Shifting Lanscapes: Exploring the Tech-tonic Shake-up in Visual Entertainment

Join the Visual Effects Society's Bay Area section for a full day of roundtable discussions, networking, and keynote visionary presentations at the stunning, state-of-the-art Dolby Laboratories headquarters in downtown San Francisco.

For the third time, the VES Bay Area Board of Directors has invited local and global experts from the fields of Animation, Broadcast & Film, VFX, Video Games and Technology to gather for this Bay Area Summit.

The event will include approximately ten Roundtable Topics to encourage discussion and interaction. These discussions will include accomplished local and international industry contributors -- directors, producers, art directors, cinematographers, editors, post production supervisors, visual effects practitioners and executives -- dedicated to both their own industry, and to the health of the production community at large.


Roundtable Topics & Moderators

VR for Location Based Entertainment

Moderator: Camille Cellucci, The Void

Camille Cellucci began her filmmaking career at Industrial Light and Magic. During her 6-year tenure at ILM, she worked her way up from intern to associate producer. Since then she has contributed her expertise to over 35 features including The Walk, Elysium, 21 Jump Street, Salt, Knowing, Nim’s Island, the Matrix Sequels, and numerous HBO films. Her role as James Cameron’s visual effects producer on Titanic propelled her to the top of her field. She won an Emmy for The Life And Death of Peter Sellers, has been nominated for numerous Visual Effects Society awards, and won several awards for her short films Grace and Wear Something Nice. She line produced the animated film The Little Prince, and is in the final phases of post-production on her documentary Untapped. Producing Sonaria and Piggy for Google Spotlight Stories’ marked her entre into VR storytelling. She joined The Void as Head of Production at the beginning of this year.

Realtime Rendering

Moderator: Stephen Hill, Lucasfilm

Moderator: Naty Hoffman, Lucasfilm

Stephen Hill is a Senior Rendering Engineer within Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development group, where he is engaged in physically based rendering R&D for real-time productions such as the Carne y Arena VR installation experience.

Naty Hoffman is currently a Principal Engineer & Architect at the Lucasfilm Advanced Development Group. Previously, he spent close to two decades in the game industry doing graphics research and development for various game franchises, including Call of Duty and God of War. Naty also co-authored the book "Real-Time Rendering", and has given multiple conference presentations on real-time rendering and related topics.

Augmented Reality - What is it Good For?

Moderator: Stefanie Hutka, Adobe

Stefanie Hutka, PhD is an Experience Researcher on the Adobe Design Research and Strategy Team. Her work focuses on immersive initiatives, including Adobe’s new AR authoring tool and system, Project Aero. Before joining Adobe, Stefanie spent two years at DAQRI, an LA-based AR company. There, she established DAQRI’s design research program, and conducted their first case studies on the use of AR software and hardware in industrial settings. Prior to DAQRI, she completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Toronto, specializing in auditory cognitive neuroscience. When not conducting research, you can find her playing anything from Bach to Lady Gaga on violin, or hiking a local trail.

Studio Virtualization

Moderator: Rex Grignon, Nimble Collective

Rex Grignon is a Canadian-American animation director and entrepreneur, known for his work as the Head of Character Animation for DreamWorks Animation from 1996-2014. Grignon is the CEO of Nimble Collective, a company he co-founded in 2014. Grignon graduated from Sheridan College's esteemed animation program in 1984, followed by a Bachelor's Degree in 1985 from New York Institute of Technology.

Producing VFX Globally (Benefits and Challenges Today)

Moderator: Ruth Irvine-Hauer, Proof Inc.

Ruth Irvine-Hauer’s career began in live action as a production coordinator having worked on such films as The Rock, Con Air, Mighty Ducks 3, and Dinosaur. In 2002, she moved into VFX at the Walt Disney Studios where she worked on all of the major Disney films during that period, including Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure, Frankenweenie and many more. In 2014 Ruth moved back to the production side of VFX; most recently she worked as the VFX Producer for Weta Digital on War for the Planet of the Apes, nominated for an Academy award for best VFX in 2017. In her current role, Ruth is the Executive Producer of Proof, Inc. a leading visualization company in Los Angeles with offices in London.

Digital Humans: State of the Art

Moderator: Terry Molatore, Tippet Studios

Moderator: Anthony Shafer, Nomadic



Moderator: Scott Peterson, Baobab Studios

Scott Peterson is the Director of Interactivity at Baobab Studios. A technical and artistic innovator, Peterson has many awards to his name including an Academy Award, Emmy Award and People’s Choice Award.  Prior to Baobob, Scott received an Emmy for his visual effects work on “Asteroids” in 2018. As an indie game developer, he developed and released the mobile game, Shazap: Match Draw in 2017. While at Zynga, he received a People’s Choice award for his work on Farmville, Tropic Escape.  Scott served as Head of Effects at DreamWorks Animation for 18 years. He received an Academy Award for technical achievement in 2015 for developing the DreamWorks Animation Foliage System. In addition to supervising effects on four films, including Madagascar 2 and 3, Scott wrote and directed award-winning animated short, “Sprout.”

Machine Learning for VFX

Nick Porcino, Facebook Reality Labs

Nick Porcino has been working in the application of computer graphics and artificial intelligence to interactive technologies since the earliest days of eight bit video consoles. Nick published papers on the application of neural networks to animation and robotic control in the 1980s, and led the creation of engines and toolsets for companies such as Bandai, Disney Interactive and LucasArts. During fourteen years at Lucasfilm, he worked to bridge interactive technologies directly to film and game production. Subsequently at Apple, Nick continued that work on projects such as Animoji, the integration of many vfx production technologies into Apple's operating systems, and a collaboration with Pixar to enable USD on macos and iOS. Most recently Nick has come full circle to work on the application of computer vision and machine learning to interactive experiences at Facebook Reality Labs.


Crowdfunding Your VFX Projects

Moderator: Corey Rosen, Tippett Studios

Corey Rosen is VP of Creative Marketing at Tippett Studio where he oversees and manages development for theme park entertainment offerings, VR and AR content, and mobile app creation.  Rosen leads the creative management of Tippett Studio's marketing, finding innovative ways to promote and extend the company's presence in the worlds of social media, publishing, original film production, and advertising. Rosen began his career at Industrial Light & Magic as a visual effects artist and screenwriter for 12 years, before moving to The Orphanage, heading their creature department and serving as visual effects supervisor on commercials. Rosen launched and managed several successful Kickstarter campaigns for Phil Tippett's independently produced return to stop motion animation, Mad God.

Directing for Short Format Stories
Moderator: Domee Shi, Pixar
Domee Shi began as a story intern at Pixar Animation Studios in June 2011, and was soon hired as a story artist on the Academy Award©-winning feature film Inside Out. Since then she has worked on the feature films The Good Dinosaur and the upcoming Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4. In 2015 she began pitching some ideas for short films, and soon was green lit to write and direct Bao. A whimsical story loosely based on her own experiences growing up as an only child, and set in the Chinese community in Toronto, Canada, Bao screened in front of Incredibles 2. Domee graduated from the animation program at Sheridan College, where her love of storytelling and animation really blossomed. Her biggest creative influences are the works of Studio Ghibli, 90s anime, Disney, Pixar, as well as the works of Yasujiro Ozu, Ang Lee, and Bong Joon Ho. Domee was born in Chongqing, China and resided in Toronto, Canada most of her life. She currently lives in Oakland, California and notes that her love of animation is only rivaled by her love of cats.

How are Simulated Realities Changing Storytelling

Moderator: Colum Slevin, Oculus VR

Colum Slevin leads the experiences group at Oculus VR, overseeing a portfolio of groundbreaking live-action narrative, and real-time virtual reality experiences. His early background in production for animated TV and features led him to Industrial Light + Magic, where he was Director of Computer Graphics, and later Vice President/Head of Studio Operations at Lucasfilm, where he was responsible for the animation divisions in California and Singapore. Colum joined Oculus in 2015 from Telltale Games, where he was Studio General Manager. He lives in San Rafael, California with his wife Marie. He is mildly over-obsessed with movies and wants to help people make amazing things.

Bits to Atoms: VFX for Themed Entertainment

Moderator: Michael Stein, Walt Disney Imagineering

Michael is the Director of Media and Art Pipeline at Walt Disney Imagineering, where he leads teams responsible for technologies and workflows for animatronic figures, real-time visualization, projection systems, and asset and production management. Michael Stein has worked for over 25 years in entertainment production include console and PC games, feature animation, visual effects, and theme parks. Michael has contributed to both game and film projects as a developer, technical director, and leader of both. Throughout his career Michael has worked to create the most efficient and flexible workflows which enable the highest quality of creative content.

GPU and the Cloud

Moderator: Jules Urbach, OTOY

Jules Urbach is the visionary and strategic mind behind OTOY’s pioneering work in computer graphics, streaming, and 3D rendering. With over 25 years of industry experience, Jules has been revolutionizing 3D content capture, creation, and delivery through his work with OTOY and Lightstage. With his latest project, RDNR, Jules is now working to utilize the blockchain to push content creation and rendering further than ever before."


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