SIGGRAPH is back in Vancouver, and once again the Vancouver Convention Centre has been transformed into an immersive landscape showcasing the latest technologies in computer graphics, animation, digital art and mixed reality. The global conference’s 2018 theme is “Generations”, a concept that supports the industry’s constant boundary-pushing, generation over generation. While various conference highlights support this idea, there are also more specific, individualized cases of next-gen storytelling at SIGGRAPH. 
Father-and-son duo James and Patrick Ritossa – an artist for Microsoft and a product designer for Step2, respectively – attended SIGGRAPH for the first time together in 2016. Since then, convening at the conference has become an annual family tradition – and since James lives in Seattle and Patrick is based out of Cleveland, the duo look forward to SIGGRAPH not only as a means of exploring new developments in their shared industry, meeting fellow developers and attending courses, but also as a significant way to reconnect in person. This year, James’ 14year-old brother Lucas has joined the tradition, inspired to attend SIGGRAPH due to his interest in 3D printing and modelling. 
James and Patrick – and now Lucas – prefer to stick together throughout the conference as they explore all that SIGGRAPH has to offer. “The technologies for texturing, and other visual arts programs, are an incredible resource,” says James. “There are also a lot of demos here to learn from. After every SIGGRAPH conference, I take something new away to apply to my job.” 
But the family – this year accompanied by James’ mother – also make the most out of pre- and post-conference opportunities, particularly since SIGGRAPH is one of just two or three times they are able to see each other during the year. “We like to spend 100 percent of our time outside the conference together, exploring the city and sightseeing,” says James. “So far, we’ve taken in Vancouver’s incredible sights and architecture, and also tried out several local restaurants. The food is really good here!” 
“The parks in Vancouver are beautiful as well, particularly Stanley Park,” adds Patrick. The family has walked and biked the seawall bordering the 405-hectare (1,000-acre) oasis, which is situated within the centre of the city and easily accessible from the Vancouver Convention Centre. (Learn more about pre- and post-conference touring in Vancouver here.) 
So how long will they continue attending SIGGRAPH together each year? “Until they decide to cancel it!” says James. Patrick adds, “It’s a really great event. The product development for some of the software is really compelling, and I enjoy absorbing learnings from the film and gaming industries, since they’re ahead of the curve as far as software is concerned.” And what about Lucas – has SIGGRAPH motivated him to follow his father and brother into the graphics industry? “Possibly,” he says coyly. Sounds like this story of generations reconnecting at SIGGRAPH will continue for many years to come.