August 9, 2018
A group of students from Zebulun Wood’s N420 Multimedia Production Development class at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI has been busy collaborating with a team of developers and art directors around the globe, spanning several time zones. The project: Using augmented reality (AR) on mobile devices to promote the technology, contributors, and the host city of Vancouver, B.C., at the ACM SIGGRAPH 2018 conference.
SIGGRAPH, the Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. The annual conference is an opportunity to experience and discuss the latest developments in gaming and interactive apps, art and design, production and animation, research and education, and new technologies.
Recent alumni Patrick Bellido-Choy, Jordan Nelsen, Amanda Papandreao, and Bryan Keefe, and current students Jacob Dehart and Caiti Morris, under the guidance of overall project managers Wood and Casey Kwock, are part of the team that has been creating sigglets—their icons, textures, and animations—for the ScavengeAR App that will offer fun, engaging experiences for conference attendees.
“Working in a team remotely, across time zones and in real time, is the closest simulation of real-world mobile app and game production pipelines our students could experience here at IUPUI,” said Wood, lecturer and co-director of the Media Arts and Science (MAS) undergraduate program.
Kwock, who coordinated the project volunteers from his base in Southern California, said, “We started the project as a creative way to give students and volunteers an opportunity to work together and contribute to SIGGRAPH. It was great to see the students from IUPUI share their ideas and step up to provide support to each other when needed.”
Sigglets are animated, virtual creatures that can be located and captured with the help of a smart device. Each one is associated with fun facts and useful information about the conference.
This year’s conference participants will use the app on their devices to look for nearly 40 sigglets, using unique markers to help capture the creatures, learn about the speakers, events, and contributors, and earn prizes. The more sigglets attendees find, the bigger the prizes they can win at the conference. The purpose of this high-tech scavenger hunt is to encourage attendees to venture out into Vancouver, attend after hours mixers, and network with fellow conference attendees.
Bellido-Choy is the project manager and 3-D generalist; Nelsen, Papandreao and Morris specialize in 2-D art and texturing; and Dehart and Keefe work on 3-D modeling and texturing. This is the second year that students at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI have been asked to contribute to the design and development of the app.
“It’s so cool to get the opportunity to work on something and see it actually come to fruition and become an actual real thing that people are interested in. That, and getting so much creative liberty when we were working on the character designs, were really my favorite parts of working on the app,” said Papandreao.
Bellido-Choy found the work to be both enjoyable and challenging. “Getting to work with people from all over the world was a really enlightening and rewarding experience. I learned a lot about communication and the pitfalls and highs that come with it,” he said.
Wood explained that the efforts of many of the students on the team went far beyond the 16-week spring semester and he extended a special thanks to Bellido-Choy, Papandreao, and Nelsen for putting in extra hours during the summer to make sure the app and sigglets were at their best. Wood added, “I’d like to thank all of the professional volunteers that enthusiastically worked with our students and also the SIGGRAPH 2018 leadership, including IUPUI alumnus Joshua Grow, Chair of the Attendee Experience Committee, and Denise Quesnel, who endorsed us in year one, for their continued support and educational outreach. Go SIGGRAPH!”
Twenty media arts and science students will also be student volunteers or team leaders at the conference, where they can make valuable industry contacts.