V-Ray Days @ SIGGRAPH 2017 Roundup

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Stranger Things and Digital Humans headline blockbuster presentation roster

The dust has settled on this year’s SIGGRAPH – and it’s been our best yet. Chaos Group hosted two V-Ray Days and they proved to be packed for every presentation.

We kicked things off with the V-Ray for Educators Breakfast. Attendees were updated on Chaos Group’s educational program and our new policies for training using V-Ray courseware.

Our first customer presentation of the day, from Dan Akers and Jean Baptiste Cambier of Blur Studio, took us behind the scenes of the company’s game trailers and cinematics for Far Cry 5. The company went to great lengths to create authentic worlds in CGI, even driving hundreds of miles to scout out and model the perfect dive bar.

Next up was Chad Wanstreet, who talked about how FuseFX envisaged a seamless tracking shot through a hellish landscape, and some devilish bunnies, for the popular TV series American Gods.

Then, CG Labs’ Chris Nichols took to the stage alongside Mike Seymour (FXguide) and Jay Busch (Google Daydream) for a podcast on Digital Humans. It was incredible to hear how Mike, Jay, Chris and others in the Digital Human League have persevered in pushing digital humans out of the uncanny valley.

The day finished with a discussion from Dreamworks TV’s Mio Markovic and Brent Tyler on the lighting pipeline they use for Voltron: Legendary Defender. Despite its traditional 2D hand-animated look, behind the scenes 3D tech and V-Ray rendering give the team more flexibility and customization options.

Day two began with a presentation from Miguel de Los Rios from Pixomondo. Miguel highlighted the deeply varied work his studio has completed, from epic theme park rides, to surreal fantasy films, to set extension and digital costume work on Wonder Woman and Power Rangers.

Next, we got to focus on V-Ray itself with a presentation from Vladimir “Vlado” Koylazov, Chaos Group’s Co-Founder & Head of Software Development. Always a big crowd puller, Vlado talked about the latest features and drew rapturous applause from the audience with his insight into upcoming developments.

Netflix sci-fi drama Stranger Things was the talk of the town, the country, and the whole world this year. Taking us behind the scenes of the creation of the series’ menacing Demogorgon were the team from Aaron Sims Creative, who walked us through their sketch-to-screen process, which incorporates everything from original designs to final on-screen effects. They also covered their work on the foreboding four horsemen of the apocalypse for Stephen King’s The Mist.

We finished on a suitably epic note, with Kevin Sears of Method Studios discussing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Kevin showed the painstaking work which went into Baby Groot, possibly the cutest twig ever to be rendered on the big screen.

Aside from all the action at V-Ray Days, Chaos Group’s other SIGGRAPH activities included Vlado’s participation in the Sci-Tech Award Winners panel and cameo at Unreal’s User Group event, Chris taking part in the Art and Science of VR talk, and our marketing team’s tireless meetings with press about everything V-Ray.

Next year, SIGGRAPH will head due north to Vancouver, and we’ll be sure to host more V-Ray Days. Stay tuned to our events page for updates, and we’ll see you there!