This week, British Columbia takes centre stage to demonstrate the province’s growing strength in technology and digital arts during SIGGRAPH 2014, the world’s foremost computer graphics and art conference held at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Vancouver first hosted SIGGRAPH in 2011 and is the only city outside of the U.S.A. that has ever been selected for the North American conference. SIGGRAPH 2011 broke previous convention attendance records for the city, generating an estimated $38.5 million in direct spending for the local economy.
SIGGRAPH attracts a mix of artists, programmers, filmmakers, computer scientists, animators, game designers and others involved in computer graphics, film making, video games and hardware who all share interest pushing the envelope of digital graphics and art. Over 15,000 attendees from 75 different countries will gather over the five day conference to watch, discuss and learn from each other.
“Having SIGGRAPH choose Vancouver is a testament to the growth of B.C.’s digital media sector,” stated Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat. “Government is proud to be at this conference to highlight the talent, opportunity and advantages our province has to offer to tech companies.”
With significant growth in visual effects and digital animation production in the last five years, B.C. continues to be a hub for video games, digital production and visual effects. Many international companies (Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light + Magic) have relocated their head offices or established studios in Vancouver, while a number of domestic companies have seen significant growth over this period (Nerd Corps, Atomic Cartoon, Image Engine).
The Province of British Columbia recognizes that SIGGRAPH choosing Vancouver demonstrates how B.C. has become a major player in digital media. To highlight British Columbia’s creative services and digital media industries the Province will have an approximately 75-square-metre (800-square-foot) theatre-style exhibition booth with presentations and demonstrations from B.C. tech companies and post-secondary institutions.
In addition to the presentations at the B.C. booth, many local companies and organizations will also have their own exhibits at SIGGRAPH 2014, including Gener8 Digital Media, Simon Fraser University, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, and more.
“I am looking forward to being able to share B.C.’s great digital media story during this conference,” said President of British Columbia Innovation Council, Greg Caws. “With international companies like Sony Imageworks and Industrial Light + Magic choosing Vancouver for their business along with our home-grown winners like Rainmaker and Gener8, it’s no wonder SIGGRAPH chose to come here.”
Technology – which includes digital media – is one of the eight key sectors in the BC Jobs Plan, the province’s strategy to grow the economy. B.C.’s technology sector is one of the top contributors to the provincial economy and represents extraordinary opportunity for industry, investors and job seekers.
“SIGGRAPH is the perfect forum to showcase the incredible creative and technical talent of the artists at Sony Pictures Imageworks,” added executive vice president and general manager, Digital Production Services , Sony Imageworks, Randy Lake. “Vancouver has developed into a world-class centre for visual effects and animation production, making it the ideal location for hosting this year’s conference.”
- B.C. is home to one of the oldest video games clusters in North America, with more than more than 1,300 companies, employing 22,000 people.
- Over 65 game development studios have 5,150 full-time, highly paid employees and thousands more under contract.
- In 2012, the video game industry in B.C. was responsible for $568 million in gross expenditures, and 40% of companies reported they expected growth of more than 25% in 2014.
- Studios specializing in post-production, animation and special effects for motion pictures continue to flourish in British Columbia:
- In 2012, Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver produced 75% of the animation in the movie The Amazing Spider-Man.
- In 2013, Image Engine in Vancouver produced 300 visual effects shots for the movie Zero Dark Thirty.
- Currently, Industrial Light + Magic is setting up its work for the next Star Wars movie.