Jon Peddie Research’s Press Luncheon

Event Date: August 10th 2011 - Time: 12:00 – 14:30
Location: Pan Pacific Vancouver 300-999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC V6C 3B5 - The Ocean room (mezzanine level)
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Jon Peddie Research is hosting an informational luncheon for press and analysts at SIGGRAPH 2011

There will be a panel of experts in the field to give their views and answer your questions. This panel features the people who are designing the hardware, software, and tools along with the people who are using the tools in their every day work. Questions get asked, and questions get answers. There will also be opportunities for exclusive one-on-one interviews that you won’t be able to get elsewhere, and you’ll get a damn fine lunch.

The topic we will be discussing this year is Virtual Moviemaking. Virtual Production, or Virtual Moviemaking, is a new, visually dynamic, non-linear workflow. It blends virtual camera systems, advanced motion and performance capture, 3D software and practical 3D assets with real-time render display technology, enabling filmmakers to interactively visualize and explore digital scenes for the production of feature films and game cinematics.

As it becomes more commonly used there are interesting questions raised.

  • What do you visualize the virtual movie on: a workstation, a tablet, a phone?
  • Where is the rendering load going to be handled: software, GPU, CPU, hybrid, cloud?
  • When does CG replace live actors; all actors, or just stand-ins and secondary?
  • How will the scene models be made: from scratch, point-cloud scans, photo simulation?


Panelist at Jon Peddie Luncheon, Steve Cooper Steve Cooper, Poser Product Manager Company: Smith Micro Software

Steve Cooper is the Poser Product Manager for Smith Micro Software. Working with the core Poser development team, content developers and end users, Cooper is responsible for determining the feature set for the product family and shepherds the delivery of those features to their diverse and active customer base. He is also responsible for brand-centric business development and establishing strategic partnerships to further integration of 3D characters and Poser content within a variety of applications.

Cooper has been working with 3D characters and Poser since 1996 and with 3D tool developers since 1991. His early work with the brand transitioned it from an interesting niche product into the defacto standard for 3D storytelling, complete with a virtual stage and ready to pose 3D characters.  He brings both executive skills and sleeves-rolled-up experience to the Poser family of products.

Prior to working with Smith Micro, Cooper was president of Curious Labs, an early publisher of Poser. Before co-founding Curious Labs he filled senior product management and evangelism roles at Fractal Designs and Metacreations and has driven a variety of 3D initiatives with Strata 3D, Havok and Futuremark.  Cooper holds a BA in illustration and design from the Art Institute of Boston.

Panelist at Jon Peddie Luncheon, Darin Grant Darin Grant, Head of Production Technology Company: Dreamworks

Darin Grant is Head of Production Technology for DreamWorks Animation, where he is responsible for collaborating with the studio’s visual effects supervisors and department heads to establish and manage production priorities for technology development, acquisition, adoption and integration for multiple film projects in various stages of development, pre-production and production across multiple geographic locations. Darin is responsible for strategic leadership in studio-wide production initiatives such as stereoscopic 3D, motion-capture, pre-visualization, and numerous department-specific efforts in pipeline, effects animation, texturing and lighting. Darin is also the production point person on the validation and integration of our upcoming next generation tool set, the most significant technology program the studio has ever undertaken. His credits include DreamWorks Animation feature films such as How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda 2 and the upcoming Puss in Boots.

Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation in 2005, Darin was at Digital Domain for ten years in various positions, concluding as Director of Technology. Notably during his tenure, the studio won numerous accolades for technical achievement, including a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for volumetric techniques and the commercialization of Nuke, a proprietary compositing tool, which is now the industry standard. He received multiple film credits, contributing to software and technical development for the studio’s work on Academy Award-winning visual effect triumphs, including Titanic and What Dreams May Come, as well as special effects-laden action films such as Fight Club, Robot and The Day After Tomorrow.

Darin has served in many leadership and review roles for SIGGRAPH, the world’s largest computer graphics organization. He is a member of the Visual Effects Society and serves on the Digital Imaging Technology Sub-Committee of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Darin holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California.

Panelist at Jon Peddie Luncheon, Brian Pohl Brian Pohl Company: Autodesk A veteran of George Lucas’ JAK Films’ previsualization team and ILM

Brian Pohl has 16 years of experience as a designer, VFX artist and previs
supervisor. A veteran of George Lucas' JAK Films previs team and multiple
VFX companies, Pohl is credited for creating or supervising previs on over
22 films including Star Wars Episode II, I,Robot, Star Trek, and Battle: Los

Pohl recently joined Autodesk to apply his past production experience
towards product design. In 2009 he participated in the formation of the
Previsualization Society and acts as secretary and chairman of its web and
educational committees. In his spare time Pohl teaches classes at Gnomon
School of Visual Effects.

Panelist at Jon Peddie Luncheon, Ping Fu Ping Fu, Chairman and CEO of Geomagic Company: Geomagic

Honored by Inc. Magazine as “The Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2005, Ping Fu describes herself an artist and a scientist whose chosen expression is business. Ping co-founded Geomagic, a leading US software company which pioneers 3D technologies that fundamentally change the way products are designed and manufactured around the world. From repairing vintage cars at Jay Leno’s garage to preserving US treasures and digitally recreating the Statue of Liberty, Geomagic enables design and production of one-of-the-kind products and services at a cost less than mass production.

Before Geomagic, Ping was Director of Visualization at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), where she initiated and managed the NCSA Mosaic browser that led to Netscape and Internet Explorer. While at Bell Labs, she led the development of data mining and digital telephony.

She is actively involved in promoting entrepreneurship and women in mathematics and sciences. She is on the Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation, the Board of Trustees of the Kenan Institute at the University of North Carolina and an advisor to President Obama serving on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship She is also a mentor for The Clinton Foundation’s Entrepreneur Mentoring Program, she participated in the kick-off for the White House’s 2011 Startup America initiative, is the author of two books and inventor of five US and international patents.

Ping has received numerous awards for her leadership as an entrepreneur, including Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. magazine, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Carolinas, Woman’s Compass award and Life Time Achievements award by Business Leader magazine. She was invited as a guest of the First Lady Michelle Obama at her box for the President’s first State of Union Address in Jan. 2010.

Coming straight to the US from a Chinese prison, Ping’s journey to entrepreneurship is a remarkable American dream by itself. Her childhood dream was to be an astronaut. Today her company’s software is used to ensure safe return of every NASA space shuttle. “I would like to find a way for engineering to transcend humanity” she says. Ping has one daughter and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Panelist at Jon Peddie Luncheon, Rob Powers Rob Powers, Vice President of 3D Development Company: Newtek Worked on Avatar and other films.

Rob Powers is the vice president of 3D Development at NewTek. Powers was the first CG artist to join James Cameron’s team as Animation Technical Director for “Avatar,” eventually creating and supervising the Virtual Art Department (VAD) for “Avatar.” Powers was also the Virtual Art Department Supervisor for Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s “Tintin,” scheduled for release December 2011.

As supervisor of the Avatar Virtual Art Department, Powers and his team developed all the real-time environmental assets for the production and many innovative virtual workflow tools and techniques to define the process. He continued his efforts as Virtual Art Department Supervisor on “TinTin” where he organized and built a team of artists in Los Angeles working directly with the Weta Digital Team in New Zealand.

Powers is a graduate of the University of Southern California Cinema Production. After graduation, he continued his formal film school education at the American Film Institute. At the time, the digital side of filmmaking didn’t exist and no schools offered programs in computer graphics (CG) animation. Self-taught in digital filmmaking methodologies, Powers is among the pioneers of the CG revolution.

He has created animation and effects for a wide range of projects such as James Cameron’s stereoscopic IMAX film “Aliens of the Deep,” Disney’s “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”, and Jet Li’s “The One.” Powers was also the lead animator for the 3D-dancing baby that debuted on the Emmy-Award winning “Ally McBeal” television show in the mid-90s.

Rob Powers on IMDB: