Studios feature film challenged effects artists to create a highly stylized world and the elemental spirits living within it.  

The SIGGRAPH 2020 conference runs 17–28 August, and content will be available online and on-demand through 27 October. Immersive programming at this year’s conference is open to Ultimate and Enhanced pass holders. Registration is still open through September 11. A sneak peek of all gaming and interactive content from SIGGRAPH 2020 can be viewed on the event’s YouTube channel.

Image credit: SIGGRAPH 2020

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.