Animation, China, Conferences & Festivals, Events, Film, Postproduction, VFX, Virtual Reality

How Advanced is Chinese Visual Entertainment?

November 13, 2017

I’m in Beijing this week for ICEVE 2017, two-days (Nov 16 & 17) of talks and demos which promise to provide a rare look under the hood of China’s emerging technologies, research and image production for film, animation and immersive media.

ICEVE (International Conference & Exhibition on Visual Entertainment) is organised by the Advanced Innovation Center for Future Visual Entertainment (AICFVE), an $8m/year government-funded initiative championing the development and implementation of cutting-edge tools and technology in China’s visual media production industries.  It’s one of 21 expensive innovation centres covering many fields that the Beijing government has set up in recent years.

Soon after its launch in late 2016, AICFVE invited me up to Beijing to meet the team and attend ICEVE.  It’s a highly ambitious project, but if successful will serve an important function in connecting Chinese and international research, and ultimately advancing the quality and innovation within the Chinese film, XR and animation industries.  Last year brought together some big names like Chris Edwards (Co-founder, THETHIRDFLOOR), Scott Ross (Digital Domain co-founder), Demetri Portelli (3D Stereographer & Stereo Supervisor) and Richard Chuang (PDI co-founder).   I put some thoughts down on my experience for AWN.

Chris Edwards, Co-founder, THETHIRDFLOOR spoke at ICEVE 2016

This year will cover issues surrounding high quality film imaging, workflow innovation, VR/AR content production, reality capture, reality display and light-field technology.  Here are my personal picks:

Yongmeng Wang, CTO, MORE VFX, a seasoned VFX specialist in China with experience on major Chinese movies like Wukong, The Monkey King 2, and box office hit Big Fish & Begonia.  Many of the bigger VFX companies in China are led by foreigners, so it’s always good to hear the experiences of a native running his own successful operation.

Rick Garson, Founder & CEO, VX Entertainment (Beijing), an executive producer with credits on Billboard Music Awards, the Super Bowl TV Specials and multimedia shows for the Beijing Olympics.  Kevin Geiger wrote effusively about Rick’s work at VX Entertainment, so I’m excited to see it for myself.

Chen Baoquan, Chief Scientist, AICFVE.  A leading scientist and researcher in computer graphics and visualization, who serves on the Advisory Group for ACM SIGGRAPH Asia and brought the conference to Mainland China for the first time in 2014 .

Jake Black, Head of Virtual Reality, Create Advertising, overseeing all aspects of the company’s VR projects, with credits on Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ghostbusters VR: Now Hiring and The Walk.  Probably the top commercial industry VR figure at the conference this year.

Kurt Akeley, CTO Lytro.  Few will have an insight like Akeley (co-founder of Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI)) into the latest in light-field rendering technologies.

Han Lei, President, Linmon Digital Image.  7 years as a Lighting artist with DreamWorks Animation in LA, then VFX Supervisor for Light Chaser Animation on their debut feature, Door Guardians.

Dominick Spina, Head of Film Technology, AMD Studios.  AMD have a strong China presence so it’s no surprise to see them sponsoring ICEVE.  Spina leads AMD’s recently launched end-to-end digital production studio in Hollywood.

and Bill Collis, the President at Foundry, who have also had a China office since 2015.

There are also numerous top Chinese scientists working in CG, XR and AI on the bill, from those working at academic research institutes to those within companies like Baidu Research and Microsoft Research.

All the info is at: iceve.cn/en

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