Fluid Animation in Tall Order


On February 4th, he Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter was proud to host Jos Stam of Autodesk Research for its first event of 2016.  Jos is a world-class researcher who has won many prestigious awards, including two Technical Achievement Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award.  Although Jos has published work on many topics including BRDFs and subdivision surfaces, on this evening we gathered to celebrate the publication of his book, The Art of Fluid Animation.

For this sold-out event, a crowd of 75 people gathered at the Autodesk Viz Studio in downtown Toronto.  After a few opening remarks from our Chair, Gord Kurtenbach, Senior Director for Autodesk Research and sponsor of this event, came up to the podium to introduce the main speaker.

Jos gave us a very personal talk about his career in computer graphics, much like the writing in his book.  He showed never-before seen paintings he created as a young teen which reflected his fascination with the shapes of fluids and cloth.  Jos also showed some impressive demos of emergent fluid behavior which his algorithm replicates.  To conclude, Jos shared some videos that highlight how his algorithm is used in Autodesk products today.

After the talk and a question period, we raffled three T-shirts, imprinted with the book cover, that Jos generously donated.  Congratulations to our winners Dianna Basso, Xavier Snelgrove, and the winner of the Grand Prize (a Jos Stam sized T-shirt), Thuan Ta.

After the event, a smaller crowd joined Jos at betty’s for some informal discussion, networking, and good cheer.

We would like to thank Autodesk Research for their generous sponsorship of this event.

Don’t forget to check out more images of this event at our Facebook album, and while you are there, like us!  And follow us on Twitter as well!

Review, Raffles, Toys… Holiday Fun!

Screenshot 2015-12-22 15.29.55

On December 2nd the Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter hosted it’s 2005 Holiday Party.  As has now become tradition, we brought back our Resume and Reel Reviews to the party and collected toys for our Annual Toy Drive.

About 30 people gathered at betty’s upstairs to join the celebration. The venue’s layout was conducive to creating many resume and reel review stations.  As we had about the same number of reviewers and reviewees, everyone was able to get two to three separate reviews of their work.  It was an invaluable experience and everyone was grateful for the constructive suggestions they received!

We were also grateful for the chance to speak to many of our members and wish them a Happy Holiday Season.  To have some fun, we raffled a few Google Cardboards (courtesy of SIGGRAPH and SCAD) and a SIGGRAPH 2015 T-shirt.  Congratulations to the winners: Brent Smith and Max Julian!

We were also very grateful for the large amount of toys that were donated to the Chapter’s Toy Drive.  In total, we filled four large bags of toys!  As promised, we delivered the toys in support of Toronto Fire Services, whose toy drive has a history of nearly 150 years!


We also want to take this opportunity to thank our many reviewers: Laurence Cymet, Joe Raasch, Rafael Fernandez-Stoll, Yoonha Kim, Alex Feigin, and our very own Karen Jackson!

This concludes our Fall season of events as we prepare to take a Holiday break.  We hope everyone has an enjoyable Holiday Season and we wish everyone a wonderful New Year 2016!

Stay tuned for our Winter season of events: mark your calendars for February 4th!


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!

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