Pixar at SIGGRAPH 2018: ‘Purl’ Preview, Tech Presentations, Talks (Full Session List)

Pixar will present many topics at the 2018 SIGGRAPH conference. Check out the complete list.
Pixar at SIGGRAPH 2018

Pixar has a storied history with the annual U.S. SIGGRAPH conference — it was where Pixar first wowed audiences by releasing The Adventures of André & Wally B (1984), Luxo, Jr. (1986), and many other shorts and technical presentations (including this year’s experimental short, Purl). Due to the many “wow” moments, we’re always excited to see what will be released.

Since the conference is kicked off today (August 12-16 in Vancouver, CA), we thought we’d pull together a list of all the sessions in which Pixar will be involved. If you are in attendance for any of Pixar’s sessions, please feel free to reach out and let us know your thoughts (email, post a comment below, or chat about it in the Forum).

According to SIGGRAPH, the conference focuses on “the latest research, newest technologies, and best ideas from the brightest minds”, all centered around educational and hands-on sessions in the field of computer graphics and interactive techniques.


The Exhibitor Sessions are “comprehensive summaries of the latest technologies in computer graphics and interactive techniques. SIGGRAPH 2018 exhibitors demonstrate software, hardware, and systems, answer questions, and host one-on-one conversations about how their applications improve professional and technical performance.”

Pixar Studios Atrium decorated for Incredibles 2

All times Pacific Daylight Time


  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM — Women of Pixar Panel: Technology
  • 1:00 – 2:00 PM — RenderMan 22: Incredible Artist Workflows (Presenter: Dylan Sisson)
  • 2:00 – 5:30 PM — NVIDIA Presents: GPU Ray Tracing for Film and Design (Max Liani from Pixar will present along with 7 others from other companies)
  • 3:00 – 4:00 PM — OpenTimelineIO: Official Open-Source Meet Up
  • 4:00 – 6:00 PM — USD and OpenSubdiv: Official Open-source Meet Up


  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM — A Collaboration Between Art & Tech: Layout (Presenter: Mahyar Abousaeedi)
  • 1:00 – 2:00 PM — RenderMan 22: Working With Next Generation VFX Pipelines
  • 2:30 – 3:30 PM — Intel Presents: Open Source Interactive CPU Preview Rendering with Pixar’s Universal Scene Description
  • 3:00 – 4:00 PM — From Pixar Intern to Technical Director (Presenter: Christina Faraj) 


  • 1:00 – 2:00 PM — Intel Presents: Open Source Interactive CPU Preview Rendering with Pixar’s Universal Scene Description


During the SIGGRAPH 2018 Production Sessions, the world’s most talented production teams share their processes and techniques from some of the most exciting content in computer animation, VFX, games, and VR.


Incredibles 2 Frozone Scene


  • In a conversation that will not only span multiple disciplines but also multiple years of technological advancement at Pixar, the team behind “Incredibles 2” – many of whom also worked on the first film – will compare and contrast the filmmaking process then and now. With a sequel, there’s always the challenge of making a film true to the original, yet different in every detail. In building the world of “Incredibles 2” the team tackled one of the most technically daunting films in Pixar’s canon, all while needing it to hue to the familiar tone established by the first film. Hear from this supergroup as they examine how they used the past to inform the present and, incredibly, achieved the near-impossible
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Rick Sayre (Supervising Technical Director) — Gordon Cameron (Technical Supervisor) — Bill Watral (Effects Supervisor) — Bill Wise (Character Supervisor) — Nathan Fariss (Sets Supervisor) — Reid Sandros (Optimization & Rendering Supervisor) — Darwyn Peachey (Global Technology Supervisor) — Erik Smitt (Director of Photography – Lighting) — Mahyar Abousaeedi (Director of Photography – Camera) — Bret Parker (Anim 2nd Unit and Crowds Supervisor) — Chris Burrows (Sets Shading Lead) — Esdras Varagnolo (Lighting Compositing Lead) — Evan Bonifacio (Directing Animator) — Fran Kalal (Character Tailoring Lead) — Paul Kanyuk (Crowds Technical Supervisor) — Philip Metschan (Previs Lead) — Tom Nettleship (Lightspeed Lead)


The Talks at SIGGRAPH 2018 take you behind the scenes and into the minds of the conference creators in all areas of computer graphics technology and interactive techniques.

Incredibles 2 family getting ready for action

All times Pacific Daylight Time


WELL WORN (4 Parts) — 10:45 AM – 12:15 PM

  (Part 1) Collaborative Costume Design & Construction on Incredibles 2

  • This talk describes how Pixar’s character tailoring and shading teams created the fashionable costumes of “Incredibles 2,” collaborating with many departments. We dressed a large number of distinctive characters for both the Civilian and Super worlds and found a balance between stylized yet realistic form, shading, and movement.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Aimei Kutt — Fran Kalal (Character Tailoring Lead) — Trent Crow — Beth Albright

   (Part 2) Dressed for saving the day” Finer details for garment shading on Incredibles 2

  • A major design goal of “Incredibles 2” was to add greater details to the characters’ clothes than in the original film. Two methods that helped us achieve this were Bump-To-Roughness to help preserve finer illumination details in the clothing, and curve procedurals to add realism to the garment shading.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Trent Crow — Junyi Ling — Michael Kilgore
Pixar Coco Pepita and Miguel Concept Artwork

 (Part 3) Coco AnimSim: Increasing quality and efficiency

  • Coco’s complexity presented challenges for Pixar’s Simulation and Animation departments, requiring a new approach to create appealing clothed silhouettes and believable motion. We created a new process, AnimSim, consisting of fast, stable clothing simulations, simple cloth interaction tools, and a refined partnership between the simulation artists and character animators.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Emron Grover — Jacob Brooks — Kristopher Campbell — Bret Parker (Anim 2nd Unit and Crowds Supervisor)

   (Part 4) Better collisions and faster cloth for Pixar’s Coco

  • The skeleton characters of Pixar’s “Coco” brought new challenges to our in-house cloth simulator, Fizt. We describe our enhancements to collision detection and response that we believe would benefit most systems. In addition to collision robustness, we describe techniques to dramatically improve the performance of our implicit solver.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: David Eberle

HARES & HAIRS (4 Parts – Pixar presenting in one-of-four sessions) — 2:00 – 3:30 PM

Voyd from Incredibles 2 hair test

Leading up to this presentation the Pixar team released a video on their technical Vimeo channel giving a small preview of the session (watch the preview video in our post here).

   (Part 4) Engineering Full-Fidelity Hair for Incredibles 2

  • For “Incredibles 2,” we achieved interactive full-fidelity hair, increasing artist freedom, and productivity. We implemented highly parallel algorithms for hair generation and deformation and used fast, modern techniques for graph evaluation, subdivision surfaces, Poisson disk sampling, and scattered data interpolation.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Andrew Butts — Mark Hessler — Ben Porter — Dirk Van Gelder — Venkateswaran Krishna — Gary Monheit


PRODUCTION JUNCTION (3 Parts – Pixar presenting in one-of-three sessions) — 3:45 – 5:15 PM

Pixar Purl teaser image with logo

(Part 3) Unraveling Purl: Continuing Pixar’s experimental story initiative

  • “Purl,” directed by Kristen Lester, raises the bar for Pixar’s storytelling initiative, creating another example of what’s possible when filmmakers are granted this type of creative freedom within a fully functioning studio. This talk looks at the team’s process, as well as the impact of maintaining the program at Pixar.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: David Lally — David Munier — Kristen Lester — Farhez Rayani

Read even more about Purl in our post.


FOR THE LOVE OF TECH ART (3 Parts – Pixar presenting in two-of-three sessions) — 9:00 – 10:30 AM

   (Part 2) Reinterpreting memorable characters in Incredibles 2

  • On “Incredibles,” we leaned on 2D drawing and design techniques to drive the way we modeled and rigged. For “Incredibles 2” we strove to redesign the characters to deliver on qualities that couldn’t be achieved on the first “Incredibles,” while still staying true to the essence of these legacy characters.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Nancy Tsang — Jacob Speirs — Rich Hurrey — Salvatore Melluso — Mark Piretti — Lou Hamou-Lhadj — Kevin Singleton

   (Part 3) Makin Coco‘s Pepita

  • We discuss our approach to build and animate Pepita, a folk-art-inspired and physically plausible creature that lives in the Land of Dead in Pixar’s “Coco.”
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Alonso Martinez — KC Roeyer — Athena Xenakis — Laura Hainke

SKINNY & FLEXIBLE (4 Parts) 10:45 AM – 12:15 PM

Incredibles 2 Elastigirl meets other superheroes

 (Part 1) Making Mrs. Incredible More Flexible

  • For Mrs. Incredible, we faced challenges with a character that can stretch multiple body parts. A skeletal and curve-based rig was utilized to handle stretching topology. Shading tackled texture stretching by manipulating uv-coordinate spaces. Garments used 3D uv-scaling to keep suit details intact when the cloth was stretched or compressed.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Kevin Singleton — Trent Crow — Edgar Rodriguez

   (Part 2) Robust skin simlation in Incredibles 2

  • Robustly simulating the dynamics of skin sliding over a character’s body is an ongoing challenge. We have found that many problems can be addressed by performing 2D ray-tracing over the surface of the mesh. The approach is fast and robust, and has been used successfully in “Incredibles 2.”
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Ryan Kautzman — Gordon Cameron (Technical Supervisor) — Theodore Kim

   (Part 3) Mobilizing mocap, motion blending, and mayhem: Rig interoperability for crowd simulation on Incredibles 2

  • The stylized world of “Incredibles 2” features large urban crowds both in everyday situations and panicked mayhem. To meet this challenge, Pixar’s crowds team developed a system to automatically approximate our complex rigs with skinned skeletons, opening up our pipeline to procedural look-ats, motion blending, ragdoll physics, and motion capture.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Paul Kanyuk (Crowds Technical Supervisor) — Patrick Coleman — Jonah B. Laird

   (Part 4) Bringing skeletons to life for Coco

  • We discuss the challenges and our solutions in creating both stylized and realistic skeleton characters in Pixar’s “Coco.”
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Christian Hoffman — Jonathan Hoffman

USD CERTIFIED LEAN, EH? (4 Parts – Pixar presenting in one-of-four sessions) — 10:45 AM – 12:15 PM

Universal Scene Description USD Logo

 (Part 3) The ‘extra’ touch on Incredibles 2

  • USD shading gives us lots of flexibility and provides the immediate basic shading for the BG human skin and hair by default. Maintaining the master asset file for updates, debugging, and additional feature deployment was easier than inspecting numerous individual assets. This workflow is more efficient than what we had.
  • Contributor/Moderators from Pixar: Kiki Mei Kee Poh — Michael Kilgore — Tom Wichitsripornkul — Gary Monheit

Pixar Post — T.J.

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