WebGL Sessions at SIGGRAPH 2014


SIGGRAPH 2014 is shaping up to be a great conference for WebGL developers. Here are the highlights.


ACM SIGGRAPH Cartographic Visualization BOF
12:30-2 PM, East Building Room 8

This BOF is organized by Theresa-Marie Rhyne, who will give a talk on applying color theory to geographic visualization. On the WebGL front, Alex Wood is giving a talk on our open-source WebGL engine, Cesium, with a focus on glTF for 3D models, streaming terrain, and Cesium 1.0 improvements.

Introduction to WebGL Programming Course
2-5:15 PM, West Building, Rooms 109-110

Ed Angel and Dave Shreiner changed their popular OpenGL course to cover WebGL. If you are new to WebGL, this is the course for you. The OpenGL course from 2013 is now on YouTube as part of SIGGRAPH University. In related news, the latest version of their popular intro textbook, Interactive Computer Graphics, now covers WebGL. I was one of the reviewers and, as an educator and practitioner, I love the direction.


Teaching Intro and Advanced Graphics with WebGL BOF
4-5:30 PM, East Building, Room 2

Ed Angel and I will talk about teaching our graphics courses with WebGL, including demos of student work and WebGL tools. Even if you are not an educator, most of our talk should be interesting to you. The slides are already available on GitHub (check out the notes on each slide).


Virtual Globes Using WebGL and Cesium BOF
11 AM - 12 PM, East Building, Room 9

I organize this BOF to provide the latest news on Cesium. It will include demos from AGI, NICTA, and Camptocamp on aerospace visualization, geoportals, virtual reality (Oculus Rift), node.js, and, of course, tracking Santa Claus. See the full schedule.

Shadertoy Hackathon
11 AM - 12:30 PM, The Studio

A very cool idea organized by Pol Jeremias and Inigo Quilez: "Shader aficionados hack one of their favorite technologies as attendees observe the creative proceedings." I have used Shadertoy and GLSL Sandbox for hackathons in my course with great success and the organizers here are the experts. This conflicts with the Cesium BOF. If you are not planning on hacking, you could go to the Cesium BOF and then here to see the hacks come together in the last half hour.

Think Big Talks
2-3:30 PM, West Building, Rooms 118-120

There are two WebGL talks in this session.

Progressive Streaming of Compressed 3D Graphics in a Web Browser by Guillaume Lavoué, Laurent Chevalier, and Florent Dupont. Abstract: "A solution for fast progressive streaming and visualization of compressed 3D graphics on the web. The approach relies on a dedicated progressive-compression algorithm and a plugin-free solution for streaming, decoding, and visualization by the web browser, which relies on an optimized parallel JavaScript/WebGL implementation."

Earth in Google Maps: Rendering Trillions of Triangles in JavaScript by Janne Kontkanen and Evan Parker. We've heard about the WebGL implementation of Google Maps 2D at the past two WebGL BOFs at SIGGRAPH. This is the first time Google is presenting their 3D work. Abstract: "This talk gives an overview of the rendering technology used to render Google Earth’s massive dataset in a web browser using JavaScript and WebGL." There is also an extended abstract at the ACM Digital Library.

Kevin Ring and I presented similar WebGL implementation details for Cesium in the Rendering Massive Virtual Worlds course last year. See World-Scale Terrain Rendering and Using Multiple Frustums for Massive Worlds.

Future of 3D Web Standards
3:30-5:30 PM, Pan Pacific Vancouver, Oceanview 5

This is organized by the Web3D Consortium and mentions that X3DOM is built on WebGL: "X3DOM displays X3D content in HTML5 pages, rendered using WebGL. X3DOM is the prototype for next-generation Web as X3D version 4 standard. The future of Web3D graphics is presented and discussed highlighting tools and examples."


Khronos API Education in the University BOF
9:30 AM -12 PM, Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, next to the Convention Center

Wednesday is my favorite day at SIGGRAPH since it has all the Khronos BOFs, many of which are WebGL related. I have not been to this education BOF before, but it has a WebGL component: "Presented by professors from various universities, we will discuss teaching Khronos APIs for computer graphics, mobile app development, image processing with OpenCL, Web apps with WebGL, and more."

The Making of the Seattle GigapixelArtZoom Studio Talk
9-10:30 AM, West Building, Rooms 116-117

Presented by Michael Cohen, Matt Uyttendaele, and Eric Stollnitz from Microsoft Research, this talk doesn't mention WebGL but it does mention "modern HTML5" and Microsoft now has WebGL in IE 11. A quick look at the demo reveals the WebGL Inspector icon in the address bar so it surely uses WebGL.

Abstract: "This talk reviews the technical and artistic considerations associated with creation of the Seattle GigapixelArtZoom: a 20-gigapixel panorama populated with over 100 artists and performers, and captured by numerous videographers. Over 2,500 individual images and videos are encapsulated within a modern HTML5-based web site."

The conflicts with the Education BOF but this is probably only from 10-10:30 AM as part of the "Bing! Bang! Boom!" talks.

2-2:30 PM, Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, next to the Convention Center

We'll give an update on the progress of the glTF spec and the open-source COLLADA-to-glTF pipeline tool. There will also be a few demos of glTF in prominent applications. The schedule is:

  • COLLADA and glTF updates by Neil Trevett
  • glTF at Amobee by Dan Toulous
  • Adding 3D content to Impress | Libreoffice with COLLADA and glTF by Remi Arnaud
  • glTF in Cesium updates by me

WebGL for 3D Graphics on the Web BOF
4-5 PM, Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, next to the Convention Center

This is the WebGL event at SIGGRAPH. Since it first started in 2011, it is always very well attended and has great demos. The schedule hasn't been posted yet so there might still be a chance to get added to it.

OpenGL and OpenGL ES BOF
5-7 PM, Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, next to the Convention Center

For the first year, the OpenGL and OpenGL ES BOFs are being combined. Since WebGL is based on OpenGL ES, this BOF is like a crystal ball into the future of WebGL.

SIGGRAPH BOF-Blitz After-Party
7:30 PM, Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, next to the Convention Center

Other than perhaps the WebGL BOF, this is the best WebGL networking event. Come talk to the folks working on the WebGL spec and implementations, and other WebGL developers.

Other Sessions

The Geo Web BOF organized by the Web3D Consortium may also be of interest. The Cross-Compiled 3D Web Applications – Problems and Solutions poster should also be worth a read.

I didn't find any papers that mentioned WebGL, but I believe WebGL is a great API for researchers so I expect we'll see a few papers with WebGL implementations and even more in future years.

Since I first heard of WebGL at the SIGGRAPH BOF in 2009, WebGL has come a long way and its presence at SIGGRAPH has increased significantly. In a few years, I expect a blog post like this will be quite long.

See you at SIGGRAPH!

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