Cinematic Scientific Visualization: The Art of Communicating Science
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TimeWednesday, 20 November 201914:15 - 18:00
DescriptionScientific visualization for public education serves a vital role in our modern society which communicates with image-based memes and incentivizes out-of-context sensationalism through clickbait journalism. The SIGGRAPH community has brought artists and academics together for decades, and now has the unique capacity to engage public audiences by cutting through the noise with meaningful scientifically-validated imagery. The Advanced Visualization Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA Goddard, Swinburne Astronomy Productions at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, and the Walter+Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research are research teams with years of experience in creating high-quality cinematic scientific visualizations for public outreach. Their teams work with scientists, film producers, and education experts to create virtual tours through data collected from astronomers, geologists, biologists, and other scientific domains for high-resolution immersive screens. Films that contextualize cutting-edge computational research with a narrative and innovative visual effects help audiences build a foundational understanding about complex science concepts. This course will explore the process of creating cinematic scientific visualizations with scientific and visual effects tools for public audiences. We discuss the state-of-the-art and future challenges in visualization. We explain challenges with representing data in a seemingly objective context while making it approachable, beautiful, and compelling to experts and non-experts. We discuss the importance of interactive virtual data exploration performed cinematography. We explain how artists can leverage tools from the computational science communities, and the necessity of building custom data translation software. We demonstrate the creation of derived geometry and glyphs; manipulation and registration of correlated datasets; and design strategies for meaningful storytelling. We will present arguments on debated visualization approaches like interpolation and the inclusion of illustrative elements. And we will clarify why cinematic scientific visualization is an optimal format for retention of learning objectives and dispelling scientific misconceptions.