Virtually Yours… Fort York


Next year, the Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto will launch to the public a new Virtual Reality Experience, allowing visitors to experience the site in a totally new way!  Our friends at AWE, who have been working hard to bring this experience to life, invited the Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH community to evaluate this experience during a free preview held between Sept. 21st and Oct. 3oth.  Naturally, the Chapter leaders were delighted to participate!

On a gloomy and cold Oct. 24th, we gathered at the Fork York Visitor Center, where we were warmly greeted by Fort York staff member Ewan Wardle, who guided us through the experience.  Ewan provided an introduction to the VR experience and handed us the equipment, and then we followed him onto the Fort York grounds.  There, we immersed ourselves into the virtual Fort York.

The experience consists of a set of animated, VR vignettes at different locations on the site grounds.  To guide you from one vignette location to another, a virtual map, visible through the VR headset, indicates the locations where vignettes are available.  When you arrive at a location, a short music clip will play through the stereo headset to let you know the system is ready to play.  The content of the vignettes is quite varied too.  You may relive the founding of the city of Toronto or the sacking of the Fort during the War of 1812, or you may witness a meeting between the British and native people, or see what the grounds looked like before the city filled up with condo buildings.

It was a fun and enjoyable experience and we are excited to see the final product when it opens again to the public next year.  Congratulations to Srinivas Krishna of AWE and all the other individuals and institutions that have worked hard to bring this experience to life!

Pipeline Dreams

Group photo with Bill Polson

On October 21st and 22nd, Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH was proud to host our friend Bill Polson, formerly from Pixar Animation Studios. Bill had a long and prolific career at Pixar, serving in many roles including Supervising TD of Pixar University, Supervising TD of Short Films, Director of Pipeline, and, most recently, Director of Industry Strategy, where he was the originator of Pixar’s OpenSubDiv effort. Bill has also been active in the ACM SIGGRAPH community and is the creator of the popular program “SIGGRAPH Dailies!”

We were thrilled when Bill accepted our invitation to visit Toronto and to bring to our audience a person of such high profile in the industry. Bill’s current interest lies in analysing various animation and VFX production pipelines and understanding the principles and design patterns behind them. Bill is currently working on a book on this subject and we were quite interested in what he’s discovered in his research!

We greeted Bill on the morning of October 21st and quickly took him to see his friends at the offices of our Founding Sponsor, Side Effects Software. Later that evening we treated Bill to some of Toronto’s finest dining in the company of the Toronto leadership team and friends to prepare him for a very busy day to follow.

The next morning, Bill visited the offices of our Platinum Sponsor for our evening event, Autodesk. There, Bill was able to have lunch with members of the Maya team and give a preview of the presentation he would give later than evening. Later in the day Bill visited Southpaw Technology and got a quick tour of Arc Productions before heading to his hotel to prepare for his talk.

Bill presented to a sold out room at the University of Toronto, with around 70 people present. His talk was very entertaining and quite informative, and Bill not only described some of the design patterns he’s uncovered but also the thought process that led to his conclusions. There was a lot of information to cover and many question, so we ended up staying an extra 30 minutes longer than programmed!  Bill has generously shared his presentation slides with us for those who would like to review his talk.

After the talk, the crowd proceeded to the Prenup Pub for some food and good cheer. Everyone had a wonderful time and it was truly an exciting evening!

We would like to thank Bill Polson for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit our wonderful city and present to our audiences. We really enjoyed having him here and hope he will visit us soon and often!

Thank you also to the Dynamic Graphics Project, from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, who co-hosted this event with us. Thank you as well to our Platinum Sponsor, Autodesk, and our Founding Sponsor, Side Effects Software. We’d also like to thank Toronto Section of the Visual Effects Society, Toronto Animated Arts Festival International, and The Immersive Technology Alliance, for helping us spread the word about Bill’s visit. Finally, we’d like to thank each and every attendee who came to Bill’s presentation!

Congratulations go out to our door prize winners:  Max Julian, Lisa Zhang, and Caroline Cai!

Sharing with Sheridan

Presenting to the students at Sheridan College


On October 15th the Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter visited the Faculty of Animation, Art, and Design at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario–the alma matter of our current treasurer Sukhmani Kaur. Students were invited to share a slice of pizza and a bigger slice of visual excitement as we presented content from the SIGGRAPH 2013 Video Review. The food was snatched up quickly by the crowd of nearly 50 students and, with their bellies full, they settled in for the show!

A special Thank You! to Angela Stukator and Maury Whyte for inviting us to the campus and advertising the event to the students!

We’d like to come to your school and do the same! If you are interested in having Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH visit your institution, make sure to contact us! We will happily pay you a visit!



The Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter was again a proud exhibitor at the IMMERSED conference, held by The Immersive Technology Alliance at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto on Oct. 4-6th, 2015. This year, the conference began once again with an immersive technology exhibition that was free and open to the public, followed by two days of exciting speakers.

We were excited to find ourselves sitting next to our good friend and SIGGRAPH Volunteer Jason Jerald! Jason is the Co-Founder and Principal Consultant of NextGen Interactions, a consulting firm specializing in Virtual Reality, and author of The VR Book: Perception and Interaction Design for Virtual Reality. He has volunteered at SIGGRAPH in many rolls, most notably as AR/VR Contest Lead in the most recent SIGGRAPH conference. We sat in good company!

We were also delighted to receive a visit from our most recent Chapter speaker, Baktash, sporting the SIGGRAPH 2016 T-shirt we gifted him! As we were all dressed in SIGGRAPH 2015 shirts, we joked that Baktash is a man of the future!

We’d like to once again thank Neil Schneider, President of Meant to Be Seen and Executive Director of The Immersive Technology Alliance, for his generous support of the Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter and for the opportunity to once again be a part of this exciting conference!

We hope to see you all again next year!

Baktash Makes a Splash!

Baktash presenting

On Sept. 29th, the Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter had the pleasure of hosting the founder of TooMuchVoltage Software, Baktash Abdollah-shamzir-saz, for it’s first event of the 2015 Fall Season. Baktash is a prolific, self-taught programmer, having written from scratch every line of code in the HighOmega 2.0 game engine, distributed by TooMuchVoltage.

Hosted at the Viz Studio in the offices of Autodesk, the evening event began with a few snacks and drinks. Baktash spoke to a cozy audience of about 25 and explained the basic math behind his fluid dynamics engine, which is based on the seminal work by Jos Stam (Stable Fluids, SIGGRAPH 1999, and “Real-Time Fluid Dynamics for Games” follup at GDC 2013). Baktash gave a quick overview of the math and then drove right in to the examples, demonstrating, for example, how external forces such as gravity affect the fluid behavior. Additionally, Baktash explained his vorticity confinement implementation, showed how to simulate fluids of different densities, and compared the speeds of different implementations based on CPU-, GPU-, and OpenCL-based algorithms.

After the wonderful presentation, Baktash raffled off a few T-shirts with the TooMuchVoltage logo (purchase your own!), and the Chapter officers raffled off the Grand Prize: a SIGGRAPH 2015 mug. As a token of our appreciation to Baktash for his support, we gifted Baktash a SIGGRAPH 2016 T-shirt, generously donated by Nico Gonzalez, the previous Chapter Treasurer.

The crowd then finished off the evening with some food and good cheer a short distance away at betty’s.

For those of you who made it to the presentation and are interested in exploring in more detail what Baktash presented, you can find all of Baktash’s presentation material and demos on the TooMuchVoltage website. Baktash has also produced a short video summary of the evening, which is also available on his site and on YouTube.

Make sure to stay tuned to our site–we have more great events coming!  Stay up to date with us:

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